Category Archives: ecology

Does anybody want to read a long paper?

I really did try to read this Science paper about urban ecology and systemic racism, first reading it quickly, as I’m wont to do, and then starting to delve in, “perusing” it in the proper sense. But I had to give up on several grounds:its  length (18 pages, one of the longest papers I’ve ever […]

ZeFrank on snails that surf (and his Earth Day Awards)

Is it my imagination, or is ZeFrank getting more biology into his posts than before? This is a good one, with a lot of good biology but also with the usual humor. It’s also scary!  Look at that radula! The species at issue is the suspension-feeding and surfing sea snail Olivella semistriata and its predator […]

In a ludicrous attempt to combat the coronavirus, Spain bleaches an ecologically important beach

You can argue about which pandemic precautions taken by national governments are superfluous or overreactions, but this one definitely falls into the last class. The BBC reports (click on screenshot): This is a really boneheaded move, especially in light of the site’s ecological importance (see Adam Rutherford’s remarks below). The BBC says this: Zahara de […]

New movie by Michael Moore on our despoliation of Earth

Michael Moore has put his latest movie, “Planet of the Humans” free on YouTube. It’s directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs (Moore is the executive producer) and is 1 hour and 40 minutes long: just right for quarantine watching. I have to admit that I haven’t yet seen it, but I surely will. (I regard […]

Now they come for Smokey Bear. . .

If I tell you that the following article is from HuffPost (yes, I’m cooling my heels on a docked ship), could you tell me whether the answer is “yes” or “no”? The answer, of course, is “yes”, as you probably guessed. As cultural icons are “canceled” one by one, Smokey (remember: it’s Smokey Bear, not […]

A lovely video about Arctic animals

As reader Michael notes, this 11-minute National Geographic video on Arctic animals (released just today) gives too much time to the cameraman, but is well worth watching to see the polar bears, arctic hares, lemming, snowy owls, ptarmigans, and—my personal favorite—the adorable, cat-sized Arctic fox. The fox does its famous acoustically-oriented snow dive (note its […]

What was the animal that inspired Dr. Seuss’s lorax? Biologists suggest a hypothesis

The New York Times from two days ago has an article about one of Dr. Seuss’s most famous books, The Lorax (you can see a preview of the book’s contents at the Amazon site). Here’s the article: And the book at issue: The book’s plot involves a man called the Once-ler visiting a beautiful forest […]

Stick insects can disperse like plant seeds: in bird poop

One of the striking observations about life on oceanic islands—those islands, like Hawaii and the Galapagos, that arose, bereft of life, from volcanic activity below the sea—is the prevalence of native birds, insects, and plants, and the paucity of native reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. (Continental islands, like Great Britain, that were once connected to larger […]

Should we bring wolves back to Scotland? A video and a questionnaire

by Matthew Cobb It used to be standard practice for final year science students to do a lab-based research project. At the University of Manchester we have broadened the choice of final-year projects so that biology students can also choose to do a Science Media Project. This involves creating a portfolio of writing and other […]

This is what’s happening…

by Matthew Cobb Earlier I posted this photo and asked readers to describe what’s going on. Here’s my answer: a worker honeybee was visiting a white flower to get nectar. She was attacked by a white crab spider who was remarkably camouflaged (probably chemically, as well as visually). The crab spider had another, brown, crab […]