62- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Climate change is a big topic, and one we're not going to cover here. However, there are international efforts to try and do something about it. Today's topic is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC to its friends), which was first set up in the nineties. What exactly did it lead to? Well, that's what we're here for…

Sources for this episode: 1) Bowman, W. D., Hacker, S. D. and Cain, M. L. (2017). Ecology (4th International Edition).Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2) Campbell, N. A., Urry, L. A., Cain, M. L., Wasserman, S. A., Minorsky, P. V. and Reece, J. B. (2018), Biology: a global approach, 11th edition (Global Edition), Harlow, Pearson Education Limited. 3) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2023), Industrial Revolution (online) [Accessed 04/06/2023]. 4) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2023), Kyoto Protocol (online) [Accessed 12/06/2023]. 5) Hughes, T. P., Kerry, J. T., Álvarez-Noriega, M., Álvarez-Romero, J. G., Anderson, K. D., Baird, A. H., Babcock, R. C., Beger, M., Bellwood, D. R., Berkelmans, R., Bridge, T. C., Butler, I. R., Byrne, M., Cantin, N. E., Comeau, S., Connolly, S. R., Cumming, G. S., Dalton, S. J., Diaz-Pulido, G., Eakin, C. M., Figueira, W. F., Gilmour, J. P., Harrison, H. B., Heron. S. F., Hoey, A. S., Hobbs, J.-P. A., Hoogenboom, M. O., Kennedy, E. V., Kuo, C.-Y., Lough, J. M., Lowe, R. J., Liu, G., McCulloch, M. T., Malcolm, H. A., McWilliam, M. J., Pandolfi, J. M., Pears, R. J., Pratchett, M. S., Schoepf, V., Simpson, T., Skirving, W. J., Sommer, B., Torda, G., Wachenfeld, D. R., Willis, B. L. and Wilson, S. K.(2017), Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature, 543(7645): 373–377. 6) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2019), Global Warming of 1.5°C. 7) Kinley, R., Cutajar M. Z., de Boer, Y. and Figueres, C. (2021), Beyond good intentions, to urgent action: Former UNFCCC leaders take stock of
thirty years of international climate change negotiations. Climate Policy, 21(5): 593-603. 8) O’Neill, B. C. and Oppenheimer, M. (2002), Dangerous Climate Impacts and the Kyoto Protocol. Science 296(5575): 1971-1972. 9) United Nations. (1992), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change United Nations. 10) Author unknown, Climate Action Tracker (2021), Warming Projections Global Update- November 2021. 11) Author unknown, UC San Diego (date unknown), The Keeling Curve (online) [Accessed 12/06/2023].  12) Author unknown, United Nations Climate Change (date unknown), Conference of the Parties (COP) (online) [Accessed 04/06/2023]. 13) Author unknown, United Nations Climate Change (date unknown), The Paris Agreement (online) [Accessed 12/06/2023]. 14) Author unknown, United Nations Climate Change (date unknown), What is the Kyoto Protocol? (online) [Accessed 12/06/2023]. 15) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), List of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (online) [Accessed 04/06/2023].

Update- Podcast schedule

Hello everyone, Vince here with a quick update on how the podcast schedule is probably going to work from now on. I'm likely as not going to try out a monthly schedule- meaning that a new After Alexander will show up on the first Saturday of every month and a Biopedia on the first Sunday- although that may vary depending if I have more or less time for it in a given month. Who knows, there may well be more than one episode a month if I'm lucky!

There may also be some extra content in the 'Community' tab of the podcasts' YouTube pages as well. I'm trying this new schedule in order to walk the line between not releasing any content at all and burning out due to trying to juggle everything at once. I'm also releasing this update on After Alexander's feed.

Bonus- Darwin Day 2023

It’s that time of year again! This time round, I thought I’d put Charles Darwin’s life into a little bit of historical context. This is because I imagine most people have a stereotypical image of him in their heads as a model Victorian gentleman. However, his life saw quite a few other historical events that wouldn’t really spring to mind. For instance, would it have occurred to you that Darwin witnessed the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars? So, in honour of Darwin’s birthday, let’s explore a few of the events in his life it might not occur to you he witnessed…

Sources for this episode: 1) Chisholm, E., Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911, Vol. II), Peninsular War (eBook) [Accessed 10/02/2023]. 2) Cronin, V. (1971), Napoleon. London: Harper Collins Publishers LLC. 3) Cussans, T. (2017), The Times Kings & Queens of the British Isles: A History of Monarchy. Marlborough: Times Books Ltd. 4) Current, R. N., Encyclopaedia Britannica (2023), Abraham Lincoln (online) [Accessed 05/02/2023]. 5) Darwin, C. R. (1945), The Voyage of the Beagle. The Temple Press Letchworth: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. 6) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2008), Confederation of the Rhine (online) [Accessed 10/02/2023]. 7) Hoyer, K. (2021), Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1871-1918 (eBook). Cheltenham: The History Press [Accessed 10/02/2023]. 8) Littlewood, I. (2002), The Rough Guide: History of France. London: Rough Guides Ltd. 9) Roberts, A. (2014), Napoleon the Great (eBook) [Accessed 10/02/2023]. 10) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Cape Verde (online) [Accessed 11/02/2023]. 11) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Charles Darwin [Accessed 10/02/2023]. 12) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Santiago, Cape Verde (online) [Accessed 11/02/2023]. 13) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), 2005 (online) [Accessed 10/02/2023].

61- Monophyly, Paraphyly and Polyphyly

This episode is going to be a return to genetics with an introduction to some phylogenetic terms. Groups can be monophyletic, paraphyletic or polyphyletic depending on who exactly is included. Confused? Well, that’s what Biopedia is here to solve…

Sources for this episode: 1) Campbell, N. A., Urry, L. A., Cain, M. L., Wasserman, S. A., Minorsky, P. V. and Reece, J. B. (2018), Biology: a global approach, 11th edition (Global Edition), Harlow, Pearson Education Limited. 2) Herron, J. C., and Freeman, S. (2015), Evolutionary Analysis. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. 3) Hine, R. (2019), A Dictionary of Biology (Oxford Quick Reference), 8th edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 4) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Polyphyly (online) [Accessed 16/01/2023].

Now Live- Island Folk Episode 2

Another day, another episode of Island Folk! Sean Dettman and I discussed the concept of the island fortress as it was perceived in WW2 Britain. Basically, this is the idea that the inhabitants of the UK took comfort in the island nature of their country and the sea protecting them against hostile forces. Sean’s upcoming publication on this subject was the focus of the episode’s discussion. Along the way, we discuss connections to contemporary events, the paradigm of Britain’s lack of invasions since 1066, and draw it all back to how important the way perceptions of unique culture and biology on islands are built up is…

The episode can be found at: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1fODK3wb2qd7yQZWrLzvIS?si=d44bbb9396034d42. Enjoy!

60- Porphyria

In today’s episode, we revisit an old blog post from all the way back in January 2021. George III of the United Kingdom is probably the person most famously associated with porphyria. However, what isn’t as often discussed is what exactly it is. Moreover, as we will introduce in today’s episode, it isn’t just George Hanover who was affected with the condition; his wider family seems to have suffered from it too. We don’t touch on this that much in the episode, but it in fact seems to stretch back to Peter I of Bourbon in the 14th century…

Sources for this episode: 1) Cussans, T. (2017), The Times Kings & Queens of the British Isles: A History of Monarchy. Marlborough: Times Books Ltd. 2) Dean, G. and Barnes, H. D. (1955), The Inheritance of Porphyria. British Medical Journal 2(4931): 89-94. 3) Hurst, L. C. (1982), Porphyria revisited. Medical History 26(2): 179-182. 4) Macalpine, I., Hunter, R. and Rimington, C. (1968), Porphyria in the Royal Houses of Stuart, Hanover and Prussia: A Follow-up Study of George III’s Illness. British Medical Journal 1: 7-18. 5) Roy, R., New Scientist (2011), Dracula’s disease (online) [Accessed 11/12/2022]. 6) Author unknown, British Liver Trust (date unknown), Porphyria (online) [Accessed 11/12/2022]. 7) Author unknown, Genetics Home Reference (2016), porphyria (online) [Accessed 11/12/2022 via Internet Archive]. 8) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Peter I, Duke of Bourbon (online) [Accessed 11/12/2022].

NOTE: Original access dates for webpages weren’t listed on my blog post, so dates are for pre-podcast access.

Now Live- Island Folk Episode 1

My inaugural Island Folk episode has launched! In it, Sean Dettman and I discuss the history of Rapa Nui in relation to the removal of the island’s trees, and whether it was this that proved the death knell for the civilisation or the arrival of Europeans. This is a big topic with a lot more nuance than either our discussion or my preceding research was able to fit in or find, but I aim to come back to it in one or more future Biopedia episodes. If people are interested, I will add some references for my pre-reading ahead of our discussion to this episode description.

The episode itself can be found at: Pod 1 Rapa Nui 10 Nov 2022 – Island Folk – On HAU – RADIO – Hautlieu Radio | Podcast on Spotify


Announcement- Island Folk

Hello everyone, quick announcement- I’ve been offered the chance to host a radio programme! Island Folk- the show where we talk about islands and play folk music- forms part of Hautlieu Radio. My background means I’ll mostly be discussing island biology, but other aspects such as island history or culture also fall within the show’s remit. It usually goes live on Thursdays (3-4 pm) before being uploaded to SoundCloud. It’s a very different project to any audio experience I’ve had before, but I’m looking forward to it! The link to Hautlieu Radio’s SoundCloud link is https://soundcloud.com/hautlieu-school, and it can be found on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/show/6zhcEz3lcZgiNs1uYSlasm?si=9cba6ae13460439c. If it sounds like something you might be interested in, feel free to check it out!

59- James E. Lovelock

James Ephraim Lovelock, best known for the Gaia hypothesis, died on the 26th of July 2022, on his 103rd birthday. In his honour, this episode is going to detail some of his achievements. During our discussion, we’re going to examine his contribution to Martian life detection in the form of a paper published in 1965, as well as outline what the Gaia hypothesis actually refers to…

Sources for this episode: 1) Campbell, N. A., Urry, L. A., Cain, M. L., Wasserman, S. A., Minorsky, P. V. and Reece, J. B. (2018), Biology: a global approach, 11th edition (Global Edition), Harlow, Pearson Education Limited. 2) Hine, R. (2019), A Dictionary of Biology (Oxford Quick Reference), 8th edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 3) Lovelock, J. E. (1965), A Physical Basis for Life Detection Experiments. Nature 207(4997): 568-570. 4) Lovelock, J. E. (first published 1979, reprinted 2000), Gaia: A new look at life on Earth (eBook) 5) Lovelock, J. E., James Lovelock (date unknown), Home (online) [Accessed c. 30/07/2022 and 08/11/2022]. 6) Rafferty, J. P., Encyclopaedia Britannica (2022), James Lovelock (online) [Accessed 30/07/2022]. 7) Tao, A., Encyclopaedia Britannica (2022), Lynn Margulis (online) [Accessed 30/07/2022]. 8) Web of Stories- Life Stories of Remarkable People, YouTube (2017), James Lovelock- Detecting life on Mars (10/17) (online) [Accessed 30/07/2022]. 9) Wright, P. and Radford, T., The Guardian (2022), James Lovelock obituary (online) [Accessed 30/07/2022]. 10) Author unknown, BBC (2022), James Lovelock: Influential green thinker dies aged 103 (online) [Accessed 30/07/2022]. 11) Author unknown, NASA (date unknown), SETI: The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (online) [Accessed 04/11/2022].

58- Islamic Golden Age Evolutionary Theory

The traditional narrative of the history of biology as a field focusses on the West. As such, other regions of the world are underdiscussed- which is important when discussing how to decolonise our curriculum and therefore what needs to be included and reflected. In this episode, we’re going to step back in time to the Islamic Golden Age and discuss evolutionary theory- centuries before Charles Darwin was even born.

Sources for this episode: 1) Fuentes, A. (2021), “The Descent of Man”, 150 years on. Science 372(6544): 769. 2) Haensch, S., Bianucci, R., Signoli, M., Rajerison, M., Schultz, M., Kacki, S., Vermunt, M., Weston, D. A., Hurst, D., Achtman, M., Carniel, E. and Bramanti, B. (2010), Distinct Clones of Yersinia pestis Caused the Black Death. PLOS Pathogens 6(10): e1001134. 3) Issawi, C., Encyclopaedia Britannica (2022), Ibn Khaldūn (online) [Accessed 19/07/2022]. 4) Malik, A. H., Ziermann, J. M. and Diogo, R. (2018), An untold story in biology: the historical continuity of evolutionary ideas of Muslim scholars from the 8th century to Darwin’s time. Journal of Biological Education 52(1): 3-17. 5) Singer, C. (1950), A history of biology: a general introduction to the study of living things, 2nd edition, London: Lewis. 6) Author unknown, Keele University (2018), Keele Manifesto for decolonising the curriculum (online) [Accessed 16/06/2022]. 7) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Islamic Golden Age (online) [Accessed c.20/03/2022 and 23/06/2022]. 8) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Muqaddimah (online) [Accessed 19/07/2022].