It’s time once again for my annual round-up of science, and science blogging by the numbers. You can also read the 20132014, and 2015 editions.


The number of posts on The Lab and Field this year, which is low, but I found that blogging took more energy/effort this year than I had to give.

The most popular posts this year were:

  1. Personal academic websites for faculty & grad students: the why, what, and how
  2. Landing an academic job is like an albatross
  3. Beware the academic hipster (or, use what works for you) UPDATED
  4. Volunteer field techs are bad for wildlife ecology: the response
  5. How did we learn that birds migrate (and not to the moon)? A stab in the dark
  6. The advantages of Google Scholar for early-career academics
  7. Languishing Projects
  8. Why the #LGBTSTEMinar succeeded & was needed
  9. I am not an academic (for now)
  10. Manuscript necromancy: challenges of raising the dead

I’m always amazed that a blog post about how to build a basic website is still, by a long shot, the most popular post year after year. It had >3x more visitors than the next most popular post. Go figure!

31,905 (give or take)

The number of page views this year. Good heavens you people, don’t you have anything better to do?


The number of countries/autonomous regions represented by those readers. Wow. About a third of visitors were from the US, with >4000 from each of Canada and the UK. Shout out to the one visitor this year from Bolivia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Samoa, Honduras, Jersey, French Polynesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Senegal, Cambodia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Curaçao!


Days I spent in the field, the shortest time of any year where I’ve had field work. All done on Lord Howe Island, Australia, which I hope to return to in 2017.


The number of new papers published this year, up from 10 last year thanks to some exceptionally productive co-authors! A bunch of these were also from a Special Issue that I co-edited, and that took much longer than anyone expected (2.5 years).


The number of co-authors I had in 2015.


My Gender Gap for co-authors in 2016 (the ratio of female:male coauthors). A step up from last year (0.29), but far from parity.

Heaps (metric)

The number of brilliant people from Twitter that I’ve met in the last 12 months, mostly at conferences like the LGBT STEMinar, at ornithology meetings in Edinburgh and Barcelona, or because we both happened to be in the same place at the same time. Lots of connections strengthened, much laughter, and a few collaborations, too. And tea.

8 (maybe 9)

Number of graduate/honours students I’m co-supervising in 2017. Certainly wouldn’t be possible without the university-based supervisors spread across the UK, Canada, and Australia. This is largely a new adventure for me, and I’m sure there will be peaks and valleys. Or perhaps swings and roundabouts.


Number of staff I was involved in recruiting this year, from seasonal posts to 2-year positions. Let’s just say I’ve gotten to know our HR department rather well lately. But I’ve also had a chance to see what makes a good interview (from both sides), which has been rather instructive.


Number of emails I sent in 2016. That’s roughly 21/day (or 34/working day). Some were long, others much shorter. This is the first year I’ve kept track, officially. The volume of email is something I struggle with this most in my day-to-day job, and I highly recommend this post by Meg Duffy over on Dynamic Ecology for strategies to cope. I will try to send fewer emails in 2017.


New countries visited this year: Germany, Spain, Switzerland. Or 4 if you count Wales.


2016’s been a tough year for a lot of people, me included, for reasons that can’t be put into numbers. Let’s all look after each other in 2017.