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I finally had a chance to get out to Sweetwater Creek State Park last week, and we picked a perfect day for it. It was warm and slightly muggy, just the type of weather to bring out some of the Georgia wildlife I've been looking forward to seeing. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to film them, but I did get some pics of things that don't move (perceptibly anyway). There was a small beaver dam only about a half mile into the walk, but unfortunately the beavers weren't around. The ruins were perhaps the most interesting part of the park. This was once the New Manchester Manufacturing…
Ian had some RL issues come up, so this months Oekologie will be a little late.
Yet another great Monday morning read from Wayne (even if it was posted over the weekend): an explanation of the thigmonastic response, leaf folding in plants, and the differences between movement in animals and movement in plants.
Critterthink, the blog of the Center for Native Ecosystems in Denver, CO has posted a guide to the 2008 Farm Bill from a conservation perspective, highlighting what they call the good, the bad and the ugly. If you haven't had time to review the bill yourself, take advantage of the hard work these folks put into breaking it down for us. The Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every few years, setting a policy toolkit for agriculture in the US. It has massive implications for industry, food, foreign policy and, for our purposes, conservation and the environment. Here are a few things that stuck…
Wayne found a neat little site the other day and was kind enough to share it with us. Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature is a site of the strange and notable names given to organisms over the years. It's definitely worth a look.
I finally got around to blogging about this study published in PLoS One a few weeks ago, regarding geophagy in tropical species of bats. The study provides a nice overview of the literature and some of the potential reasons why they (and we) do it. We all eat dirt, in a sense, through mineral supplements or through the minerals and inorganic nutrients contained in our food, but there is a long history of the consumption of clay by human beings, and some tribes in sub-Saharan Africa continue to visit these "clay licks". Pregnant women in particular will frequent these licks. Scientists…
Well, not really. But I'm surprised that I've racked up over 66k views and 86 comments from this video of a peculiar lion roar at the Pittsburgh Zoo, so I thought I'd share it here. I think someone could start a series of blog posts/videos called "Stupid Things People Say at Zoos". You could literally spend one day at any zoo and have enough material for months of blogging. I swear that guy you hear in the background shadowed us all day. I've got some more videos I've been meaning to upload, including one of the red panda in the Atlanta Zoo, and another of a polar bear from the Pittsburgh…
This weekend, should I visit: Panola Mountain or Sweetwater Creek? I want to do some hiking/photography.
Cash has a fresh Oekologie for us, nestled in the Scientific Blogging community, at his blog, Science and Supermodels.
The May edition of Oekologie will be hosted at one of the lovely blogs at Scientific Blogging (though I'm not sure which...). It's not too late to get your entries in.
Do we have something against David Attenborough in this country? First his narration for Planet Earth was overdubbed by Sigourney Weaver, and now I've heard that Life in Cold Blood is not even going to be televised in the States. I got this email from Herpdigest this morning: Animal Planet just emailed me. "Life in Cold Blood" will not be airing May 7 or 14. They do not know of any new dates. Sounds like they are dumping it. Won't be seen in U.S. And the only way to see it is to buy the DVD if they do produce one. Lame. At least Herpdigest is offering the book though: Or you can buy the book…
In one week exactly, I will be attending a scientific conference in a hot vacation spot for people across the world. Millions flock there every day to relax, socialize and wtfpwn your face with their Night Elf Mohawk. It ain't Belize, baby; it's the World of Warcraft. "Convergence of the Real and the Virtual", the first ever scientific conference to be held within WoW, was proposed by John Bohannon, the Gonzo Scientist from Science magazine. It kicks off in Ogrimmar on the Earthen Ring server (RP) next Friday at 12:30 p.m. The conference will focus on MMOs as "natural labs" for research,…
As if coral in the world didn't have enough trouble, increased storm activity/strength is interrupting the reproductive/colonization process in southern Belize: The team measured the size of more than 520 non-branching corals in two major coral reef areas in southern Belize: the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, a world heritage site in the second largest barrier reef in the world, and the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. In addition to providing habitat for an array of marine life, non-branching massive corals--robust and shaped like mounds, and sometimes called 'brain corals'--buffer coastal…
If I was given three wishes, I have always said that one of them would be to watch the evolution of life at my leisure, being able speeding things up and slowing them down at will. Of all the time periods we've designated, the Ediacaran and the Cambrian periods would be a frame by frame analysis. Were these organisms really that much different from modern organisms, and if so, did their ecology reflect these differences? PLoS One published a paper today that attempts to make my pipe dream a reality by taking the well known geological snapshots of Cambrian life, the Chengjiang and Burgess…
Two waterways meet in a surreal junction at Vale Summit, a small low streambed in the Appalachian forests of Maryland, surrounded by high sandy banks and the faint sound of passing traffic. Bright orange coal mine drainage from the Hoffman tunnel washes iron oxides and sulfates over rocks and tree limbs and completely distorts the little brown flow of Braddock Run, a smaller, slower but rich stream, providing a home to benthic invertebrates and young fish that the drainage cannot. Braddock Run exhibits all the attributes of a healthy stream: neutral pH, low iron levels and a diverse scatter…
Ed has a great review of a recent paper in Nature presenting new research that describes just how extensive the damage done by the mountain pine beetle in British Columbia. The culprit of the outbreak is most likely climate change since sudden drops in temperature common in northern areas like BC have historically been a check on the beetle's population; in recent years, the winters have been less intense and the beetle populations have benefited from the extension. It immediately reminded me of the extinction-themed AAAS session I attended and blogged about last year, where ecologist Jim…
That was the posted price of premium gas in downtown Atlanta this morning.
A comparison of carbon/oxygen isotope ratios from the tooth enamel of two early proboscideans, Moeritherium and Barytherium to other animals of the same era (circa 37 mya) revealed to researchers the possibility of a ancient, semi-aquatic animal, linking the speculated split of dugong and elephant from a common ancestor. "The scientists" (as the article begins; that's some lead) said that they have: ...substantial evidence to suggest that modern elephants do have ancient relatives which lived primarily in water. The next steps are to conduct similar analyses on other elephant ancestors to…
It's been a bit nuts at work this week so far (or was it last week?) so pardon the lack of blogging. We had a user conference for the past few days and it's been off a bit. I've been working on a couple posts about acid mine drainage which I hope to have up in the next couple of days. I also have a couple of stories about working at that small town newspaper that I've been sitting on for a while now. I needed some distance before I could go into it. I'm hoping that I also be able to get to a state park this coming weekend, maybe Sunday morning. It's been tough because Heather's schedule and…
Don hasn't posted Oekologie #16 yet, but give him a break; he's in Florida visiting family. It will be up shortly.