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Research ethics

Collectively, we excel when we learn from each other and when we remain open to new points of view. We seek to cultivate an inclusive lab culture, in which all students and postdoctoral associates thrive. We aim to create a safe space in which to support all lab members. We commit to having open, respectful, and constructive conversations. To learn and examine our own practices, we dedicate one lab meeting each month to discussions about inclusive excellence in science.

Scientific rigor and ethics: We expect lab members to conduct honest, rigorous and ethical research. We define clear and compelling research questions, motivated by theory, literature, and natural history observations. Our experimental designs should reflect these research questions and hypotheses. We do not fabricate, invent, cherry-pick or otherwise tamper with our datasets. Mistakes happen, but they need to be acknowledged so that they can be corrected. To limit mistakes, take lots of notes, we back up our data, and take breaks to prevent fatigue. All data and scripts are uploaded to Dryad or other repositories for transparency. We discuss authorship on manuscripts early and define expectations clearly.

Field safety plan: We establish clear codes of conduct built upon mutual respect to foster safety and promote inclusion in fieldwork. We strive to for excellence in research by conducting our studies with integrity and holding ourselves accountable. We are committed to: including researchers in decision making; maintaining open and honest avenues of communication; respecting the personal boundaries, agency and autonomy of all team members; encouraging individuals to request help when needed; and abiding by a leave no trace philosophy (other than field equipment installed in the gardens). We will be cognizant of various dimensions of privilege and power differentials. The code of conduct identifies certain behaviors as unacceptable, including: physical or verbal abuse, harassment and assault; bullying and coercion; threats of a professional or personal nature; sexual misconduct; discrimination; retaliation against anyone who has filed a misconduct report; the use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the field; falsification of data or tampering with the dataset. On the first day of the season, our teams convene for a safety briefing and to come to consensus on expectations and norms. We provide all necessary training necessary.

In consultation with team members, we revise a Field Safety Plan three months prior to field research. This document will identify potential risks and hazards of fieldwork and will describe the mitigation strategies. The fieldworkers will be invited - but not required - to self-disclose any factors that influence their risk in the field. We acknowledge that individuals may be reticent to disclose pertinent medical or personal information. We communicate about the conditions of fieldwork prior to students joining our labs and we will make every effort to accommodate fieldworkers' needs. The field safety plan will include an emergency response plan, with emergency contact information for each individual, phone numbers for local emergency services, and evacuation or shelter plans for each field site. Finally, the plan will address conditions under which fieldwork will be delayed or temporarily canceled. The field safety plan will be submitted for review to the UGA Genetics Department and revised if necessary. All members of the research team will have access to this plan.