Milton Keynes: first impressions

Milton Keynes: first impressions

I’ve just moved to Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK, about 70km northwest of London. Planned and built in the 1970s, it’s a new town in English terms, making it pretty interesting and innovative. Writing about it has the dual purpose of helping me learn about my new home, and telling curious family/friends/colleagues a bit about it. Milton … Continue reading

Preparing for interview questions

I received much help and advice from colleagues and friends about how to prepare for interviews post-doc and academic positions.  In turn others have asked for my help, so here I’m posting my best advice and potential questions.  Questions have been compiled from interviews I’ve done as applicant and panel member, lists sent by colleagues and example questions … Continue reading

Silver linings in unsuccessful applications

Silver linings in unsuccessful applications

For early career researchers, applying for jobs and fellowships can be a good opportunity to network, learn and develop new research directions with leaders in their field.  There can be big benefits – even if the application is unsuccessful. As an ECR, I’ve applied for several fellowships, post-docs and academic positions, and certainly chalked up unsuccessful applications in … Continue reading

Teaching prize!

It was great to end 2014 with a Faculty of Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Sessional Teaching from Macquarie University.  These awards recognise the increasing contribution of casual academic staff.  This followed winning Second Place in the inaugural Creativity and Contributions in Teaching Award (CACTA) with Matthew Bulbert in 2013 for “Identifying and Understanding Key Findings and Effectively … Continue reading

School scientists study christmas tree longevity

School scientists study christmas tree longevity

Together with Prof. Angela Moles, I’ve been working with a group of Year 7 students and their science teacher Nikki Zimmerman from Kambala to investigate how to make your Christmas tree  last longer.  As part of the brilliant Scientists in Schools program, Angela and I visited the students at least weekly over the last couple of months. … Continue reading

Movement in carnivorous plants

Movement in carnivorous plants

I was recently asked to answer a question for Ask Fuzzy about how carnivorous plants move to capture their prey (read all about how they do so here).  I thoroughly enjoyed researching this piece and explaining the different mechanisms plants use to move.  I became interested in carnivorous plants after writing a short paper about the gorgeous Western … Continue reading

New publication.

New publication.

Our paper, ‘Evidence for shifts to faster growth strategies in the new ranges of invasive alien plants’ is now available open-access in Journal of Ecology.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.12318/abstract.  From the abstract: “We assessed leaf herbivory and leaf-level traits associated with growth strategy in the native and exotic ranges of 13 invasive plant species from 256 populations. Species … Continue reading

Writing Processes Blog Tour

Firstly, thanks so much to the delightful Penny Morrison for sending this tour my way. What am I working on? I’m working on a picture book manuscript about Australian native orchids.  Unlike popular horticultural orchid varieties, most Australian orchids are very small and hard to see, but when you do find them – WOW! – they are … Continue reading

Watermark Muster 2013

Watermark Muster 2013

Last weekend I spent a wonderful five days in Laurieton and Kendall on the mid north coast of New South Wales for the 2013 Watermark Biennial Muster.  The Watemark Literary Society began in 2003 with the aim of bringing together Australian and international writers who write about nature and place.  Ten years later, I was … Continue reading

Canopy access at Illawarra Fly

Canopy access at Illawarra Fly

Last week I spent a couple of days measuring eucalypt leaves from the Illawarra Fly.  This attraction is a steel walkway about 500 metres long that hangs 25 metres up in the canopy.  The Fly is right on the edge of the escarpment which affords amazing view towards Shellharbour.  But it also provides wonderful access … Continue reading