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 Friday at 12:00pm for an hour on Teams (check your email from IB for the URL or join our listserv below).

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.


Winter 2022 Schedule


January 14, 2022 - "Why Are Mountains Such Biodiversity Hotspots?" - a discussion led by Alexandre Loureiro                                                                                                             Accompanied by the recommended reading: Humboldt’s enigma: What causes global patterns of mountain biodiversity?


January 21, 2022 - "Throwing Away DNA: Programmed Downsizing in Somatic Nuclei" - a discussion led by Katherine Drotos                                                                           Accompanied by the recommended manuscript: (Please refer to the PDF sent through your U of G email)


January 28, 2022 - "An Empiricist’s Guide to Using Ecological Theory" - a discussion led by Christopher Greyson-Gaito                                                                                           Accompanied by the recommended blog post: Simple, in theory                                                                                                                                                                             For more context, see the article: An Empiricist’s Guide to Using Ecological Theory


February 4, 2022 - "Do non-native species contribute to biodiversity" - a discussion led by Sophia Stoltz                                                                                                                             Accompanied by the recommended perspective piece: Do non-native species contribute to biodiversity?


February 11, 2022 - "Thinking in Equations" - a discussion led by Carling Bieg 


February 18, 2022 - "The need for interdisciplinary solutions to climate change exemplified by hamful algal blooms" - a discussion led by                                                   Kathleen Nolan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Accompanied by the recommended manuscript: (Please refer to the PDF sent through your U of G email)


February 25, 2022 - no meeting this week!


March 4, 2022 - "Controversy in the literature on global change" - a discussion led by Kevin MacColl                                                                                                                               Accompanied by the recommended paper: Clustered versus catastrophic global vertebrate declines                                                                                           For more context on the controversy, see the twitter feed: Twitter thread


March 11, 2022 - "Fungal behaviour: a new frontier in behavioural ecology" - a discussion led by Sophia Stoltz                                                                                                           Accompanied by the recommended opinion piece: (Please refer to the PDF sent through your U of G email)


March 18, 2022 - "Evolution of COVID-19" - a talk and discussion led by Dr. Ryan Gregory


March 25, 2022 - no meeting this week!


April 1, 2022 - no meeting this week!


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 Dr. Alex Smith or Sophia Stoltz. 

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