Forget the Ordinary Honeybee; Look at the Beautiful Bees They’re Crowding Out
All of the images in this post are borrowed from the amazing Flickr feed of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. Any day now, the apple trees on my deck will bloom, bringing with them the first honeybees of spring. It’s a moment I’ll greet with mixed feelings. To which bee-lovers everywhere may respond: […]
The Hated, Invasive Parasite That’s Actually a Key Part of Its Ecosystem
Sea lampreys showing off their unusual mouthsJoanna Gilkeson/USFWS Several years ago, a young man bow-fishing on New Jersey’s Raritan river spotted a long, thin creature in the murky water. He shot the animal through the neck, reeled it in, and posed for photographs. Eventually a friend posted one to Reddit. Within days it went viral, […]
Wild-Winter Whodunnit—Climate Change Over the U.S. With a Slow Jet Stream?
This map produced by NOAA shows the land-surface temperature anomaly: how the temperature deviated from normal, on average, over the month. The darkest red areas were 12 degrees Celsius (22 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, while the darkest blue areas were 12 degrees Celsius below average.NOAA A question hangs like a cloud over the deeply weird […]
To Bring Back Extinct Species, We’ll Need to Change Our Own
Passenger pigeon eggs at the Maine State MuseumBrandon Keim; displayed courtesy of Paula Work, registrar & curator of zoology at the museum The last passenger pigeon died just over a century ago, though they’ve lived on as symbols—of extinction’s awful finality, and also of a human carelessness so immense that it could exterminate without really […]
The Wild, Secret Life of New York City
Get back to nature, right in your own neighborhood.
Evolution’s Contrarian Capacity for Creativity
The easily confused willow tit and black-capped chickadeef.c.franklin via Flickr / Brandon Keim One of my favorite pastimes while traveling is watching birds. Not rare birds, mind you, but common ones: local variations on universal themes of sparrow and chickadee, crow and mockingbird. I enjoy them in the way that other people appreciate new food […]
Decoding Nature’s Soundtrack
The health of an ecosystem in the Earth’s own words.
The Salamander That Has Photosynthesis Happening Inside It
Spotted salamander young come pre-equipped with photosynthetic algae, which are visible in their eggs.Courtesy of Roger Hangarter / University of Indiana Amidst life’s profligate swapping and sharing and collaborating, one union stands out: the symbiosis of spotted salamanders and the algae living inside them. Their uniqueness is no small matter. After all, mutually beneficial relationships […]
The Lightning Beneath Our Feet
The strange lights that occur before earthquakes may originate underground.
The Great Bioterror Threat Is Modern Society
E. coli that tested positive for NMD-1 growing in a petri dish. The sample came from a 67-year-old man in India. Nathan Reading via Flickr After the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax mailings, the United States government started taking the possibility of biological terrorism very seriously. It spent billions of dollars […]