Watching a new species evolve

Biologist who study experimental evolution will tell you that they get to see species evolve all the time. However, for the first time, scientists have been able to see the evolution of a completely new species, in the wild, in real-time. And it’s not something rapidly evolving like bacteria.

It’s a new species of Darwin’s finch, endemic to a small island in the Galápagos, Daphne Major. And it evolved in just two generations.

Read about this awesome study, and gather fodder for that argument that “evolution isn’t true” that you might be having over your Thanksgiving weekend, here!

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From Octopolis to Octlantis: where to move if you’re a cosmopolitan octopus

It’s no secret that I love octopuses, and other cephalopods. I have also not made it a secret that I think they are going to take over the world (I’m only half kidding here)(seriously, they may be our overlords some day… soon). Which is why the discovery of not one but two octopus cities is both exciting and frightening. The two locations have been given names (and Buzzfeed, if you want me to write a listicle about the 10 greatest things about living in an octopus city I will) and are being studied for their anomalous appearance/existence.

“Like any urban environment, Otocopolis and Octlantis can be tough places to live. Citizens must be scrappy. The company and food are abundant but all the activity in the cities also attracts predators, including sharks.”

Want to know more? Read about it here.

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Why Ecology Needs Natural History

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.

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Crazy Giant Bug Invasion

This title is not as excessive as it might seem at first. So let’s break it down.

The cicadas that live in DC are on a 17-year cycle. That means once every 17 years, they all emerge at once, make a ton of noise, leave their exoskeletons everywhere, mate, and go back into the ground. It’s pandemonium when it happens. If you want to know more, check out cicadamania.com.

The giant bug swarm is not due back till 2021, but some of these giant menaces are climbing out early. Four years early actually, as in, right now. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is happening. What to know more about the confused (“Crazy”), larger than mosquitoes (“Giant”) insects (“Bugs”) that are showing up before their time (“Invasion”)? Read about it here.

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What Do Insects Do in Winter?

“Whether it’s special proteins that act like the antifreeze in your car, body fluids spiked with alcohol instead of water or gearing up for long-distance travel to warmer climes, it seems that these hardy bugs have developed their own answers to the biological problems winter poses.

You’ve likely heard of one the most common ways insects make it through this darkest and coldest season: time travel. “Either they escape in space, which means they migrate, or they escape in time, which means they become dormant,” says Scott Hayward, an invertebrate biologist at the University of Birmingham. “The vast majority actually becomes dormant.””

Want to know more about how or small uncharismatic friends survive in during the colder months? Read about it over at Smithsonian Magazine! 

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Caterpillar Lab!

In a time where biodiversity is actively under threat, I’d like to take a moment to applaud organizations that highlight and promote organisms. And somehow I just stumbled across such a resource.

The Caterpillar Lab! Started by a kickstarter in 2013, it’s mission statement:

The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

Check them out here, or simply enjoy the video below (One of many that can be found on their website).

 

Elephant Refugees Flee to Last Stronghold in Africa

We’re not talking about refugees. Not the kind that are flocking to Europe from Syria, but the four legged kind that are being over hunted.

A national park in Botswana is struggling to support the staggering number of animals fleeing from poaching in other countries.

Read about it over at National Geographic!

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