Creature Feature: Cone snail

Cone snails have some impressive adaptations: not only is their toxin a great example of an anti-predator defense mechanism, but they  also forage with a loaded harpoon…

Sunday Sketch: Whale Hearts

Unlike the urban legend that states a Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) heart is the size of a small car, their hearts are actually about 400 pounds (181 kilograms), or the size of a small golf cart. New research suggests that the proportion of heart size to body size can vary in mammals depending on their…

Field Fiasco: The Shower

  A few summers ago I spent a field season studying monkeys on a tiny island in southern Japan. I would stay on the island for up to a week at a time, because it was typhoon season and large waves often prevented transportation to and from the island. With unpredictable weather during a short…

Field Notes: Eric in the Eastern Sierras

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are weird alien-birds that are emblematic of North America’s western states. They live in the sagebrush steppes: a unique and harsh desert whose beauty belies the harsh conditions that animals face. My research is broadly focused on sage-grouse behavior and conservation. My project is two-pronged: I investigate the link between behavior…

Creature Feature: California Condor

Despite the long road to recovery, the California condors are making a comeback thanks to targeted conservation efforts to save this iconic species.

Sunday Sketch: Wombat Poo

Did you know that wombats (Vombatus ursinus) have cube-shaped poop? No, this is not a result of a square sphincter, but a slow digestive process that takes up to 14 days! A wombat’s intestine has horizontal ridges which molds the fecal matter into a cube shape, and then as most nutrients and water are absorbed,…

Field Frame Friday: Feeding “frenzy”

Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) are members of a reef-associated species that lives in the tropic waters of the western Atlantic and greater Caribbean (Compagno, 1984). This photograph was taken in Bimini, Bahamas, as part of a volunteer opportunity at the Bimini Biological Field Station “Shark Lab”. In this area, a profitable ecotourism industry has arisen…

Field Fiasco: A Watchful Eye

Hiking up the Virunga Mountains to see mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. Spending nearly a month in-country keeps your excitement in a pressure cooker, so that by the time you are trekking to see these amazing apes, your heart is already racing in anticipation. Yet, the moment I saw one…

Colusa County Wildlife Refuge: Northern California’s Hidden Gem

Because I grew up in a small town in Northern California, nature and wildlife have always been a huge part of my day-to-day life. It has been my experience that people in rural areas learn to respect their roots and live in harmony with the Earth, taking care of the land that takes care of…

Sunday Sketch: Orchid Bees

They may not be black and yellow but these neotropical orchid bees might be the smelliest stars of the bee world! The males of these iridescent bees collect perfumes  from the flowers they visit which they then display to females. The exact perfume blend is highly species specific–males shop around for just the right combination….

Field Frame Friday: Lemur siesta

This week we introduce a new biweekly feature: Field Frame Friday, where we feature some of the best pictures from our fieldwork.   Greater bamboo lemurs can be found in bamboo forests in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar. Their range, however, is severely fragmented, and the species is highly endangered (Wright et al., 2008). Here…