Brackenridge: Communicating My Ecological Research

One of the main goals of my research project is to make my results easily accessible to a large general audience. Although my research largely falls into the specific discipline of invasion biology, I intend to present my findings in an approachable manner. One way I plan to do this is by producing a short documentary film about my project. The film will include footage of me conducting field work as well as narration explaining the significance of my work. This short visual tool will help guide those who know nothing about my field of study by showing them firsthand what exactly I am doing and why they should care. While it may be easy to get someone to care about a cute animal, it can be very difficult to get someone’s attention about a smelly plant. By providing the audience with a visually appealing depiction of my project, I will be able to directly engage with them and place them in my shoes. My strategy for the narration is to avoid using isolating technical terminology and to keep my explanations clear and concise. I will also implement the use of metaphors and analogies in order to connect with the audience and put my work into different perspectives. If I can convince someone who has never heard of invasion biology the importance of understanding the effects of one little plant, then I will have achieved my goal of making my project effectively communicable.

Another goal of mine is to present my findings at a professional conference. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity this July where I will be presenting a poster of my research at the Botanical Society of America’s annual Botany conference in Anchorage, Alaska. This is a big step in my career aspirations because not only will I have the opportunity to meet with professionals in my future field, but I will also be able to share my own research with them. The audience I will be presenting to will be almost entirely composed of experts and thus differs greatly to my intentions with the short film. I will be encouraged to dive deeper into the technical and statistical aspects of my research. The experience will be a test of my abilities to share scientific findings with the scientific community and so I will have to be well-versed in all aspects of my methodology and analysis. My prospective careers will require me to interact with both professionals within and outside of the field. If I was to become an ecologist for a state government, I would need to interact with policymakers and funding committees to advocate for my projects and convince them of its importance. Communicating research in different settings will be one of the major responsibilities of my future career. Presenting at Botany provides me with an opportunity to discuss my current research with professionals who I will work alongside one day and receive their valuable feedback. The production of my documentary film and the presentation of my research at a professional conference will provide me with chances to communicate my research for general and expert audiences alike.

Photo of a question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) at Ridley Creek State Park – June 9th, 2022
Photo of me conducting research at Rothrock State Forest – June 15th, 2022

Leave a Reply