Posts

December 21, 2014

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1:56 PM | Shelf Life: Turtles and taxonomy | @GrrlScientist
For most people, individual plants or animals can be very beautiful, but for scientists, the real wonder lies in understanding the interrelationships between species and how they fit into the tapestry of life.It might surprise you to learn that every week, scientists are discovering new plant and animal species -- even species that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye. With each now discovery comes the same question: how is this new species related to all the others that we already know […]
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12:24 PM | The whirlwind of returning – recommended reads
I’ve just returned from about 4 months away doing field work on Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island in the world.  I had an absolutely fantastic time, and will reflect on my experiences a bit over the winter.  One of the things I look forward to on returning from the field (where there […]

December 20, 2014

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3:10 PM | Top Ten Cool Ways that Animals See in the Dark
Find out about some of the amazing adaptations animals have to help them see in the dark!
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2:59 PM | Deforestation Climate Risk Bigger Than Carbon
This research is bad news for Earth ecosystems. As with invasive plants, deforestation is having a more immediate impact than CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. The human impact has many facets, but its root is human population growth. Construction, invasive species, deforestation, toxic chemicals, and greenhouse gas are all increasing along with our population. Continue reading →
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11:02 AM | The best medicine books of 2014 | @GrrlScientist
Today’s “best of” list are my choices of books published in 2014 that focus on the topics of human biology, psychology and medicine.Today’s list of “best of” are my choices of books published in 2014 that focus on the topics of human biology, psychology and medicine. This genre always produces a large and (mostly) excellent collection of books, so it was difficult to limit my choices to just “a dozen or so” titles that I think you will enjoy. […]

December 19, 2014

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11:25 PM | Rapid loss of top predators ‘a major environmental threat’
Recent stories about predator recovery in Europe point out that going into the woods is becoming dangerous. Just a few centuries ago we knew how to guard against large predators, but we gradually eradicated them and lost our cautious habits. I expect that eradication will be our response to the tiniest losses to predators. Continue reading →
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10:52 PM | Best evolution books for Christmas
This is the time of year for lists: the best this, the most important that, and so on. Just such a list was circulating today on twitter about the best science books of the year, presumably also books you should be buying for Christmas presents. This discussion got me to thinking – what would be the best evolution books for Christmas? I don’t just mean published this year, I mean published in any year but still available. I also don’t mean technical books but rather popular […]
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6:49 PM | Not an “accident”: Gary Keenen, 26, and Kelsey Bellah, 27 suffer fatal work-related injuries near Colgate, OK
This week’s snapshot of a work-related fatality in the U.S. This one occurred on December 19 just west of Colgate, OK.
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5:59 PM | Photo of the Week – December 19, 2014
Do you recognize this tallgrass prairie plant?   No?   Well, it is a member of the carrot family.   Early European settlers thought its roots could provide an antidote to rattlesnake bites. They were wrong.   The plant somewhat … Continue reading →
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5:27 PM | Fishbook: Do prey social networks influence predator effects on reef fishes?
This is a talk I gave at the Western Society of Naturalists conference in Tacoma, Washington on November 14, 2014
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4:40 PM | A Whole New Way of Doing Citizen Science, Maybe
Some parts of science are boring. Some are tedious. Some seem as though they will never end. It is these parts of science we tend to try to enlist the public in helping with. You can, of course, listen for birds as part of the Breeding Bird Survey, count butterflies as part of the 4th of July butterfly counts, or set out cookie crumbs to collect urban ants for our School of Ants project. These endeavors are delightful ways to engage nature. They are also relatively easy ways to participate in […]
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4:27 PM | Friday Roundup: The Week's Wildlife Links (December 19th, 2014)
Sometimes people ask me what they can do to help make a difference in wildlife conservation. Opportunities are seldom as direct and important as this one: http://ncherps.org/lucys-bog-fundraiser/. The North Carolina Herpetological Society took out an emergency loan to help the state buy some critical Bog Turtle habitat. It's a small loan and you can make a big difference in helping them pay it
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3:00 PM | Monitoring air quality in national parks
The National Park Service (NPS) Geographic Information […]
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2:30 PM | haploidy, diploidy, polyploidy … not a problem
Investigating pairwise relatedness is fundamental to the characterization of the mating system and inferring genetic structure. If no pedigree exists, then relatedness is estimated from genetic markers (e.g., microsatellite loci) using method-of-moment or maximum-likelihood methods. However, not all individuals in … Continue reading →
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2:28 PM | FLUMP- Keystone Species, Climate Change and Coffee, Basic Science and More
It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and . . .
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1:00 PM | Recommended reads #42
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears re-mentioning. NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology has a superb and informative blog, DEBrief. The latest post is called: How to win over panels and influence program officers: advice for effective written reviews. If you’ve ever wondered what NSF wants to know when you’re writing a review and the…
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12:43 PM | The stench of compatibility: How otters identify one another, and potential mates by smelling their poop
Otters don’t tend to be very visible to us, but they are more abundant than we might perceive them to be. Otters mostly live in isolation of one another, yet they manage to remotely communicate to one another without the aid of modern technology that we so often depend upon for communication. On this blog, I previously wrote […]

Kean, E., Chadwick, E. & Müller, C. (2014). Scent signals individual identity and country of origin in otters, Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2014.12.004

Citation
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11:30 AM | Friday links: holiday caRd, best podcasts ever, American words vs. British ears, and more (UPDATED)
Lots of great stuff this week! The color of time, beer taxonomy, the tides > lava lamp, Daphnia salesmanship, Fourier transformation vs. the Beatles, REF results, the dark side has cookies, #bakeyourstudyorganism, and more. From Meg: What time color is … Continue reading →
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10:25 AM | Christmas wish list
For our last post before the Christmas break we decided to collect people’s scientific Christmas wish lists from the department. We got a diversity of answers ranging from the realistic to the fantastical. Thomas Guillerme wants a super computer “that runs everything instantly, like if you have to run a loooooooong MCMC, it spits out the results instantly.” Natalie Cooper says “I’d like an automatic marking machine that could grade coursework and exams for me […]
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9:20 AM | Using GAMS, R and LaTeX
I just came across an interesting post by Renger van Nieuwkoop on The Lazy Economist, where he writes about how to use R to produce tables from GAMS model output for use in LaTeX. Very nice and very useful, indeed!  

December 18, 2014

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8:07 PM | Why Buffalo Should be Protected by the Endangered Species Act
The Yellowstone buffalo are America’s last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. Continue reading →
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7:04 PM | Baby Whale (Brienomyrus brachyistius)
For many Europeans and North Americans, December brings out the festive traditions of the Christmas tree or tannenbaum, where evergreen trees often get decorated with electric lights, glowing and twinkling […]
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5:47 PM | Who is getting hired in neuroscience?
I am always a bit jealous by how organized the field of academic economics is when compared to, well, anyone else. To get an academic job, young economists put up their one “job paper” into some sort of database for … Continue reading →
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5:39 PM | UN sends team to clean up Sunderbans oil spill in Bangladesh
Thousands of litres of oil have spilt into the protected Sundarbans mangrove area, home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins, after a tanker collided with another vessel last Tuesday. Continue reading →
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4:03 PM | Even in restored forests, extreme weather strongly influences wildfire’s impacts
We have hypothesized for many years that fire is a natural, even a necessary, part of stable forests/shrublands. But here we have a test that falsifies the hypothesis. Continue reading →
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3:45 PM | Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on
GR: And the prize goes to..........Homo sapiens! The U. S. Congress has protected the grazing and mining industries from the endangered Sage Grouse. Thank you Thank you. Nothing can stand against us! Cheers, cheers, cheers! Continue reading →
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3:20 PM | Squirrels and beavers contributing to global warming more than previously thought
Squirrels improve soils, beaver reduce flooding, and both species feed predators. Dynamic balance occurs. What can balance humans? Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | Sweeping for Sweeps
Reduction in genomic diversity around a site has been attributed to one of two mechanisms – (1) sites linked to positively selected mutant alleles are often `swept’ to fixation, in a process often called genetic hitchhiking, and/or (2) background selection … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Earth Ranger Nicholas is on An Animal Saving Mission
Meet 10-year-old Nicholas, an Earth Ranger who has done some amazing things to help protect animals
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1:00 PM | Students say the darndest things!
Oftentimes, professors make sport of sharing humorously incorrect exam answers. I’ve seen a bunch of these during this end-of-semester grading season. When students don’t know the answer, they sometimes entertain us with witty, technically correct answers that don’t answer the intended question. (There’s a well-selling book about this. And at least one website, too). But that’s not what…
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