Ecology

Category archives for Ecology

The vermin only teaze and pinch Their foes superior by an inch. So, naturalists observe, a flea Has smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite ‘em, And so proceed ad infinitum. Jonathan Swift, “On Poetry: A Rhapsody” There’s so much to love about this story from Nature News. While…

Via Southern Fried Scientist, the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Foundation reports: In the aftermath of the tidal surges induced by the March 11th Japan earthquake and tsunami, a team of more than 20 staff and volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder to clear debris, retrieve equipment and clean laboratories, offices and storage buildings at the Marine Sciences…

Protect the Polar Bears

A source tells the Washington Post that Uafter much pressure, the Feds will be listing the Polar Bear as a “threatened” species: The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of…

Philip Larkin started a poem that way, but it’s good advice for the Forest Service, too. We’ve long known that fire plays an important role in maintaining forests, prairies and other natural ecosystems. A new set of studies show that thinning forests without burning makes subsequent fires more dangerous: Thinning forests without also burning accumulated…

Loss of species that pollinate is cause for global alarm, researchers say: Birds, bees, bats and other species that pollinate North American plant life are losing population, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Research Council. This “demonstrably downward” trend could damage dozens of commercially important crops, scientists warned, because three-fourths of all…

Sunday Sermon: Home, sweet oikos

Many years ago, the University of Chicago invited Amartya Sen, who had recently won a Nobel Prize in Economics, to come and speak. He appeared beside Gary Becker, a distinguished professor of the University’s famed economic department, and an adherent to the “Chicago School of Economics.” At one point, after the speeches, a question was…

Friday Find: Wolf fart

On Fridays, we like to highlight some of the remarkable and beautiful things you find right under your nose. This week, a reader sends in some photos of Lycoperdon pulcherrimum, Latin for “most beautiful wolf-fart.” What we see is the fruiting body of a fungus. Most of the biomass of fungi is below ground, thin…

Keystones and connections

In Science, two biologists reported on the effects of fishing in South American rivers. Removing a large fish, Prochilodus mariae, from the river causes rapid changes in how carbon (stored energy) passes through the river, decreasing the cycling of carbon. In fact, they explain, “Impacts of removing Prochilodus on carbon flow equaled or exceeded effects…

“A unique treasure”

Saying “This compares with any treasure anywhere in the world,”: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Nature Conservancy on Friday announced the donation of a conservation easement encompassing 10,000 acres [of tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills]. The tallgrass prairie once stretched in a giant sea of grass from Alberta down to Texas, a continuous swath…

Rainforests

Ask A ScienceBlogger: The destruction of the rainforest was a hot-button topic in the early ’90s, but I haven’t heard anything about it in ages. Are the rainforests still being destroyed wholesale? Are they all gone? Is it still important? Is the coffee I drink making it worse, and is “free trade” and/or “shade grown”…