October 05, 2014

12:52 AM | Global biodiversity targets won’t be met by 2020, scientists say
Writing in the journal Science, in the same week that a major report by WWF suggested the world had lost half its animals over the past four decades, the scientists say that the state of biodiversity and the pressures on it are getting worse, not better. Continue reading →

October 04, 2014

11:49 PM | Study shows sharks have personalities
What is interesting is that these behaviours differ consistently among individuals. This study shows, for the first time, that individual sharks possess social personalities. Continue reading →
11:30 PM | Human Impact: Artificial Light Disrupts Sex Hormones of Birds
Under light at night, something gets broken and you see a dampening of the hormonal system. Continue reading →
6:50 PM | Ascomycete Wannabes: Cyphelloid Fungi—Part II
The first cyphelloid fungus I found was Henningsomyces candidus. These are tiny, usually snow white, hairy tubules that cluster on the undersides of rotting logs. Though they occasionally reach an astonishing length of three millimetres, their diameter maxes out at only a sixth of that. Tiny, as I said. They can, however, grow in large enough communities that the white patches are easily seen. You just can't tell how startlingly odd they are until you look at them under […]
4:01 PM | Unrelated to all that, 10/4 edition
The curse of committees and clubs First, the average scientist today is not of the quality of our predecessors; it’s a bit analogous to the so-called “greatest generation” of men and women of the United States who fought off fascism … Continue reading →
1:25 PM | Read It and Weep: Fungal Guttation
Young Fomitopsis pinicola with guttation drops (click to see bigger)Some fungi are prone to exhibiting a curious phenomenon—they exude beads of moisture, called guttation. In several polypores, such as Fomitopsis pinicola, the liquid produced can look so much like tears that you'd swear the fungus was weeping. Or maybe sweating. Other species produce pigmented drops that can look like milk, or tar, or even blood.Guttation is more well-known in some vascular plants. During the […]
1:04 PM | Top Ten Things Owls Give a Hoot About
Here’s our countdown of the things owls love. From mice to eyelids and spinning their heads around, these animals have some pretty diverse interests.
12:00 PM | Readers Write In: A Mixed Bag of Snake Identification Requests
Found this snake trying to get in, Not sure about it. Any help? It is aggressive and its tail quivers just a bluff I'm sure..... Thanks, Mike Pike County, Ohio Found this snake in my house today and can't really tell what it is. Any help identifying it would be much appreciated.  Thank you, Geoff B. South Mississippi I'm about 3 miles from the Ashley River, but

October 03, 2014

9:34 PM | Study: More action needed to confront millions of preventable child deaths
Worldwide, the numbers of children who die before their fifth birthdays is on the decline. Still, millions of children are being lost to diseases and complications that are completely preventable.
9:10 PM | The little things, professorial edition
A while back Meg posted on the importance of doing little things to keep your lab happy. Well, if you’re lucky, your lab will also do little things to keep you happy: :-)Filed under: Just for fun, Navel gazing, Personal … Continue reading →
8:48 PM | How a saber-toothed cat is like a can opener
Wild ThingsAnimals,Paleontology BY Sarah Zielinski 7:30am, October 6, 2014 In this digitized image of a saber-toothed cat skull and neck, four points of possible rotation are circled in blue. A researcher used those points to simulate the cat’s bite.J.G. Brown/PLOS ONE 2014The enormous canine teeth that […]
6:42 PM | Study: Cheetah Population Dwindling
  GR:  Monospecific landscapes are boring.  Wouldn’t we all prefer to have a few more cheetahs and a few less humans? In 1900, cheetahs numbered around 100,000. Today, there are just 10,000 in the wild. A new study says being … Continue reading →
5:34 PM | Happy World Smile Day
Do you have a toothy grin like a zebra, a sly smirk like an alpaca or a cheetah chuckle? Check out these top ten smiling animals and see which one you look like when you smile!
5:12 PM | Which institutions request external review for tenure files?
Today, I’m submitting my file for promotion. It’s crazy to think I submitted my most recent tenure file five years ago, it feels closer to yesterday. Unless I get surprised (and it wouldn’t be the first time), I’ll be a full Professor if I’m here next year. And yet, throughout this entire process, there has…
4:55 PM | Low
In a previous post, I wrote about the power of photography for ecologists. Now, it is time to provide some . . .
4:20 PM | House science committee is digging for dirt in NSF’s confidential records of peer review
ScienceInsider reports that aides for the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have been spending the summer digging through records of grant the grant review process that the National Science Foundation usually keeps confidential: The Republican aides were … Continue reading →
4:02 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Anne Madden
Interviewing Anne Madden was both enlightening and entertaining, I’ve never before wished that a recorder would break so I could repeat an interview — it was that much fun. Anne is a postdoctoral researcher — an early career scientist — and yet her life experiences and work in industry prior to graduate school have given her a very nuanced and intriguing perspective on science. Read on to learn about how her clinically diagnosed phobia of middle school did not stop her […]
3:55 PM | Tricksy insects sing a song of love and deceit
Beyond a spider snacking on an unfortunate fly, the social lives of insects tend to go unrecognized. Perhaps you notice all the ants marching in a line, or bees heading back to a nest, but it all seems so mechanical, so primal. … Continue reading →

Nakano, R., Ihara, F., Mishiro, K., Toyama, M. & Toda, S. (2014). Double meaning of courtship song in a moth, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281 (1789) 20140840-20140840. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0840

Hoikkala, A., Aspi, J. & Suvanto, L. (1998). Male courtship song frequency as an indicator of male genetic quality in an insect species, Drosophila montana, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 265 (1395) 503-508. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1998.0323

2:55 PM | Web presence
No one wants a Google search for their name to turn up a lot of negative information, but I am always curious when a search for someone shows up little information at all. Sure, it doesn’t surprise me if a … Continue reading →
2:39 PM | Data management training in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – looking back on a successful trip!
In the first week of September, 2014, Claire Beverley and I went to Cambodia for three days to run data management training and a cluster meeting, along with our colleague Jeremy Ngim from the CABI Malaysia office. The presentations were given in English and translated into Khmer, which was a neat experience for all. We got […]
1:38 PM | New Books Party: books received this week | @GrrlScientist
Although I recently returned from visiting London, books still arrived in the mail during my absence for me to share with you. Heres some of the treasure-trove ...When I get new books, I like to share them with people. Unfortunately, since you all are so far away, I cannot host a book party in my crib where you can look over them, so Ill do the next best thing. Ill host a book party on my blog each Friday of the week when I either purchase books, they are given to me or when review copies […]
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: Sorting out whole-genome duplication, adaptation without tradeoffs, and is science leaving its logistic growth phase?
In the journals McGrath CL, J-F Gout, P Johri, TG Doak, and M Lynch. Differential retention and divergent resolution of duplicate genes following whole-genome duplication. 2014. Genome Res. 24: 1665-1675. doi: 10.1101/gr.173740.114. Finally, multiple sources of evidence indicate that [Paramecium] … Continue reading →
12:29 PM | Photo of the Week – October 3, 2014
I made my first ever visit to The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch in western Kansas this week.  It won’t be my last.  Situated along the boundary between mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie, the Smoky Valley Ranch contains 16,800 acres of … Continue reading →
11:18 AM | Friday links: the cult of “too busy”, why research fails, a love letter to National Geographic, and more
Also this week: why academics write badly, haters gonna hate (and that’s a good sign), college enrollments are declining (and that’s a good sign), combinatorics vs. the h-index, the fishy exact test, chickens CHICKENS, and more. Oh, and leopard+gravity vs. … Continue reading →
11:10 AM | FLUMP- stochasticity and biodiversity, Lotka-Volterra apps, SARs, Conservation and more
It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and . . .
1:00 AM | Network Theory (Part 30)
The network theory series is back! You may have thought it died out, but in fact it’s just getting started. Over the last year my grad students have made huge strides in working out the math of networks. Now it’s time to explain what they’ve done. In the last three episodes I explained how electrical […]
12:42 AM | Break
I won’t be writing much, if anything, for a while; need to take care of much more important things. I hope to come back to it at some point, if I feel there’s something worth saying, but we’ll see. Whether … Continue reading →
12:05 AM | Advancing Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave
Momentum is building for policies that allow workers to care for their own health and that of their family members without risking financial ruin.

October 02, 2014

11:01 PM | Sustainability Through Stability
I recently took part in a Tansley working group, an initiative that has a main working theme of advancing the ecological foundations of sustainability science. In this specific case we are seeking to construct a unified framework to help understand the multidimensional stability of ecosystems. In an era of increased human activity, significant climate change and biodiversity loss, an understanding of the mechanisms and drivers of ecosystem stability has vast implications for both ecological […]
7:49 PM | How Monarch Butterflies Found (and Lost) Their Migration
Originally posted on strange behaviors:Monarchs at their overwintering site cluster against the cold (Photo: Jaap de Roodee) As the monarch butterfly migration faces a worsening risk of extinction, a research team has discovered the basis of that legendary migration…
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