ABOUT GrrlScientist

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grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands.

A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. She writes the popular eponymous science blog hosted by The Guardian (UK) and is working on a popular science book about plumage colour. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots — and a slightly deaf spouse — somewhere in Germany.

 

GrrlScientist: All Posts

 
 

Beatboxing birdsongs of New York

Posted 21 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: In these fascinating videos, we see how one man’s quest to merge two passions -- bird watching and beatbox music – has created an experimental new form of music I love beatboxing, but as an ornithologist and birder, I am absolutely delighted by this amazing experiment that a fellow New Yorker, Ben Mirin, is working on: he is using birdsong produced by birds that can be found in New York state as the inspiration for his beatboxing. Mr Mirin... Read more

Birdbooker Report 369

Posted 20 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Birdbooker Report 368

Posted 13 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Shelf Life: How to time travel to a star

Posted 13 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: It might surprise you to learn that astronomers maintain collections, although these collections are quite different to those maintained by other departments in natural history museums, as we learn in today’s “Museum Monday” video Since today is “Museum Monday”, I am sharing the next instalment in the Shelf Life video series created by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Today’s video captures the methods developed by a team of scientists and their students to analyse historical images of... Read more

Birdbooker Report 366-7

Posted 6 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

A tiny hamsters’ Easter

Posted 5 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMNMARY: Just in time for Easter; we watch two dwarf hamster sisters share their Easter holiday preparations with us . Credit: Philipp Salzgeber/CC BY 2.5. Campbell’s dwarf hamster, Phodopus campbelli. . I’ve just returned from my Museum Week-inspired visit to Dublin so I am kicking things off on the blog with this holiday-themed video by April Campbell. This video captures what Easter looks like from the point of view of two dwarf hamsters. They are Campbell’s dwarf hamsters, Phodopus campbelli... Read more

Birdbooker Report 365

Posted 25 March 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

How chemistry affects the evolution of life

Posted 20 March 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: In this fascinating video, Professor Ros Rickaby from Oxford chats with Professor Simon Conway-Morris at Cambridge about how Earth’s changing chemistry has affected evolution, and how this can sometimes lead to evolutionary convergence A feature of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest”, is that context defines what is “fittest”. Traits that are “fittest” in one habitat can become liabilities in others. This was observed first-hand across Britain when it was newly industrialising: wing colour of the peppered moth,... Read more

Gender equality in science: it takes a village

Posted 17 March 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Late last year, a metastudy was published showing that, since 2000, things are improving for women working in most STEM-based fields, although there are some notable exceptions The scarcity of women in the ranks of working scientists has been in the news for a discouragingly long time. But research that tries to understand the reasons is filled contradictions, mainly because these studies were conducted at different times and on different science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Last year... Read more

Birdbooker Report 364

Posted 17 March 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more