November 06, 2014

2:31 PM | Far
In a previous post, the photographing ecologist explained the importance of getting low to get the interesting and catchy pictures . . .
2:00 PM | The Ust’-Ishim Genome
This year has been monumental in pulling together several interesting pieces in the human evolution out of Africa puzzle (Lazaridis et al., Ruiz-Linares et al., Skoglund et al., Huerta-Sanchez et al., Jeong et al., Pickrell et al., Raghavan et al., … Continue reading →
1:30 PM | The Most Common Bacteria in New York City Soils are Unnamed, Can’t be Grown, and Aren’t Being Studied and Probably Won’t be in the Conceivable Future
It is worth remembering, when deadly pathogens are in the news that most microscopic species are either of no consequence to human health and well-being or are beneficial. Also, they are unstudied. Take the case of Manhattan. Manhattan is a borough of a somewhat large city reported to be full of culture, intellectualism, and black clothes. Probably, these things are true. In my lab, we mostly go there to study insects and, more recently, bacteria. In considering the bacteria of Manhattan, we […]
1:00 PM | Social media: what is it good for?
For better or worse, I am the only person in my department who engages regularly in social media. Blogging here, reading other blogs (and occasionally commenting), chatting on twitter…over the last year or so these have become regular activities for me. So for our informal seminar series, I decided to talk about using social media…
11:34 AM | Guess the famous ecologist from the wordle! (UPDATED)
Guess the famous ecologist from wordles made from abstracts of a bunch of their (fairly recent, first authored) papers! (UPDATE: Wow, that was fast! Took less than half an hour for commenters to combine to identify all four! :-) I … Continue reading →
9:50 AM | Update: Plant Health News (06 Nov 14)
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including analysis of the impacts of biotech crops, the role of salt tolerant plants in food production and 6 inventions that can help to prevent harvest loss. Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news! Gambia: Towards Food Self-Sufficiency AllAfrica […]
7:10 AM | Take the Bus! Good for the Environment, Your Wallet, and Your Wanderlust
And now for something a bit different!We’ve been writing a lot in the past few weeks about life as a graduate student or some of the things we are learning while on our respective doctoral journeys.  However, if you will recall, we also love to go on journeys in general.  Meridith and I have always been avid travelers.  We have visited numerous other countries together (South Africa, Costa Rica, Panama, England, Aruba…) and separately (Kenya, Argentina, Ireland, […]
4:49 AM | Wild but True!
You know, it’s not often that I become nervous around a kid. But today, his uber calm persona unsettled me! Barely half my size, Robert’s physique is hardly what one would call foreboding but when he talks, there is such a presence about him that puts me in awe and makes me feel so small… Continue reading »

November 05, 2014

10:56 PM | ESA Policy News November 5: Senate elections shake up committees, IPCC report finds climate change effects irreversible
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
9:48 PM | Animals don’t have a soul, a mind, or consciousness
via reddit
6:01 PM | Another Giant Rattlesnake Picture (from Texas/Mexico) Doing the Rounds
"Supposedly killed in Roma, Tx.""Fwd: 13.5 foot South Texas rattlesnake - Yikes !!! Next door to Dave Rogers Ranch in Hidalgo County""13.5 foot South Texas rattlesnake - Yikes !!! This is not the kind of snake you want to challenge. 13 1/2 feet long." I received three different e-mails about this rattlesnake back in September but I just never got around to posting about it. Apparently it is
5:04 PM | Where do people look? Where there’s information
1. BusinessInsider has a great collection of pictures tracking where people actually look when they see an image. (Big takeaway: men love to look at other people’s groins.) 2. Watch the video above: people generally look at the face of the … Continue reading →

Najemnik, J. & Geisler, W. (2005). Optimal eye movement strategies in visual search, Nature, 434 (7031) 387-391. DOI: 10.1038/nature03390

Gallup AC, Hale JJ, Sumpter DJ, Garnier S, Kacelnik A, Krebs JR & Couzin ID (2012). Visual attention and the acquisition of information in human crowds., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (19) 7245-50. PMID:

Gallup AC, Chong A, Kacelnik A, Krebs JR & Couzin ID (2014). The influence of emotional facial expressions on gaze-following in grouped and solitary pedestrians., Scientific reports, 4 5794. PMID:

Watson KK & Platt ML (2012). Social signals in primate orbitofrontal cortex., Current biology : CB, 22 (23) 2268-73. PMID:

Yorzinski JL & Platt ML (2014). Selective attention in peacocks during predator detection., Animal cognition, 17 (3) 767-77. PMID:

3:59 PM | Great Barrier Reef Australia, Turtle Rehabilitation Program
The Rehabilitation Centre treats injured and sick marine turtles brought in from the Great Barrier Reef and Cape York Peninsula. Continue reading →
2:02 PM | Plantwise knowledge bank wins Open Data Award for Social Impact
On 4 November, the CABI-led Plantwise programme was announced as the winner of the Open Data Award for Social Impact. This is the latest accolade for this innovative open access platform for knowledge to help farmers lose less of what they grow to crop pests and diseases. Plantwise knowledge bank Global Director Shaun Hobbs accepted […]
2:00 PM | The Tortoise Time Warp
Recent advances in genetic data analysis continue to provide the ability to reveal some amazingly detailed (and previously unattainable) information about species’ evolutionary history. In this recent study from Molecular Ecology, Dr. Ryan Garrick and colleagues use a variety of … Continue reading →
1:11 PM | From Best American Science & Nature Writing, warnings on antibiotics and vaccines
Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014 features two pieces that remind us how public-health interventions can become less effective if we as a society don't use them effectively
12:11 PM | Slowing down time can help
Most science centre professionals will agree that the best way of experiencing a phenomenon is to observe the real thing, or better yet, get hands-on with it. That’s what science centres are all about. A good example is the Science Centre Singapore’s Strobe Fountain exhibit that demonstrates the stroboscopic effect with real water droplets, right… Continue reading »
9:33 AM | Mexico eradicates Mediterranean fruit fly
Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA) has declared the country free of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in a development that is expected to ease trade restrictions and boost the produce industry. The declaration will positively impact on 1.8 million hectares of growing land for some key agricultural crops – […]
6:49 AM | Network Theory Seminar (Part 4)
  Since I was in Banff, my student Franciscus Rebro took over this week and explained more about cospan categories. These are a tool for constructing categories where the morphisms are networks such as electrical circuit diagrams, signal flow diagrams, Markov processes and the like. For some more details see: • John Baez and Brendan […]
1:52 AM | What if humans abandoned half the planet to wildlife?: A conversation with E.O. Wilson
First, to explain, the anthropocene is a word that some people are using to describe the current geological epoch. The idea is that so much has changed — in terms of the atmosphere, the soil, the animals of the world, etc. — that we should formally designate a new epoch dating to sometime in the 18th century, around the beginning of the industrial revolution. The world is changed, it’s increasingly human-dominated, and we ought to start calling it something that reflects that. […]

November 04, 2014

11:45 PM | How to be a reviewer/editor
Many articles have been written about how to be a good/responsible/fair/rigorous/timely reviewer or editor. Having now reviewed more than 400 papers and having been an editor for 100 more, I find myself developing rather strong opinions on the subject. If those opinions meshed nicely with the ones previously published, a blog wouldn’t be needed – but they don’t. Instead, I find myself holding rather different views on how to be a reviewer and editor. As time has gone on, these […]
10:58 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
Dangerous workplace speedups a hidden side of the economic recovery; California recycling workers vote to unionize; emergency responders in west Texas face new challenges during energy boom; and the U.S. lags in eliminating the gender pay gap.
9:10 PM | Hubbard Fellowship Post – Grasshopper Mice
This post was written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  Jasmine has written earlier about her independent research project looking at small mammals (or s’mammals, as she calls them) in our Platte River Prairies.  All photos are by Jasmine … Continue reading →
7:28 PM | How many smells can a smelly person smell? 1 trillion or 10?
Earlier this year, a paper in Science attempted to answer the question: how many smells can we actually smell? At least one trillion, they claimed. Recently, Markus Meister posted a paper on arxiv which made the bold claim that we can … Continue reading →
7:00 PM | New faces: Melissa DeBiasse
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy My name is Melissa DeBiasse … Continue reading →
6:00 PM | Animal Bill of Rights Week
Help us reach one million signatures to tell Congress that animals deserve basic rights. Continue reading →
5:00 PM | New faces: Noah Snyder-Mackler
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Is this … Continue reading →
4:26 PM | Interns Summer in Review, Part 5: Learning (and teaching) the art of scientific investigations
It has been over two years since I was last in the woods of New Hampshire collecting invasive plant data for my undergraduate research. From then to now, I have thought little about data sets or statistical variability. Instead, I have focused on getting thirteen-year-old kids to simply grasp the concept that Earth has seasons … Continue reading »
4:06 PM | Lam Dong launches biodiversity conservation action plan
Lam Dong is the most biodiversity-rich province in the Central Highlands and south-central region. It comprises 512,000ha of natural forest and 68.8ha of planted forest, which are home to a number of rare flora and fauna species listed in Vietnam’s Red Book.-VNA Continue reading →
3:00 PM | New faces: Stacy Krueger-Hadfield
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Stacy A. … Continue reading →
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