The more we study physiology and behavior across groups of animals, the more we find we have in common in the types of behaviors we express and the biological machinery of how our bodies influence what behaviors are expressed and when. But similarity does not mean the same. Sometimes seemingly small physiological differences can have big behavioral consequences. A snuggly California mouse pair. Photo from the Marler lab.A lone wire-walking white-footed mouse. Photo by the National Park Service.T........ Read more »
Fuxjager MJ, Montgomery JL, & Marler CA. (2011) Species differences in the winner effect disappear in response to post-victory testosterone manipulations. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 278(1724), 3497-503. PMID: 21490015
Oyegbile TO, & Marler CA. (2005) Winning fights elevates testosterone levels in California mice and enhances future ability to win fights. Hormones and behavior, 48(3), 259-67. PMID: 15979073
Let’s imagine it’s 48 B.C.E., and the Library of Alexandria is burning.¹ Bits of ash are floating down from the superheated updrafts, remnants of what was the world’s greatest collection of written knowledge to date. You’re standing just outside the door, and you have five minutes to dash in and grab whatever you can carry. [...]... Read more »
Michael A. McCarthy, Colin J. Thompson, Alana L. Moore, & Hugh P. Possingham. (2011) Designing nature reserves in the face of uncertainty. Ecology Letters, 14(5), 470-5. PMID: 21371231
Plasticizers, phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment, found in everyday objects such as cosmetics, packaging, pharmaceutical pills, children’s toys ,shampoos, detergents etc. In fact, phthalates are so pervasive that measurable levels of many metabolites are found in the urine of the general American population. Phthalates are easily leached into the environment due to its structure; the process is hastened as plastics age and breakdown. Exposure of humans occurs largely ........ Read more »
Posnack NG, Swift LM, Kay MW, Lee NH, & Sarvazyan N. (2012) Phthalate Exposure Changes the Metabolic Profile of Cardiac Muscle Cells. Environmental health perspectives. PMID: 22672789
This e-mail (and picture) arrived in my inbox a couple weeks ago:
I recently happened to accidentally disturb a Ratsnake that was constricting a baby rabbit. When I touched the snake's tail, he uncoiled but began to start swallowing the rabbit. Because I interrupted the constriction, the baby rabbit was still alive but the snake continued to engulf it anyway. Is it unusual for a snake to... Read more »
A. Mori. (1991) Effects of prey size and type on prey-handling behavior in Elaphe quadrivirgata. Journal of Herpetology, 25(2), 160. DOI: 10.2307/1564643
A. de Queiroz. (1984) Effects of prey type on the prey-handling behavior of the bullsnake, Pituophis melanoleucus. Journal of Herpetology, 18(3), 333-336. DOI: 10.2307/1564088
The elephant seals that sent data back from underneath Antarctic ice hadn't exactly volunteered for the task—the sensors were glued to their heads. But it was for a good cause. By taking advantage of animals much better equipped to study frigid polar waters than we humans are, climate scientists collected valuable observations. They even got a rare piece of good news: Some ice shelves aren't melting as fast as we thought.
During the Antarctic winter, "harsh climate, strong sea ice cover an........ Read more »
Tore Hattermann, Ole Anders Nøst, Jonathan M. Lilly, & Lars H. Smedsrud. (2012) Two years of oceanic observations below the Fimbul Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051012
Two reports outline empirically the failure of the war on drugs and the catastrophic effect on the global HIV Pandemic.... Read more »
Count The Costs. (2012) The Alternative World Drug Report. (Public Report). info:/
Gouldian finches, Erythrura gouldiae, are an extraordinarily colourful species of passerine bird endemic to subtropical woodlands of northern Australia. Both sexes are brightly coloured with red, green, black, yellow, red and [...]... Read more »
Williams Leah J., King Andrew J., & Mettke-Hofmann Claudia. (2012) Colourful characters: head colour reflects personality in a social bird, the Gouldian finch, Erythrura gouldiae. Animal Behaviour, 84(1), 159-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.04.025
As this year's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development concluded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday, it seemed that many participants and attendees were frustrated by the meeting's final agreement.1,2 Often referred to as the Rio 20 Earth Summit, these talks among nearly 100 world leaders appear to have resulted in a weak consensus and the backing of a declaration that lacks structures for implementation and neglects many urgent environmental concerns.... Read more »
Fourqurean, J. W., Duarte, C. M., Kennedy, H., Marbà, N., Holmer, M., Mateo, M. A., Apostolaki, E. T., Kendrick, G. A., Krause-Jensen, D., McGlathery, K. J. . (2012) Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock. Nature Geoscience,. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1477
Lewis, S. L., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Sonké, B., Affum-Baffoe, K., Baker, T. R., Ojo, L. O., Phillips, O. L., Reitsma, J. M., White, L., Comiskey, J. A., Djuikouo K, M. N., Ewango, C. E. N., Feldpausch, T. R., Hamilton, A. C., Gloor, M., Hart, T., Hladik, A. (2009) Increasing carbon storage in intact African tropical forests. . Nature, 1003-1006. DOI: 10.1088/1755-1307/6/8/082009
Christina Koomen, with the best comment I’ve received on “Urban trees reveal income inequality”. If nothing else, this study of the distribution of trees in affluent vs. non-affluent areas underscores the need to better plan for and support green space in all urban sectors. Yes, there are exceptions to this correlation, and yes, there can [...]∞
... Read more »
The bare fact is: the Antarctic sea ice is retreating due to global warming. But we are just learning what the consequences of this will be. The Economist devotes this week’s front page and special report to the issue, and researchers keep providing us with alarming data; the latest news: that one of most iconic Antarctic figures, the Emperor penguin, may soon be extinct.... Read more »
Stephanie Jenouvrier, Marika Holland, Julienne Stroeve, Christophe Barbraud, Henri Weimerskirch, Mark Serreze, & Hal Caswell. (2012) Effects of climate change on an emperor penguin population: analysis of coupled demographic and climate models. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02744.x
Oceans are the largest ecosystems on the planet. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe and contain 97% of the world’s water. Oceans provide a sixth of the animal protein in human diets and are the most promising source of new medicines to fight cancer and other diseases. On top of all that, they absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide emissions we produce, which helps reduce the rate of climate change. In a nutshell, we need them. Pacific bluefin tuna return to the aquarium in the n........ Read more »
Burrows MT, Schoeman DS, Buckley LB, Moore P, Poloczanska ES, Brander KM, Brown C, Bruno JF, Duarte CM, Halpern BS.... (2011) The pace of shifting climate in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Science (New York, N.Y.), 334(6056), 652-5. PMID: 22053045
The heat of a succulent chile fruit can set your mouth on fire. But why is that exactly? For a plant, fruits function like cars – they disperse a plants offspring and function to protect the seeds while they mature. … Continue reading →... Read more »
Haak, D.C., McGinnis, L.A., Levey, D.J. . (2012) Why Are Not All Chilies Hot? A Trade-Off Limits Pungency. . Proc. R. Soc. B, 2012-2017. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2091
Tewksbury, Joshua J. (2008) COSTS AND BENEFITS OF CAPSAICIN-MEDIATED CONTROL OF GUT RETENTION IN DISPERSERS OF WILD CHILIES. Ecology . DOI: 10.1890/07-0445.1
Douglas J. Levey, Joshua J. Tewksbury, Martin L. Cipollini and Tomás A. Carlo. (2006) A field test of the directed deterrence hypothesis in two species of wild chili. Oecologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-006-0496-y
Few agricultural debates come close to generating the same passionate and heated responses that organic farming seems to elicit. The discussion surpasses the interests of producers with conflicting ideologies to be hotly debated by assertive consumers as well; people who highlight the paradox created by their interest in the safe and responsible production of their food, while avoiding all involvement in its creation. The originally proposed Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 received nearly 3........ Read more »
Vonne Lund, & Bo Algers. (2003) Research on animal health and welfare in organic farming—a literature review. Livestock Production Science, 80(1-2), 55-68. info:/10.1016/S0301-6226(02)00321-4
What was the extent of human occupation and environmental impact in the pre-Columbian Amazonia?This question has been at the center of much of the research on pre-Columbian Amazonia since Betty Meggers published her paper ‘Environmental Limitation on the Development of Culture’ (1). The reconstruction of the Amazon’s past is based on evidence obtained from the study of the present landscape, sediments and archaeological remains. These ‘evidences’ are called proxies. Pollen is a proxy........ Read more »
B. J. Meggers. (1954) Environmental Limitation on the Development of Culture. American Anthropologist. info:/
McMichael CH, Piperno DR, Bush MB, Silman MR, Zimmerman AR, Raczka MF, & Lobato LC. (2012) Sparse pre-Columbian human habitation in western Amazonia. Science (New York, N.Y.), 336(6087), 1429-31. PMID: 22700926
Heckenberger MJ, Kuikuro A, Kuikuro UT, Russell JC, Schmidt M, Fausto C, & Franchetto B. (2003) Amazonia 1492: pristine forest or cultural parkland?. Science (New York, N.Y.), 301(5640), 1710-4. PMID: 14500979
In a recent interview with the Guardian, James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, stated that the green movement is now acting as a religion: ‘It’s got all the sort of terms that religions use. The greens use guilt. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting CO2 in the air.’ Well, now it seems that there is yet another reason for guilt: obesity, according to a new study published in BMC Public Health.... Read more »
Sarah C Walpole, David Prieto-Merino, Phil Edwards, John Cleland, Gretchen Stevens, & Ian Roberts. (2012) The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass. BMC Public Health. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-439
Goats – so destructive, and yet, so many reasons to love them. Goats (Capra hircus) have ravaged some of the most diverse and rare ecosystems. Those garbage disposals on wheels will eat anything green, thorns and all. And for the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Guo, J. (2006) INVASIVE SPECIES: The Galapagos Islands Kiss Their Goat Problem Goodbye. Science, 313(5793), 1567-1567. DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5793.1567
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who pioneered the use of satellite tags to monitor the migrations of elephant seals have compiled one of the largest datasets available for any marine mammal species, revealing their movements and diving behavior at sea in unprecedented detail.
...A female elephant seal carries GPS tags that will monitor its location, swim speed, and depth and duration of dives.
...A new study published May 15 in the journal PLoS ONE focuses on the ann........ Read more »
Robinson, P., Costa, D., Crocker, D., Gallo-Reynoso, J., Champagne, C., Fowler, M., Goetsch, C., Goetz, K., Hassrick, J., Hückstädt, L.... (2012) Foraging Behavior and Success of a Mesopelagic Predator in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: Insights from a Data-Rich Species, the Northern Elephant Seal. PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036728
Citrus Swallowtail, Papilio demodocus, is very common in TanzaniaWe're rarely short of butterflies in Tanzania, but they're a sadly overlooked group. Except, perhaps, when they're swarming by the million as earlier this year most people will, at best, only notice a few in passing. For a hugely diverse group (there are over 18,000 described species), they fall into a relatively small number of readily recognisable families. Unfortunately, all the nice identification books are out of print (and wi........ Read more »
Heikkila, M., Kaila, L., Mutanen, M., Pena, C., & Wahlberg, N. (2011) Cretaceous origin and repeated tertiary diversification of the redefined butterflies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1731), 1093-1099. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1430
Much of the work that I do is concerned about the impacts of off-trail hiking. Specifically, I am most interested in impacts to vegetation and soil. However, when visitors leave the designated trail they have the potential to impact more … Continue reading →... Read more »
B.H. Becker, C.M. Moi, T.J. Maguire, R. Atkinson, & N.B. Gates. (2012) Effects of hikers and boats on tule elk behavior in a national park wilderness area. Human-Wildlife Interactions, 6(1). info:/
Below the ocean’s surface is a world more mysterious than the dark side of the moon and with more animal diversity than the Amazon rainforest. Over 70% of our planet is covered in ocean, yet fully 95% of our oceans remain completely unexplored. But we do know that the habitats animals adapt to are more vast than the open ocean (In fact, many more animals are by the coasts than out in the open ocean). There are shallow sunlit coastal waters and deep dark ocean trenches, coral reefs, estuaries, ........ Read more »
GRAY, J. (1997) Marine biodiversity: patterns, threats and conservation needs. Biodiversity and Conservation, 6(1), 153-175. DOI: 10.1023/a:1018335901847
Orcutt, B., Sylvan, J., Knab, N., & Edwards, K. (2011) Microbial Ecology of the Dark Ocean above, at, and below the Seafloor. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 75(2), 361-422. DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.00039-10
Zeppilli, D., Mea, M., Corinaldesi, C., & Danovaro, R. (2011) Mud volcanoes in the Mediterranean Sea are hot spots of exclusive meiobenthic species. Progress In Oceanography, 91(3), 260-272. DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2011.01.001
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