The Monthly Round Up: Svalbard Seeds, SophTalksScience and Stuff You Should Know

The Monthly Round Up

February is always a blink and you’ll miss it kinda month for me. This month was a busy one as I had a little holiday to Italy and came back with a cold which put me out of action writing wise. But I’ve also had two blogs come out on TheWoodlandTrust website which you can read here and here! Anyway here are what I’ve been loving in February!

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February

Favourite Science News Story Of The Month:

The Global Seed Bank now has just over 1 million packets of seeds! If you didn’t know about the global seed bank it is an initiative to collect as many seeds from as many plants as possible to stop plants becoming extinct. The vault is in Norway and keeps the seeds at an incredibly low temperature to preserve them. Read more about it here.

Favourite Blog I’ve read this Month:

The wonderful Sophie from Soph Talks Science has been absolutely killing it with her scicomm this month. I found it so difficult to pick a favourite of hers but I’ve landed on 10 Reasons why lab life is actually awesome. I miss being in a lab so much and all the fun times and this blog reminded me of that. It’s also a really uplifting blog if you’re feeling a little down about your life. Sophie is such a big inspiration for my own writing so please do go and check her out!

Favourite Scientific Fact I’ve Learnt This Month:

I think my favourite scientific fact I learnt about was all about how Bees get it on, you can read all about it in my Love in the Animal Kingdom blog!

Favourite Social Media I’ve Followed This Month:

Instagram – Ecoceanic

This is a brand that I absolutely love and their message of improving the worlds oceans is so inspirational! They have a fantastic instagram that you should really follow just for the posts about things you can do to improve the environment.

Twitter – TeaTime Science

This is a collection of phd students posting about their work which I absolutely love, their instagram is also fabulous!

Books I’ve Been Reading:

I took a little holiday to Rome this month and spent some time reading some cheery “chicklit” fiction books. This included  Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher and now I’m reading The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond.

Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To:

Stuff You Should Know – HowStuffWorks

I’ve recently been listening to some of the extensive backlog of this podcast they have such a wide topic range but all of the podcasts are really well researched and have balanced arguments. I would really recommend the episode where they compare whether marijuana or alcohol is worse for you.

I’d love to know your answers to these questions so please let me know in the comments or on twitter!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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The Monthly Round Up: Squirting, Studies and Superheros

The Monthly Round Up

Hello and welcome to my new monthly series. Last year I had The Monthly Species and the year before that I had The Monthly Scientist. This year I fancied doing something slightly different. I really enjoyed writing my BAM series and letting you all in on my day to day life. I wanted to bring back an element of that with this monthly series. The Monthly Round Up will be kind of like a favourites blog but with a very scientific theme and well I’ll let you read on to the rest of this blog for it to explain itself.

January

Favourite Science News Story Of The Month:

I am friends with a few people who are guilty of humblebragging. If you’re not familiar with what humblebragging is, it’s when someone will say something like “Oh I’m amazed at how great I am at my new job” or “Wow, I never have anything nice to wear since I lost all that weight”. A new study has revealed (what I already knew to be true) in that humblebragging is way more annoying than just regular bragging or even self-promotion! You can read more about it here.

Favourite Blog I’ve read this Month:

I guess this technically isn’t a blog but I found this piece by the Washington Post through the amazing blog Nothing In Biology Makes Sense (well worth a follow). It’s all about the carbon footprint of superheros, turns out in terms of saving the worlds environment they would definitely not be the good guys! I definitely would suggest reading this one, or at the least looking at the poster they produced! You can find it here!

Favourite Scientific Fact I’ve Learnt This Month:

This has to come from the book that I’ve been reading (listed below) and that is about the squirting cucumber or Ecballium elaterium. When its fruits are ripe they actually explode and send their seeds in a “torrent of mucilaginous goo”. It can cause the seeds to be ejected up to 7 metres away from the parent plant! Just be careful because this cucumber is poisonous! Here’s a slo-mo video of them in action!

Favourite Social Media I’ve Followed This Month:

Instagram – This one has to go to Sophie from The Scientific Beauty – She’s got a killer sense of style and a PhD. What more could you want from an insta feed. Honestly I just love her posts and her red theme, you can find her at @sciencebeaut

Twitter – This month I’ve got to give a shout out to Alex Evans. I interviewed him last year but his twitter is something else to behold. He holds a great game called Guess The Crest which I have only got right once but also has the best retweets. You can find him on twitter @alexevans91

Books I’ve Been Reading:

Bizarre Botany by Christina Harrison and Lauren Gardiner – I won’t give too much away because I will be doing a full book review soon but it’s well worth picking up and taking a look at!

Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To:

Level up human – I’ve been listening to some of the older editions of the podcast and they make me laugh, smile and think about the world. They always have really funny and interesting guests and I strongly encourage you to go and check it out!

I’d love to know your answers to these questions so please let me know in the comments or on twitter!

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Top 10 UK Birds

Top 10s

Hello! Today I want to introduce you to some of my favourite bird species. Birds are just the most fascinating things to watch and ever since my parents put a bird feeder in their garden I’ve learnt a lot about the different bird species. So without further a do here are 10 of my favourites!

  1. Barn Owl (Tyto alba) – Barn Owls are my favourite owl, aside from being the most beautiful owl they are also impressive hunters with incredible hearing. This hearing means they can catch prey with sound alone! Barn owl hovering
  2. Robin (Erithacus rubecula) –  Male robins can actually be quite an aggressive and territorial bird with other birds which can lead to fatalities. Over winter each robin will have a territory of approximately half a hectare. Robin on flower pot
  3. Buzzard (Buteo buteo) – These birds are one of the most widespread in the UK and can live up to 12 years old. They are an amazing bird of prey and if ever you get a chance to see them hunting its well worth a watch!Buzzard in flight head on
  4. Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) – These little pond dwelling birds hold a special place in my heart because the lake at Bath Spa University had loads of them. They were the first bird species I could properly identify. I mean it also helps that they are adorable! Image result for moorhen
  5. Swan (Cygnus olor) – I feel like this list wouldn’t be complete without Swans. Again there was a resident pair at Bath Spa Uni that had signets ever year. They were very protective of their nests as swans are and I once had to run defence for my friend who was working on the lake and distract the swan!Mute swan swimming
  6. Crow (Corvus corone) – I have had my issues with crows in the past but they still are incredibly intelligent animals! They can recognise faces and even hold grudges! Image result for carrion crow
  7. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) – Sparrow populations have declined by up to 62% in the last 25 years and now they are on the IUCN red list. House sparrow (female)
  8. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) – These are undeniably one of the most stunning bird species on this list and can be seen almost everywhere in the UK apart from the very north and west of Scotland.Image result
  9. White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)- This is the largest UK bird species and went extinct in the 20th century from hunting and egg-collecting but has since been reintroduced. They are truly fantastic birds of prey and stunning to watch. Image result for white tailed eagle uk
  10. Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) – Another beautiful little bird that are a delight to sit and watch. In the winter they have family flocks that can be up to 20 birds in size!

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the avian world! What’s your favourite bird let me know in the comments!

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The 2015 Business Meeting

Miscellaneous

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2015 business meeting. Hope you all brought pens and paper and tea, coffee and cake will be at the end. Okay I’m only kidding but before I leave on my Christmas break I wanted to reflect on ThatBiologist this year!

I technically started this blog in December 2014 with my post Welcomes and Introductions. And although I did start my 6 in 60 series in January, my studies and third year research really did take over for the bulk of this year but I graduated with a 2:1 in Biology in July and a first in my dissertation piece. So things really picked up here in September with a regular schedule. It does make me really happy writing about topics that I love to write about two/ three times a week.

So down to the numbers. Although they don’t mean all that much to me it is nice to know that someone reads my blog posts. So far I’ve had 190 visitors to my place on the internet with 478 views this year! Thats crazy when I think about how much of the internet takes our attention away *cough cough* social media. But then speaking of social media, this year I started a facebook page and a twitter for ThatBiologist.

So on to the favourites! I got the most views this year on my post “A short history of Poison Hemlock” which sparked off the rest of a very fun series The Poisons Collection. But in terms of my favourites well here are my top 3.

My top spot goes to Harry Potter and the Kingdom of Plants – considering this was the second favourite in terms of views this year I’m glad you all liked it too! I loved writing my presentation at university and I’m so glad I got to include it here!

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My second favourite is a piece that didn’t really get much attention views wise but like I said the numbers don’t mean that much to me, just as long as I’m writing content that makes me happy and thats the Fish With A Lung. I thought it’s such an interesting creature and I’m really happy with the way this blog came out.

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My third favourite was from the poisons collection series. It was about the plant lily of the valley and was entitled The Poisons Collection: What do Breaking Bad, Christianity and Wills n Kate have in common?. I love writing about popular culture when it collides with the scientific world and this one was such a fun piece to write.

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My hopes for the future are just to build up a following for my writing and build the community of That Biologist. I’d like to run some competitions next year and get some guest writers on here. As well as producing new series for me to write.

Thank you for hearing me ramble on about my blog. I hope you all have a lovely holiday.

Thanks

Laura