Latest Blog Posts

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  • Pseudoquasivegetarianism

    2016 was a pivotal year for me.

    For the past four years, I had been traveling the world and studying coral reefs from every region. I was becoming an expert on their evolution and their interactions with various microbes. I knew these ecosystems had been in decline for decades, that climate change was a major threat, and that some people had claimed that eating meat and flying in airplanes were major contributors to climate change.

  • Big guys shout 'merde!' louder

    New preprint!

    Bacterial sepsis triggers stronger transcriptomic responses in larger primates

    I am happy to report that a paper I’ve been working on for a long time is finally available on BioRxiv.

  • Maybe it doesn't Matern

    Calling all bored and crazy Stan coders. I need a long term coding partner.

    I’ve been doing a lot of completely solo work for a couple years now, and you can guess the result. I have a couple of really awesome models that I am proud of, and yet they’re (1) not quite what I want, (2) probably way more complicated and messy than necessary, and (3) sitting there, waiting for me to figure out how to be a real modeler and justify them.

  • merdemicrobes

    When I started my first blog, I initially used this title for it. I had recently begun working in French Polynesia, was helping a French postdoc, and was interested in learning the language, and I thought, “‘Sea of Microbes’ in French, that’s nice.” I created the page and started working on the blog. And then that French postdoc saw the url: ‘merdemicrobes’.

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Ryan's most recent taxonomic discoveries

(observations of taxa that he'd never before uploaded)

Lithobates grylio

Pig Frog


Help me confirm this ID or suggest another!

Pomacea maculata

Island Apple Snail


Help me confirm this ID or suggest another!

Gleditsia aquatica

Water locust


ID confirmed

Pachnaeus litus

Blue-Green Citrus Root Weevil


ID confirmed

Volvopluteus gloiocephalus

Stubble Rosegill


Help me confirm this ID or suggest another!

Ryan recently finished reading:


Ted Chiang

Finished June 26, 2023

5 stars

East of Eden

John Steinbeck

Finished June 11, 2023

4 stars

Erased: the untold story of the Panama Canal

Marixa Lasso

Finished June 4, 2023

4 stars

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

Finished Jan. 2, 2023

1 star

Unconquered People: Florida's Seminole and Miccosukee Indians

Brent R. Weisman

Finished Dec. 28, 2022

4 stars

...and is currently reading:

The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri

Blood Struggle

Charles F. Wilkinson

Asimov's Guide to the Bible

Isaac Asimov

The Last Resort

Sarah Stodola

The Once and Future King

T. H. White