The Great Backyard Bird Count

By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer A brown pelican, photographed during the 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count by Bob Howdeshell, of Tennessee. Used by permission. ______________________ THIS WEEKEND, as the US celebrated President Washington’s birthday, the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology were celebrating birds, with the fifteenth annual Great Backyard Bird Count. As the name...

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Snowflakes still hold mystery

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs Their silent, shimmery beauty has long stirred human aesthetic appreciation and for centuries individuals have sought to unravel the secrets of snowflakes.  Why are there so many varieties?  Why do all snowflakes have six “arms”?  And why does each flake appear unique, no matter how many fall from the sky? We know the answers to these questions as described on the...

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Waves mightier than sun, otter or urchin: storm disturbance shapes California kelp forests

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer. As winter storms pick up along the California coast, a harvest of giant kelp comes ashore with the tides, torn from seafloor anchorages by the rough action of waves. Waves are the most powerful force shaping the kelp forest, superseding the influence of temperature, nutrients, and hungry animals, say University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) researchers in the...

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Snow fleas: helpful winter critters

As the Northeast of the United States was hammered by thundersnow this week, students, parents and perhaps those working from home had the opportunity to indulge in outdoor winter activities. For many, being in the snow again is losing its luster. As an Associated Press article noted, “The Northeast has already been pummeled by winter not even halfway into the season. The airport serving Hartford, Conn., got a foot of snow, bringing...

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If you give a mouse an acorn…

The following is a story, but it describes a real scientific process: the relationship between acorns, mice, ticks and a bacterium. On a chilly November night, in a deciduous forest in the eastern U.S., a mouse prepares for the season ahead. More specifically, a female white-footed mouse—competing with other mice and animals for acorns—is reaping the fruits from a mast year: The oak trees in the region produced a generous blanket of acorns across the forest floor this autumn.

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