Alien and invasive, but free and open online

I quite like the idea of behind-the-paper blog posts – there is often much more of research story that can ever fit into an academic publication. These stories are often told over a beer or a cup of coffee, but why not online? Our paper on the improved digital access to the checklists on alien and invasive species from 20 countries such as South Africa, Ireland, and Russia, has been just published in the Nature Scientific Data journal. Shyama Pagad and Melodie McGeoch, the key authors of the paper, wrote a very nice blog post. Press releases were cooked in advance and embargo lifted on the day the paper is out online – quite some coordination among the authors, the publisher, and communication professionals in our organizations! As a result, the story is the first featured news at the CBD, IUCN, and portals and got some coverage in Guardian – perhaps the most adequate English language newspaper when it comes to biodiversity science, in El Tiempo in Spanish, in PÚBLICO in Portuguese, at Sveriges Radio in Swedish, at Nature Asia in Japanese  – all in 48 hours since paper was out. This was followed by a story by BBC, which despite some factual mistakes, generated the second wave of the news, including Shyama Pagad’s interview to Radio New Zealand, and stories in Het Laatste Nieuws in Belgium, GreenReport in Italy, Deutsche Welle in Germany, Liga News in Russia, NewsSalt in Japan, Journal de l’environnement in France, XinhuaNet in China, El Espectador in Colombia, Almuñécar Digital in Spain. Do not underestimate the power of press releases! It’s rewarding to see the increasing media attention, but I also learn the hard way that uncorrected misinterpretations by journalists are repeated, if not made worse, in the later news.

Leaving scientific media aside, let’s see how the GRIIS–GBIF–CBD story develops around global access to the national checklists of invasive and alien species. Most importantly, there are good hopes to see checklists from all other countries, 180 or so, to be published from GRIIS through Most importantly, when checklists of the invasive and alien species from all other countries will be published from GRIIS through, and how dynamic will be this connection in the future. A solid and promising outcome of the GBIF task group on data fitness for use in research on alien and invasive species. Happy to see this paper out, and honored to be part of the story!


When beetles meet fungi

The best conferences are not too small and not too large. My long time favourites are biannual symposia on the conservation of saproxylic beetles in Europe. I have attended every single one since 2004, and every time I learned a lot and met great people in my field. I am excited to see Bavarian forests this year near St. Oswald, Germany from 8 to 10 June 2018!

The goal of this symposium is to present the state of the art on research concerning the ecology, conservation, and management of saproxylic organisms, alongside with research dealing with transversal approaches related to their biodiversity, distribution, taxonomy, phylogeography and environmental issues.

say organisers at the event’s webpage. Jörg Müller and his team promise an exciting symposium by the largest national park in Germany, with a specific focus on cooperation between research on wood-inhabiting fungi and on saproxylic beetles.


Fixes to the webpages

In preparation for the wider use of these webpages, I am doing various content fixes across adlignum – quite a bit of change over the New Year holidays. A proper, actively used blog should replace what you see here, with shares to social media.


Using social media in science

This topic increasingly fascinates me. I am happy to find myself in the workshop in Bergen on exactly the subject. We discuss, if one actually needs a homepage in the times of social media? Self-exposure and promoting own science in academia seems to become a needed skill. At the same time, in Nordic countries self-exposure, self-advertisement is something that researchers don’t naturally do – humbleness is the king.  How to make social media efficient for work, but not a time drain? Knut Melvær, my teacher today, says that you are both the audience and the communicator; i like this point. A post by Anders Waage Nielsen calls social networking “a virtual fungus”, which is the metaphor I can easily buy, well said! Which makes me wonder if methods in studying social interactions have any similarities to species interaction studies. Tomorrow, the ForBio Annual Meeting starts, happy to meet old and new friends. I will be presenting as a scientific instrument for sharing and using data. I will also mention some cool new features of the GBIF portal.


A wonderful study on urban dead wood

In 2013 and 2014 a team of researches attempted to apply for EU LIFE+ funding for a project studying dead wood restoration in natural and urban landscapes. Even though we failed both times, the LIGNEUS project team built a very good network of similarly minded experts.

Here is one study I have received today through one of the LIGNEUS partners

Tanhuanpää, T. Kankare, V. Vastaranta, M Saarinen, N. Holopainen, M. 2015. Monitoring downed coarse wood debris through appearance of canopy gaps in urban boreal forests with bitemporal ALS data. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 14: 835-843.


The Afterlife of a Tree – a wonderful book

TALOATThis is a wonderful, clearly written book with excellent illustrations. Might use it as a lighter introductory book for the Dead Wood Meeting 2016.

Difficult to get, but the result is definitely worth the effort and the money. UPDATE: The book was kindly mada available for the Dead Wood Courses by WWF Poland.