Primer time: a rollercoaster ride through metabarcoding PCR primer design

Now more than ever, PCR has become a household name akin to Harry Potter or Gandalf the Grey, and in most cases no less mysterious nor magical. Whilst the distillation of molecular magic that is PCR has been invaluable (despite controversy) for screening your swabs, spit and other bodily fluids for COVID-19, it is also undeniably applicable to ecology. But how do we design this tool for ecological studies?

PhDing in a pandemic

Since finishing my PhD in the thick of the UK’s latest COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve been asked a torrent of questions by fellow PhDers, higher-ups and curious bystanders. “What was the viva like?” “How did you find the write-up in lockdown?” “Do you have any advice on finding a postdoc in a pandemic?” Now, full disclosure: … Continue reading PhDing in a pandemic

Pilling in the name of

It's about time I told you about pill bugs. You would be forgiven for thinking I refer to some sort of oblong Hemipteran (i.e. true bugs, which the title "bug" should truly accord with). The reality is that I could be referring to one of two quite taxonomically distinct animals. One would be forgiven for … Continue reading Pilling in the name of

Rolling in money spiders

Arachnophobes often recoil at the arrival of a leggy speck of black on their clothes during a peaceful stroll. Fear not, it is but a money spider!

Dangers on the Web: the Internet of Biological Things

New internet technologies permeate biological sciences, expanding the boundaries of possibility, but is this safe?