Global Soil Biodiversity and Biogeochemistry, Q&A

By Crowther Lab The soil community is comprised of all the living organisms found in the soil, including fungi, bacteria, archaea, protists and animals. The organisms in this community drive the carbon and nutrient cycling that regulate soil fertility, atmospheric composition and the climate. The soil community stands in contrast to the non-living, physical aspects of soil, including characteristics such as…

Smells Like Team Spirit

I joined the Crowther Lab about 18 months ago, after arguing with Tom Crowther for about 3 days about why he definitely DID NOT want to hire me. I was a civilian after all, a non-academic, with zero scientific pedigree and zero desire to do administrative work in a scientific lab. It hadn’t always been this…

Soil nematodes at global scale, Q&A

By Crowther Lab The previous estimate was approximately three times smaller. Moreover, as nematodes are also found in environments that we did not include in our study, such as deeper soil layers or aquatic ecosystems, the total number of nematodes on the planet will be even greater.   Soil is an important — and often neglected…

Tree restoration potential, Q&A

By Crowther Lab Our paper on the restoration potential of forests received an overwhelming reaction in the media. We are so delighted for all the wonderful comments and discussion. And the conversation also raised several issues from a few people. These are all important considerations and they are points that we have been well aware…

Towards a Global Community Ecology

By Daniel Maynard Ecology is heading towards a crossroads. The past century of ecological research has provided amazing insight the into inner working of natural ecosystems, with much of this knowledge gleaned from carefully constructed experiments allowing scientists to isolate individual mechanisms at unprecedented detail. Yet, because of the societal demands being placed on the…

The elevator pitch: communicating science in under 3 minutes

By Constantin Zohner and Thomas Crowther One year.This is the average amount of time a scientist spends working on an individual paper. Six months.This is the average length of the process spanning form submitting the paper to a scientific journal to it being published, given the paper is neither rejected nor sent back with major comments……

The impostor epidemic in academia and how to beat it

By Sabiha Majumder Why academia? What is its appeal? For me – and I guess for most people working in academia – the answer is quite straightforward: I genuinely enjoy the process of making new discoveries, the flexibility of working on things that excite me, and the luxury of working whenever and wherever I like….…

The importance of mentors: a life-changing encounter pt 2.

By Thomas Crowther I had started my first year at Cardiff University poorly. I was skipping classes, investing my energy into sports and my social life rather than concentrating on my studies. By the end of my first year, I’d had a number of run-ins with professors, one of which publicly chastised me in front…

The importance of mentors: A life-changing encounter pt. 1

By Thomas Crowther I have always been obsessed with the magic of life. Mathematically, its existence makes no sense. Indeed, science lacks even a most basic understanding of the reason for the biodiversity and variety present all around us. Yet, one must only look outside the window at the impossible combination of spectacular organisms to…

Global warming – fact vs fiction

By Tom Elliott In 1896, Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist and future Nobel laureate, deduced that the combustion of coal and petroleum could raise global temperatures. In 1939, a British steam engineer named Guy Stewart Callendar found, at the weather stations he was monitoring, that the previous five years were the hottest in recorded history….