Read previous years’ By the Numbers: 2018, 20172016201520142013


This year’s top 10 posts by views:

Personal academic websites for faculty & grad students: the why, what, and how (again!)

Amusing bird names explained: Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler

What’s in an affiliation?

The system of student research in the UK fundamentally broken

Some rambling thoughts on field work to wrap up Pride Month

How did we learn that birds migrate (and not to the moon)? A stab in the dark

Listing grants on one’s CV

The advantages of Google Scholar for early-career academics (also, again!)

Keeping track of projects and prioritising work

Reflection in science


18,500 (ish)

The number of visitors to The Lab and Field this year, an all-time low! Readership of The Lab and Field continues to fall, perhaps mirroring a broader trend in blogs. It’s increasingly hard to know what resonates, or what’s useful. Twitter is great for “in the moment” interactions, but anything that’s older than a couple of days gets lost and nearly impossible to find (and certainly not serendipitously). L&F has never been a traffic-driven project, so it will continue.

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The number of countries, according to WordPress’s stats, that these visitors came from. Shout to the single people who visited from Swaziland, Namibia, Albania, Côte d’Ivoire, Cambodia, British Virgin Islands, Montenegro, Falkland Islands, Jersey, Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Mozambique, St. Kitts & Nevis, Benin, Afghanistan, Sudan, Bermuda, and Oman!



Trips to the Southern Hemisphere, for field work on Lord Howe Island, and Henderson Island, and my annual visit to the University of Tasmania. Hoping to bring that down to 2 this coming year because it’s getting more and more exhausting (especially coming back to the UK)



Days in the field this year, in bouts of 17 (Lord Howe Island) and 29 (Henderson). That’s the most field work I’ve done since I was outposted to Tristan da Cunha for 4 months in 2015. I used to absolutely LIVE for field work, but as I continue to get not-younger, less so which I find particularly sad.



New publications in 2019. Ack! How on earth did that happen? A conference proceedings was published, which accounts for 4, and about 4 appeared online in 2018 but ended up in 2019 issues. Some were massive consortium-type papers, and there were 2 Commentary pieces. Some were also massive collaborations, some (most!) were driven by coauthors and students, but some particular highlights include:

-The first paper by a student I supervised

-A paper we worked HARD on for YEARS, and seemingly couldn’t interest anyone else in

-The first paper from a PhD student in the Adrift Lab, and a cracker at that!

-Our paper with huge media coverage this year, on crabs trapped in plastic waste on beaches. Sad, but important.



The number of coauthors, not counting the two large consortium papers I was involved in (that would push this to nearly 140, I’d guess).



My Gender Gap – better than last year, but still not parity. Also excluding the two consortium papers. And still in a binary format, which I’m increasingly less pleased about because that’s not what gender is. I need to think more about how I use this metric and frame this discussion in the future.



The number of emails sent. Yikes. That’s back to 2016 levels, the first year I kept track. Especially yikes given the number of days I was in the field (and therefore not really emailing). I attribute this rise to some big projects at work (our building being re-clad), an increase in the number of PhD students I co-supervise from 2 to 4, and trying to coordinate a few professional initiatives.



The number of people who found The Lab and Field by searching for tits (as in the birds, of course). Including this gem: “why are burds called tits”



The number of years that I’ve been involved with LGBTQ+ STEM, which remains an absolute career highlight, and something I never imagined would happen.


Here’s to a happy & healthy 2020!

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Me, exhausted after running through the scrub/forest and catching a Henderson Petrel during field work in June 2019. Photo by Jon Slayer.