Evolution

Natalie Cooper – Strategies Weblog


A photo of Natalie with a collection of preserved snakes.

After six years as an Affiliate Editor for MEE, we’re very happy to welcome Natalie Cooper to the Senior Editor crew! Natalie is a Senior Researcher on the Pure Historical past Museum, London, the place her analysis sits on the interface between macroecology and macroevolution, aiming to know broad-scale patterns of biodiversity.

Right here we go to Natalie behind the scenes on the Pure Historical past Museum to get to know her higher.

What’s your favorite species and why?

I like all of them! My favorite a part of my job on the Pure Historical past Museum is that I’m all the time studying about new species and discovering enjoyable details. One among my favorite teams are tenrecs that are small mammals that dwell in Madagascar and regardless of being intently associated they’re actually completely different; there are species that resemble shrews, hedgehogs, and moles. One species (Tenrec ecaudatus) holds the report for essentially the most nipples (as much as 36!) of any mammal species.

What are you able to inform us in regards to the first paper you printed?

Cephalopods preserved in jars at the Natural History Museum.

My first paper was primarily based on my MSc thesis undertaking, although I wrote it up throughout my PhD. It was about correlates of extinction danger in frogs and I realized a lot about frogs. Do you know there have been frogs that incubated their offspring of their stomachs (sadly they went extinct within the mid Eighties)? It was plenty of enjoyable and acquired me began utilizing R and plenty of the strategies I nonetheless use now. Nonetheless, the publication course of was one other story which ends up in your subsequent query…

Share a narrative a few paper you had rejected.

We initially despatched my first paper to a conservation journal however when the opinions got here again, they had been a little bit of a shock. Feedback included accusations of “scandalous” and “embarrassing” ranges of “tutorial laziness”, that the work was trying to “pull the wool over the reader’s eyes” and “past forgivable bending of the reality”. After a number of pages of ranting it ended with the crowning glory of all of the feedback I’ve ever obtained in a evaluate: “Please contemplate this a well mannered spanking.” I can snort about it now, however on the time I used to be devastated. However on the plus facet, I’ve by no means obtained a worse evaluate…

What’s your favorite paper you’ve dealt with for MEE?

As an AE it’s all the time nice to assist shepherd a paper via the evaluate course of after which lastly to see it come out and begin getting used locally, so I don’t suppose I’ve a favorite. There are a few wonderful ones in progress proper now for our pure historical past collections particular function, so watch this area!

Should you might get up tomorrow with a brand new ability, what wouldn’t it be?

Both the power to learn sooner (there are too many books and papers I wish to learn!) or to talk any language.

What do you want doing once you’re not being an ecologist?

I learn plenty of fiction, and I like stand-up comedy, theatre, mountain climbing and birding. I additionally watch plenty of Netflix! I volunteer with Girlguiding so I spend a few hours every week doing enjoyable issues like enjoying hockey with rolled up newspapers, making large octopuses out of plastic bottles, or setting hearth to stuff. We regularly use outdated copies of the Area of interest in craft tasks so many ecologists seem in zines and collages!

Should you might advocate one place for folks to journey to on vacation, the place wouldn’t it be and why?

I lately got here again from a few weeks in Northumberland (in northeast England) and it was wonderful for wildlife, surroundings, mountain climbing, and castles. I did the entire journey on public transport so it was good for my carbon footprint too. 

What’s the very best place you’ve been via your work (e.g. via area work or a convention)?

Regardless of doing most of my analysis on a pc, I’ve been fortunate sufficient to work in South Africa, Kenya and Madagascar. The variety of habitats and species in all these locations is actually particular. 

Who impressed you most as a pupil?

As a pupil I used to be actually fortunate to work at Silwood Park surrounded by many sensible PhD college students, postdocs and employees who impressed me day-after-day, and nonetheless do. They’re the rationale that I’m so concerned with the BES regardless of not being an ecologist! Extra amusing is that the one who scared us essentially the most as college students was Prof Rob Freckleton (former EiC at MEE). I’ve no thought why; none of us had ever met him! 

Natalie scored extremely within the BES’ Ecology Throughout Borders ballot on ‘What does ecology imply to you?’

Natalie is dealing with our new cross-journal particular function ‘Leveraging Pure Historical past Collections to Perceive the Impacts of World Change‘, so we’ve a variety of pure historical past collection-related articles to stay up for within the coming months!

All images had been taken on the Pure Historical past Museum, London. Credit score: India Stephenson.



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