Author Archives: Denis

Buffalo Bayou an unlikely hotbed for alligator snapping turtles

The alligator snapping turtle held menace enough in its massive, gaping jaws, which ended in a sharp beak poised like the fangs of an agitated rattlesnake. Its long, plump claws dug into the sand above thorny, wrinkled skin and a deeply-ridged carapace about the size of a large dinner platter. Houston Chronicle Nov. 29, 2018

Forests are under threat by palm oil cultivation.

AAAS Kavli winner tackles conservation in era of upheaval. Covering conservation and the environment can be quite depressing at times, writer Hillary Rosner told students at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism recently, but stories about climate change, endangered species, disappearing rainforests, and other topics demand astute and sustained attention. Science Jan. 25, 2019  

UH marine mammal research captures rare video of newborn humpback whale

The humpback whale calf is so new that its dorsal fin and tail flukes appear soft and flimsy, and its mother is still excreting blood, while sometimes supporting the calf on her back. The rare video minutes after birth was captured by the University of Hawaiii at Manoa’s Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) in January 2019. Feb. 1, 2019 University of Hawaii at Manoa

Feathers: Better than Velcro?

Date: January 16, 2019 Source: University of California – San Diego Summary: The structures zipping together the barbs in bird feathers could provide a model for new adhesives and new aerospace materials, according to a new study. Researchers 3D printed models of the structures to better understand their properties. Science Daily January 16, 2019

Bees face yet another lethal threat in dicamba, a drift-prone weedkiller

While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields. When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were managing barely half that: Dicamba probably had destroyed his bees’ food. Food and Environmental Reporting Network  January 23, 2019  

Scientists seeking rare river crayfish aren’t just kicking rocks

As far as anyone can tell, the cold-water crayfish Faxonius eupunctus makes its home in a 30-mile stretch of the Eleven Point River and nowhere else in the world. Because the animal is being considered for endangered species status, researchers are comparing old and new techniques to get a thorough accounting of its population and distribution. Science Daily February 27, 2018

Planting Milkweed for Monarchs? Make Sure It’s Native

Biology – 60 Second Science Non-native milkweed species planted in the southern U.S. could harm monarch butterflies as temperatures rise. Scientific American April 16, 2018  

Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife

There is widespread concern about the global decline in pollinators and the associated loss of pollination services. High densities of managed honey bees can harm populations of wild pollinators. By Jonas Geldmann, Juan P. González-Varo Science 26 Jan 2018 pp. 392-393

Tumbling bumblebee populations linked to fungicides

When a team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides. Instead, they found a shocker: fungicides, commonly thought to have no impact. Cornell University. (2017, November 14) Science Daily November 14, 2017

Mosquitoes remember human smells, but also swats.

Date: January 25, 2018 Source: Virginia Tech Summary: A new study shows that mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells of hosts and that dopamine is a key mediator of this process. The study proved a mosquito’s preference can shift if that person’s smell is associated with an unpleasant sensation. ScienceDaily