23rd April 2018 – Nina O’Hanlon – University of the Highlands and Islands

Nina O'HanlonI am a seabird ecologist with particular interests in foraging ecology, movement behaviour, zoology and anthropogenic impacts on species and habitats. However, I am fascinated by all aspects of ornithology and conservation.

Currently, I am a post-doc at the Environmental Research Institute working on two NPA projects: Circular Ocean and APP4SEA.  For Circular Ocean, I was recently involved in a review to provide a baseline assessment of current knowledge concerning the impact of marine plastic on seabirds in northern Europe and the Arctic region; and I am now focusing on how we can improve our knowledge of nest incorporation of plastic by seabirds. As part of APP4SEA I am working on a package focused on the ecological impact of oil spills on seabirds.

My first move into the seabird world was during my Masters where I got to spend the summer on the beautiful Calf of Man, helping to investigate the impact of rats on the island’s seabirds as part of a planned rat eradication. That led to my PhD at the University of Glasgow investigating spatial variation in Herring Gull traits across south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland, focusing on the gulls’ eggs, resource use and foraging behaviours – carrying out fieldwork on several islands and coastal colonies.

As a birder and bird ringer, most of my spare time is spent outdoors, especially along the stunning Caithness coast of north Scotland. My love of birds and science has also led me to be involved with the BOU‘s Engagement Committee as a Social Media Support Officer and with British Birds as a director focusing on communication and social media.


9th April 2018 – Begoña Iñarritu, UNAM & National Commission for Protected Areas in Mexico

Begoña IñarrituI studied Biology at the National Autonomus University of Mexico (UNAM). Throughout the career I got lost (or find myself?) in botanical or paleonthological studies. It was not until I arrive in 2013 to Dr. Rodrigo Medellins Lab at the Ecology Institute where bats captivated me with their amazing life’s history and remembered me that I was a curious naturalist searching for interesting behaviors in animals.

I got the “Young Explorers Grant” on January 2016 for my thesis project about maternal care in bats and got my Biology degree on 2017. I am editor of the blog science “La huella del jaguar”. Nowadays I work as one of the National Commissioner advisors at The Natural Protected Areas Commission in Mexico (CONANP).

My research interest is animal behavior and cognitive sciences and I’m passionate about science communication. I always wondered why animals behave the way they behave and how they accomplish it, so I’m interested in testing hypothesis about perception, communication and bat’s problem solving. Even though we will never know what is like to be a bat, as T. Nagel exposed in a philosophical essay, the behavioral description of animals in the wild represent a challenge in one hand and a key part for the comprehension of the natural world in the other, many times depreciated for researchers and journals.

I collaborate in the NatGeo Series “Conservation Planet”. My work was to show and explain what we are studying from bats that lives in mayan temples. Also to highlight the importance of the Bat Volcano conservation.

I also collaborate with Anand Varma training the bats for the photoshoot!

Last year I was recruited by FOX to make some promos for the “Women’s Football Last Play”. I talked about the natural behavior of the sports mascot, analogous to the girls moves on playground.

Lately I am working at CONANP (The Natural Protected Areas Comission of Mexico) as a Commissioner advisor in conservation matter.

2nd April 2018 – Kevin Burgio, University of Connecticut

Kevin BurgioKevin R. Burgio is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. He is currently collaborating with researchers from a variety of disciplines, including: ecology, journalism, education, and communications to create effective science communication training, as well as the tools needed to evaluate the effectiveness of training in an NSF-funded project.

When not working on science communication, he is an integrative ecologist and conservation biologist with a range of interests and received his PhD from the University of Connecticut in 2017. He is most interested in the mechanisms of species range limitations and how disturbance (climate change and habitat fragmentation) influences species distribution patterns and extinction processes. With a better understanding of how species adapt and move when responding disturbance, he hopes to help bridge the divide between ecological theory and on-the-ground conservation in order to make the best possible decisions not just for now, but for the future as well. Though he focuses on parrots, he has published on a wide variety of topics and taxonomic groups, ranging from bats, Tasmanian tigers, parasites, to the extinct Carolina parakeet.

In addition to research, he is a first-generation college student, a military veteran, a single father, and a member of the LGBT+ community. In his spare time, he listens to punk music (and created the #punkinSTEM hashtag), restores vintage furniture and cookware, plays with his cat, and has an exotic plant & orchid collection. You can visit his website kevinburgio.com and follow him on Twitter @KRBurgio. His CV can be found here: K.R. Burgio CV.

26th March 2018 – Glen Pyle, University of Guelph

Glen PyleGlen Pyle is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph. His research interests are identifying the mechanisms of heart failure and developing new therapies and diagnostic tests for heart failure patients. His laboratory is also investigating sex-dependent differences in heart function and susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Pyle is originally from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and he did his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph. He completed his PhD work at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and then was an American Heart Association Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois. Dr. Pyle’s research has been recognized with awards from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, International Society for Heart Research, and a Premier’s Research Excellence Award from the Government of Ontario.

When not working in his lab (which is quite often) Dr. Pyle enjoys coaching baseball and football, visiting underexplored areas of the world, and cheering for his rarely successful sports teams.

12th March 2018 – Shiz Aoki, National Geographic Magazine; Anatomize Studios

Shiz AokiShiz Aoki completed her graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (in the Art as Applied to Medicine program) in Baltimore, MD. Combining her passion for science, art, and communication, she took her first job out of grad school as science illustrator with National Geographic Magazine in Washington, DC. Now based in Toronto, Canada, Shiz has continued to lead the science illustration efforts for National Geographic over the last 7 years, while also growing her own medical illustration practice at Anatomize Studios. Her team has won numerous global awards and was listed in both 2016 and 2017 Best American Infographics Books.

After turning away hundreds of scientists who couldn’t afford her services (and seeing the awful images that were being created in Powerpoint as a result), Shiz realized that there was a huge gap in the availability of resources for scientists to create their own images. She also noticed a growing distrust in science by the public, and realized the crucial role that effective images play in science communication. Over the last year, she has shifted her efforts from growing her client-base to leading efforts to democratize science illustration through a free DIY platform, empowering scientists to create their own professional images through a website called BioRender.io.

Shiz can be found on Twitter @ShizAoki and @BioRender tweeting about #SciComm, #womeninSTEM, #SciArt, and sharing everything she’s learned in the 10 years of visual scicomm into easy how-to tips to help improve the current state of science visualization. She is co-located in the Bay Area and will be tweeting out from both SF and Toronto where she will be giving talks in both cities.

5th March 2018 – Laura Treible, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Laura TreibleLaura is a 4th year PhD candidate in marine biology at UNC Wilmington. She obtained her BS in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware in 2010, and then an MS in Marine and Atmospheric Science from Stony Brook University in 2013. Her MS thesis work focused on ctenophores (comb jellies) in Long Island Sound, NY. This project involved quantifying the abundance and biomass of ctenophores and determining the relative importance of ctenophores to nutrient cycling within the estuary.

For her PhD, Laura is currently working on understanding drivers of global jellyfish populations and examining the response of early life stages of scyphozoan jellyfish (polyps and ephyrae) to various environmental conditions. Jellyfish are often claimed to be robust to environmental change, specifically factors such as such as temperature, hypoxia, and coastal acidification. The complex life cycle and short generation time of scyphozoans leads to the ability to answer questions regarding environmental stress and change. In general, Laura is interested in understanding how anthropogenic impacts and climate change interact and affect organisms and ecosystems at various temporal and spatial scales.

Laura can be found on Twitter @aqua_belle, tweeting about #jellyfish, #climatechange, #womeninSTEM, #scicomm, and trying to #pomodoro through the last year of her dissertation. While Laura is usually based in Wilmington, NC, she will be taking over @Biotweeps from KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) in Saudi Arabia, where she is visiting to work with a coauthor.

26th February 2018 – Andrew Durso, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Utah State University

100px_amdAndrew Durso was born in New York and grew up catching snakes in North Carolina. He earned a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia in 2009, an M.S. in Biology from Eastern Illinois University in 2011, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Utah State University in 2016. He writes a blog about snakes called ‘Life is Short, but Snakes are Long’. He currently lives in Jena, Germany, where he works as a scientific editor for the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry.