Sage grouse struts his stuff
Apr07

Sage grouse struts his stuff

Like gyms or bars, lekking grounds are social performance spaces, where males spread their tail-feathers, inflate their impressive chests, and strut about, calling amorously to the lady birds. Ecologist Gail Patricelli of UC Davis captured this video of a lek near Hudson, Wyoming. US Fish and Wildlife Service named the grouse’s habitat, the Great Plains sage-steppe, one of the most imperiled ecosystems in America.

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Sage grouse losing habitat to fire as endangered species decision looms
Apr03

Sage grouse losing habitat to fire as endangered species decision looms

Wildfire is the predominant cause of habitat loss in the Great Basin. Reseeding burned land to stabilize soils has not restored sagebrush habitat for the endangered greater sage grouse, according to a report in the journal Ecosphere. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering protecting the grouse under the Endangered Species act, which could affect the management of 250,000 square miles of land in the western US.

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Strawberry poison frogs feed their babies poison eggs
Mar20

Strawberry poison frogs feed their babies poison eggs

The Strawberry poison frog lavishes care upon its offspring. It’s just that kind of frog. In the March issue of Ecology, Stynoski et al. report that it also feeds its progeny poison. Also in this issue: P value debates, arctic warming, and estimating the success of biological invasions.

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Yellowstone wolves take a blow to their rep
Mar11

Yellowstone wolves take a blow to their rep

A well-publicized depiction of wolves revitalizing Yellowstone’s ecosystem is a myth, said writers for the NY Times’ op-ed page and a Nature news feature last week.

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Popcorn origins glimpsed in the ruins of antiquity and the greenhouse time machine
Mar05

Popcorn origins glimpsed in the ruins of antiquity and the greenhouse time machine

Before there was corn (Zea mays subsp. mays), and corn ruled the world, there was the wild grass, teosinte. Corn, known as maize outside the Americas, easily hybridizes with its wild sibling, but these two incarnations of Z. mays do not look alike. Subtle genetic alterations in the regulation of development change Z. mays profoundly, turning an edible wild weed into the economic powerhouse con. Teosinte’s body plan structure and...

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