Posts

January 07, 2015

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1:00 PM | Experiments can sell your science, even if they’re not going to work
We typically need manipulative experiments to truly know how a biological system works. Nevertheless, on most days, I feel that the subculture of ecology suffers from a fetish for manipulative experiments. In some cases, people design experiments that don’t entirely make sense because they know that the reviewers and the community will value that experiment more…
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11:59 AM | How I plan to use my research leave
After a really busy semester of teaching, this semester I have (almost) no teaching or service responsibilities. A whole semester to focus on research! I am excited about this, but also feel a lot of pressure to use the time … Continue reading →
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11:46 AM | Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 Jan 15)
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 the first report of leaf spot disease in coconut seedlings in China, a study on the occurrence of Cucumber mosaic virus subgroups IA and IB isolates in tomatoes in Nigeria […]

January 06, 2015

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10:33 PM | Study: Data from nurses’ study finds link between night shifts, higher mortality risk
A new analysis of data from the world’s largest and longest-running study of women’s health finds that rotating night shift work is associated with higher mortality rates. The new findings add to a growing awareness that long-term night shift work comes with serious occupational health risks.
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9:26 PM | Readers Write In: What Kind of Baby Snake is Eating This Little Catfish?
Hi David,I found this snake while surveying for mussels in Five Runs Creek, Conecuh National Forest, Covington County, AL.I’m pretty sure it’s feeding on a speckled madtom (Noturus leptacanthus) but didn’t want to get too close to positively ID and disturb and have him loose his lunch.I guessed it was a midland watersnake from a field guide. What are your thoughts? It was a small snake (
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5:53 PM | Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Jasmine and Tractors
This post is written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.   I Like Big Tractors and I Cannot Lie I think I’ve had unacknowledged tractor-envy for a while. Growing up in the suburbs, the biggest piece of “machinery” I … Continue reading →
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5:40 PM | Urban water fronts have typically been sites of heavy development and often are sites of pollution or exclusive access. But they have enormous potential benefits. How can we unlock these benefits for everyone? Are there ecological vs. social vs. economic tradeoffs?
No summary available for this post.
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2:23 PM | Colorado toughens fracking penalties
Fracking can be the worst source of environmental degradation. In the pursuit of profits, the energy industry is unconcerned with the effects of their actions (look at the photo below). Other governments should begin forcing responsible behavior. Continue reading →
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2:05 PM | Little African cats need big parks
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 9:19am, January 6, 2015 The African wildcat looks similar to a domestic cat in size, shape and coloring, but it remains a genetically distinct species.hyper7pro/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)As much as I love my own kitty, I have to admit that the domestic cat (Felis sylvestris catus) has become quite the menace around the world. The cat’s power to be a […]
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1:58 PM | World to Oil Producers — “We Don’t Want Your Fracking Crude”
Within 5-10 years the next price war on marginal oil may well be spear headed by renewables themselves. And that is a good thing, because in order to prevent the very worst impacts of human caused climate change that geological firewater needs to remain where it belongs — in the ground. In other words, there’s good reason not to want that fracking crude. Continue reading →
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1:06 PM | Transcriptomics in the wild (populations)
The genomics revolution is coming has already come. The past decade has seen countless advances in genomic techniques – many of which are now commonly found in any molecular ecologist’s toolbox. For example, instead of measuring gene expression in one … Continue reading →
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11:57 AM | Organism of the Day: a way to feature organismal diversity and natural history in Intro Bio and Ecology courses
In overhauling Intro Bio this past year, we substantially changed how we covered diversity. Instead of having what I thought of as the death march through the phylogeny (e.g., one lecture on fungi; one lecture on “lower animals” – though, … Continue reading →

January 05, 2015

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9:53 PM | It’s plosing first…
Okay, everybody knows how plants can cope with adverse conditions, especially when it comes to dormant organs just waiting to resprout when spring or whatever environmental trigger lights on, and then “whoot whoot”, I’m here. I’m alive and well. This is a sign of resprouting, or let’s pretend. It’s been far too long this blog’s […]
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5:05 PM | Halfsider: a bizarre half-male half-female bird | @GrrlScientist
A rare half male and half female – “halfsider” – bird won the intertööbz over the holidays. This unusual bird is comprised of two genetically distinct individuals – twins – fused into one being. But what is it like to be such an individual? A recently published paper shares observations of the behaviour and social life of one such bird living in the wildImagine looking out your window one morning and seeing a bird at your feeding table that looks as […]
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4:03 PM | Dispersal capacity predicts both population genetic structure and species richness in reef fishes
Riginos et al. 2014 Dispersal capacity predicts both population genetic structure and species richness in reef fishes American Naturalist 184:52-64 This was a strange paper for me to read in some ways, because it harks back to some things that I probably should know something about: fish dispersal (honestly!), diversification, and phylogenetic analyses. The basic idea is that fish […]
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3:31 PM | National Park Service: Relocate Yellowstone’s “Excess” Bison Instead of Killing Them
It's unacceptable that indigenous animals are being slaughtered to benefit cattle, a non-indigenous animal that science proves is extremely destructive to every ecosystem on this continent, as their feeding preference is wildflowers and medicinal plants before grass. Continue reading →
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3:28 PM | One year’s worth of references for Creature Feature
I’ve gotten into the bad habit of not posting links to the scientific publications upon which my Creature Feature columns are based. Unfortunately, the length and format of the column are incompatible with including references in the pieces themselves, but … Continue reading →
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2:55 PM | Factsheet of the month: January 2015 – Management of clubroot disease in crucifers
Clubroot is a serious disease of crucifers. It is found in many countries across the world (see the Plantwise distribution map).  It is caused by the fungus Plasmodiophora brassicae, whose spores can live for many years in the soil. This makes the disease difficult to control once a field has been infected. To find out more about […]
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2:47 PM | Free Wildlife Notebook
My Arizona Wildlife Notebook just won the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. To celebrate, here's a free copy that you can annotate on your computer, tablet, e-Book reader, or phone. Continue reading →
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2:08 PM | Fatal work injury that killed Elbert C. Woods was preventable, OSHA cites Cleveland Track Material
The fatal work-related injuries that killed Elbert C. Woods could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.
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1:00 PM | Standards-based grading
As we start up the new semester, this is an apt time to evaluate, and update or change, our grading schemes. I don’t like giving grades. I wouldn’t assign grades if I didn’t have to, because grades typically are not a good measure of actual learning. Over the least year, I’ve heard more about a…
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11:36 AM | Postdoc parental leave policies, part 2 (guest post)
Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post by Margaret Kosmala, a postdoc in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Note from Margaret: This is the third post in a mini-series examining the enormous variation in U.S. postdoc leave benefits. … Continue reading →
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10:35 AM | South Africa’s topsy-turvy seasons
  It’s easy to forget that seasons work in different ways in different places. On a recent trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa, I was expecting to see European breeding birds. I was also expecting that South Africa would be enjoying a season similar to a European spring; a simple six-month discrepancy with the northern hemisphere. While I found the European birds, including Swifts, Swallows, Cuckoos and Willow Warblers, I found a rather different type of spring. South Africa […]
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7:58 AM | Why Google Gave Up
I was disappointed when Google gave up. In 2007, the company announced a bold initiative to fight global warming: Google’s Goal: Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal Creates renewable energy R&D group and supports breakthrough technologies Mountain View, Calif. (November 27, 2007) – Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from […]

January 04, 2015

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8:49 PM | Under-the-Radar Environmental Stories for 2015: The Furtive Five
As we begin the new year, however, there are a number of stories slipping past the public eye that are worth highlighting. Five stand out: 1) Siberia’s Natural Resources—Exploited without Scrutiny, 2) A New Grand Canal, 3) The Smog of Iran, 4) The Brazilian Amazon—Is It Really on the Upswing?, and 5) Environmental reporting on the upswing? GR: I would add 6) population and 7) invasive species. Continue reading →
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1:11 PM | The Maryland Biodiversity Project: Mobilizing community to build a better picture of local biodiversity
We live in a time of unparalleled environmental change. How do we assess impacts if we don't have baseline data? State and federal agencies work tirelessly with limited resources to monitor just our rarest species. We need to monitor changes across the board for many reasons. First, it is far cheaper to manage for a given species when it is declining slightly than to wait until it requires a captive breeding program. Ecosystems are also complex, so trying to understand issues without […]

January 03, 2015

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10:53 PM | Applaud Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
GR: People must come to understand that many of the animals for sale in pet stores and on display in circuses and zoos were stolen from their native homes. Some of the most beautiful and most trusting species have been devastated for human entertainment. Please help. Continue reading →
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10:32 PM | Invasive Tropical Fish Are Changing Ocean Ecosystems
Tropical fish are moving north as the global climate warms, in some cases with devastating impacts to ocean ecosystems Continue reading →
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10:10 PM | How to do statistics
This fall, I wrote a series of “How to” blog posts that proved somewhat popular, or at least well-read:How to write/present science – 2700+ viewsHow to be a reviewer/editor – 2600+ viewsWhere to submit your paper – 4000+ viewsI hadn't initially planned a series like this, it just kind of emerged. However, I had long planned one particular “How to” post. Ironically, that post was the one I still hadn’t written. Now that it is 2015, the time seems […]
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5:01 PM | Micro_Urban: The Ecological and Social Potential of Small-Scale Urban Spaces
Small-scale urban spaces can be rich in biodiversity, contribute important ecological benefits for human mental and physical health (McPhearson et al., 2013), and overall help to create more livable cities. Micro_urban spaces are the sandwich spaces between buildings, rooftops, walls, curbs, … Continue reading →
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