For bees (and flowers), tongue size matters
Jul15

For bees (and flowers), tongue size matters

When it comes to bee tongues, length is proportional to the size of the bee, but heritage sets the proportion. Estimating this hard to measure trait helps scientists understand bee species’ resiliency to change. Ecologists will report on this and other pollination research news at the Ecological Society of America’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Cal., August 10-15.   For bees and the flowers they pollinate, a compatible...

Read More
Poo pump: whales as ecosystem engineers
Jul03

Poo pump: whales as ecosystem engineers

The brown cloud bursts forth among the pod of sperm whales, dispersing a wealth of nitrogen and iron into the surface waters over the deep ocean. The whale-borne windfall is eagerly received by phytoplankton, the microorganisms at the foundation of the ocean food chain, which quickly capitalize on the surge of fuel. Poop packs a powerful energetic punch. And an adult sperm whale packs a lot of poo. Enough to dump 50 metric tons of...

Read More
Tadpoles bulk up to meet the alien invaders
Jun30

Tadpoles bulk up to meet the alien invaders

What happens when an invasive, carapaced, and clawed alien predator arrives in your pond? Do you change your daily habits to avoid drawing dangerous attention? Bulk up to make yourself a tougher target? If you are an Iberian water frog, you do both.   Pelophylax perezi is the most widespread and numerous of the native frogs and toads on the Iberian peninsula, known in Spain as rana común, the common frog. In this video abstract,...

Read More
Butcher, baker, brewer-fish
Jun10

Butcher, baker, brewer-fish

We asked science café aspirants for creativity and Simon Brandl brought it with his analogy of division of labor in a coral reef community, where butcher-sharks course among the brewers, bakers, and aristocrats of the reef. Brandl shares the 2014 ESA Science Café Prize with co-winner Madhusudan Katti. He is a PhD candidate at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, at James Cook...

Read More
These are not your urban lawn flamingos!
Jun10

These are not your urban lawn flamingos!

Madhusudan Katti won this year’s ESA Science Café Prize with his lyric contemplation of the wildlife living alongside us in urban spaces, and the necessary participation of cities in the future of biodiversity on planet earth. Katti is a professor at California State University Fresno and records occasional radio essays for Valley Public Radio. He tweets prolifically as @leafwarbler and blogs at Reconciliation Ecology. Hear...

Read More
Slowing the insect invasion: wood packaging sanitation policy yields US $11.7 billion net benefit
Jun06

Slowing the insect invasion: wood packaging sanitation policy yields US $11.7 billion net benefit

Risk analysis finds savings for homeowners and local governments of excluding invasive pests like the emerald ash borer outweigh added cost to imported goods   The emerald ash borer (Agrilus plantipenis), a recent insect immigrant to North America carried in with the wooden packing material of imported goods, is projected to cause over a billion dollars in damages annually over the next decade. International standards now require...

Read More
GLOBAL CHANGE IS NOW. Ecology can help.
May06

GLOBAL CHANGE IS NOW. Ecology can help.

Today, the US Global Change Research Program released its Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems. The NCA is the most comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis of climate change’s impacts in the United States, informing Americans about the effects of climate change in their backyards. “As an ecologist, you can’t escape the effects of climate change on natural resources. We’re...

Read More
Crocodile tears please butterflies and bees
May02

Crocodile tears please butterflies and bees

The butterfly (Dryas iulia) and the bee (Centris sp.) were most likely seeking scarce minerals and an extra boost of protein. On a beautiful December day in 2013, they found the precious nutrients in the tears of a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), relaxing on the banks of the Río Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica. A boat carrying students, photographers, and aquatic ecologist Carlos de la Rosa was passing slowly and...

Read More