6/21/13 Link Round-Up

Welcome back! Our apologies for missing the link round-up last week in lieu of some much needed behind-the-scenes blog maintenance. We are back up and running and very excited to bring you a round-up of some of the articles and posts that caught our eyes over the past couple of weeks:

  • Congratulations to Leopold Fellow Emmett Duffy, who has just been named as the first Director of the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories, a new global network of coastal ecological field sites. Duffy’s paper, “Envisioning a Marine Biodiversity Observation Network,” was published in May in BioScience. It’s always so satisfying to see a vision become reality!
  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were first implemented in the early 20th century with the vision that they would be a cure-all to regional ocean ailments. Now, our understanding is more nuanced. This week, two new papers were published by Nick Dulvy (in Aquatic Conservation) and Ray Hilborn (in PNAS) on the potential downsides of MPAs. Both papers are linked to and downloadable in this Seamonster post, which includes open discussion of these and other papers on the issue.
  • Sometimes what seemed like a mistake at the time, can actually lead to some of the greatest scientific discoveries. Marcia Bartusiak, Executive Director of the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing, recently reviewed the book “Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein — Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe,” by Mario Livio. In the book he says, “mistakes do no harm in science because there are lots of smart people out there who will immediately spot a mistake and correct it.”
  • Basic research, however, is often pushed aside by funders because it’s “unglamorous,” says author Kathleen Raven in her guest post, Behind the Greatest Experiments: Basic Research, online at Scientific American this week. As with “Brilliant Blunders” above, basic research, and the successes and failures that come along with these oft slower-paced studies, are essential building blocks to the faster paced, more policy-driven science and should be given due credit.
  • While many students seek a PhD to work on basic research, a PhD should not automatically lead to a life of a tenure tracked professor, says Jacquelyn Gill in her latest Contemplative Mammoth blog, Academia doesn’t have a PhD problem, it has an attitude problem. In it she says: “having a science PhD but not actively practicing science– should be seen as an asset, rather than a failure.” Our own Karen McLeod has touched on this topic in one of her blog posts, Don’t forget the big stuff: The many paths to relevance.

Until next week…

About Heather Reiff

Heather Reiff is the Science Policy Coordinator at COMPASS. She lives and works in Oregon, and draws inspiration from her local surroundings, as well as pictures and dreams of past and future travels. Her previous life as a dive instructor provides many underwater pictures to help fuel that inspiration.

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