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Amazing space photos, courtesy of NASA: https://www.cnet.com/pictures/nasa-spitzer-telescope-celebrates-15-years-of-astounding-images/ More interesting plant pollinator interactions: Flower Mimics The Smell of Dying Honey Bees to Attract Pollinators I visited Kilarney last weekend, I wanted to see a puffin and I did not. Alas! Cream puffins: CREAM PUFFIN SWEETIE PIES On a more serious note, I mentioned to the bus […]

Links to share: Pollinator papers edition

You may be thinking that robots can replace bees for crop pollination, but there are a lot of good reasons why that will not work. I know that Walmart has a patent for pollinating drones…although I do not underestimate humanity’s ability to develop new and clever technologies, if we want diversity in our diets (and […]

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Just had to share this article about wildebeests…How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle Scary article about Candida auris infections…a fungal infection that is resistant to known medications and is very difficult to contain…and can be deadly: The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast Ants that live inside acorns and what they […]

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The more we learn about microbes, the more we realise they are essential symbiotes for most (all?) life forms. In the insect world, it’s stunning how specific and unique these interactions can be: The Wasp That Paints Its Nursery In Bacteria A nice article explaining the complexity of the interactions that form each spring: The […]

Declines in insect biomass

I had a surreal conversation with my (conservative) uncle this Christmas. It went a little like this: Me: A study in Germany this year showed a large decline in insect biomass…75% over the past thirty years or so (Hallmann et al 2017, open access). We call it the “windscreen effect“, where when you used to […]

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You can’t make this stuff up: Silent and Deadly: Fatal Farts Immobilize Prey Bad news bears: Monsanto Attacks Scientists After Studies Show Trouble For Weedkiller Dicamba Love this new review by Jeff Ollerton…favourite quote: “the recent description of an asclepiad (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae) flower from Dominican amber together with its termite pollinator, is both a paleontological […]

A new great ape species! and traveling

Scientists have declared this genetic variant of orangutan a separate species, making it the first new great ape species in a century. I don’t get toooooo excited about primates, but this is an intriguing example of the ways in which phylogenetics can change the way we perceive animals and conservation. I heard a talk recently […]