About Me

This blog has been going, in a number of different forms, since 2006. It began as a personal blog, before I set it up on its own domain as The Ethical Palaeontologist. While the focus of the blog was on palaeontology, I also wrote about climate change, other fields of earth sciences, creationism, the funding of scientific research, scientific literacy and science education. As time passed, I found that I actually wasn't any good at writing about peer-reviewed research, nor did I have time to do so. So I pretty much gave up on it.

In September 2009 I embarked on a new career as a lecturer in biology at a further education college. It has been the toughest job I have ever had to do, but the most satisfying and rewarding experience of my life. A casualty of this career change was relinquishing my postgraduate study in vertebrate palaeontology: a path down which I may never tread again. It has been monumentally sad to leave the field, and on my darker days I wonder what truth there may be in the axiom "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach". However, it seems that teaching is something I am damn good at - the students I teach do not feel they are being forced to learn things, but learn they do. They now know about punctuated equilibrium, for example, because I have a "Honk if you understand punctuated equilibrium" bumper sticker on my car. Who else gets their students actually asking about that sort of stuff out of the blue?

Now this blog is on the outer reaches of the geoblogosphere, since the majority of posts are about teaching biology/earth sciences/evolution/palaeontology, rather than writing about the research. So I have renamed the blog and transferred the website. You will still be able to find The Ethical Palaeontologist languishing in its corner of the internet - there are far too many internal links on the posts I transferred for me to be able to ditch my old website! But there are still gratuitous lizard photos and the occasional dick joke, just in case you miss those. The lizard concerned, our gecko Jabba, is very keen that you should continue to look at his pictures.

Why the name "Stages Of Succession"? In ecology, succession is a term to describe the establishment and replacement of natural communities over time. One starts from a bare exposed surface, and gradually builds up organic material, improving the fertility of the soil and allowing specialised species to prosper. I am fortunate enough to teach this in A-level biology, along with a healthy dose of human physiology and biochemistry, and what I am trying to do is to establish in my students a love and understanding of the scientific processes that shape us and our world, so that they too can reach their full potential as the climax communities about which they learn.
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