Happy International Women’s Day

As the Assistant Editor of the Journal of Ecology every day I get to work with a huge number of amazing female ecologists and from day one it has always been a privilege.

A view shared by other members of the Journal of Ecology senior editorial team.

Journal of Ecology’s Executive Editor David Gibson fell in love with biology because of the brilliant Dr. Cynthia Millband.

“I was inspired to pursue science by a woman. My Secondary School biology teacher, the late Dr. Cynthia Millband was a brilliant and inspiring teacher that persuaded three boys (the ‘three Davids’) to take our GCE ‘O’ level Biology exam a year early. She volunteered to tutor us after school for the exams and as a result we all were awarded Grade A passes. The next year when we would have been taking our ‘O’ level Biology exams we instead took ‘O’ level Human Biology, again passing with the top grade. I haven’t looked back in biology since then.”

Specifically over the last few years the Journal’s senior editorial team has been working to increase the diversity of our editorial board. And as a result of this more women than ever, based at institutions around the world, work on the Journal in their capacity as Associate Editors. As always though we recognise that there is still work to be done but it is always at the forefront of the senior editorial team’s mind when new Associate Editors are appointed to the board.

Tomorrow on the Journal blog there will be an interview with Associate Editor Honor Prentice about her experiences as a female ecologist and the barriers she has faced. Stay tuned!

Below I have listed some highlights of the work of women ecologists for the Journal of Ecology. I can’t emphasise enough though that this list is by no means exhaustive. Follow Journal of Ecology on Twitter for more highlights via @JEcology.

At the start of 2016 our inaugural Harper Review, Does the biogeographic origin of species matter? Ecological effects of native and non-native species and the use of origin to guide management, was authored by Yvonne Buckley and Jane Catford.

Last year Journal of Ecology Senior Editor Amy Austin and Associate Editor Amy Zanne guest edited a special feature on how plants affect biogeochemical cycling. All of the lead authors on this special feature were women at varying stages of their academic career something that Amy Austin and Amy Zanne are keen to celebrate. Pamela Templer et al.’s special feature paper Fog as a source of nitrogen for redwood trees: evidence from fluxes and stable isotopes was chosen as the editor’s choice for issue 103.6 and a commentary is available online here.

Working on special features is probably my favourite part of working on Journal of Ecology admittedly. However, this special feature was a particular joy to facilitate. Courtney Stepien and her colleague Orissa Moulton provided some great images, which ended up being used on the front cover of the Journal and on our postcards that are available at conferences (see below).


On the Journal blog we publish a category of post entitled ‘ecological inspirations’. Last November after winning the Argentine L’Oréal-UNESCO fellowship for Women in Science Amy Austin’s ecological inspiration celebrated women in ecology. It. is a great piece and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to read because of the important issues Amy addresses when discussing what has inspired her throughout her career in ecology.

Our most popular piece on the Journal of Ecology blog (Should ecologists be banned from using p-values?) was written by Associate Editor Caroline Brophy. It has been viewed in excess of 2000 times and really got people talking.

Our latest Editor’s Choice paper, Herbivore intoxication as a potential primary function of an inducible volatile plant signal, was picked by Amy Austin and is by Nathalie Veyrat.

Last October Associate Editor Carol Thornber guest edited a virtual issue celebrating marine ecology. We would still like to encourage the best submissions in both marine and freshwater plant ecology to the Journal. For more details on the types of paper we have already published check out the virtual issue.

Finally at the end of last year I co-organised an Athena SWAN Biosciences best practice event with colleagues from the Biochemical Society, Microbiology Society, Royal Society of Biology, and Society of Experimental Biology. A highlight for me was Prof. Jane Hill’s talk on her work at the University of York when she took the lead on her department’s gold Athena SWAN award. A video of this event will be available this week. I will update this post and tweet the link from the Journal of Ecology Twitter account when it is available.

Thank you to all the women who work with us on Journal of Ecology in their capacity as authors, reviewers, and editorial board members.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Lauren Sandhu
Assistant Editor, Journal of Ecology

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