Posts

February 26, 2015

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6:03 PM | Planet Earth is a sick patient due to climate change, says Prince Charles
Speaking at Royal Society event on health and climate change, prince says that failure to act on global warming would be ‘death sentence’ for the planet The Prince of Wales has compared the planet to a “sick patient,” warning it … Continue reading →
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6:01 PM | Businesses Must Step Up to Support Biodiversity — And It’s Simple
We need to find the environmentally conscientious businesses and give them our support. Continue reading →
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6:00 PM | Biodiversity Thresholds for Amazonian Deforestation
Recent surveys of Brazilian rainforest indicate the loss is greater than thought before. This study says that most of the remaining forest is in private hands. And though laws require owners to preserve a large percentage of their forests, they tend to cut it instead. Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | dN(eutralist) > dS(electionist)? Part 1
In a new series of posts, I will now proffer neutralist and selectionist reviews of recent publications. I point readers to an excellent review of the debate by Masatoshi Nei (2005). Besides being a fun exercise in PoV’s, I hope … Continue reading →
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2:02 PM | The secret recipe for successful working group meetings?
As Meg noted recently, science is increasingly involving working groups. This is the big science aspect I discussed a while back in a lengthy footnote (and distinct from big data). Although the original (at least in ecology) synthesis center at NCEAS is … Continue reading →
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1:01 PM | A naturalist and his moquitoes
This is another in the “meet the lab” series – here’s a feature by MSc student Chris Cloutier: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by the world of creepy crawly things. For as long as I have been able to grasp and crawl I have been collecting and observing insects and spiders. […]
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1:00 PM | On being wary of bringing straight-A students into the lab
I had a conversation a couple months ago about the fact that I’m a bit wary of taking Straight-A students into my lab as research students. Here’s an explanation. A couple weeks ago, I saw and linked to an article about the predictors of success in grad school. Among those who were accepted to a fancy school, college GPA…
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5:00 AM | Plotting spatially explicit networks (in the oceans)
One of the projects I am working on at the moment involves interactions between marine species. We know the geographic position for each species, and their interactions. What we wanted to come up with, is a way of showing interactions on the map, to look at the biogeographic structure of this network. But the thing is, because we are talking about sea-living species, it makes no sense for the interactions to go over land. Fishes from the Pacific don't walk all the way through South America to […]
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2:52 AM | Incorporating animal mass mortality events in ecology and evolutionary biology
[ This post is by Samuel Fey, Stephanie Carlson, and Adam Siepielski; I am just putting it up.  –B. ]Many thanks to Andrew for the invitation to write a post on our recent article published in the January 27 issue of PNAS on recent shifts in the occurrence, magnitude, and cause of animal mass mortality events. We thought we would use this opportunity to write about the motivations for this study, our basic findings, and how we hope this study improves our ability to better […]

February 25, 2015

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6:47 PM | Notable quotes on wages and public health
Minnesota's health commissioner prescribes an increase in the minimum wage to improve people's health.
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6:46 PM | On trainees, money, and diversity
Money — it’s the crux of just about everything we do in science.  Want to bring in a new student or staff member? Money.  Want to do field or lab work? Money. Want to go to a conference? Money. It’s … Continue reading →
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3:35 PM | Siberian Permafrost Methane Shows Growing Eruption: Number of Global Warming-Induced Craters Now Estimated at 20-30
Originally posted on robertscribbler:(Siberian methane crater locations. In total, 7 methane blow holes with features similar to the Yamal Crater have now been discovered. Unofficial reports from observers on the ground have local scientists placing the likely count now…
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3:25 PM | The conservation genomics gap
Is genomic data a boon or a hurdle for conservation? Aaron Shafer and Jochen Wolf take a strong stance on the issue in a newly-published review in Trends in Ecology and Evolution: genomic data could be really useful for conservation, but not … Continue reading →
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1:51 PM | Clumsiness Pays Off: Lachnellula subtilissima and Podospora appendiculata
Podospora appendiculata on rabbit dungIt was the first collecting morning of the Mycological Society of Toronto's annual Cain Foray. As usual, I didn't get very far from where we parked our cars. That's what happens when you're looking for the small stuff—for ascomycetes and slime moulds. But even when you're specifically looking for tiny things, help is sometimes needed. In this case, help was my own clumsiness—I skidded along the length of a slippery branch and went down.This sort […]
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12:13 PM | Update: Plant Health News (25 Feb 15)
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the Giant African land snails invading Cuba, the debate over GM bananas in Uganda and a new report from the World Food Programme on connecting farmers to markets. Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news! Essential […]
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11:45 AM | How do you make figures?
Continuing on my stats and figure theme from last week, I’m curious as to how most of our readers make figures. I drafted this post before those posts appeared, and had no idea how common my approach of moving figures … Continue reading →
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12:17 AM | A Macabre Start to My Time in Florida
I’m in Gainesville for what I’m anticipating will be my last Ph.D. field season. I’m here to study the movement patterns of brown anoles (Anolis sagrei), trying to understand how their behaviour departs from territoriality to allow for female multiple … Continue reading →

February 24, 2015

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11:25 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
Workers continue to face dangerous exposures to diacetyl; paid sick leave legislation introduced in West Virginia; home health workers rally for living wages; and the rise of the independent contractor classification threatens worker rights.
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10:08 PM | Wanted: Evolutionary biologist who engages the public
Nothing in biology — not agriculture, not medicine, not conservation nor public health — NOTHING, makes sense except in light of evolution.** Yet, much of what evolutionary biologists do takes place in cloistered labs or faraway jungles. We hope to change this by doing evolutionary biology in the public eye, partnering with the public on research relevant not just to scientists, but to all of us. At North Carolina State University we’ve had the good fortune of partnering […]
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8:50 PM | That is worth some money
This is a lonely life Sorrow is everywhere you turn And that is worth something when you think about it That is worth some money That is worth something when you think about it That is worth some money … … Continue reading →
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7:47 PM | Did oil companies just cause the deaths of more than 100 stranded whales?
New Zealanders have witnessed more than 100 distressed pilot whales stranded in recent weeks, not far from where oil exploration companies have been ceaselessly firing sonic booms to map the seafloor. Around 103 of the whales couldn't be saved, despite tireless efforts by volunteers to comfort and refloat the highly social creatures. Continue reading →
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5:16 PM | Where an ant goes when its gotta go
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 12:17pm, February 24, 2015 The black garden ant, Lasius niger, is a common species in Europe and some parts of North America and Asia. Scientists have found that these ants use certain spots in their nests as toilets.© Ricardo Solar/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Most of us think ants are unsanitary; it certainly seems that way when they’ve invaded our […]
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4:47 PM | Microcircuits are SO HOT right now
So hot. We use the tools that we have, and right now that means genetic specificity with calcium imaging and channelrhodopsin. In other words: how do groups of identified neurons operate? In even fewer words: microcircuits. I am probably reading too … Continue reading →
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4:36 PM | A new way to quantify and track soot from its source to destination
No one wants to see dirty snow. But that’s just what appears when soot—from forest fires, diesel engines, and other fuel combustion—hitchhikes to the Arctic on atmospheric currents. Source: phys.org GR:  Tracking pollutants to their source is, and has been, … Continue reading →
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4:35 PM | Florida manatees rescued from drain – video
Up to 19 manatees are rescued after they got trapped in a drain leading from a marine inlet in Settle Beach in Florida. Wildlife experts use heavy lifting equipment to pull the creatures from the drains one by one. Source: … Continue reading →
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4:23 PM | Study seeks to understand variations in the rate of global warming
This study shows that periods of extended global cooling from internal variability alone are associated with more heat being taken up by the sub-surface ocean; when this ends, this heat can be released quite rapidly leading to a period of accelerated global warming. Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Bigger on the inside
Evolutionary biology is, fundamentally, the study of how populations of living things change over time. Different creatures live different lives, and at any given point in time they seem to do so relatively well, which poses a question: how do … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | Academia and friendships
At one point I thought about writing a post about the difficulties that academia wreaks on friendships. All that moving about means picking up, making new friends and leaving behind the old. It is tough in many respects and it is easy to see the negatives of that part of the career. Check out #academicnomad…
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12:27 PM | This is your brain on Human accelerated regulatory enhancer (HARE5)
Four decades have passed since King and Wilson published their seminal paper “Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and Chimpanzees“. In it, they proposed that the large behavioral and morphological differences between us and our closest relatives, chimpanzees, could not … Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | How often are ecologists mentioned in the news?
More specifically, how often are they mentioned in the NY Times? Turns out the Times has an online tool to tell you! It gives you a time series of the % of all NY Times articles containing a specified word … Continue reading →
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