What we did this summer

This summer is weird. But we hope you are all safe and taking care of yourselves, and enjoying it as you can! We already did a lot of things in the last couple of weeks and this blog post is about remembering these good things and hoping for better days with more computational ecology training and community calls!

Community calls

Thanks to Dr Andrew Macdonald, we are keeping in touch with each other through our traditional bi-weekly community calls. This summer, we had amazing guests! We had some great and varied discussions with BIOS² co-PIs, including a call with Sally Otto (UBC) about topics ranging from conservation legislation in BC to COVID-19 models and her research (notes), as well as a call with Pedro Peres-Neto (Concordia) about how to think about autocorrelation in our data (notes). We also had an enlightening discussion with Eric Pedersen (Concordia) about transferable skills, especially with regards to his experiences as an academic and governmental researcher (notes).

When we didn’t have guests, we had awesome group discussions! In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Andrew and Timothée Poisot initiated a group discussion about the actions we can take as BIOS² members to work towards anti-racism, during which we co-wrote an anti-racism statement on the BIOS² twitter as a first step (readings, notes). More recently, Andrew showed us how to create a website with blogdown (notes). 

Thank you to all the fellows who participated in the community calls this summer! If you have ideas for a topic or guest for community calls, please let Andrew know. All the community call notes can be found here.

SciComm Training

In May, the BIOS² fellows Gracielle and Katherine developed and delivered a Science Communication training for about 30 people. They talked about the basic concepts and tips to do SciComm, how to make blog posts and how to properly use Twitter as a scientist. The materials are available on the BIOS² website: bios2.github.io/education/lessons/01_scicomm/index.html


At the end of July, BIOS² fellows Gabriel Dansereau and Francis Banville presented their work at JuliaCon 2020. The conference was planned to take place in Lisbon this year, but the current situation forced the JuliaCon organization to migrate to an online environment, which was awesome for those of us who wouldn’t be able to travel anyway. The whole event was free, and many talks are available on YouTube. Take a look our fellows’ work here:

  • “SimpleSDMLayers.jl: A basis for species distribution modelling in Julia” by Gabriel Dansereau (bit.ly/33l3sxu)
  • “Analyzing species interaction networks in Julia” by Francis Banville (bit.ly/2PqrE9q)


On July 28th we had a seminar with Giulio Valentino Dalla Riva entitled “Taking data seriously”, where we learned about common myths in data fields: raw data does not exist, data is not petrol oil, data is not the lack of theory, accuracy is bad, and more!

Did  you attend any of these events? Which one did you like the most? Tell us about it on our Discourse Forum.

We wish you a wonderful autumn!
Gracielle Higino & Katherine Hébert