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Undisciplined: The Sports Media Analyst And The Research Ecologist

Lorie Shaull,

This week on Undisciplined, we’re talking about the impact of sports on human behavior and impact of chaos on plants, with guests whose fields couldn’t be more different. Or, at least, that’s what it looks like at first.

Joining us this week from Provo, Utah, where he is an associate professor of journalism at Brigham Young University, is Kris Boyle. His recent study, in the Journal of Sports Media, examined the types of sports fans who engage in online sports discussion forums — and proposes three distinct groups of people who account for the majority of participation. 

And also with us is Leslie Forero. Her research as a PhD student at Utah State University has honed in on diversity-productivity relationships in ecology, and her recent study on the really important differences between greenhouse and field-measured plant-soil feedbacks was recently published in Frontiers in Environmental Science. 

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.