Communicating Ecology in the Anthropocene #ESAus18

What happens when 800 ecologists meet up in Brisbane for a week? Fascinating talks, posters & discussions, that’s what! The annual Ecological Society of Australia conference is always a fantastic, friendly forum for the latest news and ideas in ecological research.

2017 marked the start of the ESA Science Communication chapter, creating the fantastic opportunity for a symposium all about #scicomm! A big theme for the conference in 2018 was Communicating Ecology in the Anthropocene - how to share our research, engage with different audiences, and achieve the best conservation outcomes for threatened species & ecosystems. So, in case you missed it, here’s a few #scicomm highlights from #ESAus18:

“Chasing David” with Dr Ann Jones

The conference started off with an incredibly interesting plenary talk on natural history broadcasting by Dr Ann Jones, from ABC’s Off Track radio show. I had the pleasure of talking with Ann the next day, and can’t thank her enough for her advice and encouragement!


How can we communicate ecology in the Anthropocene?

So how can we communicate ecology in the Anthropocene? Let me count the ways…


💅 Fashion 💅

This might sound like a strange one, but as ecologists, we all seem to love wearing our research on our sleeves and everywhere else too! Rocking our #ecologicalfashion looks awesome and might even help start conversations about the species portrayed!


🏕️ Storytelling 🏕️

A key component of any science communication


📚 Books 📚

I have to admit I bought a few sciencey books! Adding to my massive to-be-read pile…


🎵 Music 🎵

Turns out some ecologists are also fantastic musicians! We were treated to not one but TWO ukulele performances at ESA this year, plus some amazing “guess-the-bird-call” games over on Twitter!


📻 Podcasts & Radio 📻

Ann Jones “Off Track”, Conservation Crossroads podcasts, and a few ecologists on the radio!


🎲 Games 🎲

What better way to engage with people about science than with a fun game?


🎨 Art & Photography 🎨

Every year, ESA holds a photography competition, and I’m always blown away by the stunning images captured by ecologists out in the wild! Not to mention all of the amazing comics made by Tweeters!


👩‍🏫 Posters 👩‍🏫

There was so many INCREDIBLE posters, and the Barbara Rice Memorial Poster Session is always a fantastic space for networking.


👂 Asking & listening 👂

Finally, one of the most important take-home messages from talks & discussions throughout #ESAus18, was that communication is not about telling… It’s about asking and listening and engaging!


Finally, a few personal highlights

Clearly, there was a LOT of interesting #scicomm & discussion about scicomm at ESA this year!

The Communicating Ecology in the Anthropocene symposium was a particular highlight for me, as it’s the one I presented in - I gave a speed talk about the opportunities, benefits, and challenges of using carnivorous plants to communicate botanical sciences.

I also presented a 3D interactive poster on the same topic, and had so much fun creating it! I was honoured to receive the Australian Flora Foundation poster prize for it :) Congratulations to all the other winners too!


I was also honoured to receive one of the inaugural InterAction Media Mentoring Program Awards at #ESAus18, and I’m excited to learn more over the next year!


So how can we communicate ecology in the anthropocene?

In so many ways! We saw SO many fantastic examples of #scicomm at #ESAus18 and I’m so excited to see what’s to come at #ESAus19 in Tassie!

So how do you like to share your research or ecological news? And which platforms do you like to get your science stories from? Let me know in the comments below!

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