Clear writing

I stumbled across this old post from Brian McGill: https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/clear-writing/

An oldy but a goody. I particularly like when he runs through 6 sentences – this is a really illustrative way of understanding what makes a good clear sentence. A good thing to read before another heavy day of re-writing a text!

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Understanding the lizard supermarket

Can you imagine if you were a small leaf beetle, just minding your own business chewing on a dead leaf when suddenly you were thrust into a gaping mouth but a huge ancestor of a dinosaur? This is the fate of millions of organisms every day and is no doubt has some effect on how leaf litter communities are organised – but to my knowledge we don’t know how. These ideas came to me whilst I was thinking about a collaboration with the herpetologists in the school. UTAS Biological Sciences has an internationally respected herp research group (see the link below) and they were keen to find out how the skink ‘supermarket’ could impact adult and offspring behaviour. The particular supermarket they are interested in is Egernia whitii or White’s Skink (http://bie.ala.org.au/species/White%E2%80%99s+Rock+Skink) a unique species of family living lizard. In particular, they are interested in the way in which the availability of the supermarket could impact on mum and dads decision to care for their offspring. Of course this got me thinking what impact the skinks themselves could have on the structure of the ‘supermarket’. We are going to test this by sampling the supermarket using the good old pitfall trap – carefully constructed as not to capture any of the little skinks themselves – and look at how variation in the abundance of goods in the supermarket across sites influences levels of parental care. It will be interesting to see what we get –  there are heaps of things we can do with with this data and I hope to do some manipulations at some point in the future (If I can get the money).