Ecology in videos and podcasts

Oysters proposed for cleaning up New York’s rivers, mall music has a bigger impact than boosting sales, cephalopods advance research in neuroscience and robotics, how gut bacteria might be shaping brain development and behavior and E.O. Wilson discusses a life of research on ants. Here are the remaining links from January. Oyster-tecture: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a study today showing heavy contamination in...

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An ant’s eye view of sand

To an ant, a piece of garnet or a shark’s tooth is merely another boulder to excavate for the expansion of the nest. And for humans, these bits of treasure would largely go unnoticed as just another grain in an anthill. But, as the blog Neatorama pointed out this week, every inch of sand is a world of discovery to photographers and sand collectors. Specifically, Flickr user Mouser Williams captures the history and biological...

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From the Community: fish-mimicking octopuses, aquanauts and the evolution of ecology

An octopus that mimics toxic sea creatures, a plant’s chemical SOS when attacked by caterpillars, the genetic differences between ant social castes, unusually high records of jellyfish swarms this summer and Simon Levin discusses the evolution of ecology and where it is headed next. Here are stories in ecology wrapping up the month of August. Fish-mimicking octopus: According to Jess McNally of Wired Science, “the Indonesian...

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Fungus has been invading carpenter ants for 48 million years

Scientists have found that the parasitic fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis has possibly been invading carpenter ants (Camponotus) for 48 million years. The parasite not only infects the ant, but it manipulates the ant’s behavior as well, influencing it to bite the underside of leaves along the veins. Once the ant finds an optimal location, the fungus grows rapidly, killing the ant and preparing it to release a new spore. During this...

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Insect-eating not (just) for the birds

Nutritious, chemical-free and all-natural, insects are featured as the main protein in 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...

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