KAPOW! ECOLOGY is a weekly comic-strip showcasing some great ecological research. This alternative approach to science communication takes the complexity of a research paper and synthesises the key ecological message via colourful characters, pop-culture references, and engaging stories. I use the popularity of this creative medium to make big topics in conservation and ecology accessible to a broader audience.
So far the comic has tackled feral predator control through the lens of a Crime Scene Investigation T.V show, altered fire regimes delivered by a courier to some unimpressed Eucalypts, and even explained the concepts of ecological resilience and resistance via a scene from the latest Star Wars movie, just to name a few.
During my Ph.D, I was invited to talk about my research and the Ecological Society of Australia conference of 2012 on Einstein-A-Go-Go, a long-running science show on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR. I also gave a summary of the impact of my research on The Science Show, presented by Robyn Williams for ABC Radio National. For the last few years I have been also been presenting my own community radio show – RIFF RAFF RADIO. This show is primarily about rock n’ roll music appreciation but often includes a science news segment called Science Is Golden.
Since competing in the a 3-minute-thesis challenge in 2014, I have had my own YouTube channel which I use as part of my professional online profile. It is planned that in the future this will be a place to showcase video of my research and science communication.
I have recently become part of a collection of ecologists and artists – and those engaged in both – called ArteFact. The broad aim of this group is to increase appreciation for the natural sciences through creative mediums.