Posts

November 25, 2014

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2:43 PM | The 9,999th Reptile
This post will soon become available in SpanishNumber of new snake species by decade, with highlightsData from The Reptile DatabaseLinnaeus's 1758 Systema Naturae, the starting point of zoological nomenclature, described 118 species of reptiles, including 74 snakes (not counting the limbless lizards and amphibians he included in the same group). It took over 100 years for the number of described species of snakes to reach 1000, an event that probably passed without much notice […]
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12:29 PM | Consuming raw or undercooked frogs may increase your risk of getting a rare tapeworm in your brain
A 50-year-old UK resident had been living with an unwelcome visitor for the past 4 years and it was such a headache. Surgeons from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge removed the tapeworm during a biopsy after noticing a small circular lesion … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | The Early Evolution of Biodiversity
A wise man once said “sometimes you’ve got to go back to actually move forward” (this man was later mocked by . . .
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11:45 AM | Reader survey results
As promised, here are the results of our reader survey. Thanks to everyone who completed it! This is a long post, and it’s mostly for our own reference. But if you’re curious, read on! For comparison, the results of our … Continue reading →
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2:28 AM | DuPont is a “stickler” for safety, but what does that really mean?
Four workers from DuPont's La Porte, TX facility are dead. Their employer makes hundreds of millions on its behavior-based, blame the worker safety program. Federal investigators will find that the catastrophe occurred because of decisions made far up the chain of command, not unsafe behaviors by the victims.
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1:15 AM | Hubbard Fellowship Blog – The Amazing Burying Beetle
This post was written by Dillon Blankenship, one of our current Hubbard Fellows.  All photos are by Dillon. Back in September I had an interesting experience while sweeping out the shop. With a dustpan full of grass and dirt, I stepped … Continue reading →

November 24, 2014

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8:08 PM | Why I don’t use my campus email address
What good things does an institutional email address do for you? Here is a list: It gives you legitimacy. If you’re working at Important University, then people know this from your email address. And that’s the end of the list. What not-so-good things come with your institutional email address*? It is ephemeral. If you are a…
Editor's Pick
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4:54 PM | PITCHFORK SCIENCE: Guppies, Stickleback, and Darwin’s Finches.
[This is a cross-posting with the EXEB blog at Lund - thanks for the reciprocal opportunity Erik. And thanks for your earlier post here on Eco-Evo-Evo-Eco.]I study Trinidadian guppies, threespine stickleback, and Darwin’s finches, surely 3 of the top 10 evolutionary biology “model” systems - for vertebrates at least. I thus fall at one extreme (or is it three extremes?) on the “pick a model system and use it to answer my question” versus “develop a brand new […]
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4:40 PM | Fun facts about Pavlov
I think this should go under “things I never knew about Pavlov”: Pavlov is perhaps best known for introducing the idea of the conditioned reflex, although Todes notes that he never used that term. It was a bad translation of … Continue reading →
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3:52 PM | Apply to be a 2015-2016 Kenan Fellow
The application process for the 2015-2016 cohort of Kenan Fellows is now open! Watch this video to see what being a part of the Students Discover project meant to our first cohort of scientists and teacher-scientists. Learn how the Students Discover project directly relates to what you can do in your classroom and meet some of the scientists you’d be working with!
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2:55 PM | Caging horses
Standard practice in the horse world dictates that horses be stabled, and provided with food, water and a place to rest. This minimalistic requirement for keeping horses in stables is a clear limiting factor for the horse’s expression of normal behavioral repertoires which undoubtedly compromises well-being and welfare. A stall, whether you are selling vegetables … Continue reading Caging horses →
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1:59 PM | Trophic cascades in fragmented forests
Many birds eat insects and spiders. Some of these insects and spider are themselves predators, feeding on critters lower down in the food web. Some of the insects that are fed upon by birds, or other predators, also play important roles in forest, such as munching upon the fresh, green leaves of young trees (here’s […]
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12:30 PM | All in the family: hierarchical social and genetic structure in the Old World monkey Theropithecus gelada
Complex, multi-level animal societies have evolved convergently across many taxa but we know little about the mechanisms behind their formation and their associated fitness benefits. In their Molecular Ecology paper published online last week, Snyder-Mackler et al. addressed these questions … Continue reading →
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12:01 AM | The Allure of Couzins: Self-organising collective groups
Every now and then you stumble on a paper that changes everything for you. Typically something of a personal zeitgeist moment, it opens your eyes to a whole new world of potential and can spin your own research out in new directions, or encourage a complete re-orientation of your goals. In this new series, we are going to profile some of our favourite papers and maybe share the inspiration a little wider. I don’t get out from behind my computer much, but when I do, my favourite engagement […]

November 23, 2014

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10:32 PM | Weekly facts and quotes, 11/17 – 11/23
Monday saprophagous (səˈpräfəɡəs), adjective - (of an organism) feeding on or obtaining nourishment from decaying organic matter. Tuesday A mass depopulation of cockroaches has been observed since the beginning of the 21st century in Russia and other countries of the former … Continue reading →
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7:47 PM | On busyness and striving for balance
This semester has been rather hectic for me, hence my lack of blogging. Why? Mostly because of a combination of field season and flipping Intro Bio. Intro Bio here at Michigan is huge (over 600 students), and is a bit … Continue reading →
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7:00 PM | A Study of Biodiversity in the World’s Cities
What are the global patterns of biodiversity the world’s cities?  Are urban spaces biologically homogeneous and depauperate, or do they harbor significant native biodiversity?  These are the questions of a collaborative study of biodiversity in the world’s cities. For several … Continue reading →
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5:05 PM | Readers Write In: Two Fall Snakes from the West Coast
It's getting quite cold here on the East Coast of the USA, so that means there are fewer snakes being encountered to identify. But, fortunately we have readers on the West Coast to bail us out. A friend of mine recently took this picture and he thinks this is a rattle snake. We live in Northern Nevada (Great Basin) and we do have rattlesnakes but there is nothing about this snake that looks
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11:00 AM | Systematic gender bias in editorial boards in ecology
There is an increasing body of evidence showing that women are at a disadvantage in science. They publish less, and are discriminated against in hiring (by male and female faculty equally). They are also under-represented on editorial boards, and it has been so for a long time. This last study, in particular, motivated me to do a few additional analyses. Journals are where the scientific debate happen. Editors act as the gatekeeper of this debate; especially so since they can render a decision […]
Editor's Pick

November 22, 2014

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6:33 PM | Scenes at the local library
This post briefly interrupts the TCS prediction posts with a library-related theme, given the overwhelming popularity of these in the past. For various reasons, I sometimes work at the local public library. It’s a small place, but still the largest … Continue reading →
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3:54 PM | Unrelated to all that, 11/22 edition
Scabs, Scantrons, and Strikes at the University of Oregon At the heart of the dispute is a demand by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTTF) for two weeks of paid leave for illness or childbirth. The city of Eugene, which … Continue reading →
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1:35 PM | Top Ten Coolest Homemade Holiday Cards
Check out these amazing cards made by Earth Rangers like YOU!
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10:40 AM | Shelf Life: 33 Million Things | @GrrlScientist
Natural history museums are many things, but they are not peopled exclusively with dry, dusty old white men, rooting around in dry, dusty old drawers, examining dry, dusty old dead things.Natural history museums are many things but they are not, as I was sometimes told, peopled exclusively with dry, dusty old white men, rooting around in dry, dusty old drawers, examining dry, dusty old dead things.In fact, most natural history museums are modern research institutions filled with a vast […]
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12:17 AM | Buffalo’s 2014 November Snowstorm
Global-warming weather extremes increasing. Continue reading →

November 21, 2014

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8:32 PM | BLM Issues Deadly Permit for Wolf Derby
Originally posted on Straight from the Horse's Heart:Source: The Teton Valley News “The BLM’s self-righteous propensity to play God over the native creatures of our public lands stretches far beyond the destruction of our wild horses and burros…
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7:33 PM | Occupational health and safety leaders honored, new policies adopted at American Public Health Association annual meeting
The OHS Section’s annual meeting at APHA brings together the best of public health: solid research, community-based methods, policy and politics, social justice and solidarity.
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5:00 PM | They’ll let anything through peer review these days
… where “they” are the hordes of bogus pay-to-publish journals that seem to be spamming every .edu email address (especially those connected to corresponding authors in real journals) with invitations to submit. Submission spam from the International Journal of Advanced … Continue reading →
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3:08 PM | Is It Too Cold Out Today?
Arctic researcher Luana Sciullo tells us how Arctic animals stay warm!
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2:59 PM | New books Party: Books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
Today I share my first impressions of books about urban birds, materials science and a children’s dystopian novel that was recently adapted into a film.Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods With Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife by John Marzluff [Yale University Press, 2014; Guardian bookshop; Amazon UK hardcover; Amazon US hardcover/kindle US] Continue reading...
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1:30 PM | The latest gadget for the molecular ecologist’s toolkit
Designing a sampling scheme to collect an organism of interest for a population genetic/genomic study can be fraught with difficulty. How best to sample? Randomly? Or, along a grid? How many individuals to sample? Thirty? Or, perhaps, the sample size … Continue reading →
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