Category Archives: Pick and mix

Pick & Mix 56 – gardens, forests, bogons, rewilding, ovicidal plants, David Attenborough, bucatini and faeces using bees

How to nurture Nature in your garden this winter

Conference in the time of corona: a beginner’s guide to hybrid conferencing

Liam Heneghan asks Can we restore Nature?

Why not visit and old growth forest in North America with Anurag Agrawal?

Where have all the bogons gone?

Some plants kill insect herbivores before they hatch

Why David Attenborough cannot be replaced

Was Thomas Cromwell the first rewilder?

Did you know that there us a species of bee that uses animal faeces to defend their colonies?

Are you a fan of bucatini? The great USA bucatini shortage of 2020

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Pick & Mix 55 – carbon footprints, magic mushrooms, ecological fiction, royal rewilding, fluffy pterosaurs, invasive toads and much more

Offsetting your carbon footprint is not as simple as some think

The mystery of feather origins: how fluffy pterosaurs have reignited debate

Science isn’t broken –  It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for.

The diet of invasive toads in Mauritius has some rare species on the menu

Liberty cap: the surprising tale of how Europe’s magic mushroom got its name

Did you know that horseshoe crabs are used to test vaccines?

Some great ecological fiction, from Barbara Kingsolver to the Moomins

Should the Queen rewild Balmoral?

Wonderful moths

The more species of bird you see the happier you feel – link to actual paper here

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Pick & Mix 54 – lots do with food, invasive species, horror films, urban biodiversity, museum collections, corona virus spread and much more

The last post – been fun but nothing lasts forever

Why eating an invasive species won’t solve the problem

Freshwater horror films, but where are the ecosystems? 🙂

The state of Nature in the UK is not as good as it should be

Museum collections are really useful research tools

Encouraging urban insect life – great article by a former student

A soundscape of what Somerset might have sounded like 2000 years ago

What does organic food really mean?

Is liquorice safe for all of us? This sweet treat could kill some of us

The witches’ brew of frogs, snails and newts – perhaps not quite as advertised?

A really effective explanation of how corona virus is spread and the importance of masks and ventilation

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Pick & Mix 53 – pandemics, thanotosis, cats, going to work when you shouldn’t, salted sloes, dangerous grapefruit, butterflies, rapid evolution in flowers and Georgina Mace

Pandemics are not just for animals – trees are suffering too

How do you know when an insect is dead?

Environmental protection laws allow for harm to the environment. For far too long, harm to “others” has only really considered humans. The link to the original paper is here

When it comes to letting cats out it turns out that there are five types of cat owner ranging from the concerned protector to the laissez-faire landlord

When being there costs the economy more than not being there – presenteeism

Some plants are changing the ultraviolet profiles of their flowers to make sure that pollinators can still find them despite climate change

If you are interested in how appearance dates for UK butterfly species have changed since 1976, then here are the data

Most people have heard about sloe gin, but have you ever tried salt-fermented sloes?  Here is a recipe from Jeff Ollerton, perhaps better known as a pollinator ecologist, but also not afraid to think outside the box J

All about citrus and especially why grapefruit and whatever medication you are on, might not mix well

Very nice obituary about my former colleague Georgina Mace – conservation scientists extraordinaire

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Pick & Mix 52 – conservation, farming, coral reefs, Erasmus Darwin, resilient forestry, thanotosis, seasonality in blogs, orchids, teaching on line and arachnophobic entomologists

Interesting article from James Rebank – We need to change the way we see and think about farming.

Trees aren’t living as long as they used to and this threatens their role in capturing carbon

Resilient, conservation facing forestry?

If you want to know how to move an entomology course on line, Steve Heard shares his with us all – fantastic and innovative – a great example to us all

I recently posted a somewhat tongue in cheek spoof paper blogpost about seasonal views of my blogturns out that someone has done this for real!

Did you know that many entomologists are afraid of spiders?

Biodiversity is not just in the Amazon – equally endangered and just as biodiverse – Scotland’s coastal gem, but climate change could wipe it all out L

How playing dead can save your life – great post from Ray Cannon on thanotosis

Most of us when we hear the name Darwin automatically think of Charles, but his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was also a naturalist and in his day, just as famous. I am pleased, that thanks to the free service offered by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, to give yoy the chance to read his book, published in 1800, Phytologia or The Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening, in which he attempts to dispel plant blindness, a thing even then and puts forward the idea of biological control using parasitic wasps.

If you like orchids or even if you are not a huge fan this might appeal to you.

 

 

 

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Pick & Mix 51 – permafrost, shifting baselines, insect pests, carrion beetles, a history of chocolate, double flowers, wasps and the most beautiful springtail you have ever seen

Very worrying news from the frozen North

You will have seen Extinction Rebellion in the news a lot complaining about lack of progress on slowing down climate change, but do they care about Nature as a whole?

Help prevent shifting baseline syndrome by talking to your grandchildren

Social media isn’t just funny cat videos – The next invasion of insect pests will be discovered via social media

Nice article on carrion beetles – and incidentally emphasising the importance of citizen science projects and social media

If you like chocolate and want an excuse to eat more, then this article might be of interest J

Did you know that flowers can grow out of flowers? Unravelling the mystery of double flowers

Professor Sierian Sunmer of University College London, explains why wasps like to join you on your picnic as summer comes to an end

Will we add a new butterfly to the British list – is the Camberwell Beauty on the way to join us?

Springtails – ubiquitous, beautiful, incredibly useful and totally overlooked by almost everyone

 

 

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Pick & Mix 50 – conservation, misogyny, media misinformation, citizen science, healthy gardens and insect-inspired eye make-up

“Conservation should indeed be a global priority. But understanding of the complexity and colonial roots of this problem and the shocking double standards that exist, is vital” Very important article by conservation scientist Tarsh Thakaekara

Adam Hart and colleagues on the harm that celebrities and media misinformation are doing to conservation

Misogyny alive and well in the world of shark conservation – time for a change of attitude

Top tips on keeping your plants and gardens healthy

Interesting Open Access article on urban conservation

Fantastic essay about Rosalind Franklin by Matthew Cobb (author of The Brain and Very Short Introduction to Smell)

Sophie Yeo asks ‘Does citizen science make you happier?”

Insect inspired eye make-up

The benefit of an insect collection, said Floyd Shockley, the insect collection manager at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, is that “a dead specimen, if properly preserved, can be there forever.” A 153-year-old insect collection is being used to solve modern problems.

Another insightful blog post from Manu Saunders about the insect apocalypse stories and the data  behind them

 

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Pick & Mix 49 – Lawns, murders, lions, farmers, teaching and much more

Top tips on making your lawn wildlife friendly

If we really want to, we can reverse the declines seen in insect abundance – link to a full report by the Wildlife Trusts here

How bad is trophy hunting really? Could it benefit biodiversity?

Should we pay farmers to sequester carbon?

Loaded language – Is it time to rethink how we talk about ‘non-native’ species?

Along similar lines, a really thoughtful and useful article from Manu Saunders –  giving due credit to other cultures and women – “Teaching resources: history and philosophy of ecology

Keeping with the diversification theme – a thoughtful post from Stephen Heard

All about peanuts and not the cartoon variety!

A nice synopsis of Gilbert White’s contribution to natural history

And for something completely different – if you are a fan of medieval murder mystery stories or planning on writing one, this is the site for you 🙂 – absolutely fascinating

 

 

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Pick & Mix 48 – wildflowers, sinistral snails, slaves, Charles Dickens, medieval insect lore, conservation and teaching in a virtual world

Rob Yorke on insects

On the importance of ‘real’ wildflowers and the rise of plant blindness

Do you remember Jeremy the left-handed snail?  Sadly, he is now no longer with us but he has been immortalised in print 🙂 See the published paper here.

Sickening and sobering visualisation of the slave trade 😦

Interesting analysis of some of Charles Dickens’ characters

Insects and other arthropods in medieval manuscripts – some remarkable illustrations

The role of arthropods in medieval medicine

One, two, more or less? How many metres apart will keep us safe?

Teaching tips for a virtual world

If you are interested in UK nature and conservation, then this is an interesting on-line news round-up

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Pick & Mix 47 – Captain Cook, coffee, tea, moths and bees

Follow Captain Cook on his Pacific voyages – nice interactive experience

Buried under colonial concrete – the lost botany of Botany Bay

Coffee, not just a pick you up, but a knock you down (if you’re an insect that is)

Did you know that there is an international tea day? All about tea for those of you who prefer tea to coffee

Beautifully written and equally beautifully illustrated essay by the aptly named Linden Hawthorne  (@Haggewoods onTwitter) on the Latin names of plants and animals

Gwen Pearson gives good advice on how to talk to a reporter about entomology

Moths – the mostly unseen and definitely unappreciated pollinators

Some cool bee videos from Jeff Ollerton

The bees are the stars – a novel about bees

For the non-entomologists (and entomologists) -urban fantasy novels: why they matter and which ones to read first – some good suggestions here

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