Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Complex Ideas in Ecology Made Simple

By Don Driscoll

Have you just published an important journal article? Why not turn it into a movie?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Last year I published a really exciting paper on the matrix in fragmented landscapes in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The matrix is the land in which patches of native vegetation are embedded. More often than not it’s cropland or grazing lands or plantation forests.

My paper brought together a number of ideas about the matrix, and outlined an overarching conceptual model of the conservation value of the matrix. If we’re serious about conservation in production country, this type of understanding is critical to our capacity to save biodiversity in these landscapes.

But here’s the challenge. I think this is both an interesting and an exciting topic, but I know that most people will never read this journal paper. How do I endeavour to spread the information and the value of this research?

It’s a challenge that confronts researchers everywhere when they publish their science. How do we get anyone beyond our small circle of fellow specialists to engage with our science?

Most of the time I don’t have the capacity to do much beyond the research itself, but this time I thought I’d try something different. This was a special paper, in my opinion; it deserved the extra effort.

I decided to make a movie about the science in the article, about the matrix in fragmented landscapes! The “light bulb” moment was that my opening “hook”...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.