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Ecology / Conservation posts

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  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 82 views

Friday Fellow: Branching Vase Sponge

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A fascinating group of animals that has not yet joined the Friday Fellows are the sponges. Different from all other animals, sponges have a unique body structure that behaves more like a plant or fungus. They … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 30, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 144 views

Friday Fellow: Peacock Spikemoss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This is the last Friday Fellow of the year and I decided to choose a beautiful and little known plant, the peacock spikemoss, more commonly known as Willdenow’s spikemoss or peacock fern, and scientifically known as Selaginella … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 23, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 133 views

Friday Fellow: Christmas Wreath Lichen

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Celebrating Christmas (or whatever you call this time of the year), today’s Friday Fellow is another lichen. And the reason I chose it is because it is known as Christmas wreath lichen due to its red … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 16, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 198 views

Friday Fellow: Common Stonewort

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s always hard to introduce a less charismatic species here. Not because they are less interesting to me, but because I cannot find good information available. But I try to do my best to show all … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ariosa, Y., Quesada, A., Aburto, J., Carrasco, D., Carreres, R., Leganes, F., & Fernandez Valiente, E. (2004) Epiphytic Cyanobacteria on Chara vulgaris Are the Main Contributors to N2 Fixation in Rice Fields. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70(9), 5391-5397. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.70.9.5391-5397.2004  

  • December 12, 2016
  • 03:16 PM
  • 243 views

Bacteria Help Pitcher Plants Trap Prey

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Pity the insect that tumbles into a pitcher plant's trap. The slippery walls and waiting pool of water ensure it won't clamber back out. There's nothing left to do but wait to be digested.

The California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) is also called the cobra lily for its curled-over shape that hides its exit from its victims. Unlike other pitcher plants, it doesn't fill its trap from above with rainwater but from below, drawing water up with its roots. But like others, it seems... Read more »

  • December 8, 2016
  • 10:56 AM
  • 283 views

The Reconstruction of Ships: Sailing the Seas of International Collaboration

by Filipe Castro in United Academics

Working for both public and private institutions, archaeologists constantly construct and deconstruct narratives about our past, but traditionally publish only a fraction of the sites they excavate and thus destroy. Computers and the internet present a vast range of opportunities for archaeologists to share primary data and foster intercultural online collaborations and reinterpretations of archaeological contexts. ... Read more »

Bass, G. (1961) The Cape Gelidonya Wreck: Preliminary Report. American Journal of Archaeology, 65(3), 267. DOI: 10.2307/501687  

  • December 7, 2016
  • 01:21 PM
  • 229 views

The Hunt for the Higgs Bison Is Over

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

A recently-published study has now resolved the mystery of the bison bones, with the help of some Ice Age cave artists. It turns out that there once existed, during the Ice Age, a hybrid between the now-extinct aurochs (the beast from which we domesticated the cow) and the equally-extinct steppe bison (basically, the Asian version of the American bison).... Read more »

  • December 2, 2016
  • 06:18 AM
  • 209 views

Friday Fellow: Indian shot

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow may not seem to be such an astonishing plant, but it has its peculiarities, some of them quite interesting. Commonly known as Indian shot, African arrowroot, purple arrowroot, and many other names, it … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 17, 2016
  • 06:06 PM
  • 316 views

Breeding Made Dogs Less Athletic

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Is your dog a natural athlete or a couch pup-tato? The answer might depend on how far removed it is from its wild ancestors. Dogs that are more similar to wolves have kept more of their natural athleticism, while breeding has rendered other types of dogs a little...less impressive.

Caleb Bryce, a PhD candidate at UC Santa Cruz, says his study of canine athletes came about serendipitously. "We were just hoping to calibrate a new wildlife collar we’ve developed," he says; he planned to te........ Read more »

  • November 11, 2016
  • 04:00 AM
  • 121 views

Friday Fellow: Wheel Necklace Diatom

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Most of you likely know what diatoms are, microscopic algae with a silica shell that are very abundant in the world’s oceans and one of the main oxygen producers. You may have seen images like the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 7, 2016
  • 02:39 PM
  • 180 views

Snakes Defend Themselves with Shape-Shifting Eyes

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Superman donned glasses to disguise himself and blend in with other people. One snake hides its identity using a similar trick: when threatened, it changes the shape of its pupils. This makes it resemble a much more dangerous animal.

The mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus) is mild-mannered, not superpowered. It's common across much of Asia, and—as you might have guessed from its name—looks a lot like a viper. Actual vipers are a widespread family of venomous snakes. Like true v........ Read more »

Silva, I., Crane, M., Artchawakom, T., Suwanwaree, P., & Strine, C. (2016) More than meets the eye: change in pupil shape by a mock viper. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(8), 453-454. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1420  

  • November 6, 2016
  • 09:05 PM
  • 267 views

Obama invades Europe: “Yes, we can!”

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This information was known by me and some other people for quite a while, but only recently has caught attention of the general public. Obama is the newest threat in Europe. No, I’m not talking about the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 4, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 254 views

Friday Fellow: Silvergreen Moss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Found throughout most of the world, you probably have encountered this fellow many times in your life, but did not pay any attention. After all, it is just a moss! Scientifically known as Bryum argenteum and popularly … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 1, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 119 views

Giant pumpkins and other massive fruits

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

In the form of a creepy Jack-o’-lantern frightening kids who seek for treats, or of a creamy soup in a cold fall night, pumpkins are the most distinctive fruits we find on the market stands in this season. But this fruit, in its larger variants, is also at the center of a special type of competition that takes place every year. A group of fierce farmers equipped with large scales and the heaviest products of their fields meet up to determine who among them was able to grow the largest pump........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2016
  • 06:19 AM
  • 350 views

Climate change, the long view

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Now and forever, or at least for a very long time By 2050, sea levels will have risen this much. If we don’t act, average global temperature will rise x degrees by 2100. These are the things we all hear in the discussion concerning climate change and its consequences. But beyond the turn of the […]... Read more »

Clark, P., Shakun, J., Marcott, S., Mix, A., Eby, M., Kulp, S., Levermann, A., Milne, G., Pfister, P., Santer, B.... (2016) Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change. Nature Climate Change, 6(4), 360-369. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2923  

  • October 25, 2016
  • 07:35 PM
  • 279 views

Why do polar bears mock battle? and other facts about polar bear reproduction

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »

Fitzgerald KT. (2013) Polar bears: the fate of an icon. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(4), 135-42. PMID: 24331553  

  • October 21, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 146 views

Friday Fellow: Witch’s Butter

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Last week I introduced a cyanobacteria that reminds me of my childhood and that is commonly known as witch’s jelly or witch’s butter. But witch’s butter is also the common name of fungus, so I thought … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 16, 2016
  • 08:58 PM
  • 295 views

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 291 views

Friday Fellow: Witch’s Jelly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll I wonder how many people can say they have a bacterium that reminds them of their childhood. Well, at least I can say that I have. When I was a boy and started to know about … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 8, 2016
  • 03:15 PM
  • 325 views

That time 20,000 jellyfish orbited Earth

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »

Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1  

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