Science communication: from the field to the press

The reasons for sharing research with the media are relatively widely known: If a certain research topic is going to be highlighted as an important issue, then it needs to be shared with the public. And reporters are one of the best ways to give research exposure. The question, then, is what makes research newsworthy?

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Going (all 400 miles) green

The topic of this year’s Ecological Society of America annual meeting is global warming. So it is fitting that Jason Aloisio, graduate student in biology at Fordham University, and Anthony Gizzi, graduate student in Pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University are going green—all the way to the meeting, that is. Here is their story.

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Spreading SEEDS, growing diversity

SEEDS is an education program of Ecological Society of America (ESA), and Iman is one of several SEEDS students who will be attending and presenting research at ESA’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.

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The genealogy of watersheds

When I was a kid, July and August always included at least one fishing trip with my grandmother. She was not a great angler, but she was brave. I will never forget watching her tramp through tall weeds in search of grasshoppers. Upon finding one, she would quickly snatch it up with her bare hands and then smilingly pierce it with a small hook on the end of her ancient fishing pole. It did not take long for a hook thus baited to attract a bite.

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Incorporating science into home gardening

Blanketing a home garden in pesticides poses a clear risk to the humans and animals who dine on it. But when the garden is compared to a human immune system, another problem becomes apparent: Just like antibiotics, pesticides wipe out the “good bugs” with the bad. These helpful predators and parasitoids are called natural enemies and they help to naturally control pests like aphids and caterpillars. Certain plants attract natural enemies and/or deter pests all together and can be used in place of harmful chemicals.

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Gulf disaster: looking for answers in science

It seems the only certainty amidst the Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster is that nothing is certain. From the amount of oil continually pouring from the seafloor to British Petroleum’s use of chemical dispersants, this crisis has been anything but straightforward. As evasive, and at times downright misleading, as BP has been, the environmental impacts of this disaster are far from allusive. Just take a look at the photos on the Public Broadcasting Service’s News Hour site to get a sense of urgency surrounding this crisis.

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From the Community: attacking aphids, quiet birding and cloud seeding

“Menopausal” aphids sacrifice themselves for the colony, Gulf oil spill myths debunked, the benefits of (and new considerations for) hiking, bee hives add to sustainable cuisine in San Francisco and the masters of disguise in the animal world—photos included. Here is the latest in ecological science from the third week in June.

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Insect-eating not (just) for the birds

Nutritious, chemical-free and all-natural, insects are featured as the main protein several Latin American, Asian and African countries. For example, in the Santander region of Colombia, leaf-cutter ants (called “hormigas culonas”) are sometimes eaten roasted, salted and have a slightly acidic taste. Mopane worms—the caterpillar for the moth Gonimbrasia belina—are popular in Botswana and are served dried or rehydrated with sauces and other ingredients.

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Perspectives from the oil spill scientific symposium

Earlier this month at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Scientific Symposium at Louisiana State University (LSU), scientists emphasized the importance and urgency of consulting with researchers during the remediation of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The meeting pulled together more than 200 attendees, including officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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From the Community: forming a biodiversity body and taxing tomatoes

Representatives from around 90 countries approved the formation of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Nature and Scientific American collaborated on a survey to analyze the public’s interest in science and the history of the tomato’s taxonomy in the United States is reviewed. Here are some stories in ecology from the second week in June.

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