The current people and future content of TME

The crowdfunding campaign to support this blog has reached the first goal: maintaining the basic infrastructure that keeps the lights on. Woohoo!

The next goal? Supporting the people who work hard to bring you interesting content.

Who are we?

We are researchers, postdocs, and PhD students from all around the United States and beyond. In the last two years, the blog has welcomed two cohorts of new contributors that have greatly increased the diversity of perspectives you read here. You may have noticed this as we’ve kicked into high gear over the previous weeks.

 

From local adaptation to population connectivity to phylogenetics. From RNA to ancient DNA. From humans to algae. Someone on the team is thinking about it, writing papers about it, and in the lab working on it.

What do we think you like to read?

Taking a peek behind the curtain of this blog is interesting. Some posts are popular because they provide a basic tutorial for some often-searched technique. Some posts seem to be popular because the right people share it on social media. Some posts are more popular than others for no apparent reason.

However, we do know a couple things for sure.

First, we’ve had many new visitors as we’ve added new contributors:

Created by Jeremy Yoder

Geographic distribution of new visitors to the site in 2015 (by Jeremy Yoder). Special shoutout to that one person in Greenland. We love you.

Second, the most-accessed posts are usually the “long form” posts (>1000 words). Of the top 15 viewed posts of 2015, more than half were long form posts despite this type being many fewer in number than the standard ~500 word post.

So we know you like them. They also take a lot of effort to write.

Supporting the crowdfunding campaign allows the contributors to be paid basic freelance rates to produce the pieces that you like to read the most. 

So what do we have planned?

More financial stability means taking more chances and providing more diversity. We are ready to bring a greater number of “series” to the blog, collections of posts written by individual contributors, teams of writers, or contracted third parties that center around specific themes. Here are some of our pitches:

Research/Career Interviews – Thoughtful interviews with leaders in the field. Interviews from both the past and present of the blog have been well-received and always fascinating. This series would make interviews appear in your feed more consistently.

“How We Work” – I’ve personally been a huge fan of the Lifehacker “How I Work” interviews. Since molecular ecology is a field that is so diverse in field, lab, and computational techniques, we propose that learning more about how people get their work done would be interesting to everyone. What R packages do you use the most? What is your to-do list like? Where do you work best? What makes you most productive?

Molecular Ecology 101 – TME readers love tutorials. But what if you aren’t ready to start tossing out circos plots or Procrustes analyses in R?

We’re proposing a series of “Molecular Ecology 101” posts that would be helpful to readers who are interested more generally in the wide world of molecular techniques. For example, you could search Google for “Tajima’s D” and scour through old papers and wikipedia pages. Alternatively, a TME contributor could combine this information in a single blog post: the history of Tajima’s D, the common uses, some current context for how it is used, and a future perspective.

What else do you want to read? Have a say! Comment below and spread the word so we can make it happen.

 

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About Rob Denton

I'm a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UConn. I'm most interested in understanding the evolutionary/ecological consequences of strange reproduction in salamanders (unisexual Ambystoma). Topics I'm likely to write about: population and landscape genetics, mitonuclear interactions, polyploidy, and reptiles/amphibians.
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