Audio Abstracts: podcasts on the journal papers scripted and recorded by undergrads!

With some exceptions, universities rarely teach STEM undergrads how to communicate science to a general audience. This is our initial step towards undergrad science education and teaching them how to communicate science to a wider audience.

I collaborated with Dr. Melissa McCartney and Amy Acosta at Florida International University to teach biology undergrads how to read and annotate research papers. We used papers from the Journal of Animal Ecology. I trained the students (from Evolution class and QBiC Genetics journal club) on how to script a podcast, based on the papers they annotated, for a general audience.

None of the students had experience in science communication through audio, and most of them did not have a habit of listening to science podcasts before.

The results of our short training, I think, are amazing!  Take a listen.

For more details about the stories, please refer to the papers under each podcast.

Episode 1. Diversity of skin microbiome on salamanders depends on the environment they live in

Paper– Effects of host species and environment on the skin microbiome of Plethodontid salamanders

Episode 2. Restoration of Florida’s cat from an imminent danger

Paper– A cat’s tale: the impact of genetic restoration on  Florida panther population dynamics and persistence

Episode 3. Metabolic rate in ants is adapted to the elevation they live at

Paper–Evidence for locally adaptive metabolic rates among ant populations along an elevational gradient

Episode 4. GPS tracking helps uncover bull elephant reproductive tactics during Musth

Paper–Movement reveals reproductive tactics in male elephants

Episode 5. Size of the fish we catch affects the species’ sexual behavior

Paper–Size‐selective harvesting fosters adaptations in mating behavior and reproductive allocation, affecting sexual selection in fish

Episode 6. Can bacteria help manage environmental stress in aphids?

Paper-The influence of symbiotic bacteria on reproductive strategies and wing polyphenism in pea aphids responding to stress

Episode 7. Diet-dependent gut microbe diversity in pikas

Paper–Gut microbial communities of American pikas (Ochotona princeps): Evidence for phylosymbiosis and adaptations to novel diets

Episode 8. The buzz about urban bee adaptations

Paper–Urban bumblebees are smaller and more phenotypically diverse than their rural counterparts

Episode 9. Inbreeding badgers prone to age and sex-dependent diseases

Paper– Inbreeding intensifies sex-and age-dependent disease in a wild mammal

Episode 10. The effect of fishing and climate change on marine fish

Paper–Fishing constrains phenotypic responses of marine fish to climate variability

Episode 11. The effect of plant diversity on the genetic structure of aphids

Paper–Effect of plant chemical variation and mutualistic ants on the local population genetic structure of an aphid herbivore

Episode 12. Early-life environments in bank voles affect their next generation!

Paper–Intergenerational fitness effects of the early life environment in a wild rodent

Music credits: Cinematic Digital – AShamaluevMusic.

Special thanks to Dr. Alessandro Catenazzi and Mr. Tommy Fieldsend for supporting their students in this process.

If you like this, please share it. And if you like to implement this in your class, please contact me (Ravindra,  or


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