Caffeine and Convergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution: Unrelated organisms evolve a similar trait Convergent evolution is fascinating. When organisms from different lineages experience similar environmental pressures, they can evolve analogous traits. A common example is [ … ]

Ecology of the Blakiston’s Fish Owl

Ecology: How an organism relates to its environment When I was young, my favorite puzzles were ones that formed the silhouette of an animal but showed a nature scene within [ … ]

Insect and Flower Coevolution

Coevolution: Different species evolve in relation to another. There are many examples of coevolution between flowers and insects. One such example is the tobacco hawk moth, Manduca sexta, and the sacred [ … ]

Yosemite Toad – Protect or Abandon?

In the wet mountain meadows of Sierra Nevada, California, a melodic trill signals that a male Yosemite Toad is near and ready to mate. At one time, the distinctive call [ … ]

Tiger Beetles Need Love Too

Over 2,700 species of tiger beetles from the subfamily Cicindelinae exist worldwide. Although a seemingly large number, tiger beetles are spread across a wide range of habitats. For this reason, [ … ]

California Condor Survival

The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is one of seven New World vulture species. It is not a classically attractive bird. Bold, black feathers cover the creature up to its neck. [ … ]

Why We Need the Endangered Species Act

Four hundred and forty-three million years ago, Earth experienced its first mass extinction due to an ice age. Sea levels fell and so did the numbers of ocean dwellers. The [ … ]

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was established in 1966, and was the first of its kind in the United States. Within its boundaries there are over 73,000 pristine acres, but it’s [ … ]

Finches in the Galapagos

Ancestral FinchIzzy’s word of the day: NicheNiche: How an organism fits into its environment.The Galapagos Islands are isolated. This puts interesting pressures on the animals that live here. Millions of years ago, the ancestral population of finches felt the pressures of limited space and resources the islands could offer. Because of these pressures, the beak’s of the ancestor finches adapted to match what food was available in the area. Eventually, they evolved into many different species, eac

Why Do We Have So Many Dog Breeds?

Artificial Selection: Breeding animals or plants purposefully for particular traits. There are around 340 breeds of domestic dogs. That’s an astounding number, but the most shocking part is: they are [ … ]

Treasured Deer

Nara, Japan Early one morning in late spring I set out to visit Nara Park. I walked off the train with the tourist swarm and started heading towards Todaiji Temple. [ … ]