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Talking urban flamingos and coral reef villages at the Davis Science Cafe #ESA2014

In cooperation with Jared Shaw, Ben Landis, the Davis Science Café, and CapSciComm, and ESA will bring two ecologists to DeVere’s Pub in Davis, Cal. Madhusudan Katti of Cal State Fresno and Simon Brandl of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, will lead conversations about living with nature, from city flamingoes to the underwater villages of the Great Barrier Reef….

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Perrin illustrations

New Frontiers in Eco-Communication

Guest post by Clarisse Hart, Outreach and Education Manager at Harvard Forest   Today in the Hyatt hallway, I passed a colleague with an imposing nametag terraced by four colors of ribbon. He is an ESA donor, a moderator, and two other things I can’t recall (possibly a juggler). This year my nametag has a ribbon, too. It’s a regular…

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Rim Fire, California 2013. Mike McMillan, USFS.

The Rim Fire one year later: a natural experiment in fire ecology and management

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.

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Making Your Science Matter

This guest post is by Chris Creese, a member of the “Eco Comm Crew” behind the upcoming “Beyond the Written Word” science communication workshop (#15) at ESA’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento. See previous posts from EcoComm Crewmates: “Parachuting In: Writing that Drops Readers into the Field of Ecology” by Clarisse Hart, “From Oceans to Mountains, it’s all about Ecology…Communication!” by…

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A lovely Augochlora pura extends part of its tongue. A. pura is a member of the relatively short-tongued Halictidae family, uprettily known as the sweat bees. The small, solitary bee is one of the most common bees of forests and forest edges in the eastern United States, and a promiscuous attendant to many flower species. Collected by Phillip Moore in Polk County, Tennessee. Photograph by Phillip Moore. Photo courtesy of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

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…

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Parachuting In: Writing that Drops Readers into the Field of Ecology

“Facts don’t have the power to change someone’s story… your goal is to introduce a new story that will let your facts in,” wrote Annette Simmons in her book, The Story Factor. The quote was a game-changer for me, professionally.

This guest post is by Clarisse Hart, a member of the “Eco Comm Crew” behind the upcoming “Beyond the Written Word” science communication workshop (#15) at ESA’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento.

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Butcher, baker, and brewer. This image illustrates the strikingly simple but powerful analogy between man-made and natural systems. By looking at the functional structure of coral reef fish communities through a human eye, we find butchers, bakers, and brewers, but also diligent, cranky farmerfish, visually pleasing but ecologically negligible aesthetes, or worthless aristocrats. Using this approach, we can begin to answer some of the most pressing questions in coral reef biology. What are the origins and future trajectories of coral reefs and their fishy inhabitants? How do humans affect this perfectly balanced market? And do more brewers really make a happier system? Simon J. Brandl.

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…

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These are not your urban lawn flamingos! This pair dancing in the low tide in Mumbai’s busy harbor are Lesser Flamingos, considered near-threatened species due to declining populations in Africa and India. Yet, over the past decade, some 10-25 thousand of them have been turning up in Mumbai’s Thane Creek to spend the winter right in the middle of a megacity of over 20 million people. I photographed this pair just a year ago at Sewri Port, an industrial dockyard area known more for repairing boats than harboring such wildlife which now teems in the creek’s recovering mangroves. Credit, Madhusudan Katti.

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…

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