Weaving Social Webs – A trick or a treat?

Spooky season is upon us, and people of all ages will be planning social events involving the holiday. Humans are not the only social beings. Although rare, some spider species are social too, living in large groups and sharing a web and the prey it catches. Sharing resources can be a real treat, but do some spiders get tricked into doing more work? Creep into the article for more on this spidery tale.

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Can the toughest animal survive climate change?

Global temperatures are increasing around the world due to climate change. While some animals can survive the harsh conditions, many will die off. Researchers have turned to the toughest animal alive, and it is not a lion, tiger, or bear as you might expect. Sometimes called a (water) bear, the toughest animal is microscopic and lives in the soil. Will they be able to take the heat?

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If trees could hear, is human noise a threat?

Sources of noise, like gas well compressors, are known to affect many animals negatively. But could the noise be impacting plant communities? Researchers sought an answer by comparing pinyon and juniper seedling growth near quiet or noisy gas well pads in the woodlands of New Mexico. Throughout the twelve-year study, noise harmed tree communities. Trees struggled to recover even several years after the noise was removed. Now is the time to listen to the trees because the trees are tired of listening to us.

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Sperm Whales Learned to Avoid Nineteenth-Century Whalers

Nineteenth-century whalers questioned why sperm whales were getting drastically more challenging to capture. At the time, whalers of the North Pacific Ocean kept detailed logbooks about sperm whale sightings and harpoon strikes. These logbooks could help provide answers to the problem whalers faced in the 1800s and to the sperm whale populations struggling to recover today. Sperm whales that have encountered whalers might communicate to other sperm whales how to avoid the dangerous whalers. This information transfer between whales could help them adapt to rapidly changing environments.

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Celebrating Community Science Month – How you can get involved

If you are a science enthusiast looking for ways to become more involved, community science is the perfect activity for you and your friends and family. Community scientists are people interested in science who volunteer to make observations, collect data, and report findings. Recently, community scientists in Ohio worked with experts to track declining native ladybugs in their backyards. April is global community science month and the perfect time to get involved with projects like these!

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Dead and Gone? – The loss of decaying wood communities in urban forests

Forests are beautiful. From flourishing plants to tranquil wildlife to decaying logs, all parts are beautiful, vital, and connected. Dead logs are responsible for maintaining a healthy forest thanks to teams of fungi and wood-dependent insects inside. These organisms break down plant material to add nutrients back to the ecosystem. Forests are essential for human health and well-being, but human disturbance could threaten these ecosystems. To keep our forests healthy and beautiful, we depend on these decomposers, but can they rely on us?

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Puzzling Mice – City mice are better problem solvers

What’s your strategy for completing a jigsaw puzzle? Puzzles and games require problem solving and strategy. Animals also need to problem-solve to overcome challenges in their environment, but it’s not all fun and games for them. Human disturbance and constant change in cities can make for really challenging conditions for city animals, such as mice. City and county striped field mice will have to prove their problem-solving wit by sliding, lifting, carrying, and digging their way through eight obstacles.

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Stop Copying Me! – Spiders that buzz like wasps

Buzzzzzz. It’s a wasp. It’s a bee. No, it’s a spider! Did you know that some spiders can make a sound? Palpimanus spiders can produce a wasp-like buzz by rubbing their front appendages against their mouthparts. Many animals have learned not to eat anything that buzzes for fear of being stung. To avoid being eaten, Palpimanus spiders have copied this sound even though they are entirely harmless. Stop by to find out what all of the spider buzz is about!

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Clues to the Past – What fossils tell us about ancient animal behavior

Hundreds of millions of years ago, Earth was teeming with life. Since humans weren’t around back then, we have to rely on fossils for snapshots into that world. Fossils give clues on how animals and their behaviors have evolved throughout geological time and can help with today’s conservation efforts. But what can fossils tell us about animal behavior, and when were some of the earliest behaviors? That’s a mystery worth digging into!

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Bats Can Chat! Bats use echolocation to identify group members

Halloween has passed, but we can still have fun talking about bats! Bats use echolocation to find food, but could there be more hiding in these calls? Social bats search for prey together to reduce the time and energy it takes to find food. Besides, teamwork makes the dream work! Bats need to identify group members to know who is searching and where they have been. Echolocation calls are distinct between individuals allowing bats to discriminate among groupmates.

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