Nature, environment, animals
Hello! My name is Anthea Lacchia and I'm a freelance science journalist with a PhD in geoscience (Trinity College Dublin). I have over 10 years of writing experience, hold an MSc in Science Communication and a Diploma in Journalism, and am currently based in Wicklow, Ireland.
I write stories about science, environment, animals, nature, fossils, science policy, research culture and universities for a number of outlets including the Guardian, Nature Index, Irish Times, RTE' and Green News. Most recently, I am covering Irish research policy news for Research Professional. I have also written the Earth section of a children's book, Life Cycles, published by DK.
I have won a number of awards and grants for my writing and public engagement (I was the SFI Science Writer of the Year at the SMEDIAS in 2015, and most recently co-winner of the EGU public engagement award), and am interested in writing across genres, including using creative non-fiction as a means of exploring science and nature. I also produce and present audio for BBC's Digital Planet program, and give talks to school children and other publics about science, as well as acting as a consultant for publishers and companies.
A bit about me:
I grew up in Biella, a town at the foot of the Alps in northern Italy. My love for animals led me to study fossils (dead animals!) for my PhD in Trinity College Dublin. Specifically, I studied ammonoids, extinct relatives of squid and cuttlefish. After my PhD, I worked in the Nature press office, promoting the content of Nature journals and working with editors and press officers, before returning to academia for a postdoctoral position while completing an MSc in Science Communication (Imperial College London) part-time. In total, I have eight years of experience working in academic research, but am now a full-time writer and audio producer. I have a Diploma in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists in the UK, and am a member of the ABSW (Association of British Science Writers) and ISTJA (Irish Science and Technology Journalists Association).
A constant thread throughout my life has been my passion for nature and animals. I am an avid birdwatcher and hiker. I am always interested in writing and communication projects about the environment, nature and animals (fossils or alive!), and in finding creative ways to connect people to our environment through storytelling.
- Writing (journalism, blogs, content writing, creative writing, technical writing, copy writing)
- Podcast and audio creation (research, production, editing, interviewing and presenting)
- Editing (developmental editing, copy editing, podcast editing & production)
- Content marketing (blog writing, interviews, strategy)
- Science communication, including consulting on science communication projects and developing and delivering talks about science for primary schools and other publics
- Teaching and training in geoscience communication
- Translation Italian-English
- Grant proposal editing
- Geoscience (rocks, fossils, minerals, structure, landscape, and overview of flora and fauna) for outdoor educators such as hike leaders, guides and mountaineering assessors (talks, workshops)
- Creative non-fiction: finding creative ways of telling non-fiction stories especially nature and science based.
I'm open for commissions.
E-mail me to collaborate or say hello: [email protected]
Nature, environment, animals
Listen back to some relaxing bird song in this radio package, which looks at how different types of machine learning, applied to the sounds of ecosystems in Okinawa and Borneo, can help scientists assess and predict ecosystem health, change and identify illegal hunting and logging. Featuring researchers from Trinity College Dublin and Imperial College London.
AI that Can Identify Individual Birds - 22mins into the programme Could machines be better ornithologists than humans? Deep learning systems are now able to distinguish between species of birds, but also individual animals. At the moment, the only way that conservationists can identify individual birds is by tagging them. That’s time consuming, costly and a bit of an inconvenience for the creatures themselves. Anthea Lacchia has been finding out more about how the algorithms are helping...
A study of fossilised bones reveals that dinosaurs roamed our shores about 200 million years ago. The bones, which were found along Co Antrim's eastern coast in the 1980s, are the only dinosaur remains to have ever been recorded on the island of Ireland.
In this Irish Times video which I helped research, I speak about Irish ancient organisms and their link to the current biodiversity crisis. We also hear from other palaeontologists and visit Fanore Beach, Co. Clare, Ireland.
By Anthea Lacchia, UCD Imagine a tropical, shallow sea, its waters glistening in the warm sunshine. Underwater, corals dance in the waves and fish swim gracefully by, as a tiny, tentacle-bearing creature retreats into its spiral shell. Is this your dream holiday destination? Dream no further.
My short story 'To the Marsh' about my relationship with a local marsh was among the winners of the short story competition 'Stories from the Waterside' - p.21
This short feature on birdwatching with Birdwatch Ireland in Pollardstown Fen, Co. Kildare, was broadcast on IC Radio. I researcher, produced and presented the feature, which is about one of my big passions, birds!
Opinion: can we meet the insatiable global demand for metals for electric vehicles and clean energy in a sustainable way? By Anthea Lacchia, UCD There is a growing awareness in Ireland and worldwide of humanity's strain on our planet's resources, coupled with a recognition that radical change is needed if we are to prevent further climate breakdown.
Feature for BirdWatch Ireland Magazine on a new technology that allows computers to identify individual birds
Over the past few months, as an avid birdwatcher and citizen scientist, I have recorded a plethora of bird species on my daily walks, partly thanks to the absence of noise pollution from cars. Indeed, birdsong has been one of the few pleasures afforded to many of us during the Covid-19 pandemic.
What can we learn about the Earth from landscape poetry? Join Dr Anthea Lacchia and geologists from iCRAG, along with Prof. Mike Stephenson of the British Geological Survey as we explore the geology of Dingle peninsula through the medium of poetry. Produced and presented by Dr Anthea Lacchia
Some of my recent work
Librarians should be given more support and credit for their research contributions, which should be costed into grant proposals, according to Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of research libraries in the UK and Ireland.
Another step away from narrow, biased measures of success in science. Mykyta Dolmatov/Getty Images A new narrative-based CV that reflects skills and experiences better than a grant and publication record is being piloted across six funding schemes overseen by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK's central research funder.
New research shows how AI can detect tinnitus and assess its severity. We hear from Dr Mehrnaz Shoushtarian from Bionics Institute, Prof Daniel Polley from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye And Ear, and Sarah and Jim, who are living with tinnitus, with thanks to the British Tinnitus Association.
(p.58) Proper ventilation has been recognised as an important quality for school buildings at least since the Victorian era. But, in the current pandemic, have we lost sight of the role of ventilation?
Feature on beautifully designed, new passive-certified student accommodation in Cambridge, built with cross-laminated timber. p.22
Graduate earnings differ significantly between Irish higher education institutions, according to a report published by the country’s Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Role should be split from its alignment with director of Science Foundation Ireland, it says.
Rare, mummified animals discovered by gold miners in Yukon
Oval-shaped Dickinsonia lifeform existed at least 20m years before the 'Cambrian explosion' of animal life
European Space Agency's seven-year, €1bn mission will investigate the effects of the sun on satellite technology
Research finds probiotics caused 'very severe disturbance' in gut when taken in conjunction with antibiotics
Age at time of freezing is key to whether fertility treatment will succeed, says UK regulator
Researchers trick wound cells in mice into becoming healing surface skin cells
Researchers have shown that the brain's ability to store memories improves after a short burst of exercise
What did a Jurassic sea predator look like? For the first time, scientists have described the three-dimensional eye-structure of Dollocaris ingens, a 160-million-year-old arthropod from the Jurassic of southeast France. Fossils typically do not preserve delicate, soft organs such as the eyes, leaving palaeontologists none the wiser about how visual systems evolved through geological time....
Research Policy and Culture & Universities
Scientists are more concerned about the impact of sloppy science than outright scientific fraud.
Global study investigates prevalence of psychological disorders among first-year university-level students
Researchers wrestle with a measure of collaboration increasingly used to assess the impact of their work. ANALYSIS PhotoDisc/ Getty Images Tracking the names and affiliations of co-authors on a research paper is the most widely used method of measuring scientists working together, including by the Nature Index.
Lack of clarity on changes to the country's research assessment system provokes anxiety among early-career researchers. Stockbyte Royalty Free Photos In 2013, Richard Butler, a young and well-published palaeontologist, was a scientist in demand.
Three factors can help institutions secure one of these sought-after grants. Andrew Paterson / Alamy Stock Photo Three factors have a significant influence on whether a research institution will apply for and win a prestigious Horizon 2020 grant, researchers have found.
Journal editors tend to accept manuscripts written by prior collaborators more quickly. Lane Erikson / Alamy Stock Photo Academic editors at one of the largest multidisciplinary journals tend to accept manuscripts from previous collaborators an average of 19 days faster than other papers, a new study has found.
Ivan Oransky, Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University, co-founded the popular blog Retraction Watch, which reports on and investigates the retractions of scientific papers. We caught up with him to talk science journalism, scientific misconduct and more. Can you give me a sense of any major developments or news in the area of research misconduct?
Locating a country in the title of a scientific paper may lower its visibility.
Tracking the careers of leading scientists reveals maintaining greatness is harder for women in Italy. Matej Kastellic / Alamy Stock Photo For female scientists, shattering the glass ceiling is often difficult. But for those who do reach a high-status, clinging to the upper echelons can be even harder, a new study by Italian researchers has found.
Years of groundwork underpins the increase in research partnerships between India and the UK, but a decline in the number of Indian students enrolling in British universities may weaken the relationship.
Researchers in the UK find that the impact factor of journal articles matches judgements by a panel of experts on research quality. retrorocket/Getty A study has found that, in science-based subjects, universities with a large proportion of articles published in high-impact-factor journals are likely to score highly in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the United Kingdom's system for assessing the quality of university science.
Efforts to increase diversity in research assessment panels don't cut it. GlobalStock/Getty Measures to increase diversity in the panels of experts that assess university science don't go far enough, say researchers. Bolder steps such as quotas are needed to ensure the academic population is represented adequately, says sociologist Kalwant Bhopal, who studies race and social justice at the University of Birmingham.
A large number of professors in Italian universities produce no cited work. Agata Gladykowska / Alamy Stock Photo Most academics are familiar with the adage 'publish or perish'. But a study examining the output of Italian scientists has revealed a large number of academics either publish very few papers or produce work that remains uncited.
Contributor Anthea Lacchia Amongst the scientific community, there is increasing awareness of the value of data transparency and reproducibility. But how can we achieve transparency in practical terms? Catherine Goodman, Senior Editor at Nature Chemical Biology , delivered a workshop on handling scientific data during the Boston NatureJobs Career Expo 2015.
For the next three weeks, the Discovery Institute in University College Dublin will house a new Climate Change exhibition, On Thin Ice. The exhibition tells the story of an expedition by a team of Norwegian researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute. The researchers embedded their research ship in the ice near Svalbard, close to the...
Contributor Anthea Lacchia The pursuit of science makes for an attractive career, but academic positions are hard to come by. What will really set your application apart? During the Boston NatureJobs Career Expo 2015, Esther Bullitt (Boston University School of Medicine), Rich Gurney (Simmons College), Vanja Klepac-Ceraj (Wellesley College), and Kim McCall (Boston University), shared their insights into how to get an academic job and how to keep it.
You may love the time and freedom to explore your subject in depth - but dangers abound when you leave the safety of the timetable
Worked as Earth Consultant on this children's book. Dive into the life-cycle of water and discover how it supports all life forms, how humans harness its power, and why we need to conserve it.From snowflakes falling from the clouds and deep ocean currents to hot springs and water in space, this children's nature book showcases the beauty and power of...
Writer and consultant of the Earth section of this stunning illustrated children's book. Life Cycles takes an innovative look at the circle of life, including the life cycles of rocks, carbon, dinosaurs, fossils, volcanoes, and mountains.
Wrote Chapter entitled 'Science' on the connections between art and science and the role of science communication in society. Book summary: 'Have you had enough of politicians' rhetoric, or of the failure of tired institutions to keep up with our rapidly changing world? Then meet the young, new thinkers of Ireland as they share their vision for the future. Here, twenty-one of our leading creative thinkers and problem-solvers rip up the rule book and start again, presenting a new vision for...
Science Features and Podcasts
Interview with Prof Luke O'Neill
Seasoned brewers know that behind every successful beer, there is a very precious yeast at work. When it comes to beer - from ale, to stout, to lager - yeast is a crucial ingredient used to ferment sugars into alcohol.
Article about the Geological Survey of Ireland's Tellus Border mapping project
Part of a series on Irish fossils for Science Spin
Q&A with Prof Heuer
Science is your answer, says the Delphic Oracle
The introductory episode of the iCRAGorama podcast, which is all about Irish geoscientists, their passions and interests, from rocks and climate, to books and witchcraft! Produced and presented by Anthea Lacchia and Ben Couvin
How can we source and use Earth resources in an ethical and responsible way? And how can we bring different actors and communities together to achieve sustainable resource development? These are just some of the questions that early career researchers from around the world came together to discuss during the inaugural Researching Social Theories, Resources, and the Environment International Summer School, held at the University College Dublin last month.
Ethical issues in science include research misconduct and the rightful treatment of people, animals, the environment and our planet. Based on interviews with thirteen scientists, we identify a framework of virtues, and corresponding vices, in modern science. We employ the narrative structure of the late medieval poem Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, and draw on its moral universe to explore the scientific virtues and the role of virtue ethics in science.
Geoscientists can struggle to communicate with non-geoscientists, especially around contentious geoscience issues. We compare the thoughts and feelings of geoscientists and non-geoscientists around the subsurface, mining/quarrying, drilling and flooding. We find that geoscientists focus more on human interactions when thinking about these processes, while non-geoscientists focus more on economic and environmental impacts. Understanding these differences and similarities can help enable dialogue.
Fossils Explained Series
We must resource present and future generations sustainably. But how? Jen Roberts and Anthea Lacchia report on an international summer school that is building a global community to bridge disciplines and sectors, and tackle sustainable resource extraction Roberts, J. & Lacchia, A., Resourcing a sustainable future.
Profiles and interviews
By Anthea Lacchia (@AntheaLacchia), Press Officer at Nature As Richard Dawkins reminds us in 'Unweaving the Rainbow', understanding the origin of the colours of the rainbow does not take away from its beauty or the awe it inspires. Communicating science as a career is all about inspiring those moments of wonder, from the eye-widening and jaw-dropping [...]
I was delighted to be a guest on the Wonderlabs podcast. In this episode we get into the importance of molluscs as an index and keystone species, the giant insects and trees of the Carboniferous period, and revisit the story of revered fossilist and glass ceiling smasher Mary Anning.