Photography by ThatBiologist – Kew Gardens – 20/01/2018


A rather rainy and wintery Saturday cut this little photo shoot short, but I do really love the few photos that I’ve got! Enjoy:

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All photos taken on my Iphone (one day I’ll get a nice camera!)

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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24 Science #Goals in 24 Years


Hello! So this past Saturday I turned 24, I did so in style with lots of treats and lunch at the shard. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about their goals and what they want to achieve. This is natural given the new year and I’ve also seen a lot of my friends sharing their 30 before 30 lists but I thought to commemorate my birthday I would do something a little different.

It’s easy to continue pushing yourself to keep going and never look back on all you have achieved. So here is me, sharing 24 of my science goals that I’ve achieved in my 24 years.

  1. Graduated with a bachelors degree in Biology
  2. Have a masters degree in Conservation (Haven’t quite graduated from it though, I have to wait til the Summer for that)
  3. Created my own piece of scientific research – twice (thanks to my dissertation)
  4. Gone to a scientific conference – And not been too shy to speak up
  5. Write a scientific blog!
  6. Met astronauts and NASA engineers
  7. Been able to operate a microscope without any assistance and actually understand what I’m looking at!
  8. Complete water and soil analysis with usable results and didn’t destroy the lab in the meanwhile! (I did have one small disaster in my undergrad where I put a soil sample in the automated shaker, the pot wasn’t done up completely and a muddy mess went everywhere)
  9. Been able to identify numerous plant species correctly (including moss species)
  10. Been able to identify lots and lots and lots of freshwater invertebrate species
  11. I survived doing my a levels (I salute all of you who are doing them currently, A levels are really dang difficult!)
  12. Won an international prize for scientific research
  13. Have a job in the scientific world
  14. Write for the woodland trust!
  15. Complete field work in so many different kinds of places which include being almost flooded when working on a rocky shore in Cornwall, working next to an active quarry with actual explosions happening and working so high up on the mountains of Snowdonia that the air felt a bit thinner (it wasn’t so much the air but the hike to get that high up).
  16. Gone to ZSL debates to hear the worlds best and brightest minds talk
  17. Attended one of the worlds best universities
  18. Interviewed some incredible people
  19. Given presentations about my work to lots of different groups of people – which is always scary and always extremely rewarding
  20. Started taking real nature photography – A new hobby of mine which I am falling in love with!
  21. Became involved with the scientific community on a bigger scale
  22. Written two dissertations and countless other essays and reports that were good enough to get me my degrees!
  23. I know what photosynthesis is and how it works and stuff (please don’t ask me to explain it, it’s so complicated!)
  24. Developed a love that will hopefully last a lifetime

I can’t wait to see what the next 24 years brings to me in my scientific career! Let me know what your scientific achievements are and celebrate how far you’ve come!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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Latin – The not so dead language for science


I first heard about Latin when I was studying French in school, it was introduced to me as a dead language that no one speaks anymore but is the basis for many modern day languages. It’s one of the reasons why French, Spanish and Italian can sound similar. Yet when I started on my rather long quest to become a biologist I had to get my head around using Latin on a pretty regular basis. This is because all described organisms (that is all the organisms we know exist on this earth) have a scientific name which is in Latin.

How do scientific names work?

Scientific names are created using binomial nomenclature (that’s the posh way of saying the two word species name). It made up by genus name which is sort of like a family name and then the species name. The genus name starts with a capital letter and the whole name is normally italicized or underlined if being handwritten.

But why do we have scientific names?

Most species go under common names like the Badger which has a scientific name of Meles meles. However, lot’s of species have many common names. The book I’m currently reading stated perfectly that species with many common names are either really useful or deadly.

However, when a species has many names it can be confusing. I could be talking about Bison grass and you could be talking about sweet grass or peace grass and we could all be thinking we’re talking about different species when actually they are all one species. This is where scientific names come in. If we all instead referred to the grass by it’s scientific or Latin name Hierochloe odorata we would know that it’s all the same species.

By using scientific names in scientific reports, websites and texts it avoids confusion!

But why Latin?

Latin used to be used by academics across the world. In years gone by only the academics in every discipline that had mastered Latin were considered to be good enough. So when Linnaeus (the father of the modern day naming system) came up with the system it was a natural choice. Latin also is not spoken by anyone and therefore won’t be changing or adapting anytime soon. Therefore the Latin names mean the same thing three hundred years on.

Notable Scientific Names

Lots of species have been described and then named after famous people in the recent past. There aren’t many rules when it comes to naming a new species that you’ve found, just as long as you stick with the family name (if your species has a family it belongs to) and that you don’t name it after yourself (that’s just tacky). So as teams of people have been describing new species that have been discovered you’re bound to end up with some slightly interesting scientific names. Here are four of my favorites:

Hieracium attenboroughianum – A lovely daisy named after of course Sir David Attenborough.

Source: Novataxa

Begonia darthvaderiana – Just a subtle Star Wars reference for this dark plant.

Image result for Begonia darthvaderiana

Photo by jamessim18

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi – A beautiful moth with a familiar hair do!

The moth is under threat from urbanisation

Source: Telegraph

Scaptia beyonceae – a rare horse fly named after a queen B

Image result for beyonce species name

Source: Telegraph

Let me know your favourite scientific names in the comments or in a cheeky tweet!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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The Little Things – No Straws Please

the little things

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the little things! These are small changes you can make in your life to help the planet. Today we’re talking about plastic straws. In 2015 the UK Government enacted a law requiring large shops in England to charge 5p for all single use plastic bags and since then plastic bag use has plummeted (1). It has been a huge success in reducing the amount of single use plastic that is used in the UK. Now many people have turned their attention to straws.

Straws similarly to plastic bags are single use and can take up to 200 YEARS to decompose. They contribute a vast amount to the plastic that ends up in landfill and they are among the ten top things that are most likely to be found on a coastal clean up. The straws that do end up in the ocean will break down and become microplastics. Microplastics can be extremely damaging to the environment and marine life, they can even end up back on our plates. Straws have also been found stuck in the blowholes of whales and dolphins and stuck in turtles nostrils.

Straws Life Cycle_tw3

By WorldWatch Institute (2)

Straws are freely available at so many places. Wetherspoons (a pub chain) hand out 70 million straws a year (3). These straws for the most part are not recycled and several staff members have complained about the straws that they chuck away and they are not the only ones who want to see a change. There are some fantastic projects going on across the world to try and encourage people to turn down having a straw in your glass (I’ve left links to them at the bottom of this blog (4 & 5)).

By PlasticPollutionCoalition (5)

“But I love using straws?!”

If this is you or if you have heard about the benefits that come with using straws (3) then never fear I have a solution for you. There are wonderful reusable straws (that I gave to my straw-loving sister for christmas). Many are made from metal, they are easy to clean, not overly expensive and will last you a life time! You can get them from amazon here but they are also available in many cooking stores. You can also get straws made from recyclable materials such as paper.

So what’s the little thing you can do to help?!

This one is super simple! Just refuse the straw! When you order a drink politely ask for one without a straw or go to bars that have already signed a pledge to not use plastic straws. You can find some amazing bars in Soho in London at link 4.

Then when you’ve made your own pledge spread the word and try and get your friends to join in. It’s a small change to your life that can have a huge impact on the world.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





References and Helpful Links:

1 =

2 =

3 =

4 = – Mainly for bars in soho in London that want to stop giving out straws. They have some fantastic bars as part of the project so you might want to pick some of these for your next night out.

5 = – Fantastic information on how to refuse a straw!

Featured Image:

The Poisons Collection Volume 2: Little Blue Beasts

The poisons collection

Hello and welcome to The Poisons Collection Volume 2! Last series finished just over two years a go but I’m bringing it back with something a little different! Last time focused solely on some of the most poisonous plants the world has to offer this time we’re looking at the animals. To start off this series we’re looking at one of the classics in poisonous animal studies it’s the Poison Dart Frog.

I was once told that if you come across any truly colourful animal they are trying to say 1 of 3 things.

  1. I’m highly poisonous so please don’t eat me
  2. I’m trying to look highly poisonous so please don’t eat me
  3. Hey I’m pretty wanna date?

Now when it comes to the poison dart frog as the name would suggest it is most definitely trying to tell you the first.

Image result for poison dart frog

Photo By LTShears

Fact File

COMMON NAME: Poison Dart Frogs

SCIENTIFIC NAMEDendrobates tinctorius





HABITAT: Endemic to humid parts of Central and South America such as in tropical rain forests and rain forest islands.

SIZE: 2 inches long and weighs under 10 grams


These frogs produce what is known as pumiliotoxins, they are highly poisonous chemicals that the frogs use in self defence. These toxins aren’t enough to kill but can cause serious harm when ingested. These toxins can cause pain and cramping when handling the frogs roughly. Most of the time these toxins are enough to warn predators away and discourage them from eating these frogs.

Other Facts

Frogs are active during the daytime and hide in boulders and debris. The blue poison dart frog lays small clutches of five to six eggs. After hatching, the parents transfer tadpoles to individual pools of water, where they finish development. Its at the tadpole stage that they are most likely to not survive as they have not yet developed the toxins that protect them later on in life.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!






2018 Plans!


Happy New Year!!!

I hope you have had a restful winter break with whatever you got up to. I thought as it’s a start of brand new year I would reintroduce this space and myself. Hi! My name is Laura and I am ThatBiologist! I’ve just passed my third year of writing this blog where new posts come out every Wednesday and Sunday. ThatBiologist covers all sorts of different kinds of biological topics with a lean towards environmental biology and conservation (as that’s what my degrees are in (you can find out more about me in the About Laura section)). I also take lots of pictures of the outside world which you can find under the gallery tab. I hope you’ll enjoy and stick with me for a while!


2018 Plans for ThatBiologist

I have some really exciting things planned for this year! My main goals this year is to be consistent with my blogging, I’m going to aim to provide new and interesting scientific posts that I really believe in every Wednesday and every Sunday for an entire year! I also really want to be consistent on all my social media platforms so that ThatBiologist will really be everywhere!

But first and foremost you might have noticed that this fantastic space has had a bit of a redesign. In my past three years of blog writing I have done very little to update the look of the website so it was long time I gave it a new look. I also have this brand new beautiful logo. I hope you enjoy the new look and let me know what you think!


Now in terms of content, these are the old series that will still be staying from last year:

The Little Things – I started this late last year and is a guide to small changes you can make in your life to make the world a little bit of a healthier and happier place.

Top 10s of Biology – Because who doesn’t love a listicle!

Conservation Conversations – Which took a little bit of a back seat towards the end of last year but another round of interviews will be available in the not too distant future.


The Poisons Collection! – This finished way back in 2015 but I’m bringing it back for series 2!

There will also be lots of new series coming your way including a new monthly series but I think I’m going to save that for the end of this month!

Thank you to everyone who reads my blogs it means the world to me and if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see then let me know!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




The 2017 Business Meeting


So here we are at the end of another year on ThatBiologist, I have written two of these in the past to summarise how the past year on ThatBiologist has gone.

I am incredibly proud of this years series of posts, it’s definitely been a huge year for change as I have now finished my masters degree and started my first postgrad job! My main series that I was proud of this year had to be my Becoming A Master series. I’m really proud that I was able to document almost every week on my masters course and I feel like I gave a fair view on how hard masters degrees can be.

As with every year I am making room for new series which means old series are becoming archived. This includes my Mini Wiki series, obviously Becoming A Master has finished, The Monthly species and finally Fairyology. However I am very excited to be showcasing some new stuff next year and doing a revival of one special series!

Three Most Popular Blogs

My three most popular blogs in terms of views were all episodes of conservation conversations! These were for Nina Seale, Clayton Lamb and Holly Langridge.

But the three most popular blogs that weren’t from that series were The Disney Effect, Why aren’t all plant’s green? and July’s episode of the Monthly species!

My Three Favourite Blogs

Now I have written an awful lot this year so it does make it difficult to pick out my favourite blogs of the year. However, all of my favourite blog posts have been from my series Becoming A Master. It was fun to think of new topics and to write not months in advance! I would like to try and bring it back in a way so maybe watch this space:

In third goes to A chat about big game hunting. It’s a tricky conversation but one I enjoyed writing about.

In second goes to a week in the life just because I thought it gave an accurate representation of life in my masters.

In first goes to GIS: The Good The Bad and the Downright Ugly, if you were following my journey you know that I took a module in Environmental GIS it was one of my favourite skills I learnt but I did have a love hate relationship with it.


My best 9 photos over on instagram of this year! Come follow me I’m @thatbiologist there!

Thank you for all your support with the blogs over this year. I can’t wait to start again in the new year and produce even more content for you! I hope you all have a wonderful and restful winter break!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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The Monthly Species: December

The Monthly Species

Hello! So this is my penultimate post of the year, it’s been a crazy and fantastic year for ThatBiologist but I shall save that for my business meeting post. Today I’m going with everyone’s favorite parasite as my final species of the month. It’s European Mistletoe!

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Santalales
Family: Santalaceae(Viscaceae)
Genus: Viscum
Species: V. album

Size: Mistletoe grows in a shrub high up in trees. It has stems that are approximately 30-100cm with dichotomous branches with opposite leaves!

Diet: Mistletoe is a hemiparasite. This means it grows on trees and uses the trees for water and nutrients. However being a plant it does photosynthesise producing sugars for the plant to use. It is most commonly found on broad-leaved trees such as apple, lime, hawthorn and poplar.

Uses: Mistletoe has been used as the base flavor for a liqueur. It has also been used as an alternative medicine!

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

There are lots of myths, legends and traditions surrounding Mistletoe. The most common tradition is that you must kiss if under some mistletoe at Christmas time.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




The Little Things – Gifts

Miscellaneous, Not Exactly Science

Hello, welcome to the second episode of my new series called The Little Things. If you didn’t know this is a series all about small changes that you can make in your day to day life to help save the world. Today we’re going to talk about presents!

I’m currently in the full run up to christmas, that means buying a lot of presents for my friends and family! This year I wanted to make a real effort to make my presents to my loved ones help the world out in one way or another. So I’ve come up with a list of five presents you could get your loved ones that help the earth out!

1 – Elephant Pants! – If you know someone who loves there PJ’s more than life itself like me this might be the perfect present. The Elephant Pants sell loungers, harem pants, kimonos and all things comfy! But better yet a portion of every sale goes toward anti-poaching of ivory, wildlife and habitat protection, and research on curing elephant diseases. Made in Thailand, the seamstresses are paid double the average wage and are given healthcare benefits! You can shop them here.

Tyke Unisex Loungers

2 – Devocean! – Perhaps you’re after something for someone who loves shiny things well Devoted To The Ocean has you covered. With every purchase of there gorgeous jewelry or beach essentials 20 percent of the net profits go to charitable organisations attempting to clear up the ocean and keep it safe particularly for turtles! You can shop them here.

3 – Nuubia San Francisco – If you are looking for a sweet treat for someone you love then look no further! These premium chocolates are made with no palm oil! As such they’ve been labelled orangutan safe and cruelty free chocolates. All of their packaging is FSC approved, oh and they look delicious. With vegan and gluten free options how can you say no! Note! This is probably one for my american friends as they are american based!!! Either way you can shop here.

nuubia chocolates

4 – Lush – I’m a huge fan of lush and if you know a lushie in your life you could add a charity pot to their gift. Lush do a lot for charity but 100% of the price of this specific body lotion is donated to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights. You can shop it here.

5 – Traidcraft – If you still want more choices then have a look at Traidcraft! They’ve got everything from homeware, food and fashion! All of their wonderful items are made through fair trade co-operatives. For example the blue duvet set I’ve listed below is handmade in India using natural resources, and its stunning! You can shop all of traidcrafts beautiful things here.

Please do leave ideas for similar wonderful things in the comments below!

Happy Shopping and Happy Christmas!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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*Note – I have not been paid to mention any of the products in this blog post – I just think they’re all really cool!

Biology Presents!

Miscellaneous, Not Exactly Science

Hello! Is it too soon… can I really start talking about christmas! Well as I’ve been shopping since October, I guess so! I have a few christmassy posts lined up until I go for my Christmas break and today I thought I’d give some recommendations for presents for the biological people in your life!

1 – A Cellfie Mug

I love this cute mug that is perfect for any biologist! You can get it here.

2 – Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World 

This book is most certainly on my christmas list. I love celebrating women in STEM and this book does that as well as being simply beautiful. You can get this book on amazon here.

3 – DNA Bookmark

What’s more perfect to go with a Biology book than a biology themed bookmark! This beautiful creation is from etsy and can be personalised with your loved ones initials. You can get it here!

4 – DNA Art?!

If you know a true DNA connoisseur how about this!  This company makes artwork from your own DNA, I think it would hang beautifully next to some qualification certificates! Have a look at it here.

5 – Air Plant and Shell combo

This is perfect for those that aren’t great with plants but would love a houseplant. This is a combination of an air plant growing in a shell, I think it would look perfect on any bathroom counter top! You can have a look here.

On Sunday there will be some more present recommendations but with a different twist so stay tuned!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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