An article about a book written by my latest science crush, dipterist/fly scientist Erica McAlister…yeah, let’s do flies!: Trillions of Flies Can’t All Be Bad
I really enjoyed these old papier mache bees in a hive:
The truly fascinating world of intertidal spiders! These terrestrial organisms have all sorts of strategies for holding air close to their bodies when their habitat goes under water, like hairs that trap air bubbles and special webs. Pretty weird: Webs under water: The really bizarre lives of intertidal spiders
The last views of Cassini:
Long term datasets are so valuable! There is no way to know what our baselines are unless we have these records. Of course, until someone develops a time machine, we can’t know baselines of many things (insect abundances, diversity, etc). The few long term datasets we do have are pored over by many analyzed and reanalyzed: Japanese Monks Recorded the Climate for 700 Years
A radiologist describes the difference between an injury caused by a handgun and an AR-15 (some political commentary within, but I think the perspective is valuable): What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns
Arguments for and against a global biodiversity loss tipping point…like rivets on a plane, I think this is more of a heuristic than anything, but useful to argue about it. Could biodiversity destruction lead to a global tipping point?
From my perspective (as a pollinator obsessed individual) the above article is particularly interesting with regard to the latest Winfree* paper on the value of pollinator turnover (behind a paywall, unfortunately, but the important thing is that the article emphasizes the importance of pollinator diversity across spatial scales): Species turnover promotes the importance of bee diversity for crop pollination at regional scales
Long tailed tits are the bird of the week for BirdWatch Ireland. This bird is so adorable, honestly. I don’t know how it’s possible for Ireland to have so many impossibly adorable birds, but it really does: Irish Garden Birds – Long-tailed Tits
I find this really surprising, but this study found a negative relationship between urban bees and temperature (urban centers tend to be hotter because of the impervious surfaces). I guess this may be context dependent, as warmer days have more bees in Ireland! But it certainly never gets much above 21, so there may be an optimum. Are there possible confounding factors? Interesting… Wild bee abundance declines with urban warming, regardless of floral density
Popular press article of the above: It takes more than flowers to build bee habitat
Awesome photo collection from 2017 (you know how I love photo contests): Extraordinary Moments: Top Contenders For A Photojournalism Prize
Jane Stout’s weekly column in the Times echoing my thoughts on some less evidence-based bee conservation measures (i.e. bee boxes and sand piles). I have yet to see an Irish bee using a bee box, though they are up all over Dublin. Open questions: Show me the evidence!
*Rae Winfree does such cool science…total academic crush!