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.

Special Series – Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 – New Horizons

In the Winter 2017 semester, the departments of Integrative Biology, Environmental Sciences, and Geography were canvassed to identify concepts and tools that are at the frontiers of the biological and environmental sciences. This horizon scan will form the discussion topics for the Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 semesters.


Fall 2017 Schedule


September 20, 2017 - Science and Policy: Assisted Migration and Climate Change

Facilitated by Emma Davis and Ze'ev Gedalof

Recommended Readings: Hewitt et al. 2011 & Hoegh-Guldberg et al 2008


September 27, 2017 - Science and Policy: Incorporating Policy into your Science

Facilitated by Monica Granados and Laura Johnson

Recommended Reading: When Canadian scientists were muzzled by their government by Wendy Palen


October 4, 2017 - CRISPR: Introduction

Facilitated by Ryan Gregory

Recommended Reading (any or all): Mojica and Montoliu 2016, Newman and Ausubel 2016, and Ceasar 2016


October 11, 2017 - Future Ease of Genomic Data Collection

Facilitated by Robert Hanner

Recommended Reading: Stephens et al. 2015


October 18, 2017 - Microbiome: Host plus microbiome evolution

Facilitated by Jenna Dale and Mason Stothart

Recommended Reading: Zilber-Rosenberg and Rosenberg 2008


October 25, 2017 - Microbiomes: Within Host Ecology

Facilitated by Tim Bartley


November 1, 2017 - Machine Learning: Introduction

Facilitated by Cameron Nugent


November 8, 2017 - Machine Learning: Ask the Expert

Facilitated by Graham Taylor


November 15, 2017 - Reproducibility of Science I

Facilitated by Monica Granados and Emma Davis


November 22, 2017 - Reproducibility of Science II

Facilitated by Monica Granados and Emma Davis


November 29, 2017 - TBD


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