The Ecology

A journal of how things fit into our environment

ted:

3 new-school ways to support cool science research

In Ye Olden Days, moneyed arts and science enthusiasts patronized their favorite thinkers. But these days, you don’t have to be rich to support the search for rare ants, new particles, or innovative drug therapies.

In a recent talk, Reddit’s superstar scientist Ben “Unidan" Eisenkop explains how to support new science online. He recommends: 

  • #SciFund Challenge, a month-long crowdfunding extravaganza. You’ll find research projects to better understand what sharks eat; a hunt for wild seahorses; a study into technology and memory; and more.

  • Experiment.com, which is like Kickstarter for science. They have some cool features, like curated collections from research institutions and sections highlighting different branches of science.

  • Petridish, another rad crowdfunding site. One recent project explored ways to sustainably grow coffee beans AND provide habitats for migratory birds.  

Give it a try and watch his talk at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity »

jenntalksnature:

Update on the baby northern goshawk shown in a previous post (and video).  This is a photo taken by a friend when the baby goshawk, now named Havoc, met a baby desert eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus; also known as the pharaoh eagle owl or Savigny’s eagle owl), owned by a different friend of ours.
They don’t seem to know what to make of one another, but one thing is for certain, they are both freaking adorable.  I can’t get over it.
As you can see, Havoc is getting his feathers in.  I’ll try to keep you all updated as I either take more photos of my own or my friend sends them :)

I can’t not laugh at this owl’s face.  It’s too perfect.

jenntalksnature:

Update on the baby northern goshawk shown in a previous post (and video).  This is a photo taken by a friend when the baby goshawk, now named Havoc, met a baby desert eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus; also known as the pharaoh eagle owl or Savigny’s eagle owl), owned by a different friend of ours.

They don’t seem to know what to make of one another, but one thing is for certain, they are both freaking adorable.  I can’t get over it.

As you can see, Havoc is getting his feathers in.  I’ll try to keep you all updated as I either take more photos of my own or my friend sends them :)

I can’t not laugh at this owl’s face.  It’s too perfect.

jenntalksnature:

White-tailed Fawn (by The Ecology)

While out with my friend doing field work, we encountered this very young white-tailed fawn (Odocoileus virginainus; video by him, not me). Young fawns are left in a hiding spot by their mother, where they remain motionless, while their mother forages. They are not abandoned, or orphaned, it’s just what they do when the fawns are too young to keep up with their mothers. Seeing this little guy suddenly pop out of brush right in front of us, on its own, with no mother around was slightly odd. We approached to take a closer look and it ran, and we suddenly became aware of why it was no longer in it’s hiding spot; a person was yelling to recall their large dog who was wandering in the brush patch the fawn had popped out of.

At this point, with so many humans and the dog around, the fawn was running further and further from its initial hiding spot, that it fled. I figured mom-deer would probably be a bit upset to not find her fawn near where she had left it, so we corralled it back into the patch of brush that it had initially popped out of (the dog now gone), and it laid back down, motionless, just like its instincts told it to do.

The deer in our area are a major problem. Their only effective predator at this point are humans. The coyotes aren’t good enough to really keep population numbers in check. Hopefully that will change as coyotes get bigger and better at taking deer, but until then, deer are posing major ecological concerns with over-foraging, which is affecting plant populations and the wildlife that rely on the now-nearly-nonexistent forest understory. However, you can’t get faced with a fawn and not want to see it or help it.

Did we “save” this fawn? I wouldn’t think so. I imagine a fawn, scared up by a predator, that managed to get away, would have a means (bleating, likely) to be reunited with its mother after finding a new hiding spot. But it felt nice to at least “help” a little. It was an interesting encounter at the very least, and a chance to see an adorable baby mammal up close.

Collaborative field work leads to collaborative tumblr action!  

amyhgross:

What I’m currently working on. The original painting is either a Durer, or a Hoffman copy of a Durer. 

(via scientificillustration)

Unidan here with a team of evolutionary biologists who are collaborating on "Great Adaptations," a children's book about evolution! Ask Us Anything! : science

We’re doing an AMA in /r/science right now, come check us out!

4 months ago - 11

Let's Talk Some Science - Wolves, Dogs, and Wolfdogs

ravendroppings:

A Brief History of the Origin of Dogs: There are papers coming out all the time on this topic. My aim is not to write a review of all of them, but to give you a brief introduction on what is known about the origin of dogs at this point in time (early March 2014). Dogs did not come from the wolf…

Here is an EXCELLENT review of the topic by my colleague, well worth reading!

4 months ago - 31

What are the patterns and effects of American crow movements?

Want to help me with a science project?  Now you can! 

If you help us raise money for this project, you will be intimately involved with every step, from gathering data, to observing animals, to analyzing the results.  You’ll even receive a full report when we’re finished, and have the ability to say that you backed a real research project. 

With scientific funding at an all time low, we’re trying out crowd-sourced funding as a way to show that people do care about science! 

Even if you can’t donate, please reblog this and spread the word, and we will truly, truly appreciate it.  Thank you in advance for all your support and great messages that I’ve received so far! :)

5 months ago - 17

5 Horrifying Ways Plants Can Fight Back

Check out an article I wrote on plant defenses on Mental Floss!

12 months ago - 11

Hey guys!  Here’s some footage from our most recent crow nestling tagging expedition!  Enjoy!

Here’s a video of Hinckley, the Laughing Kookaburra!

Anonymous said: You are awesome! I love your enthusiasm. (:

Thanks!  Always great to hear support!

'Excited Biologist' Captures Hearts and Minds of Reddit

Wowzers! 


Thanks to Matt Silverman for the very flattering article about yours truly, I am truly humbled!


In fact, I’m the MOST humble! 

Ever!

1 year ago - 14

Here’s an unapologetically vertical video (but seriously, sorry) showing a defensive compound produced by the African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)! 

This milky latex is a poison containing skin irritants (various esters) to make itself quite unpalatable to would-be herbivores!  The latex can be extremely caustic to eyes, so be careful and always handle with care!

On reddit, a picture similar to this was posted of forest communities in Japan, and many wondered how this pattern could emerge!  While the cedars in the picture are invasive in Japan, there is still a very interesting reason for this phenomenon!


One possible reason for this condition is referred to as “edaphic climax.”


If you’re following with classical ecological succession theory, this condition arises when there are two different conditions in a similar area so that two distinct climax communities arise.


Since the ridge has likely differing soil type (e.g. different A-layer depth due to slope, different pH due to hydrological differences from the slope/elevation), one could expect that the communities that dominate these different areas, even though they border one another, to be quite different.


I’ve photographed this type of thing happening in the US as well, it is particularly evident in the early fall when the communities that dominate the top of a slope (i.e. oaks) turn color after those that dominate at the bottom of the slope (i.e. maples).

On reddit, a picture similar to this was posted of forest communities in Japan, and many wondered how this pattern could emerge!  While the cedars in the picture are invasive in Japan, there is still a very interesting reason for this phenomenon!



One possible reason for this condition is referred to as “edaphic climax.”



If you’re following with classical ecological succession theory, this condition arises when there are two different conditions in a similar area so that two distinct climax communities arise.



Since the ridge has likely differing soil type (e.g. different A-layer depth due to slope, different pH due to hydrological differences from the slope/elevation), one could expect that the communities that dominate these different areas, even though they border one another, to be quite different.



I’ve photographed this type of thing happening in the US as well, it is particularly evident in the early fall when the communities that dominate the top of a slope (i.e. oaks) turn color after those that dominate at the bottom of the slope (i.e. maples).



Here’s an HD video I put together of some footage of my friend’s Red-tailed Hawk, Rusty!



Enjoy!