Biodiversity Discussion Group

Welcome to the Biodiversity Discussion Group (BDG) at the Biodiversity Research Centre of the University of British Columbia!

Why & who: We meet to discuss recent research papers and topics in biodiversity from both ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Any interested undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, and faculty are welcome to suggest papers and join the discussion. See below for links to past terms' topics.

When & where: We're meeting Wednesdays at 10 am in Beaty 224 (Ralf Yorque), unless otherwise noted

Notes for a great meeting

Ask questions, whether you fret they are silly or not, what you think is a 'dumb question' is probably a fundamental question that many are wondering about or should be. So speak up.

And on that 'speak up' note: Around minute 40 we'll try to switch things up this term and ask everyone who has talked to try not to talk for 10 minutes. We'll see how it goes, but if it takes you a while to psyche yourself up to speak then work on that before minute 40 and if you talk a lot, practice your lip-biting skills.

Bring an expert: Special guests, faculty we don't see enough of, experts in a topic are especially welcome. If you're running a discussion and think someone should be there, or just if you know someone who should be at a particular discussion, bring them!

Information on the BDG mailing list is below.

Twitter feed: (thanks to Andrew) Jump to tweets about BDG (#ubcbdg).

Spring 2015 Schedule



Readings, tasks etc.


Snack provider

14 Jan


Think of topics and papers for this semester's BDG.



21 Jan

Declining r2 in ecology

(1) Read this paper: Low-Decarie et al.


Chris K.

28 Jan

Competition and its role in biodiversity functioning

(1) Read this paper: Turnbull et al. 2013



4 Feb

Bacteria in soil and guts

(1) Read this paper: Seedorf et al. 2014

Laura and Liz


11 Feb


(1) Read this paper: Simard et al. 2012



18 Feb

Reading Break

Reading Break



25 Feb

Food webs, Priyanga and Kevin (1) Read this paper: Johnson and Amarasakare, 2015 Matt B.


4 March

Body size constraints

(1) Read these papers: Gardner et al. 2011, Arpat Ozgul et al. 2009

O'Connor Lab and Katie


11 March

Mechanisms of the insurance hypothesis

(1) Read this paper: Leary and Petchy, 2009



18 March

Differential temperature sensitivity by trophic/functional group

(1) Read this paper: Clements et al. 2009

(2) Read the abstracts of these papers: Dell, et al. 2014; Jankowski et al. 2014; Kuz'mina et al. 2008

Jordan and Norah Andy
25 March

Bacteria on hosts

(1) Read this paper: Scheuring and Yu, 2012 Andy Laura
1 April Individual variation affects larger scale phenomena

(1) Read this paper: Sih et al. 2012



8 April

Evolution: Nature

(1) Read these opinion pieces (smooshed together into one article): Laland et al. 2014; Wray et al. 2014

Katie Nicholas

Other topics

2014-2015 academic year: individuals models, environmental variation in ecology, Paleoecology, restoration ecology, parasites,

2013-2014 academic year: biogeography of science and publication, women in science, overuse of p-values (point-counterpoint opportunity), researchers and public education, rewilding, parasites, replication, macroecology, physiological ecology, paleoecology, historical ecology, interacting with the media, phenology, what is ecology, niche modeling, functional redundancy, top wacko ideas in conservation

2012-2013 academic year: Marine and terrestrial ecology: unifying concepts, revealing differences, Setting the agenda for speciation research,
Ecosystomics: ecology by sequencer, Parasites and fungi and stuff, Niche modeling insanity, Paleo-climate change,
Resurrection ecology, Restoration ecology, What's wrong with eco-phylogenetics, Historical ecology, Scaling in time and space
Evolution and climate change, Evolutionary ecology and Back to the future: The return of the 1970s to ecology.

2013-2014 academic year: Ecological Stoichiometry, Physiological ecology, Invasiveness, How to interact with media, Biogeography of science and publications

Miscellaneous papers
That have come up during discussions:

Previous terms
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013
, Spring 2014

Mailing List
Email may be sent to the list at
To sign up for the mailing list send an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject to
To remove yourself from the mailing list send a message with "unsubcribe" in the subject to

Please e-mail Anna Hargreaves if you have questions.

Biodiversity Research Centre
#112-2212 Main Mall
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada