Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Our diet and the environment [infographic]

Our diets are a moral choice. We can decide what we want to eat, though more often than not we give little thought to our diet and instead rather habitually and instinctively eat foods that have been served to us since a young age.

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The reptiles of Thailand [interactive map]

Thailand is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, housing more than 350 different species of reptiles. Learning about these turtles, tortoises, lizards, crocodiles, and snakes is more important than ever in light of recent threats to their extinction due to wildlife trade and loss of habitat for agricultural use of their habitat.

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Kuwait’s war on ISIS and DNA

Kuwait is changing the playing field. In early July, just days after the June 26th deadly Imam Sadiq mosque bombing claimed by ISIS, Kuwait ruled to instate mandatory DNA-testing for all permanent residents. This is the first use of DNA testing at the national-level for security reasons, specifically as a counter-terrorism measure. An initial $400 million dollars is set aside for collecting the DNA profiles of all 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents

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Meta-analysis of animal studies: a solution to animal waste

Animal research has always attracted a lot of attention because it involves the welfare of animals being compromised. Given this pressure, you would expect that animal studies are performed according to the highest scientific standards; however, there are big methodological problems.

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Water and conflict

The four-year drought in California, which is causing severe water shortages and related problems, is receiving increasingly more attention. It is affecting everyone, causing people to adjust their lifestyles and causing small business owners and entire industries to rethink their use–and misuse–of water.

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Studying botany in college

Many of us involved in teaching botany feel a sense of urgency in our profession. Botany departments, botany majors, and botany curricula have gradually disappeared from most colleges and universities in the United States, and I suspect in many other parts of the world as well.

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Complexities of causation

Imagine the thrill of discovering a new species of frog in a remote part of the Amazon. Scientists are motivated by the opportunity to make new discoveries like this, but also by a desire to understand how things work. It’s one thing to describe the communities of microorganisms in our guts, but quite another to learn what causes these communities to change and how these changes influence health.

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The hidden side of natural selection

The agents of natural selection cause evolutionary changes in population gene pools. They include a plethora of familiar abiotic and biotic factors that affect growth, development, and reproduction in all living things.

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A prescient voice on climate change

Everyone knows that in June 1962, Rachel Carson published a series of articles that became Silent Spring, the eloquent book that launched the American environmental movement.

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Ecologists, drunkards, and statistics

“Statistics,” as an old saying has it, sometimes “are used much like a drunk man uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination” This sounds bad, but is it? And if so, why? cientists sometimes use statistics to support an argument because statistics appear to lend authority that otherwise may seem lacking.

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Urban heat islands – What are they and why are they a big deal?

The recent brutal heat waves on the Indian subcontinent, in western North America, and in western Europe are instructive reminders of an often forgotten challenge for an urbanizing human population in a warming world: alleviating urban heat stress. Cities are durable and costly to change, so what we do now to reduce risk in a future with more numerous and more dangerous heat waves that will directly affect future generations.

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Beukeboom_The evolution of sex determination

Looking forward to ESEB 2015

My first experience of an academic conference as a biology books editor at Oxford University Press was of sitting in a ballroom in Ottawa in July 2012 listening to 3000 evolutionary biologists chanting ‘I’m a African’ while a rapper danced in front of a projection of Charles Darwin

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OxBibs in African Studies

Cecil the lion’s death is part of a much larger problem

Effective wildlife conservation is a challenge worldwide. Only a small percentage of the earth’s surface is park, reserve, or related areas designated for the protection of wild animals, marine life, and plants. Virtually all protected areas are smaller than what conservationists believe is needed to ensure species’ survival, and many of these areas suffer from a shortage of

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Genomically speaking

Today, the amount of global genetic data is doubling on the order of every seven months. This time span has shortened significantly over the past years as the field of genomics continues to mature. A recent study showed genomics is starting to compete with the data outputs of digital giants like Twitter and YouTube.

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Animal, vegetable or mineral? [quiz]

In the late eighteenth century, against a troubled background of violent change on the continent and rising challenges to the Establishment at home, botanists were discovering strange creatures that defied the categories of ‘animal, vegetable, and mineral’.

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9780199798148 - Overfishing WENTK

Overfishing: a bigger problem than we think

Many of us probably tend to take fish for granted, as it’s a fairly sustainable resource—at least, that’s what we’d like believe. It’s difficult to imagine that we could even come close to depleting what seems to be limitless; after all, the earth is mostly covered in water. But as Ray and Ulrike Hilborn discuss in an excerpt from their book, Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, there is reason for concern in our flippancy towards our complex ecosystem.

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