Links to share

New mollusk found!  Cool!  Of course, there’s a symbiosis involved, with chemosynthetic bacteria.  Mutualisms are the coolest: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/04/17/scientists-find-giant-elusive-clam-known-as-the-unicorn-of-mollusks/ Stinky orchid shuts down flower show: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/meet-stinky-bucky-bulbophyllum-orchid-shutdown-smithsonian-greenhouse-180962924/ Water striders are cooler than you think: http://blog.nature.org/science/2017/04/10/7-cool-facts-water-striders-skippers-pond-skaters-weird-nature/ This is a pretty and peaceful video about the sights and sounds of a typical New York forest: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/videos/watch-how-a-forest-changes-over-a-year The amazing Dutch […]

Life on Enceladus?

NASA recently released the news that there are hydrothermal vents in a great ocean beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. The exciting thing about this is that hydrothermal vents beneath Earth’s ocean are the home to non-photosynthetic based ecosystems; in other words, hydrothermal vents on Earth give rise to chemoautotrophic life. And to […]

Bees are vegan wasps…except these bees

When I’m talking to a broad audience of people who may or may not have experience with bees, I generally introduced them as “vegan wasps”. From an evolutionary perspective, this is true: i.e. bees are wasps that started collecting pollen instead of insect prey as the main protein source to provision their offspring. It also […]

Where the thunder-chickens roam

Another belated hiking post from a few weeks ago.  A friend and I were exploring a little known bird reserve and he pointed out the distinctive drumming of the Ruffed Grouse (also known as the thunder-chicken).  It was pretty exciting, so I found a youtube video to share with you! It was also a beautiful […]

The miracle of life! Tarantula molting

Agnes molted! This was a very exciting time for us. A grad student in my lab and I sat, rapt with awe, for almost an hour as she slowly pulled free of her old skin (and old life!) and became a whole new spider.  It was truly like watching a birth (or a rebirth?).  Amazing. […]

On the weird (and cool) phenomenon of gynandromorphism

My friend sent me an article about a cardinal exhibiting a weird phenotype: half of its plumage was the brilliant red of a male, and half of its plumage was the dull colours of a female (source!).  He mentioned that it might be a cool birding goal and I agreed that seeing a gynandromorph of […]