Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group

Welcome to the Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group hosted by the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph!

The Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group is a weekly discussion group that covers topics relating to the biological and environmental sciences. Topics that are explored include (but are not restricted to) eco-evolutionary dynamics, bioinformatics, future biological methods, and eco-physiological responses to climate change.

The aim for the Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group is to foster a creative environment for biological and environmental scientists at the University of Guelph. Through multidisciplinary discussions, scientists can be exposed to topics outside of their specialization and identify commonalities between disciplines to improve their and other scientist’s research. Furthermore, the Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group provides a space for scientists with varying experience levels to collaborate and assist each other.

The format is very flexible. Although multidisciplinary topics are encouraged, any biological and environmental topic is fair game. One person each week is responsible for beginning the discussion in whatever way they choose. This may involve a paper to discuss, presenting tentative research ideas, a set of data in need of analysis, a finished research product, or anything they see fit to open for discussion. In order to maintain a casual atmosphere, presenters are encouraged to use the whiteboard and describe their data and ideas, rather than relying on Powerpoint.

Any interested undergraduates, graduates, postdocs and faculty are welcome to lead and/or join the discussion.

The Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group meets every Wednesday at 12:00pm for an hour in Rm 4440 Summerlee Science Complex.

Why Evelyn Pielou?

Evelyn Pielou espouses the aims of our discussion group; her interests and biological contributions spanned many fields. She started out with a certificate in radio-physics. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Botany, she taught herself mathematical ecology, published articles, and then turned these articles into a PhD, all without an advisor or committee. She worked for the Canadian government in various capacities and then entered academia formally as a professor at several Canadian Universities. She pioneered the use of multivariate statistics in ecology. During retirement, she wrote several popular science books on topics ranging from biogeography to physics.

Fall 2018 and Winter 2019

For these two semesters, we are asking each laboratory in the department of Integrative Biology and any interested laboratory in the wider University community to facilitate discussions on integrative or forward thinking topics in the biological and environmental sciences.


Winter 2019 Schedule


January 16, 2019 - Pre-registration of science research: game-changer or bureaucratic nuisance?

Facilitated by Chris Greyson-Gaito

Recommended Readings: Parker 2017 & Kupferschmidt 2018


January 23, 2019 - Is ecology/evolution facing a reproducibility crisis?

Facilitated by Chris Greyson-Gaito

Recommended Readings: Fraser et al 2018 & Fanelli 2018


January 30, 2019 - Future of comparative physiology with Dr. Tobias Wang

Facilitated by Dr. Tobias Wang

Recommended Readings: Somero 2000


February 6, 2019 - No Pielou Discussion

Facilitated by

Recommended Readings:


February 13, 2019 - Should IB mandate pre-registration for all graduate students?

Facilitated by TBD

Recommended Readings: Articles from January 16th and January 23rd (see above)


February 27, 2019 - As biologists/environmental scientists, should we join the #FridaysForFuture schoolchildren climate strike?

Facilitated by Chris Greyson-Gaito

Recommended Readings: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/13/academics-back-uk-schools-climate-change-strikes


March 6, 2019 - A.I. reverse-engineers Lotka-Volterra equation: Are theoreticians redundant?

Facilitated by TBD

Recommended Readings: Martin et al. 2018


March 13, 2019 - TBD

Facilitated by TBD

Recommended Readings: TBD


March 20, 2019 - Evolutionary neutral theory has been overwhelmingly rejected! Or has it?

Facilitated by Cort Griswold

Recommended Reading: Kern and Hahn 2018 & Jensen et al 2019


March 27, 2019 - Is the classic analysis behind the biodiversity - ecosystem functioning relationship flawed?

Facilitated by TBD

Recommended Reading: Pillai and Gouhier 2019


April 3, 2019 - Should we replace lectures with active-learning classes?

Facilitated by TBD

Recommended Reading: Treating teaching as a science, Let's not abandon the humble lecture quite yet


Feedback and More Questions

We ask that after each discussion everyone fill out a quick survey in the link below. This survey also allows you to ask more questions of the facilitator or suggest discussion topics.

https://uoguelph.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eDuwkvagE8kDim1


Pielou Mailing List Instructions

Do you want to be completely informed about what is happening in the Evelyn Pielou Discussion Group community? Do you want to continue the conversations outside of the weekly meetings? If so, then follow these instructions to join the Pielou mailing list.

If you have any questions about the discussion group, or if you want to facilitate a discussion, please email Chris Greyson-Gaito.

To subscribe

to the list pielou@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA, send an email from your account to pielou-request@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA with the word subscribe on the Subject line.

To unsubscribe

from the list pielou@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA, send an email, from the account which is subscribed, to pielou-request@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA with the word unsubscribe on the Subject line.

To send a message

if you subscribed to the listserv, simply send an email to pielou@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA, we have a substantially smaller mailing list than the departmental list