background preloader

Nature

Facebook Twitter

Nature Derived Technology and Medicine

Evolution. Illustrations. Environment. The Stunning Ways Driftwood Builds Landscapes. By Natalie Kramer Anderson I study driftwood in rivers.

The Stunning Ways Driftwood Builds Landscapes

I have traveled to rivers and creeks in Canada, the United States, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Italy, and Switzerland noting the abundance, or lack thereof, of streamside wood. For the past few years, partly funded by the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, I have intensively studied the transport and impacts of large amounts of driftwood on big rivers and lakes in Northern Canada, and I just published a paper on what we found. When I speak to people about my research they always ask, “Why driftwood?” For many it seems an odd thing to study because driftwood (in rivers) isn’t something that most people notice.

Birds

A Sharp-Eyed Squirrel, Leaping Into the Darkness. Animals Animals/Earth ScenesThe flying squirrel does not actually fly — it glides.

A Sharp-Eyed Squirrel, Leaping Into the Darkness

Few of us ever get a good view of a flying squirrel, but then again, not many of us know they truly exist. Not unlike its cartoon depiction, as the brainy, be-goggled sidekick of Bullwinkle the Moose, the Southern flying squirrel is an impressively well-adapted resident of New York City. With a preference for older beech and oak woods, these squirrels are primarily nocturnal. An uncommon habitat and our very urban instinct to avoid late-night walks through obscure woodlands make finding one a deliberate effort.

Photography of nature

Bees. Animal behavior. Patterns in music and the natural world: Creating stronger spider silk and other new materials. Intraspecies Virus a Possible Colony Collapse Culprit — NOVA Next. For the $14 billion agricultural industry, honeybees are a linchpin.

Intraspecies Virus a Possible Colony Collapse Culprit — NOVA Next

But the insects have been under attack, their numbers decimated by the mysterious and devastating colony collapse disorder, or CCD. Scientists have focused on several possible causes in their search for what’s driving CCD, including deadly pathogens, neonicotinoid pesticides, and a lack of natural habitat. The latest suspect is something akin to an intraspecies plague. A plant virus might be contributing to colony collapse disorder in honeybees.

Recently, the U.S.

Dogs

Space. Bayer is suing *Europe* for saving the bees. Wow.

Bayer is suing *Europe* for saving the bees

Bayer has just sued the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world. A huge public push won this landmark ban only months ago -- and we can't sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish. In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword. FORT CHIPEWYAN, Canada — In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere.

In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword

" Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca. But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines, where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses. The tarry bitumen that is extracted is eventually shipped to refineries, many in the United States, to be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels. But the leftover polluted slurry remains in miles-long impoundments, some high above the banks of the river. Air cannons sound periodically to keep migratory birds from landing on the toxic ponds.

Beeing There: The Search for Pesticides’ Effect on Declining Bee Colonies Moves to the Fields. A honeybee's brain is hardly bigger than the tip of a dog's whisker, yet you can train a bee just as Pavlov got his pups to drool on hearing their dinner bell.

Beeing There: The Search for Pesticides’ Effect on Declining Bee Colonies Moves to the Fields

Using a sugar solution as a reward, you can teach the insect to extend its little mouthparts in response to different scents. Several Pavlovian lab studies of individual worker honeybees, however, found that those fed small amounts of pesticides—especially a class called neonicotinoids—do not learn which scents lead to a sweet reward as quickly as their pesticide-free peers do.

Yet, until recently, it wasn't clear what these and other lab studies meant for the health of entire bee colonies, which might have strategies to mitigate the overall impact of problems with particular hive members. OurAmazingPlanet. Letter from the Archive: John McPhee on the Control of Nature. This weekend, read John McPhee’s “Atchafalaya.”

Letter from the Archive: John McPhee on the Control of Nature

It was published in February, 1987, and it’s about the Herculean effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control the flow of the Mississippi River, the fourth-longest river in the world. Interactive Map Color-Codes Race of Every Single American. It sounds somewhat implausible, but a University of Virginia academic has designed an interactive map that color-codes the geographic distribution of every single American, drawing on the last census.

Interactive Map Color-Codes Race of Every Single American

The Racial Dot Map uses 308,745,538 blue, green, red, and other colored dots to represent the race of every American in the place that person lives. In what some bloggers have called a work of demographic pointillism, the new map allows users to scroll across the United States and zoom in on any area to view its racial mix. Sudden appearance of a large number of modern animal groups studied. Arctic sea ice delusions strike the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph.

When it comes to climate science reporting, the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph are only reliable in the sense that you can rely on them to usually get the science wrong.

Arctic sea ice delusions strike the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph

This weekend's Arctic sea ice articles from David Rose of the Mail and Hayley Dixon at the Telegraph unfortunately fit that pattern. Both articles claimed that Arctic sea ice extent grew 60 percent in August 2013 as compared to August 2012. While this factoid may be technically true (though the 60 percent figure appears to be an exaggeration), it's also largely irrelevant.

University - Tropical forest carbon absorption may hinge on an odd couple. Posted September 15, 2013; 01:00 p.m. by Morgan Kelly, Office of Communications A unique housing arrangement between a specific group of tree species and a carbo-loading bacteria may determine how well tropical forests can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a Princeton University-based study.

University - Tropical forest carbon absorption may hinge on an odd couple

Insect. Bee. Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Citizen Scientists Gather Data on Urban Bees. Around the world, bees are dying in unprecedented numbers. While scientists hypothesize pesticides and habitat loss are to blame, the exact causes are still unclear. Gardeners and farmers are concerned about the fate of their bee-pollinated food and looking to the scientific community for information about how and why the bee populations are declining. Unfortunately, money is tight as scientists struggle to gain the funding and resources for extensive bee studies.

Marie Clifford and Susan Waters, graduate researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, have found a way to get around scarce research funding: citizen scientists. The Urban Pollination Project (UPP), co-founded in 2011, takes Seattle community gardeners and trains them to collect data on local bees. “Citizen science,” Clifford says, “allows scientists to address much broader scale questions than they might be able to address themselves.” Related Category: Biodiversity, Biology, Blog, Environment, Food, Sustainable Food. Bumblebee. A bumblebee is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species,[1] existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere although they also occur in South America. They have been introduced to New Zealand and the Australian state of Tasmania. Bumblebees are social insects that are characterised by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands.

However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black.[2] Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. Short-haired bumblebee nests in Dungeness. 16 September 2013Last updated at 21:57 ET Further releases are now being planned to help build the population. Insect leg cogs a first in animal kingdom.