The enormous conflagration known as the Rim Fire was in full fury, raging swiftly from crown to crown among mature trees, when it entered the backcountry of Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada in late August 2013. But inside the park, the battle began to turn, enacting a case study in the way management decisions and drought can combine to fuel large, severe fires.
Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources.
Me and milkweed fruit – my #NatureSelfie for #EarthDay. Nash Turley, a naturalist, photographer, musician, and PhD student in evolutionary ecology at the University of Toronto, snapped this shot in Ithaca, NY, in 2011. He tweeted, “Everyday is Earth Day; the fact that the calendar says today is ‘Earth Day’ doesn’t really mean anything to me. Sort of like how aboriginal cultures don’t have a word for ‘nature’ because they didn’t see themselves as separate from nature….the fact that we have a day for the Earth shows how disconnected modern societies are from ‘nature’.”
Earth Day started as a grassroots protest movement in 1970 and has solidified into an annual event. What does Earth Day mean in 2014?
Forgotten beetle hunters and the foundation of evolutionary theory; Alfred Wallace remembered in puppetry
The history of science is filled with famous, pivotal individuals, who were in fact surrounded by brilliant, inquisitive colleagues working on the same goals, ideas, collections, and experiments. The puppets tell the tale.
If you’ve ever thought that botany doesn’t involve enough time travel, you are not alone. Plant ecologists studying climate change and and the timing of flowering are constantly wondering ‘is this happening when it used to happen?’ My job would be infinitely easier if I had access to a time machine.
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.
Based on news articles and studies from last week, ecology can be involved in serenading your mother, inspiring fashion, describing the fundamentals of politics and guiding robots in nano-scale terrain. Here are a few examples of ecology in uncommon roles from the second week in May.