As we’re finally designing my new lab website, we’re finally down to the wire: we need a name. In naming my lab something other than “Gill Lab,” my hope has been to think carefully about our identity, and to come up with something informative, fun, and memorable. Why not just go with my name? I have a few reasons: First, it’s too many consecutive L’s, which is awkward on the tongue and also looks weird from a graphic design standpoint (or so my web designer tells me). Secondly, there are lots of “Gill” labs — the name itself isn’t necessarily informative. It’s also not just my lab — I want a name that reflects the breadth of work we do, which includes the research my students and postdocs will bring with them. Lastly, in coming up with a name and a logo, my hope is to have a little fun and be creative.
This hasn’t been as easy as it might seem (I’ve actually been thinking about this for well over a year). One issue is that while we have some unifying themes in our work (climate change, extinction, and biotic interactions) we work across space, time, and taxonomic groups. I don’t want to lose the core principles of either paleoecology or biogeography that make our work interesting, but I also wanted to convey something that at least suggests the idea that while much of our work takes place in the past, we’re still ecologists, with an eye on the present.
I’ve got a couple of ideas below. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment, add a suggestion, or vote for your favorite name. I appreciate your feedback!
Deep Ecology Lab: What I like about this idea is that it points to the idea that we’re doing ecology, but we’re doing it deeply — both conceptually and in terms of our time frame. What I don’t like is that “deep ecology” is a thing; it’s an extreme environmental movement, and I don’t agree with many of its tenets. It’s not super well-known, but it would come up in a search.
Space-Time Ecology Lab (or STELA): Kind of awesome, but also kind of new-agey, and I worry people will think we’re talking about a division of the Star Trek science team.
BEST Lab (Biodiversity and the Environment across Space and Time): Cheeky, yes. Too cheeky?
BEAST Lab (Biodiversity and the Environment Across Space and Time): Also cheeky, but fun, and works well with our lab logo, which features a mammoth.
Things I’m not considering: Long-Term Ecology Lab (there’s one of these at Oxford), Tardis Lab (though stay tuned for t-shirts riffing on this idea!), Paleoecology Lab (there are a bunch of these).