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Ben Goldfarb

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    Florida’s Special Sponge for Soaking up Pollution: Fish

    In the swampy center of Florida, 15 miles northwest of Orlando, lies Lake Apopka, a 30,000-acre monument to the transformative power of fish. Apopka may be almost exactly the same size as nearby Disney World, but it’s far from a tourist attraction. For decades the lake served as an agricultural dumping ground for adjacent citrus […]

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    Biologists’ Clever Way to Detect Animals They Can’t Find

    A hellbender at the National Zoo in WashingtonBrian Gratwicke via Flickr Wildlife doesn’t get much weirder than the hellbender, a frilly, crayfish-gobbling salamander, about the length of a baby alligator, whose bizarre aliases include “snot otter,” “devil dog,” and “grampus.” The giant amphibian stalks rocky streambeds throughout the eastern United States—or at least it did, […]

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    This Tool-Using Sniper Changed What We Think About Fish

    An archerfish lets fly at its unsuspecting prey.Ingo Rischawy / Schuster lab, University of Bayreuth    Few animals have had their cognitive abilities maligned like fish. Myths about their dullness abound—no doubt you’ve heard the one about goldfish’s three-second memories. But have you also heard the one about gobies memorizing the location of rock pools? Or coral […]

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    Searching for Disappearing Species in the US’ Deepest Wilds

    Michael Lucid photographs samples found during the Multispecies Baseline Initiative (MBI).Ben Goldfarb In 2010, Michael Lucid, a biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, captured a surprise in a beer-baited gastropod trap—a slug that didn’t genetically resemble any of the ones he’d caught before. On a hunch, Lucid sent the mysterious invertebrate to […]