Next up in our Meet the Editor series is our Blog Editor Sarah Marley, marine biologist and fan of ancient woodlands. Catch Sarah at any of the breaks at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting or during the Nature and Humans session on Tuesday morning (Hall 5).
What can you tell us about the first paper you published?
My first publication was based on my Honours thesis. I had very little clue about the whole publishing process and was terrified being both lead and corresponding author! But the Editor who dealt with my manuscript was fantastic – very patient, happy to answer my many ‘quick questions’, and even helped me deal with reviewer responses. This has always stayed with me as a great example of how the publishing experience should be!
What’s your favourite species and why?
I have worked with marine mammals for over a decade, but still get excited whenever a dolphin surfaces or a whale pops up! My Scottish accent gets really strong when I’m excited, so my younger years spent working on a whale-watch boat caused a lot of hilarity for the customers! But after several years of living overseas, I started to really miss the British wildlife. Since moving back a couple of months ago I have been delighted to reacquaint myself with red squirrels, tawny owls, and foxes!
Who inspired you most as a student?
My family are huge fans of Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough. As a kid, I would stay up late reading about Durrell’s childhood in Corfu, the challenges of starting his own zoo, and the exotic locations he adventured in looking for animals. Attenborough took these things from my imagination and made them ‘real’. Last year I gave a talk about my two science heroes as part of Laboratory – have a listen here!
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?
I would love to speak another language fluently (apart from Scottish and English, obviously!). My partner is French and it would be great to not only communicate with his family but have sneaky French conversations. I have tried learning on-and-off for years, and whilst my understanding is okay I struggle to formulate the words quick enough in conversation.
Are you a good cook? What’s your signature dish?
I like to think so! I’m best at making ‘warming’ food – stew, soup, oven bakes. These always seem to be appreciated by hungry field teams! My signature dish would have to be mushroom risotto, but my go-to comfort food is chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas!
Are you attending #BES2018? If so, when is the best opportunity for people to meet you?
This will be my first BES conference! I am chairing the Nature and Humans session on Tuesday morning (Hall 5) and giving a talk on Tuesday afternoon in the S35 Behavioural Ecology session (Hall 10a).
Please send an informal photo that reflects you as a person
I enjoy walking along the beach. But as a marine mammal person, it is very hard to be ‘off duty’ – I am constantly scanning the waves, hoping to see a fin or a blow!
Even though I am a marine biologist, I love being in the woods! I spent a lot of my childhood exploring our local woods in Aberdeenshire and there is something very calming about being in a forest. This photo was taken when my former PhD supervisor and I were attending a conference in the US earlier this year. On the final day, we took a train out of the city and went for a hike along the Mississippi River. We’d soon left the path behind and were following an old trail – then a bald eagle flew by! A great end to the trip!
A downside of taking me anywhere is that I am easily distracted by animals! A casual lunch can result in me crawling through the bushes, trying to find a calling frog! My friends are very accepting!