I am frequently encountering situations in which it is appropriate for me to explain to someone my research interests in 1-2 succinct 5-10 word sentence(s). In the scientific community, this seems much less challenging (to my surprise) than in a non-science setting. This is particularly true for me, I think, because I study ecology. I find myself saying "I study ecology/environmental science" rather than simply "I study ecology". If I ever leave off the extra "environmental science", I get blank stares or inquiring questions like, "Oh, that's where you tell people where they can and can't build, right?" And I suppose the short answer to this questions is more or less "yes" in the applied sense, but this is not what I study when I go to the lab everyday.
I wish there was a more colloquial word for 'ecology'.
1 year ago