What we’re reading


As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve seen that might be worth your screen-time.

In the journals

Cameron, E.Z., Gray, M.E. & White, A.M. 2012. Is publication rate an equal opportunity metric? Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28: 7–8. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.014

Publication quantity is frequently used as a ranking metric for employment, promotion, and grant success, and is considered an unbiased metric for comparing applicants. However, research suggests that women publish fewer papers, such that the measure may not be equitable.

Calvignac-Spencer, S., Merkel, K., Kutzner, N., Kühl, H., Boesch, C., Kappeler, P.M., et al. 2013. Carrion fly-derived DNA as a tool for comprehensive and cost-effective assessment of mammalian biodiversity. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/mec.12183

Carrion feeding flies are ubiquitous and can be expected to feed on many vertebrate carcasses. Hence, we tested whether fly-derived DNA analysis may also serve as a novel tool for mammalian diversity surveys. We screened DNA extracted from 201 carrion flies collected in tropical habitats of Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar for mammal DNA using multiple PCR systems and retrieved DNA sequences from a diverse set of species (22 in Côte d’Ivoire, four in Madagascar) exploiting distinct forest strata and displaying a broad range of body sizes. Deep sequencing of amplicons generated from pools of flies performed equally well as individual sequencing approaches.

In the blogosphere

Is the problem for women in science really their self-confidence?

Ed Yong on using carrion flies to survey mammal diversity.

Overly honest methods.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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