Category Archives: ecology

This is what’s happening…

by Matthew Cobb Earlier I posted this photo and asked readers to describe what’s going on. Here’s my answer: a worker honeybee was visiting a white flower to get nectar. She was attacked by a white crab spider who was remarkably camouflaged (probably chemically, as well as visually). The crab spider had another, brown, crab […]

What’s happening here?

by Matthew Cobb This photo by R Fontaine (aka @Tenfon2 on Tw*tter) contains a complex set of interactions, involving two kingdoms and two classes, with two orders within one of those classes, and two genera or perhaps species within the other. Your task is to describe them. You don’t need to use fancy latin names, […]

AAAS refuses to consider population growth as a cause of environmental degradation, and promotes Catholic point of view

I’ve had my worries about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), especially its cozying up to religion. They’ve collaborated with Templeton in funding an accommodationist program, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSer), and have engaged in other religion-coddling activities unseemly for a secular science organization (see, for instance, here, here, here, and […]

Space Girl goes on a Marine Environment junket

JAC: Melissa Chen is a doctoral candidate in genetics at MIT, and, like me, a moderator of the Global Secular Humanist Movement Facebook site. She recently went on a cool NASA-sponsored trip from Wood’s Hole, and when she volunteered to write about her adventures here, I of course said, “Sure.” Here they are.  (By the way, Melissa’s […]

Reader wildlife photo

by Greg Mayer My Okinawa correspondent sends a happier picture than last time, this one of a living longhorn beetle, a member of the family Cerambycidae. Note the very long antennae, and the impressive tarsi. Cerambycids are often brightly or contrastingly colored. Normally I’d have no idea what particular genus or species an Okinawan insect […]

Richard Levins, 1930-2016

by Greg Mayer Richard ‘Dick’ Levins, the John Rock Professor of Population Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, died on January 19 of this year. He was one of the most influential population biologists of the 20th century, and a close colleague and associate of Dick Lewontin, Jerry’s doctoral advisor. Levins was an […]

Nature to launch new ecology and evolution journal

This hasn’t been officially announced yet, but I learned about it last week and it’s not really a secret given that Nature is already advertising for editors (here and here) for a new journal whose description is in the second ad: Nature Ecology and Evolution — the latest member of the Nature family — will […]

The ecology of Heaven

Here’s a scientifically based cartoon from SMBC about the relationship between ecology and immortality in Heaven. (One might call it “ecological theology.”) Sadly, the r versus k distinction has lost momentum over the years, as they are two ends of a continuum, and there are alternative as well as mixed reproductive strategies for single species. More […]

So what killed the ‘squirrel’ being eaten by the four-legged snake?

by Greg Mayer As the capstone to Snake Week, let’s take a closer look at how the squirrel-like mammal being eaten by Tetrapodophis in Julius Csotonyi’s striking reconstruction died. In my earlier post, I took note of the fact that the describers of the newly discovered four-legged fossil snake had inferred from its skeleton that […]

Why there probably isn’t a ghost ship full of cannibal rats headed for the British Isles

by Greg Mayer There’s been a lot of media attention the last few days about the prospect of a derelict Russian passenger ship, the Lyubov Orlova, crossing the Atlantic from Canada (where it was last berthed) and crashing into Ireland or Britain, spilling disease-ridden, inbred, cannibal rats on their shores. The ship was being towed […]