I talk about bees a lot. I spent five years researching their behavior in different environments, and discovered a lot about how solitary bees and social bees survive in urban and rural environments in a changing climate. I’ve done my best to stop the spread of misinformation about bees — especially honey bees and native bees — and advocate for conservation efforts on their behalf.
One of my least favorite pastimes in our household is sorting through the recycling and compost for things that can’t be recycled or composted. It happens — in a rush, we throw something into the wrong bin and don’t notice until we sort through our trash later.
The sorting also serves as a helpful reminder of how much waste we produce each week, and a way to set goals for reducing our plastic and styrofoam usage the following week. Sometimes it takes seeing the waste you produce each week to inspire a more sustainable practice.
Examples of things we find…
It sounds like something you might find in a science fiction story, but fluorescent creatures are out there. Researchers investigating fluorescence in Vietnam recently discovered that Asian paper wasps emit a green glow under ultraviolet light.
Their findings, recently reported in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, show that the green light comes from silk fibers in the nests of the Asian paper wasp Polistes brunetus, return about 35% of the light they absorb. This means they can be seen from up to 20 meters away, even without a hand-held UV light in your pocket.
The silk threads the…
The world is on fire, and it’s an ecological disaster. Thousands of acres are burning across the west coast of the United States, forcing people to evacuate their homes, land, and worldly possessions as the fires spread through areas like Lake Tahoe in Oregon. But ecologists are concerned about the plants, mammals, and birds forced to escape the forests and prairies as the fires spread. Images of animals fleeing the flames have captured headlines worldwide. A recent study from UC Davis highlights the potential impact smoke from these fires may have on animal species.
The massive bleaching event at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was probably a headline you came across this past year. The reef experienced its third major bleaching event in the past five years, thought to be the largest bleaching event ever recorded.
Previous to 2020, the 2016 bleaching event was the largest recorded event worldwide. And these events are only becoming more frequent with rising temperatures. So what can we do to help reefs in the face of global climate change? It turns out — quite a bit, thanks to scientists.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest reefs…
Just about everyone here in the bright, sunny city of Seattle loves a good cup of joe. And while it may not always be sunny, there will always be a different local coffee shop on every corner of the emerald city.
But drinking too much of that good, good bean water might have a negative effect on your brain’s health and size.
A paper published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that drinking more than six cups of coffee a day increased risk of dementia, and changing the size of participant’s brains. …
Turtles and tortoises have a long history in human depictions as being patient, wise, powerful, and easygoing… but maybe it’s a lie?
A video taken by a conservation and sustainability manager of a local nature reserve on Frégate Island in the Seychelles, an archipelago off of east Africa, showed a tortoise slowly hunting a noddy tern chick that had fallen out of it’s nest in a nearby tree.
The chick was too young to fly, and though its species are known to run quickly the tortoise was able to back it into a log the bird must have mistaken for…
Chia seeds have been in the news a lot lately thanks to their numerous health benefits. They’ve being touted as a weight-loss miracle, a superfood, a heart-healthy alternative and constipation miracle.
And the science backs up a number of these claims. Studies have shown they’re a great source of antioxidants, and provide similar benefits to foods high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in terms of preventing disease and regulating digestion.
All those benefits in a tiny seed, measuring at 1–2 millimeters in length. Chia have a very long and complicated history with humans, providing nutritional benefits to ancient Aztecs…
An essay on my year of disability and coming back to running — and myself.
I’ve always been an avid runner, hiker, cyclist, and overall active person. Until a debilitating back injury stopped me from moving for almost a year.
In early September 2020 I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed. When I tried my lower back spasmed so painfully I cried out, tears springing to my eyes. I crawled to the bathroom, then to the couch, where I stayed for three days in agony.
On the fourth day the spasms had subsided, and, desperate for groceries, my…
My favorite fact to share with my entomology classes is that every fig, at one time or another, was home to a wasp. Many of my students have had figs before, beautiful green to deep purple fruit that sweeten any good smoothie or pairs well with a charcuterie board and a glass of wine. But upon learning that those delicious fruits probably contained remnants of insects — a wing or a leg, maybe an antennae, even a full grown wasp — they usually aren’t too happy with me.
Not every wasp needs a fig, but all figs need a wasp…