What Finding Nemo didn’t tell you about fish sex

Blue Planet II, the BBC’s latest flagship nature documentary is almost open us, and the press is currently awash with teaser stories and clips.

This week, the Daily Mail, the bastion of British conservative reactionary values, ran a story revealing that Blue Planet II will include footage of a fish changing sex.

The fish in question is the delightful Asian sheepshead wrasse.

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Science Communication: Don’t fight your editor

In a previous post I wrote about the three most important lessons I’d leant whilst working in science communications. The third was don’t fight your editor, which is one that’s often overlooked, and one that I think deserves more explanation.

Having someone edit your work is a privilege, but I’ve seen so many scientists fail to recognise this. Editors help you improve your writing. They advise on structure and language, they point out areas of your writing that aren’t working, and they help you improve them.

But editing can be a challenging process, especially when you’re new to it. When you first send a piece of writing to an editor you need to expect that it’ll come back covered in red pen (or the digital equivalent, often tracked changes).

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Three lessons I’ve learnt for communicating science

Before my PhD I worked in science communications. I helped scientists explain their work to non-scientists. Whilst I only worked in the role for nine months, I learnt a lot, and I consistently saw the same patterns and mistakes.

There’s a lot of science communication advice online, but I think there are three lessons that will most improve your science writing:

 

  1. Write for your audience, not for yourself.

Obvious, but routinely ignored. Every piece of science communication should have a defined audience, such as the general public, a funding body, politicians, scientists in another field, etc.

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