It has finally happened. After many months of colleagues commenting on my lack of online presence and more than a few comments of “you should really get your website sorted out”, I have finally succumbed to peer pressure. For someone forever complaining about the rather lackadaisical nature by which new and improved methods are sometimes taken up in my community, my coworkers are often amused by my tardy induction into new forms of communication: I was probably one of the last of my group of friends to get a mobile phone and it really did take me a long time to join the world of social media. Unlike these things though, where I really had to be persuaded by their utility, I have been really very keen to set up a blog for a very long time. It was always on the list of things to do but somehow other things always seemed to get in the way.
Anyway, as this is my first ever post, I should probably mention a few things about me and what sort of posts you’ll probably see from me in the future. I’m currently a postdoctoral researcher, working in the biogeography department at the University of Trier in Germany. The main focus of my research is the development and application of new techniques to ascertain the ranges of species and to try and predict what may happen to these ranges in the future. These methods take observations of these species, from a number of different sources, and attempt to find environmental correlates with these observation records. In many ways it is an attempt to assess the habitat preference of the species in question. Us macroecologists tend to call these models ‘species distribution models’ or sometimes ‘ecological niche models’ (indeed there appears to be intense discussion on the best term for these methods). Species distribution models have a long and varied history in macroecology but, in recent years, we are really starting to see some of the limitations of the more traditional approaches. I won’t talk too much about these limitations in this post as I’m sure they’ll slowly pop up on future posts. Fortunately, there are plenty of new and interesting methods coming to the fore and this really is an exciting time to be a macroecologist. I’ll do my best to keep you posted on developments.