If you’re not reading everything that Ed Young writes, you’re missing out.
And he’s once again hit it out of the park with this great post about America’s Largest Collection of Parasites (although when my coauthor Kim Lackey and I cleaned our the parasitology lab a few years ago, it could have been in the running).
These jars of wonder/parasites are kept in my favorite of the Smithsonians, the Natural History Museum. Read all about Ed’s exploration of this TREASURE trove of awesome here.
And remember, Parasitism really is the sincerest form of flattery.
Evolutionary biology is full of puzzles, most of which have the form “Evolution by natural selection should produce X but yet we see Y. How come?” Examples include the surprisingly high frequency of sterile males, individuals that help unrelated individuals reproduce, and senescence. Resolving the puzzle usually involves figuring out why trait or behavior X actually is adaptive despite appearances to the contrary, as with individuals that help non-relatives reproduce.
What are the biggest puzzles in ecology? Does ecology have as many puzzles as evolutionary biology? And if not, does that indicate a failing of ecology?
Here’s a classic ecological puzzle: Hairston, Smith, and Slobodkin’s question, why is the world green? That is, why is the world covered with plants, given that there are lots of herbivores around that you’d think would eat all the plants?
Interested? Read more about the puzzles in Ecology and which ones are global and which ones are local, here!
A duck is a duck, right? Well, yes, but when one duck mates with a duck of another species, there’s the risk that one of the original species could cease to exist. And then that duck is a duck no more.
This is not philosophical, as much as it is based on very real study that assesses the rate at which mallard and Mottled Ducks are combining into a hybrid species in the US. And whether or not this is a bad thing?
Read more here!
The two fields’ intertwined histories show that most theoretical breakthroughs are preceded by the kind of deep observational work that has fallen out of vogue in the past half century.
Want to know more about collaboration and a call for research associated with this partnership? Read about it here.
It is the height of arrogance for industrialized countries to demand that developing countries conserve nature, while they plowed down natural resources (and often still do) to gain economic supremacy.
And that sentiment is reflected in a recent piece about the 18th anniversary of the death of Michael Werikhe, the enigmatic African conservationist.
Moreover, some of these points were emphasized in an interesting stream over on twitter.
The first step is recognizing the problem. But how do we solve said problem?
The title of this post is not my own, but it kind of has a point. Not “everything dies” but rather, a lot more apocalyptic.
A brown-black beetle (the polyphagous shot hole borer) breeds inside trees. It drills networks of tunnels, which then get infected by a fungus it carries to feed it’s young. Eventually the tree dies, the beetle moves on and the whole cycle starts again.
This would be a cute horror story, if the beetle wasn’t on track to kill 26.8 million trees across Southern California. Which is going to directly link to the death of humans. Interested? Find out why here.
The domesticated honey bee dominates headlines as beekeepers struggle to stop mass die-offs. But they are not the only pollinators out there, and not the only bees that are declining.
“The needs of wild bees are so different that, as some experts say, raising honeybees to save pollinators is like raising chickens to help birds.”
Want to know more? Read about it here.