13 August 2015

A clone and two dwarfs

You can finally read my latest paper about pet crayfish!

You know you’re on to something when you get asked a question about it something like a week after you have started the project.

Back at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) in 2013, I was presenting at a special session on crayfish (the one that was the precursor to the Freshwater Crayfish book that landed a few days ago). I was presenting work about the gray market in Marmorkrebs in the pet trade in the U.S. and Canada (final paper was Faulkes 2013).

Chris Chucholl, who had written an awesome paper on the trade in pet crayfish in Germany (Chucholl 2013) asked:

“Do you have any idea how Marmorkrebs compare to other crayfish?”

And I got to say something like, “I have just started a project to answer exactly that question.” That was pretty satisfying. I had just started this project days before, on New Year’s Day, 2013.

Now, this project ran for a full calendar year, which meant that I had all the data collected by New Year’s Day of 2014, so I should have been ready to write this paper and submit it to a journal. But, in what has become a recurring theme in this series of “stories behind the papers,” you may well ask, “Why did it take so long? Why is this paper only out today, 19 months after you were finished collecting the data?”

Friggin’ SICB again!

Because just when I had all of the data complete and in the can, I was prepping to run a parasite symposium with Kelly Weinersmith at SICB in Austin in a couple of days. After the symposium, I had to write up papers from the symposium. And that was the situation where what I thought was going to be one paper... turned into three papers.

And I was commissioned to write an opinion piece about social media for Neuron.

Thanks to pressure from my co-editor Tadashi, I was also trying to nail down a chapter for the Freshwater Crayfish book around the same time.

I was going slightly mental with the amount of writing that was due at the start of 2014. I still want to rub my forehead just thinking about it. Then, the middle of 2014 had a lot of tough, unbloggable stuff that stopped me from writing up this paper. Then the fall semester arrived, and before you know it, it’s New Year’s Day again.

That made me think, “Okay, it’s been a year, stop being lazy and submit this thing.” I attacked the manuscript over Christmas break and submitted it in January, just before classes started.

I picked Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, because they had been publishing a lot of interesting research on crayfish. Plus, there were open access, had no article processing fees, and I hadn’t published there before.

I want to say “Thank you!” to the editors of this article, who were extremely patient with me. This piece had more than its usual share of last-minute changes. Probably the biggest one was that I added an entire new figure (Figure 2).

I created Figure 2 because I was working on poster of this paper for the #SciFund poster class. When making the poster, I tried a lot of different ways to make the poster visual, and tinkered with a graph. In the end, I thought the graph didn’t work on the poster, but it was a nice addition to the manuscript. While you can get all the information presented in Figure 2 from the tables in the paper, I thought it would be helpful to the reader to show it visually. The editors indulged me and let me add it in. They also didn’t complain about other changes I asked for. Thanks, guys.

I showed a lot of restraint in not changing the title, though. I went through a lot of different titles for this paper. I toyed a lot with some version of “zero to hero” to emphasize how Marmorkrebs had gone from “unknown to science” to “almost half the pet crayfish in North America.” But I kept balking, because I didn’t want to call a potentially invasive species a “hero.” And not very many other words rhyme with “zero.”

Making the #SciFund poster, I came up with a phrase to encapsulate the paper. I didn’t want to push my luck with another change, and I worried that it was too distracting. (Funny paper titles don’t always go down well.) So I just used it here as the title for this blog post.

And, as is the tradition while supplies last, because I have a paper out today, I get to break out the Canadian chocolate:

I’m kind of glad that it’s possible for a person to publish a paper by surfing the Internet for a year.

Musical interlude:


Chucholl C. 2013. Invaders for sale: trade and determinants of introduction of ornamental freshwater crayfish. Biological Invasions 15(1): 125-141.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-012-0273-2

Faulkes Z. 2013. How much is that crayfish in the window? Online monitoring of Marmorkrebs, Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Hagen, 1870) in the North American pet trade. Freshwater Crayfish 19(1): 39-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.5869/fc.2013.v19.039

Faulkes Z. 2015. Marmorkrebs (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) are the most popular crayfish in the North American pet trade. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 416: 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2015016

Related posts

In the hands of editors now

External links

SICB 2013 special session on crayfish

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