Note: PLOS will be attending the ESA conference in Louisville, Kentucky starting on August 11. Stop by our booth and say hello! Dr. Karen Root, an Academic Editor for PLOS ONE, will also be in attendance. You can meet her at our booth on Monday, August 12 between 3 and 4pm. Here’s a brief interview with her.
Q: What is your area of study and what are you currently working on?
A: I originally began as behavioral ecologist but realized there were real issues in the population that I was studying related to human activities. Conservation biology drew me since it provided a way to utilize my ecological training to directly address some of those issues. My current research focuses on native species and the factors that imperil them, but also on the effects of restoration and management.
Q: What first drew you into the field?
A: I have always been interested in the natural world around me, especially growing up in an urban center. During college I spent a summer at the Itasca Biological Station and fell in love with field work. In graduate school, I grew to appreciate techniques such as spatial analysis and population modeling that complemented the field studies. Conservation biology is a way to integrate all of these approaches.
Q: Could you share your thoughts on why this type of research is important? How does it affect other areas of research? Other communities?
A: I think of myself as a practical ecologist–basic ecological research is important but there are issues that need to be addressed. When I can demonstrate the societal value of my research, I receive more support, collaboration is more likely, and scientists and non-scientists alike are more receptive.
Q: How long have you been an editor on PLOS ONE? What have you enjoyed most about it?
A: I have only been an editor for a year, but it has been a very interesting experience and I have learned so much more about science communication.
Q: Why is PLOS ONE important to you and the ecology community?
A: I appreciate the inclusivity of PLOS ONE. It is very tempting to focus on one aspect of ecology or a particular subdiscipline but you would miss out on all of the other interesting research out there that can strengthen your own science.
Q: What advice would you give to authors in your field who are getting ready to submit their work?
A: Read broadly. If I can understand a paper that is not in my area of expertise, then I can learn something important about how to write more effectively.
Q: What are you most looking forward to while attending ESA?
A: One of my favorite aspects of ESA is the chance to catch up on the latest advances not only in ecological science but also education.
Q: Are there any trends in your field right now that you’re hoping to learn more about?
A: There are so many new ways to communicate about science and become more effective.
Q: Why do you believe in Open Science?
A: Problem solving requires cooperation, coordination and large amounts of data to be truly effective. Open Science can facilitate these aspects as well as increase the diversity of participants and disciplines in the process.