How to help our island colleagues in the wake of total devastation.

After three brutal hurricanes, the islands of the Caribbean are hurting. It can be hard, in the wake of catastrophe, to know where your donations can be best spent. We’ve contacted several of our colleagues on the ground to find out who’s doing the work and which aid organizations and groups need help now.

Puerto Rico

Hi, my name is [your name], resident of District [your disctrict], zip code [your zip code] and I don’t need a response.

I’m calling to ask the [Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman] to join the efforts of some of his colleagues in Congress–like Congressman José Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Senator Marco Rubio, Resident Commissioner Jennifer González, and others–to put pressure on the federal government to provide more assistance to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after being hit by Hurricane Maria, and on Congress to allocate the necessary funds/resources to do so. Also, to please join some of these representatives on calling for at least one year exemption from the Jones Act or US Cabotage laws to Puerto Rico.

Thank you!

source.

US Virgin Islands

Antigua and Barbuda

Dominica

Turks and Caicos

British Virgin Islands

Feel free to recommend your favorite organizations providing aid on the ground in the comments below. We would prefer to focus on ground efforts driven by affected communities, rather than large, international aid organizations.

The many, many ways I screwed up my first science crowdfunding campaign.

Four generations of field hardened OpenCTDs.

It’s been over five years since Kersey Sturdivant and I launched Oceanography for Everyone – The OpenCTD, my first attempt at crowdfunding science. Over the years, that initial effort has grown into Oceanography for Everyone, a community of researchers, educators, and citizen scientists, and has created new open-source tools for open-source, open-science hardware. The OpenCTD is the finest oceanographic instrument that you can build in your own home for less than $300.

The crowdfunding campaign was a total disaster.

Since then, I’ve written several articles on how scientists can launch and managed crowdfunding campaigns:

…but I’ve never written explicitly about what we did wrong during that campaign and how it impacted our success. Now that the final reward from that campaign has been delivered (yes, five years later, talk about the eternally delayed crowdfunding campaign), it’s the right moment to look back and think about how everything went so wrong.

went with lesser-known platforms. We launched the OpenCTD on RocketHub. At the time, RocketHub was hosting the #SciFund Challenge, a campaign to encourage scientists to launch science crowdfunding campaigns. Both the #SciFundChallenge and RocketHub were relatively small players in the nascent crowdfunding world. RocketHub doesn’t even appear to do crowdfunding anymore, they’ve pivoted to a “social network for entrepreneurs”. The old OpenCTD campaign page is long deprecated. #SciFund Challenge’s website hasn’t been updated in almost half a year.

Here’s the thing with crowdfunding, and especially crowdfunding in the early days: There are two dominant communities that you can rely on. There’s the community of people who want to support what you’re doing and there’s the community of people enamored with the idea of crowdfunding. Being a crowdfunding “investor” is a hobby in and of itself and many of the biggest donors are people who support dozens of different campaigns. So the larger and more popular the platform, the more crowdfunding enthusiasts you’ll attract. Heck, since backing the very first OpenROV, I’ve backed 23 other projects on Kickstarter, most recently Public Lab’s Balloon Mapping kits.

By going with RocketHub, I committed our campaign to a smaller potential audience. Considering Kickstarter was garnering huge press at the time, this was a near-fatal mistake.

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There’s only one way to get these exclusive, limited-edition Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers!

Note: The following is a plug for my Patreon campaign. Funds raised in this campaign go towards keeping the Southern Fried Science servers running as well as research and development for Oceanography for Everyone


Behold the Unflappable Mola Mola!

Soon after the completion of Jacques Week 2017, I realized that I now had a collection of ocean animals wearing jaunty red cap doodles that were almost purpose made to be turned into stickers. So after a bit of research, a lot of redesigns, and a few test runs, the Jaunty Ocean Critter collection was born! Every month for the next year, I’m releasing a new, limited-edition run of Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers for your amusement, bemusement, and sea-musement. Die-cut on heavy vinyl, these stickers will hold up in the water, on your laptop, or attached to your favorite piece of oceanographic equipment.  Read More

How to spot a scam shark documentary producer

Many aspects of science-ing are not explicitly taught, and scientists become accustomed to mastering the deep end.  While this tactic can make you stronger, there are situations where the deep end is a vulnerable place where nasty critters are very happy to take advantage.

One such area?  How to handle being contacted by “producers.”  In my experience, for every 1 exceptional producer you speak with, you will be contacted by at least 4 scammers.  Scam producers will particularly target naïve early-career scientists, just like white sharks and seal pups.  In light of this week, I’ve put together a guide to aid YOY scientists rising in the ranks of popularity and make the deep end a little safer.  Here are 13 ways to spot scam shark documentary producers, with a few 🚩🚩:

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March for the Science that uplifts humanity.

The March for Science has a diversity problem.

Ok, to be clear, the committee organizing the march is the one with the problem. As they’re about to find out, a movement like this will resist, among other things, the efforts of a few to take ownership over a much grander view of life. The Science March on Washington (and the marches in your home state) is bigger than one organization.

Five months ago, we issued a mandate for Southern Fried Science, that we would strive to tear down barriers, to breach the dam, because Diversity is Resilience. Seeing the March for Science struggle and seemingly succumb to the same weathered barricades reinforced, for me, exactly why we need that mandate.

“Science isn’t political” is a lovely Platonic platitude that we whisper reassuringly into comfortable ears.

It is not so.

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Hone your social media #SciComm skills with ocean science pros.

Looking to boost your ocean outreach skills in a more formal setting? We’ve got two opportunities for social media training with ocean science and ocean communications experts from Southern Fried Science:

LUMCON Summer Course: Join me at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium on the Gulf Coast for a week-long workshop on Science Communication Using Social Media led by yours truly. We’ll cover the foundations of social media platforms and best practices for communicating your research to both general and targeted audiences. We’ll also discuss metrics and measuring how effective your outreach really is.

Duke Environmental Leadership Program: For the fifth year, Dr. Amy Freitag and I will run Social Media for Environmental Communications, a 7-week, online-only course that digs deep into the fundamentals of using social media for environmental communications, provides a critical assessment of the available tools, and teaches student to design effective communications campaigns and assess their impact.

 

A Reading List for Environmental Resistance

We have entered a challenging new era for conservation and the environmental movement. Some of us feel as if we are hanging from the edge of a cliff. Others are preparing for the battles ahead. And many of us are still reeling from the whirlwind of changes taking place seemingly overnight.

We can’t tell you how to feel or how to act. We can’t really offer any comfort either, at least none that feels sincere. What we can provide are resources culled from a lifetime working in conservation science to provide, if not a map, than at least a scattered set of guideposts to remind us of where we’ve been and direct us to where we need to be going.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been collecting and curating a reading list for the conservation professionals, managers, and activists. I’ve culled from a diverse groups of writers to both focus and expand my vision of what conservation could become in the coming years.

This is, of course, not a comprehensive list of writings, but rather those which I have turned to, or turned back to, in the last few months, for inspiration and understanding. Some of them may seem a little out of place, but they have all offered guidance and insight as we move forward into this brave new world. Read More

Small changes and new faces at Southern Fried Science

We’ve got some small changes and new additions to the growing Southern Fried Science family.

Due to their long and consistent commitment to maintaining the blog, Drs. Kersey Sturdivant and Chris Parsons have been promoted to the lofty and prestigious rank of Senior Correspondent. Congratulations!

We’re also thrilled to announce the addition of a new writer, Dr. Solomon David!

Solomon an aquatic ecologist who studies freshwater fish biodiversity and conservation. His current research focuses on ecology and conservation of Great Lakes migratory fishes, “Ancient Sport Fish” (e.g. gars and bowfins), and peripheral populations of species. An avid fan of “primitive fishes” and advocate for native species conservation, Solomon strives to effectively communicate science to both the research community and general public to raise awareness of the value of aquatic ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity.

You can follow Solomon on Twitter @SolomonRDavid and @PrimitiveFishes.

We’re super excited to welcome Solomon to our team and learn more about America’s inland seas!

Here’s what top science news stories of the year listicles said are the top marine science news stories of the year

Year-in-review news roundups are one of my favorite parts of December. I really enjoy remembering all of the interesting and inspiring things that happened over the past year, especially after a rough year like this one. I especially enjoy “top science news of the year” roundups, and I was pleased to see marine science stories make the cut on many of them. For your “but why is this considered a top story but that isn’t” debating pleasure, here are the marine science news stories that made top science news stories of the year listicles!

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The Worlds First Empirical ‘How-To’ Get Into Graduate School Book

Many years ago as a graduate student at the College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, my former officemate (Noelle Relles) and I came up with a novel idea: take all the disparate information out there about strategies for getting into graduate school in the natural sciences and coalesce them into a single concise yet comprehensive text. Essentially develop a How-To book about graduate school. But we wanted the book to be more than just instructional anecdotes. We were scientist, and thought it would be useful to add a level of empiricism to the book. We wanted to write a How-To book where the conclusion were driven by results from a national survey of graduate admissions offices in the USA. At the time, writing a book based on a national survey of graduate programs seemed like quite a long-shot as we were both a number of years removed from getting our PhDs, and the most pressing issues in our lives at that time were graduating and finding free food and alcohol.

Living the life of a graduate student at VIMS’ infamous Fall Party. (Photo credit: Kersey Sturdivant)

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