While browsing through Twitter one day, I came across Dr. Zen Faulkes who is a scientist adept at using social media and blogging to communicate his research and ideas.
He is a Canadian researcher living in Texas doing behavioural research on the unusual crustacean creature, Marmorkrebs. He is interested in the evolution of behaviour and nervous systems, and particularly the origin of new behaviours. He uses Marmokrebs as his model organism for the following reasons.
They give lots of embryos year round, giving lots of research samples
They don’t need males to reproduce
They are good to use if you don’t have a lab set-up to maintain sea creatures
And, they are going to help Dr. Zen answer his evolutionary question: why do crayfish have giant neurons that some other crustaceans don’t have (such as hermit crabs)? (See his review paper: Faulkes, Z. (2008). Turning Loss Into Opportunity: The Key Deletion of an Escape Circuit in Decapod Crustaceans Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 72 (4), 251-261 DOI: 10.1159/000171488)
Marmorkrebs is an all-female species of marbled crayfish that reproduces asexually by parthenogenesis.
I don’t know how many of you like to blog about science, but here are some tips. Writing a blog post on a scientific subject is a little different than most other types of posts. You do have to state true facts, but yet you don’t want your post to sound like a formal journal article. It can sometimes be challenging to strike a balance between fact and observation, but you do want to strive to offer your own insights when possible.
Here are a few tips:
You should try to give your own opinion on the subject when possible.
Take a look at the research from multiple sources; preferably at least a few from the primary literature.
Try to have something original to say about the subject, such as your own thoughts and observations. Perhaps you have found conflicting information or discrepancies? Perhaps you have observed a trend or pattern that hasn’t been mentioned? There is nothing wrong with throwing it out there!
Aim to present and explain the research as clearly as possible.
The post should not be too long, and certainly not the length of a journal article.
Try to stay way from stating facts only. Just summarize the facts, then expand on them, and offer your opinion.
Try to keep the language a bit on the informal side (but not too informal).
Give all links and other references used in the post.
If a picture helps readers understand a point, certainly use one, but try to keep it related.
Feel free to comment if you see anything missing, and I will add your comment to the list!