The winner of PLoS ONE’s Blog Pick of the Month for April is Alistair Dove, for his post on Deep Sea News that chronicles his group’s recent publication about the largest whale shark gathering ever recorded.
In a post that was over two years in the making, Dove tells the back-story of his findings on his own terms, instead of using the traditional press release. What develops is a fascinating look behind the scenes:
To help set the scene I need to take you on a trip to the flat, karst beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in the summertime, in the state of Quintana Roo. Real tropical summer too; not the namby pamby Zone 6 or 7 stuff so many of us experience back in our temperate homes, but the oppressive blanket of sweltering tropical stillness that smothers you in equal parts humidity and blinding UV. You know the sort, where going outside is like being slugged in the face with a pillowcase full of batteries, the breeze has gone somewhere else to escape the heat, and every day comes with a side of thunderstorm at 5PM. It’s during these sorts of dog days that the whale sharks appear.
Distilling journal articles for researchers in other disciplines as well as the general public is an important undertaking for the future of science communication, and part of the reason we have a ‘Blog Pick of the Month’ in the first place. But scientists using social media and blogs to not only promote their work, but to tell their story and engage the community in scientific discussion, well, that deserves a separate nod of respect. And for the second month in a row, we’re proud to recognize the efforts of authors going the extra mile.
Dove’s research team will receive complimentary PLoS ONE t-shirts and our gratitude (but only the former shipped via UPS).