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About Quack Science
I get a special thrill from discovering a technique that works for me and sharing it with someone else, especially if it also works for that person.  I get excited when someone tells me about a new piece of technology or software that will make my grad studies easier.  I love the idea that networks of academics and grad students share this type of information to help each other continually acquire and improve habits, techniques, and the tools at their disposal.


This blog is first and foremost a place for me to share what works for me.  I talk about hardware such like my Google tablet as well as software and apps for computers and mobile devices. I also discuss tips and strategies for time management, organization, and efficiency.  I'll also throw in the occasional R function, writing/grammar, poster, or presentation tip if I stumble across something that might be useful to someone else. My opinions won't be universal, and my tips won't work for everyone, but they work for me. I'm putting them out there on the chance that they'll help someone else.

A secondary purpose for the blog is to discuss grad studies in general and some of my research progress, findings, and thoughts.

In a way, I'm writing to my past self. It could be past Nicole from 4 years ago, when she was trying to decide whether to start a PhD and where, or it could be past Nicole from 2 weeks ago, before she learned a really useful R function. Either way, if these tips, functions, advice, and links would have been useful to past me, they'll probably be useful to someone else, too.

About Me
I'm currently working towards a Ph.D. in Forest Sciences at Universit√© Laval in association with Ducks Unlimited Canada. My doctoral research consists of modelling the abundance and distribution of waterfowl at the continental level using data from the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Waterfowl Breeding Population & Habitat Survey. I have two main goals: 1) to create predictive species distribution models; and 2) to model population dynamics. I hope that results of my research will be applied to conservation planning, projection of climate change impacts, future study design, or population management.

Previously, I completed an M.Sc. in Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor, where I studied bird song in relation to habitat.  I worked with Dan Mennill's long-term study population of Rufous-and-white Wrens in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. My research questions centred on song structure, song transmission, and singing behaviour of these birds.

I also worked in an Aquatic Ecology lab at the University of Windsor, on projects related to eutrophication in the Great Lakes and assessments of water quality using benthic invertebrate communities. 

In general, I am interested in applied ecology, conservation biology, and refining the tools used in ecological research, such as ecological models and simulation studies.

In my spare time, I enjoy creative pursuits such as crocheting, quilting, knitting, gardening, and photography. 

Follow me on Google+ or Twitter using the links at the right of the page. You'll see me Tweet and reTweet potentially useful links or interesting articles and blog posts.
You can also check out my university website and LinkedIn, although the former hasn't been updated in some time.

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