The journeys of night-migrating birds are already fraught with danger. Light pollution adds yet another hazard beyond the increased risk of collisions with buildings or communication towers. According to a new study, birds attracted by the glow of artificial light at night are drawn into areas where they are also exposed to higher concentrations of airborne toxic chemicals. The study has just been published in the journal Global Change Biology. [Read more…] about Migrating Birds, Light Pollution & Toxic Chemical Exposure
If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then surely the friend of my enemy is my enemy. This inverted cliche is one way to characterize the tangled relationship between ash trees and the ash-tree bolete.
The ash-tree bolete (Boletinellus merulioides) is a fan-shaped brown mushroom with an off-center stem. It grows in association with ash trees throughout eastern North America; however, that association is an odd one. [Read more…] about Ash Tree Bolete: A Tangled Story of Ash, Aphid & Fungus
During a late summer walk, I noticed that the common milkweed in our back field is becoming not-so-common. Once vigorous patches of the milky green plants have dwindled, engulfed in a sea of Canada goldenrod. [Read more…] about Establishing Milkweed for Monarchs
On September 21st, 2022, after a second independent DNA study confirmed that the wolf killed outside of Cooperstown, in Otsego County, NY, was really a wolf, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reversed course and announced the wolf was indeed a wolf.
DEC had been calling the Cooperstown wolf a coyote since it examined the dead animal in December 2021 and conducted a DNA study in early 2022. DEC publicly called the wolf a coyote in July in many news reports, after the release of an independent DNA study by Trent University in Canada, organized by the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society (NERS).
The Trent University DNA analysis found that the Cooperstown wolf had 98% wolf genes. [Read more…] about DEC: Animal Killed By Hunter In Cooperstown Was A Wolf
Cast members of the new Ghostbusters film aren’t the only ones getting slimed – trees sometimes get slathered in slime flux as well. Many kinds of trees are subject to sludge assaults, with elms, apples, oaks, maples, and walnuts being among the more vulnerable species. Tree-goo, unlike the Psychomagnotheric Slime in Ghostbusters, is basically harmless. In fact, it can be beneficial. [Read more…] about Tree Slime: Harmless & Beneficial
For example, studying the pattern of coffee grounds in the bottom of one’s cup, a practice known as tasseomancy, will nearly always reveal that someone forgot to put a filter in the coffeemaker basket. And haruspicy, the study of the fresh entrails of a gutted animal, is consistently right in concluding the animal is dead. [Read more…] about Reading Bug Tracks on Tea Leaves
If you believe we’re the master of our actions, think again. Better yet, have a fungus, bacterium, or protozoan tell you what to think. Jedi mind tricks are nothing compared to what microbes can do to animals, human and otherwise. [Read more…] about Microbial Ecology: Mind Control, Fecal Transplants & Zombie Laternflies
A new study helps reveal why tropical mountain birds occupy such narrow elevation ranges, a mystery that has puzzled scientists for centuries. While many assumed temperature was responsible for these limited distributions, the latest research suggests competition from other species plays a bigger role in shaping bird ranges. [Read more…] about Study Explores Forces Limiting Ranges of Mountain Birds
Apparently, if you suck face for too long, you can become part of that visage, fused forever. And by “you” I mean all the Demodex folliculorum skin mites that read this essay. [Read more…] about Skin Mites Play A Beneficial Role
Although the Grimm Brothers’ tale of Hansel and Gretel surviving alone in the woods after being abandoned by their parents is based on a grim reality – the famine of 1315-1317 – there are compelling reasons to take kids into a forest today.
As long as they are kept out of the clutches of evil witches, and are brought to their respective homes right afterward. [Read more…] about Forests & Their Benefits for Children’s Health