Lab Culture

  • Kruger National Park

    Kruger National Park, South Africa

    Image Credit: Peter Boucher

  • cat

    Mpala Research Centre, Kenya

    Image Credit: Lucrecia Aguilar

  • Mpala Sunset

    Mpala Research Centre, Kenya

    Image Credit: Peter Boucher

  • Selenkay Convervancy

    Selenkay Conservancy

    Image Credit: Peter Boucher

  • Zebra

    Mapal Research Centre, Kenya

    Image Credit: Ella Bradford

  • Fresh Pond

    Fresh Pond, Cambridge, MA USA

    Image Credit: Catherine Ressijac

Who We Are

We are a diverse, international, and collaborative team of scientists based in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Our common goal is to create and share globally relevant knowledge about the ecosystems and species we are passionate about, and to foster similar excitement in students, other scientists, and the public. We strive to build capacity and conserve nature at our field sites around the world. Inclusion, equity, positivity, work-life balance, respect, and dreaming big are central to our lab culture. We believe that science is a team sport, so we support each other in succeeding and thriving in science and beyond with all lab members engaged in formal and informal mentorship. We practice global, just science, and actively work to counter parachute or neocolonial science wherever we work.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Call to Action

We value the diversity—both human and biological—of our world and commit to promoting diversity in our lab, department, university, and broader communities. We recognize that discriminatory practices and attitudes, particularly aimed towards individuals with minority identities, abound in academia and society. Structural discrimination and persistent lack of diversity have clear, negative impacts on individuals, scientific progress, and our communities, and are also plainly immoral and unjust. 

The Davies Lab is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within our lab group, at our research sites, and in our scientific communities. This means explicitly considering how individual and systemic biases affect our recruitment processes, research projects, teaching activities, and lab culture. Substantial work must be done to achieve our goals, but we will invest the time and effort necessary because these commitments can lead to significant change and are long overdue. We also understand that this pledge must go beyond the aspirational to include real actions, and that success must include hard work, honest self-reflection, and input from outside leaders.

Our work is firmly situated in the past, present, and future of places. We recognize that the places we work have their own unique human and natural histories, many involving colonialism. We lament Harvard’s historical connections to slavery and the displacement of the Massachusett, whose habitation of the Cambridge area pre-dates European colonization and continues to this day. We commit to better understanding, supporting, and crediting Indigenous and persecuted peoples at home and abroad. We also acknowledge the flora and fauna that inhabit places where we live and work. We respect the rights of other species to exist and work to protect biodiversity of all kinds wherever possible.

Our Current Commitments

In addition to DEI guidance from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Harvard University, we as a lab are taking the following concrete steps:

  1. All lab members are required to complete online bias training through Harvard Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB).
  2. We strive to have at least one lab member on the OEB Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging committee at all times (2021 member: Lucrecia Aguilar).
  3. All of our field projects include capacity building and community-based work. For example, we have twinning programs with local graduate students in the Republic of Congo and partner with local stakeholders, students, and NGOs at all our field sites.
  4. We maintain a list of DEI-related articles and other media sources. Four times per year, we collectively read/watch and discuss items from this list during lab meetings.
  5. We maintain a lab fieldwork manual and worksheet to increase lab members awareness of and preparedness for fieldwork-related safety issues, particularly those that might affect identities other than their own. We discuss safety concerns with all lab members prior to going into the field.
  6. Every summer, we read a DEI-focused book and gather to discuss how we can incorporate its ideas into our work. Next summer we will read ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi, followed by ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez in 2023.

Additional resources

A short selection of resources related to the topics above: