Winner of PeerJ sponsored Best Presentation Award at International Biogeography Society’s 2019 meeting interviewed

Best Presentation winner Christiana McDonald-Spicer. Photo credit: Alex Skeels

Congratulations go to Christiana McDonald-Spicer, winner of the PeerJ Award for Best Oral Presentation at the International Biogeography Society meeting IBS 2019 in Malaga, Spain last month. The PeerJ Award includes a free publication in PeerJ (upon submission and acceptance through our normal peer review system). Learn more about Christiana’s work and award-winning presentation in our interview below:

  • Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your research interests?

I’m a fourth-year PhD student at The Australian National University who gets excited talking about reptiles, biogeography and diversity in science. My research looks at refugia in northern Australia and how past climate change affects patterns of diversity, focusing on lizards and snakes. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about ‘stability’ and how we measure it.

  • Can you briefly explain the research you presented on at the IBS conference?

Many biogeographical studies use ‘stability’ to explain patterns of diversity. But what do we mean by ‘stability’? The research I presented at IBS 2019 was looking at different definitions of stability. I found that how we measure stability makes a big difference to what exactly we are measuring, and that including multiple measures of stability can help us tease apart different drivers of the patterns we see.

  • What are your next steps? How will you continue to build on this research?

I still have some tests to do to verify my results. In future I’m planning on using these findings to look more closely at northern Australia. This is a really interesting area with some strong patterns in lizard diversity, and I’d like to have a closer look to see what is driving these patterns.

Christiana is on Twitter @christiana_ms, and her department is @EcoEvo_ANU. Follow PeerJ on @thePeerJ.


About: PeerJ publishes two open access, peer-reviewed publications: PeerJ serving the Life and Environmental Sciences and PeerJ Computer Science. Additionally, PeerJ is thrilled to be accepting submissions starting January 2019 for five newly launched, open access PeerJ Chemistry journals. We also publish PeerJ Preprints which is an innovative ‘preprint server’ covering Biology, Medical, Environmental and Computer Science. Our mission is to make Open Access affordable, fast, and easier for researchers and institutions.

By teaming up with a number of conferences to offer these awards, we are making it as easy as possible for organizers to reward excellence in science, support students and early career researchers, and signal to the wider research community that open science is better science. Learn more here and get in touch if you are a conference organizer and are looking to offer a ‘Best Contribution’ award for open science – sierra.williams@peerj.com

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