Ahead of this year’s British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, we wanted to give you the chance to get to know some of the people behind the decision letters.


Cecily-Maller-cropped (1)Second in our line up this morning is People and Nature Lead Editor Cecily Maller.

Cecily’s work is broadly situated in human geography, specialising in post-humanist approaches and qualitative methods, although she is truly an interdisciplinary scholar.

Unfortunately Cecily won’t be able to attend the BES annual meeting this year, but has kindly provided her responses anyway.


What can you tell us about the first paper you published?

Despite now being a social scientist, the first paper I published was about the vocalisations of a migratory cuckoo, the Common Koel. I studied this bird while doing my Honours degree in behavioural ecology.


What’s your favourite species and why?



I am reluctant to choose a favourite species, but I love the entire order of parrots, Psittaciformes, particularly the quirky New Zealand ones.



Who inspired you most as a student?

I was most inspired as a student by passionate, open-minded ecology and environmental science lecturers, and reading the work of researchers who were the first to document the behaviour of species the western world new little about.


If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?

I would love to be able to speak more than one language.


Are you a good cook? What’s your signature dish?

I am a good cook! My signature dish is either Indian-inspired lentil curries, or tiramisu.


Please share a [funny] story about a paper you had rejected.

I once had a paper rejected from a special issue of a prestigious social science journal that I was determined to be published in. The special issue was on the topic of my research at the time. To my utter dismay, and seriously bruised ego, I was rejected outright! However a glimmer of hope was presented in the form of a chance to resubmit to the journal’s regular issues. I took full advantage of this opportunity, and two years and two detailed rounds of review later, my paper was published.


What’s your favourite sports team and why?

Um, I don’t follow sport (very un-Australian, I know)


If you could recommend one place for people to travel to on holiday, where would it be and why?

New Zealand to see those quirky parrots


What was the first album you owned?

The first album I owned is too embarrassing to admit to, but lets just say it was by an 80s female pop icon.


If any fictional character could join your lab, who would it be and why?



I would choose King Julien (ex Madagascar films) because he’d make a great mascot as well as providing entertaining social commentary.



How many British Ecological Society annual meetings have you attended? Which one was the best?

None yet!


Are you attending #BES2018?

No, unfortunately, I am not attending.


Find Cecily on twitter @DrCecilyMaller.


Cecily is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia where she co-leads the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program. Her research focuses on human-environment interactions in urban settings in the context of everyday life. She is particularly interested in how people interact with animals and plants in homes and neighbourhoods, how these interactions affect health and wellbeing, and the implications for making cities greener and more biodiverse. As part of this work, she is lead investigator for the Australian Government’s Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (funded by the National Environmental Sciences Program). She has been interested in the health benefits of contact with nature since working on the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative in the early 2000s.