Laying the Foundation

By the late 18th century, scientists knew very precisely the dimensions of the Earth and its distance from the sun and planets. You might think that determining the age of the Earth would be relatively straightforward. However, humans would split the atom and invent television, nylon, and instant coffee before they could figure out the... Continue Reading →

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Project Yellowstone: A Summer Enrichment Program

In 2002, an old boar grizzly meandered across the road. Not just any grizzly. A wild grizzly. Not just any place. Yellowstone National Park. Several years later, an idea hatched. Yellowstone could and should be used as an outdoor classroom for students. Students need a place where they can learn biological concepts by 1) seeing biology... Continue Reading →

Unexpected Benefits

In the 1960’s, Robert Paine began prying starfish off of rocks and tossing them into the ocean as far as he could. In doing so, he was testing the importance of predators in ecosystems. Paine’s research helped support an idea that his former instructor (and colleagues) had come up with. It is called the green... Continue Reading →

Survival Guide: Army Cutworm Moth Edition

Army Cutworm Moths (Euxoa auxiliaries), like a lot of insects, are very proficient reproducers. In fact, individual females can settle into the soil and oviposit, or lay, anywhere from 1000 to 3000 eggs (Burton et al. 1980). This release of eggs marks the end of a long, spectacular journey for the adult moths. Soon after... Continue Reading →

If You Give a Moose a Tapeworm

What could possibly bring down an animal that stands seven feet and weighs 1500 pounds? Not much, right? Attempting to kill a moose comes with plenty of risks, but under the right circumstances, grey wolves (Canis lupus) can accomplish this feat. The wolves could have their skulls crushed by hooves or bodies pierced by antlers. So,... Continue Reading →

Jumping Ship is Costly, but Necessary

Organisms often hitch rides on other organisms (see here and here for some recent examples). They do this for a variety of reasons. Some need to conserve energy. Others prefer to get to their destination in a more efficient manner (maybe it's to get away from a predator). For the parasitic water mite, Partnuniella thermals, it's because... Continue Reading →

Learning to Love Geology in Yellowstone

By the late 18th century, scientists knew quite a lot about the planet we live on. They knew the dimensions of the Earth and even its distance from the sun and other planets. One would think that determining the age of the Earth would be relatively straightforward. However, there would be many discoveries (i.e. splitting... Continue Reading →

Animal funerals?

Do some birds know when other birds of their same species (con-specifics) have died? Do some giraffes mourn their fallen young by performing a ceremony? Do elephants recognize the dead and display some form of "respectful" behavior? These are just some of the questions biologists are trying to answer when it comes to a specific... Continue Reading →

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