March 25, 2015

12:36 PM | Birdbooker Report 365
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
12:00 PM | The science education crisis needs a focus on K-6 classrooms
By my counting, we have three kinds of science education crises in the USA. A ridiculously low degree of scientific literacy across all socioeconomic segments. People are readily duped by irrational arguments about food safety, infectious disease prevention, the changing climate and the origin of species. (Is this a new problem? That’s debatable. Is it…
Editor's Pick
11:04 AM | Ecologists think general ecology journals only want “realistic” theory. And they think that’s bad.
Last week I polled readers on whether they shared my impression that general ecology journals only want to publish “realistic” theory, meaning theories tightly linked to data. I also asked readers if they thought general ecology journals should only publish … Continue reading →
10:03 AM | Update: Plant Health News (25 Mar 15)
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including early reports on the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the first carbon neutral banana farm recognised in Costa Rica and training for Citrus farmers in Ghana on the use of technology to increase yields. Click on the link to read more […]

March 24, 2015

9:56 PM | Not an “accident”: James Harrison, 35, suffers fatal work-related injury in Jal, NM
This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on March 11, 2015 in Jal, NM
6:00 PM | Stationary Stability in Finite Populations
guest post by Marc Harper A while back, in the article Relative entropy minimization in evolutionary dynamics, we looked at extensions of the information geometry / evolutionary game theory story to more general time-scales, incentives, and geometries. Today we’ll see how to make this all work in finite populations! Let’s recall the basic idea from […]
4:54 PM | From the Ashes
Last Friday, I wandered through the small prairie we burned back on March 10.  Even though it is still very early spring, there were already a number of prairie plants popping out of the ground.  I posted photos of this site … Continue reading →
4:10 PM | What’s going on in the North Atlantic?
The North Atlantic between Newfoundland and Ireland is practically the only region of the world that has defied global warming and even cooled. Last winter there even was the coldest on record – while globally it was the hottest on … Continue reading →
1:28 PM | Panamanian golden frog skin microbiota predict ability to clear deadly infection
The fungal skin infection, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has pushed many amphibian species to the brink of extinction. One such species, the Panamanian golden frog, is likely extinct in the wild and has been maintained in captive breeding colonies since 2006. … Continue reading →
1:03 PM | Corr Syl the Terrible YA SciFi Novella Coming May 2, 2015
This young-adult science-fiction story follows the warrior Corr Syl as he searches for kidnapped Rhya Bright. It adds a chapter to the young warrior's life, and creates a grand new challenge for Earth's Tsaeb warriors. Continue reading →
10:51 AM | Communicating about lab finances
As I talked about in yesterday’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about lab finances lately. For the most part, I’ve done this on my own, staring into what sometimes feels like an abyss of spreadsheets in my office. A … Continue reading →

March 23, 2015

11:09 PM | A Week in the Life of U131
When you’re collecting data on the behaviour of individual animals over time, as I am this summer, your observations sometimes feel less like a collection of numbers and more like a collection of personal narratives. Of course, the data are both … Continue reading →
10:49 PM | World Ocean Heartbeat Fading? ‘Nasty’ Signs North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation is Weakening
“Scientists call it Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). But we may as well think of it as the heartbeat of the world ocean system. And when that heartbeat begins to slow down, we’d best sit up and start paying attention.” … Continue reading →
5:52 PM | Students share eMammal!
On Thursday, March 5, eight middle school students from the classrooms of two 2014 Students Discover Kenan Fellows, Dave Glenn and Dayson Pasion, presented their research on wildlife camera-trapping at the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) conference in Raleigh. Over the last year, the students have participated in the eMammal citizen science project, deploying wildlife cameras in their schoolyard to capture animal activity. The students have been working in collaboration […]
2:35 PM | Public health activities during the recession
A study published in a new supplement to the American Journal of Public Health investigates the extent to which public health activities in metropolitan areas suffered during the recent recession.
2:34 PM | Perú: Una visita al campo con los Doctores de Plantas en Huamanga-Ayacucho
Texto escribido por los doctores de planta de la Estación Experimental Agraria Canaán (INIA): Victoriano Eduardo Núñez Cuba, Melancio Huamani García y Aníbal N. Huarancca, y editando por Léna Durocher-Granger (CABI-UK). English summary follows El Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria (INIA), organismo público adscrito al Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego, a través de la Estación Experimental […]
2:07 PM | A love letter to sponges
Like many kids interested in marine biology, growing up I wanted to work on sharks. After college I interned for a year at the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Lab under the guidance of two great mentors, Jim Gelsleichter and … Continue reading →
1:36 PM | The Art and Science of Art Conservation | @GrrlScientist
Behind-the-scenes looks at the science that goes into art conservation so we all can (potentially) experience the original work for ourselves rather than looking at a digitised scan, a poster-sized print or an encyclopaedia thumbnailWhen people think of great works of art, they probably think of Monet, van Gogh, Picasso, or Rembrandt. But rarely does anyone think of scientists; specifically, most people are unaware of the exquisite marriage of science and art that underpins art conservation so […]
12:00 PM | The more things change, the more they change
I just had the pleasure of spending a couple days hiking around the interior of Catalina Island. The last time I did this was about 23 years ago, when I was a student on an undergraduate field trip for a course in Conservation Biology. I learned a lot from that course, and a lot of…
10:53 AM | Keeping track of lab finances
Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time working through lab finances. I need to make personnel decisions, and what I want to do is: Make sure the amount of money I think I have to spend is the amount I … Continue reading →
7:53 AM | It's Museum Week on Twitter | @GrrlScientist
Today is the first day of Twitter’s international Museum Week, which celebrates our many museums, galleries and cultural institutions that make valuable contributions to science, the arts, history and culture around the worldIf you are a twitter fiend, as I am, and if you are passionate about museums, galleries and other cultural institutions, as I am, then you will be thrilled to learn that today is the first day of Museum Week on twitter. This community event runs from 23-29 March and […]
4:00 AM | Reproducibility - do you have what it takes?
Reproducibility is supposed to be a cornerstone of modern science, in that everything we do (writing methods, almost releasing data, the whole peer-review system) is supposed to ensure that, given only your paper, some hypothetical person can reproduce your results without having to look for additional information. It's the way I've first been told about scientific literature. It's also a blatant lie, and it's only getting worse. First, and although I'm yet to try it for myself (this would be […]

March 22, 2015

11:50 PM | Is the medium a monster?
“Dinosaurs have become boring. They’re a cliché. They’re overexposed” – Stephen Jay Gould Dinosaurs have always been inextricably linked to popular culture. Despite going extinct 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period they pervade our society. Dinosaur exhibits are the main attractions of natural history museums and outside of this setting, they can be found in films, documentaries, books, toy shops etc. A new discovery of […]
3:13 PM | Possibly pedantic points: scientific names
When it comes to certain things, I am a pedant. Not the annoying beat-you-over-the-head type of pedant, but the type that has been known to geek out over methods for reporting taxonomic authorities (it’s all in the parentheses). This weekend, … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Lessons on Post-Resilience from Venice, 2015
“Stronger than the storm.” I can’t get this phrase out of my head, nearly one week into my sabbatical move to Venice, Italy. It so happens that we arrived on a week when the moon and the winds lined up to create acqua alta (high water) for six days in a row. On day 1, … Continue reading Lessons on Post-Resilience from Venice, 2015 →

March 21, 2015

4:21 PM | Lost Animals–Garry Rogers Goodreads Comment
Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record by Errol Fuller Garry Rogers rating: 5 of 5 stars This book was hard to read. As you pass from one tragedy to the next, you gather sadness like a rolling ball gathers … Continue reading →
11:59 AM | Watch a baby hummingbird grow up | @GrrlScientist
For “Caturday”, I share a lovely video created by one of my birding pals that captures a mother hummingbird as she raises her son from hatching to fledgingSpring is springing! Already, a few of my Seattle birding pals have spotted hummingbird nests. Thus, since today is “Caturday”, I was inspired to share a video of a mother rufous hummingbird as she raises her son from hatching to fledging. In this video, you will see how fast the chick grows (especially its beak), and […]
11:00 AM | Top Ten Animals That Can Outrun You
Find out which animals you shouldn't challenge to a footrace!
1:00 AM | Thermodynamics with Continuous Information Flow
guest post by Blake S. Pollard Over a century ago James Clerk Maxwell created a thought experiment that has helped shape our understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the law that says entropy can never decrease. Maxwell’s proposed experiment was simple. Suppose you had a box filled with an ideal gas at equilibrium at […]

March 20, 2015

9:29 PM | Study finds transforming vacant urban lots into green spaces could reduce stress, improve health
For all you city-dwellers out there, next time you walk by a vacant lot that’s been refurbished with green gardens and budding trees, take note of your heart rate. You might find the pleasantly green view caused a welcome moment of relaxation and lowered stress.
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