Biodiversity Discussion Group 


The Biodiversity Discussion Group meets weekly 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 join the discussion. This is a friendly place - the question you have is probably a fundamental question many are wondering about. So speak up. 

Time: Mondays noon to 1 pm (bring a lunch)

Location: Rm 225 Biodiversity Research Centre (2nd floor; Sinclair Room). 

Join the BDG 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 Benjamin Freeman if you have questions.

Fall 2019 Schedule



Readings, tasks etc.


Sep 9

Set schedule for fall 

1. Show up & say hi

2. Eat lunch (bring your own) & snacks (I provide)

3. Share what topics/papers you want to discuss in BDG this fall. 

4. Discuss & come to consensus about highest priority topics/papers.

5. Set schedule for BDG fall 2019.

Ben Freeman

Sep 16

The Science of Doubt

Topic: We do science to understand what is true. But there are multiple sources of error that can lead us astray. 

What to do: Watch Mike Whitlock’s American Naturalist lecture (starts at around 11 minute mark, or take a look at his slides (link). 

To start the discussion: Think about the sources of error Mike describes, and the degree to which these apply to your research. Then think about Mike’s proposed solutions. Would you adopt his suggestions for your next research project? Which suggestions do you think are the most important for the ecology/evolution research community to adopt?

Ben Freeman

Sep 23

We should all be theoretical biologists

Read this paper (link). 

The argument is that we should all be (to some degree) theoretical biologists. Agree? disagree? let’s talk about it.

Ken Thompson

Sep 30

Insect declines

Michelle Tseng

Oct 7

Patches & chemical defense

Juli Carrillo

Oct 14


Canadian Thanksgiving

Oct 21

Patches & working landscapes

Jared Grummer

Oct 28

Spectral diversity 

Darwin Sodhi

Nov 4


Information in ecology/evolution

Rachel Germain / Chelsea Little

Nov 11


Remembrance Day

Nov 18

Biodiversity & disease debate (e.g. dilution effect)

Alyssa Gehman

Nov 25

How and why we choose what we study

Lydia Fong

Dec 2

Prediction in ecology

Patrick Thompson