Category Archives: Pick and mix

Pick & Mix 36 – something for everyone?

May Berenbaum has written an excellent editorial on the many failings of journal impact factors

Wow, a caterpillar that ‘shouts’ at would be predators

Ray Cannon writes about the wonders of dragonfly wings

More on insect declines, their causes and ways to minimise them

A pair of researchers found evidence that the insect population in a Puerto Rican rainforest was in free fall. But another team wasn’t so sure.

Failing exams doesn’t stop you becoming a professor

Why you should get out more – Visitors to urban greenspace have higher sentiment and lower negativity on Twitter

The Understory – excerpted from Robert MacFarlane’s recent book, Underland: A Deep Time Journey, “The Understory” is an examination of the life beneath the forest floor.

A fun visual time-line highlighting 100 years of UK forestry

Lovely obituary of a forest entomology legend – C.S. (Buzz) Holling

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Pick & Mix 35 – a real mixture from art to science

When tree planting actually damages ecosystems – interesting article from Kate Parr and Caroline Lehmann

What natural smaller changes in climate have done to human civilisations should really make us worry about what lies ahead

Studying the history of science is more than the interpretation of ‘landmark’ texts but must involve following ideas in circulation- studying both the people speaking on behalf of the dead scientists and the consumers of that information. Mendel as an example in this blog from the John Innes Centre.

Urbanisation of water courses has detrimental effects on damselflies

Mating damselflies from Ray Cannon’s excellent site

This recent paper suggests that plant sucking bugs feeding on plants (in this case citrus trees) where the levels of neonicitinoid insecticides are too low to kill the pests, can instead kill beneficial insects that feed on the honeydew produced by the pests

Do we realize the full impact of pollinator loss on other ecosystem services and the challenges for any restoration in terrestrial areas? Interesting article from Stefanie Christmann

Collaborating with artists to improve science communication

On a similar line, Peter Pany and colleagues at the University of Vienna, have come up with an idea to cure plant blindness or as they put it “to encourage plant vision

This artist’s oil paintings of women are considered the most realistic in the World

 

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Pick & Mix 34 – a very mixed bag

UK Butterfly numbers continue to nosedive, figures show

Not just in the UK, evidence of butterfly abundance declines in parts of the USA too

Fascinating read from Ray Cannon’s blog  – Polymorphic mating in bumblebee hoverflies

How ethically should we treat insects?

Can we grow crops without plant protection products – see this review by the European Commission for an in-depth analysis

Sloppy science – whose problem?

To me this is a perfect example of what happens when people pay to publish and publishing is outwith the control of learned societies – how this got through peer review is hard to fathom!

Science is in trouble when the getting of grant funding is seen as an end in itself rather than a means to the end of doing good research

Richard Jones asks how many ant fossils should there be?

Why lime trees (Tilia cordata) can kill bees.

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Pick and Mix 33 – resilience, entomophagy, entomology, the windscreen phenomenon and writing habits

How resilent is your garden?

Angela Saini’s third book, Superior: The Return of Race Sciencemakes the compelling case that scientific racism is as prevalent as it has ever been, and explores the way such backward beliefs have continued to evolve and persist and here is a review

They may be small but they can move very large distances – insect migration in the news

Edible insects? Lab-grown meat? The real future food is lab-grown insect meat

Good advice from Megan Duffy on writing your discussion – to be sure

Aphids are wonderful – a long time ago they borrowed some virus genes to help them decide when to produce winged individuals

Here Stephen Heard defends the use of parenthicals

Botanists are arguing amongst themselves as to whether plants have brains or not – what do you think?

What sort of conservationist are you?

Manu Saunders on the windscreen phenomenon – another viewpoint on insect declines

 

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Pick and Mix 32 – something for everyone?

Can writing poetry make you a better scientist?

A great story about the history of a butterfly’s name from Steve Heard and it has a poetical connection

Here Judy Fort Brenneman writes about keeping your writing short and sweet

Is it just me or do conservation biologists need to learn to write without jargon?

Some species of wasps are capable of logical reasoning

An interesting Open Access paper about how being on social media and taking selfies helps make scientists appear more human to the general public

With the population of the distinctive species in decline, cities around the U.S. are trying to add monarch-friendly spaces.

Novel approaches to crop protection – replacements for conventional insecticides?

Terry McGlynn on the joys of not having to worry about publishing or chasing grants

Jeremy Fox over on Dynamic Ecology discusses the results of his poll on the biggest problems facing ecological research

 

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Pick and Mix 31 –  questions and answers

Sammy Borras Illustrator

 

Evelyn Cheeseman – entomologist extraordinaire in her own comic strip

Why I love aphids – soldiers, eusociality, plasterers

What’s the buzz about pollinators? Scott McArt from Conrell University explains in this video

Wildlife-friendly farming increases crop yield: evidence for ecological intensification

Tony Juniper wonders how Winston Churchill would have reacted to the threat of climate change

Jeff Olleton asks if the angry response of (some) environmentalists in the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire reasonable?

This one from Dynamic Ecology  on “Quantifying the life histories of ecological ideas”  is definitely for ecology nerds, but I found it very interesting J

How biodegradable is biodegradble plastic anyway?

What is the impact of journal impact factor on promotion, tenure and appointment of academics?

Terry McGlynn asks if some people are just innately smarter than others.  What do you think?

 

 

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Pick and Mix 30 – to amuse and inform

Picture from Erica McAlister’s (@FlygirlNHM) Twitter stream –  Picture held in the NTNU University Museum, Norway

 

Eradicating invasive vertebrate predators could help save rare insects

Are you bringing something nasty back with you from your exotic holiday?

We really must stop using plastic so much – it gets everywhere

Insects as a protein source

Many people’s first memories of the countryside come from visiting a National Park.

Great article by Christie Bahlai and colleagues – Open Science Isn’t Always Open to All Scientists – You can follow Christie on Twitter @cbahlai

Finding and climbing the tallest tree in the World!

A lament for declining wild bee populations

Interview with Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson about her new book Terra Insecta and the title change forced on her by her Amercian publishers

Bees seeking blood, sweat and tears is more common than you think Manu Saunders (@ManuSaunders) and Toby Smith cast a critical eye on the recent story of the eye-dwelling bees

 

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Pick and Mix 29 – More stuff that caught my eye

What happens when you microwave two grapes and why

What happens if all the insects disappear?

Artists illustrating the digital collection at  The Natural History Museum London

Erica McAlister writes about the wonderful Dark-Edged Bee Fly

More from Erica on the wonders of flies

Growing carrots in bottles

Spanish salt pans, conservation and bird migrations

Interactions between fire and butterflies – how prescribed burning helps rare species

Successful eradication of an invasive species

This might upset a few people – is the term rewilding just a trendy buzzword for restoration?

 

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Pick and Mix 28 – some video treats

A very interesting, if somewhat gruesome video, of a botfly larva being removed from a human

Continuing with the fly stuff, here are some maggots having an evening meal 🙂 Seriously though, the article is all about using insects as food

And continuing with flies and food – don’t forget that bees are not the only pollinators

Now some hungry mosquitoes, which are of course. also flies

More flies – this time on how to stop them eating your wheat crop

Cockroach farming for food and medicine

Beetles like light too

Magnificent Monarchs in flight – a moving experience

A musical introduction to insect orders

A moving video from a teenage girl about insect extinction

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Pick and Mix 27 – some things I found of interest; perhaps you will too?

Not a painting, but a photograph I took through the train window – in between Sete and Montpellier

 

Even hares eat meat sometimes

Continuing the carnivorous theme, an Interesting article about pitcher plants

The iconic palm trees of the south of France are under threat

Hope for the future?  Blog post by Joern Fischer about sustainability

And here Jeff Ollerton reflects on the above

Another name for biodiversity offsetting, but it still doesn’t add up

A call for more common names for moths

How insect art can become entomological outreach

Ted MacRae on his latest insect collecting trip – some fantastic photographs

How to thread a needle easily – fantastic but does it actually work?

 

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