Category

Science communication

PlantSciVid Results Announcement

By | Blog, ECRi, Science communication

Great news for today! The Global Plant Council and Plants, People, Planet are delighted to announce the two winners of our #PlantSciVid competition.

We received 15 brilliant entries and although some of them were submitted a (tiny) bit late, all were accepted for consideration in the competition. We decided to allow some flexibility given the current global situation (pandemic, lockdowns, and levels of quarantines). After carefully considering all of the entries, we are delighted to announce the following winners.

Category: Scicomm

The winner in the ‘SciComm’ category is Gabriela Doria ‏ (@gabidoria), a Colombian botanist and paleobotanist interested in the evolution and diversification of plants at different time scales. Gabriela’s clear video effectively communicates how she uses morphological, molecular, and ecological approaches to address questions on flower development, pollination biology, systematic affinities of fossil plants, and phenotypic variation of living and fossil plants in response to environmental changes. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Plant Sciences at Cambridge University (UK).

Gabriela Doria ‏ (@gabidoria)

Category: Plant Health

The winner in the ‘Plant Health’ category is Ilaria Martino (@_chapeau13_), an Italian PhD Student at Agroinnova (Torino, Italy), where she is working on developing a plant pathogen isolation method. Her video was creatively shot and very well put together, with the researcher as the main focus while the different stages of the plant pathogen isolation and determination method were portrayed. Excellent!

Ilaria Martino (@_chapeau13_)

In addition to the board of directors of The Global Plant Council, which acted as the judging panel, the editorial and communications team at Plants, People, Planet were also impressed by the quality of the videos submitted to the competition, and the breadth of research communicated. You can watch more of the submissions in the playlist below. What is clear from these videos is the variety of ways in which plant science is of great importance for the wellbeing of people, and the planet that we call home. We were very pleased to see the creativity employed in communicating these concepts. Congratulations to the winners, Gabriela and Ilaria, and very well done to all of the entrants.


To watch all contributions you may watch the full playlist on Youtube,  or you may visit the partial lists created on Twitter or Instagram.

About Plants, People, Planet

Plants, People, Planet is an Open Access journal that aims to promote outstanding plant-based research in its broadest sense and to celebrate everything new, innovative, and exciting in plant sciences that is relevant to society and people’s daily lives. The journal is owned by the New Phytologist Trust, a not-for-profit organisation focused on the promotion and advancement of plant science. Find out more.

About The Global Plant Council

The Global Plant Council is a coalition of 28 national, regional, and international organizations representing plant, crop, agricultural, and environmental sciences across the globe. GPC aim is to promote plant science across borders & disciplines, supporting those involved in research, education, and training, and to increase awareness of plant research in science and society. Find out more.

Twitter for Science Networking

By | Blog, ECRi, Science communication

A common stereotype of Twitter is that it’s trivial and ephemeral. It’s certainly ephemeral, but it doesn’t have to be trivial if you’re interested in science. If you have a focus on a particular topic, Twitter is an opportunity to get regular updates on news, papers and opportunities like jobs on a rapid basis.

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Communicating science can benefit from scientists ‘being human’

By | ECRi, News, Science communication

As social beliefs and values change over time, scientists have struggled with effectively communicating the facts of their research with the public. Now, a team of researchers believe scientists can gain trust with their audience by showing their human side. The researchers say it can be as simple as using “I” and first-person narratives to help establish a personal connection with the audience.

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A Japanese farmer working

New survey results reveal the experts and public’s attitude towards gene-edited crops

By | Agriculture, News, Science communication

Experts’ interest in utilizing gene editing for the breeding crops has seen revolutionary growth. Meanwhile, people’s awareness for food safety has also been increasing.
According to a study, participants who had expert knowledge of molecular biology perceived emerging technologies to offer the lowest risk and highest benefits or value for food application, while lay public showed the highest risk and lowest benefit.

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Communicating uncertainty about climate change

By | Climate change, News, Science communication

The ways climate scientists explain their predictions about the impact of global warming can either promote or limit their persuasiveness.

The more specific climate scientists are about the uncertainties of global warming, the more the American public trusts their predictions, according to new research by Stanford scholars.

But scientists may want to tread carefully when talking about their predictions, the researchers say, because that trust falters when scientists acknowledge that other unknown factors could come into play.

In a study in Nature Climate Change, researchers examined how Americans respond to climate scientists’ predictions about sea level rise. They found that when climate scientists include best-case and worst-case case scenarios in their statements, the American public is more trusting and accepting of their statements. But those messages may backfire when scientists also acknowledge they do not know exactly how climate change will unfold.

“Scientists who acknowledge that their predictions of the future cannot be exactly precise and instead acknowledge a likely range of possible futures may bolster their credibility and increase acceptance of their findings by non-experts,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford professor of communication and of political science and a co-author on the paper. “But these gains may be nullified when scientists acknowledge that no matter how confidently they can make predictions about some specific change in the future, the full extent of the consequences of those predictions cannot be quantified.”

Effects of communicating uncertainty

Predicting the future always comes with uncertainty, and climate scientists routinely recognize limitations in their predictions, note the researchers.

“In the context of global warming specifically, scientific uncertainty has been of great interest, in part because of concerted efforts by so-called ‘merchants of doubt’ to minimize public concern about the issue by explicitly labeling the science as ‘uncertain,’” said Lauren Howe, who was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford when she conducted the research with Krosnick and is first author on the paper.

“We thought that, especially in this critical context, it was important to understand whether expressing uncertainty would undermine persuasion, or whether the general public might instead recognize that the study of the future has to involve uncertainty and trust predictions where that uncertainty is openly acknowledged more than those where it is minimized,”

Howe said.

To better understand how the public reacts to scientists’ messages about the uncertainties of climate change, the researchers presented a nationally representative sample of 1,174 American adults with a scientific statement about anticipated sea level rise.

Respondents were randomly assigned to read either a prediction of the most likely amount of future sea level rise; a prediction plus a worst-case scenario; or a robust prediction with worst-case and best-case scenarios, for example: “Scientists believe that, during the next 100 years, global warming will cause the surface of the oceans around the world to rise about 4 feet. However, sea level could rise as little as 1 foot, or it could rise by as much as 7 feet.”

The researchers found that when predictions included a best-case and worst-case scenario, it increased the number of participants who reported high trust in scientists by 7.9 percentage points compared with participants who only read a most likely estimate of sea level rise.

Changes in environmental policies, human activities, new technologies and natural disasters make it difficult for climate scientists to quantify the long-term impact of a specific change – which scientists often acknowledge in their predictions, the researchers said. They wanted to know if providing such well-intended, additional context and acknowledging complete uncertainty would help or hurt public confidence in scientific findings.

To find out, the researchers asked half of their respondents to read a second statement acknowledging that the full extent of likely future damage of sea level rise cannot be measured because of other forces, such as storm surge: “Storm surge could make the impacts of sea level rise worse in unpredictable ways.”

The researchers found that this statement eliminated the persuasive power of the scientists’ messages. When scientists acknowledged that storm surge makes the impact of sea level rise unpredictable, it decreased the number of participants who reported high trust in scientists by 4.9 percentage points compared with the participants who only read a most likely estimate of sea level rise.

The findings held true regardless of education levels and political party affiliation.

Not all expressions of uncertainty are equal, Howe said: “Scientists may want to carefully weigh which forms of uncertainty they discuss with the public. For example, scientists could highlight uncertainty that has predictable bounds without overwhelming the public with the discussion of factors involving uncertainty that can’t be quantified.”

Read the paper: Nature Climate Change

Article source: Stanford University

Author: Melissa De Witte

Image credit: Jody Davis / Pixabay