Posts

October 31, 2014

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12:00 PM | The conference hangover
This week I definitely had a ‘hangover’. Two weeks of meetings* left me a strange mixture of excited, enthusiastic, invigorated and completely drained. I have lots of new ideas and enjoyed both making new connections and reconnecting with others. But I can forget how drained I can feel after such intense social activity, even if…
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9:34 AM | Science in a Box
“Where did dinosaurs come from?” “How are black holes created?” “How big is the Universe?” “If we use mud wraps for our skin, why can’t we use mud as shampoo for our hair?!” These are just some of the interesting (and very diverse) questions I’ve received from enthusiastic primary school students over the past couple of weeks. They’re testimony to the curiosity and imagination that’s unleased when you encourage children to […]

October 30, 2014

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10:06 PM | Spooky Spider
I love Halloween. It’s the time of year when I can leave all the spider webs up around the front stoop and call them decorations. This harmless garden spider, the Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) is not long for the world. She’ll die soon as the nights grow colder. But I’ll keep an eye on her wee ones in the egg sac she left by the railing. In the spring the baby spiders will hatch out, spin a little silk parachute to catch the breeze and sail away to a new home! […]
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10:00 PM | Photo of the Week – October 30, 2014
I’ve always had a difficult time taking pleasing landscape photos in heavy fog.  I love the way prairies and wetlands look on foggy days, but I rarely come away with a scenic photo I’m happy with.  Fortunately, I can (and … Continue reading →
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4:57 PM | Three out of five!
World Series champs for the third time in the last five years, those “scratch ‘em ’till they bleed to death” San Francisco Giants have done it again. Not quite a dynasty yet, but you have to go back fifteen years … Continue reading →
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4:21 PM | Earth Rangers National Tour
Are you a kid? Do you live in Canada? Then there’s a good chance Earth Rangers might be visiting a school near you!
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2:59 PM | Haldane’s Sieve
This week we have a guest post by Graham Coop and Joe Pickrell. Here, Graham [GC] and Joe [JKP] answer a few questions we had about the development and future of their blog, Haldane’s Sieve. If you’re interested in population genetics … Continue reading →
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2:49 PM | Wayne Farms slammed by OSHA for gaming system on poultry worker injuries
After more than a decade, OSHA used its "general duty clause" to issue citations to a poultry processing firm for ergonomic hazards.
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1:44 PM | U.S. mulls adding turtles to endangered species list
The U.S. government has proposed adding four types of freshwater turtles to an international endangered species list, in part to better monitor exports of the species Continue reading →
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1:09 PM | Winter Finch Forecast: Help Monitor Wild Bird Health
Birds, like butterflies, are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology FeederWatch project beginning November 8, 2014, and make a contribution. Continue reading →
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8:30 AM | Still still life
Our photography competition is still open to entries (deadline 10th November). Submit one photograph to the album here. Log in with the username ecoevoblog and password which is the same. Remember, don’t give it a name that will reveal the photographer so as to avoid bias. Good luck! Author: Adam Kane, kanead[at]tcd.ie, @P1zPalu Photo credit: wikimedia commons
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2:28 AM | Turning Waste Into Treasures
[©CSIRO Publishing. This article first appeared in The Helix Issue 158, a science magazine for children produced by CSIRO.] Whenever you throw away something, say an orange peel, you have decided that it is useless to you. It is waste, and you are better off without it. But have you thought if these wastes can […]
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12:14 AM | Birds large and small hop over obstacles in similar ways
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 7:00am, October 30, 2014 A turkey moves over a step with a strategy similar to the one used by tiny quail and huge ostriches.Oregon State Univ.View the videoA tiny quail and a huge ostrich would seem to have little in common given their 500-fold difference in size. But when faced with an obstacle in their path, the birds tackle it in the same way, […]
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12:04 AM | Sensing and Acting Under Information Constraints
I’m having a great time at a workshop on Biological and Bio-Inspired Information Theory in Banff, Canada. You can see videos of the talks online. There have been lots of good talks so far, but this one really blew my mind: • Naftali Tishby, Sensing and acting under information constraints—a principled approach to biology and […]

October 29, 2014

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10:17 PM | Canopy in the Clouds development team analyzes its social outreach
A guest post by Greg Goldsmith, a tropical plant ecolog […]
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9:28 PM | Analysis: Raising the minimum wage could save billions in public assistance
Raising the federal minimum wage isn’t only good for workers — it’s good for the federal budget as well, according to a new issue brief from the Economic Policy Institute.
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4:07 PM | Happy National Cat Day!
Apparently, cat fanciers love celebrating their feline friends with official holidays. A few months ago we were celebrating World Cat Day (August 8, 2014). And now today, just in case you missed the memo, is National Cat Day! We thought we’d seize this opportunity to update you on our Cat Tracker project. To date, we’ve had 350 cat-owners sign up their kitties for our GPS tracking study, including owners in nearly every US state! We’re intensely recruiting cat-owners on Long […]
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4:01 PM | Behind the scenes of Plantwise plant clinics in Uganda
PhD student, Andrew Tock, of the Warwick Crop Centre, has spent three months monitoring Plantwise plant clinic success in Uganda as part of a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. During this time, he kept a research diary (video above), describing his experiences in Uganda and the day-to-day work of plant doctors in the field. To read […]
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2:30 PM | Update: New Pest & Disease Records (29 Oct 14)
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new hosts (turmeric and black pepper) of root knot nematode in Pakistan,  two fungal leaf spot pathogens on Indonesian cinnamon, and a species of phytoplasma not previously found on apple […]
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11:38 AM | Marquet et al. on theory in ecology
Marquet et al. (2014) is a very interesting new paper on theory in ecology–what theories are, why they’re valuable, and what makes for a good one (or a bad one–we’ll get to that). It’s explicitly philosophical, which is great–scientists should … Continue reading →
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9:41 AM | Say “the rise of the age of mammals” again, I double dare you!
In biology and among biologists, we like to use terms that we know are not correct but that still come in handy when you’re confident that your interlocutor understands them the way you do. I’m thinking of terms such as “key adaptations”, “living fossils”, etc… However, among them, there is one that particularly bugs me and makes me feel like Samuel L. Jackson in the iconic Pulp Fiction scene and that is: “the rise of the age of mammals”. […]
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12:57 AM | Tricks of the Trade: LaTeX
Ok, guys. I’ve been studying as a baby statistician (scienctician? statscientist? ecologitician?)  for a little while now and I’m here to share some of their secrets. Before I started here at Penn State I had a couple ideas about what other grad students in my department would be like. First, everyone would be computer masters of any and all statistical programs: R, SAS, others that I hadn’t even heard of yet. Second, they’d all be completely on top of everything in […]
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12:50 AM | Will there be a ‘hostile takeover’ of western public lands?
Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:Federal lands in the U.S. Courtesy Univ. of Montana. New website offers glimpse of ongoing efforts to ‘de-federalize’ the West Staff Report FRISCO — On and off efforts to force the transfer of…
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12:48 AM | The Caterpillar and the Butterfly
‘There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.’         —Buckminster Fuller Architecture | Education | Landscape | Nature It’s been six months since Sweet by Nature was penned and released … Continue reading →

October 28, 2014

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7:19 PM | Genetics reveal the diversity of pollinators’ other cargo: fungi
The following is a cross-posting from the Stanford CEHG Blog by Jeremy Hsu, a graduate student in Elizabeth Hadley’s lab at Stanford University. Many animals that visit flowers are known to carry microfungal communities; these fungi are important ecologically because … Continue reading →
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7:03 PM | Paid sick days and working women: new (and disturbing) results from a Kaiser survey
A new Data Note on results from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent survey highlights how this country’s lack of nationwide paid sick leave places a disproportionate burden on women – and is particularly hard on low-income mothers.
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6:44 PM | How wolves are beneficial
Originally posted on Coalition for American Wildbirds:? ? On Utah’s National Public Radio affiliate, KCPW, on Tuesday, October 21, host Roger Mc Donough interviewed Kirk Robinson, Executive Director of Western Wildlife Conservancy on the topic of wolves – and…
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5:12 PM | NEON releases a higher education video on photosynthesis
Did you ever wonder how scientists measure photosynthesis? Check out the latest NEON educational video, developed in collaboration with David Moore (University of Arizona), Ankur Desai (University of Wisconsin) and Pat Morgan (LiCOR). This video is the second in a series of data-science focused videos hosted on YouTube. Also be sure to check out our … Continue reading »
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4:03 PM | A message from Martha by Mark Avery | review | @GrrlScientist
This absorbing book is an engaging and wistful, yet measured, chronicle about the tragic loss of one very special, iconic, species, the passenger pigeon. This is the year of the passenger pigeon. Despite this, you might wonder how three books about the passenger pigeon could possibly have been published this year -- and, iconic or not, what more could possibly be said about an extinct species one hundred years on? Yet each book brings something new to the table. But my favourite of this trio […]
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2:17 PM | How to teach yourself about an obscure snake
This article will soon become available in SpanishThe world is full of obscure snakes. According to Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology, the more you know about them, the better a person you are. Writing this blog, and in my research, I am often confronted with the challenging task of finding out something - anything at all - about a species of snake that I've never heard of before. This post is a walk-through of the process that I usually use to track down even the most basic information […]
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