CAMDEN — Scientist Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie will lead a presentation on how the field of ecology has changed in the past 80 years in an online webinar hosted by Merryspring Nature Center, Tuesday, Sept. 28 at noon.

In this online program, MacKenzie will speak about how her team of conservation researchers analyzed the full text — over half a billion words — of papers published in 52 ecology and conservation journals, to uncover broad trends in the field. She will talk about how, by tracking the language in published papers, trends were traced in the field. When did the big buzzwords like climate change, phylogenetics, and biodiversity become popular among researchers? What topics that were a part of early ecology work in the 1930s have dropped out of favor? And how does conservation fit into this story? This talk will cover the rise of invasive species and ecosystem services, the fall of competition and predation, and how online publishing has replaced unpublished data with supplementary materials.

MacKenzie is a visiting assistant professor at Colby College in environmental studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in environmental science and public policy from Harvard University; a Master of Science in ecological planning from the University of Vermont, and a Doctorate in biology from Boston University. Her research is based in Acadia National Park, and she was a David H. Smith Conservation Research postdoc fellow at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.

This talk is part of Merryspring’s Online Summer Talk series. All Online Talks will be held as Zoom webinars. Access to a computer or smart device is required. All guests must request a meeting link by emailing to attend. Links will be sent on the morning of the talk. Online Talks are open to everybody, free of charge.

Merryspring is located at the end of Conway Road, just off Route 1 in Camden, behind Hannaford Shopping Plaza. For more information, contact or call 236-2239.