Talking about the drowning

I had the unnerving experience of watching myself give a conference presentation yesterday. In February I attended the BioEd Darwin 200 conference held in Christchurch, New Zealand and gave a talk in the teaching evolution symposium entitled “Drowning Zealandia, flying moa, ancient mammals: teaching the controversies from current New Zealand evolutionary science “. The presentation was recorded and can be viewed at the Allan Wilson Centre site, just scroll down to the talk by Adrian Paterson – click and enjoy (?). In this talk I focussed on teaching the messiness of science, especially evolution. If more people understood that changing knowledge about particular examples is the natural state of science then I think we would have better understanding from the general public.

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I illustrated this messiness by talking about the current state of New Zealand biogeography with the current controversy about the Oligocene drowning (blogged previously here and here). If you want to hear my overview then see the talk! I finished by saying that is incumbent on scientists to use technologies like blogging to get their research out to a wider audience. Several ecologists from Lincoln gave talks and a couple, Steve Wratten (The educational oportunities associated with restoring functional biodiversity to agricultural land) and Marco Azon-Jacometti (Enhanced soil biodiversity increases biological control of Botrytis cinerea), also have their talks on the site.

So what did I think of my talk? Well I know I move about but it’s interesting to see just how much! Stay still, already! Otherwise it seemed OK. Hopefully somebody will find it useful.

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