10 years of Naturally Speaking (Part 2) – A look back at some of our favourite blogs

Last week Naturally Speaking turned 10 years old! While our first blog post wasn’t written until January 2015, we thought we’d take the time to celebrate the nearly 50 blogs that have been published since, celebrating the diversity of research and events going on with in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine. In this post, we take this opportunity to look back into Naturally Speaking’s archive to share some favourites. We’ve selected some of the ‘most-viewed’ blogs, and also tried to highlight the breadth of topics and contributors. We hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane!

Our overall favourite blogs!

The work-life balance

Contributed by head of Institute Prof Dan Haydon in March, 2017, this has been one of Naturally Speaking’s most well-read posts.

The importance of names

Contributed by Naturally Speaking’s James Burgon – now the host of the podcast for the journal Nature – Heredity, this post takes a brief foray into scientific nomenclature.

Research on marine plastics is revealing its spread up the food chain

Our first blog post, written by one of Naturally Speaking’s founders, Sjúrður Hammer in January, 2015. If you’re interested in this topic, also check out a related podcast produced in December, 2019.

Silent witnesses: investigating wildlife crime in Scotland

This post was contributed by wildlife pathologist and Institute researcher Caroline Millins in March, 2015, relating how forensic investigations contribute to unraveling suspected cases of wildlife crime.

What they don’t tell you about doing a PhD: Finishing stuff is hard

This post was contributed by visiting PhD candidate Emmanuelle Chrétien from Université de Montréal, Canada. She explains the perils of getting side-tracked from your main PhD project by all sorts of other interesting things!

Extinction – reversing it and risking it

This contribution by Lucy Gilbert in July 2021 chronicles the extinction of the great auk, as well as her own personal challenge to paint or draw a different great auk every day for a year. We hope you enjoy this compelling story, told through a mix of writing and art. It also comes as a ‘call to arms’ at an important time for UK conservation decisions.

PhD research blogs – getting your work out there…

The Sundarban World Heritage Mangrove Forest demands immediate conservation

Read about Swapan Sarker‘s PhD research on conserving this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bangladesh, initially published in August, 2015. This is one of our most widely read posts, likely linked to Swapan’s highly successful ongoing research in this area.

Horse and donkey sleeping sickness: investigating equine central nervous system trypanosomosis in The Gambia

Read about Demelza Kingston‘s PhD research on a vector-borne parasitic disease affecting working horses in West Africa, initially published in February, 2016.

Using herring gulls to monitor the health of coastal marine ecosystems

Read about Nina O’Hanlon‘s PhD research, outlining what herring gulls tell us about the health of our seas, initially published in July, 2015.

Outfoxing rabies, one vaccine-loaded chicken head at a time

Read about Naturally Speaking alumnus Laurie Baker‘s PhD research describing how rabies was eliminated from large parts of western Europe through fox vaccination. This was initially published on September 28, 2016 to mark World Rabies

Taiwan’s task: balancing development and conservation

Read about Yi-Hsiu Chen‘s PhD research – done in collaboration with research teams at the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute and the National Taiwan University – looking at how we measure and minimise damage to ecosystems from developments like reservoirs and wind farms. This was initially published in May, 2015.

Shaky sheep, tapeworms and ‘ormilo’: Investigating a neurological syndrome of small ruminants in Tanzania

Read about a project led by recent PhD graduate Ellen Hughes to better understand a neurological syndrome in sheep and goats that is causing increasing concerns among Maasai livestock keepers in northern Tanzania. This was initially published in January, 2019.

Original artwork for this episode by Eleni Christoforou

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