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5 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
Natural Selections: "Couch potato" bass evolving in response to human predation
(Oct 21, 2021) The pressure to keep billions of humans fed can have a transformative impact on amimal populations. Overharvesting that targets the largest animals can result in reduction of the average size of species, as seen in Caribbean conch snails. And sport-fishing pressure on large mouth bass can winnow out the most agressive in the gene pool, resulting in a "lazier," more passive remnant population. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about the human factor in animal evolution.
6 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
Natural Selections: Get to know your closet nemesis, the clothes moth
(Oct 14, 2021) Keratin, the substance wool, hair, and feathers are made from, makes a pretty thin diet, but the clothes moth has been dogging humanity's closets and drawers for hundreds of years, unravelling the work of generations of knitters and weavers to feed its larvae.
5 minutes | Oct 7, 2021
Natural Selections: For cats, the comfort zone is shaped like a box
(Oct 7, 2021) Of all the places a cat can hang out, why do do many of them want to hang out in boxes? According to researchers, cats that spend time in close confines are measurably less stressed than those remaining in the open. As Curt Stager tells Martha Foley, it's not just house cats who feel this way.
6 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
Natural Selections: How nature journals put the history in natural history
(Sep 30, 2021) Martha Foley has never succeeded in keeping a nature journal long-term, but Curt Stager finds them invaluable in his work. He records his observations on paper, but also finds great data through researching the journals of past observers, from Samuel de Champlain to Thomas Jefferson, to ordinary little-known North Country folk. His hint - always put it on paper. Whatever became of all that stuff on your floppy diskettes?
5 minutes | Sep 23, 2021
Natural Selections: Bats can sing, too!
(Sep 23, 2021) Humans, birds, and whales are not the only creatures who can sing. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss recent research that uncovered bats also use learned songs to communicate.
5 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
Natural Selections: Just how individual are animals?
(Sep 16, 2021) We tend to think that dogs do this, and that cats do that. We think animal species have a recognizable set of behaviors that define the nature of their kind. But what about individual animals? Does each have something we could understand as a unique personality?
5 minutes | Sep 9, 2021
More fish: good for the flowers, bad for the snakes
(Sep 9, 2021) The complex web of species interaction is full of odd associations. Stocking a lake with fish cuts down on dragonflies, which helps pollinators, which helps the flowers bloom. Or it can cut down on amphibians such as newts, which is bad for garter snakes. Invasive flowering purple loosestrife is good for insects and birds that feed on them, but hard on plankton, which is at the bottom of the food chain for everything. Martha Foley and Curt Stager look an unintended consequences of human actions in nature.
5 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
Really, really big bugs (and some tiny ones, too)
(Sep 2, 2021) Martha Foley? - not a fan of bugs. And Curt Stager took a course on them to steady his own reactions. The Natural Selections team looks at the outliers on the spectrum, the largest and smallest of critters with too many legs. New Zealand's weta makes a real handful. The fairy fly is nearly invisible. Some prehistoric dragonflies were big enough to make off with the cat.
6 minutes | Aug 26, 2021
Natural Selections: The evolution of breathing
(Aug 26, 2021) All creatures breathe in some fashion, but how the job gets done has changed from fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal. Curt Stager and Martha Foley chart the evolution of animal respiration.
5 minutes | Aug 19, 2021
Natural Selections: Why pigeons feel at home in the city
(Aug 19, 2021) The ubiquitous bird of cities and towns was designed for a different environment. The pigeon's distinctive style of flight is adapted for maneuverability in tight places - near vertical takeoffs and quick changes of direction. This adaptation to cliff and mountainside environments serves them well among our urban cliff dwellings. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss.
5 minutes | Aug 12, 2021
Natural Selections: Pigeons are doves, high-rises are cliffs
(Aug 12, 2021) Pigeons and doves, both domestic and feral, are the same species. Today's urban environment mimics their original favored habitat, seaside cliffs in Europe and Asia. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss this commonest bird companion in densely settled areas.
5 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
Northern Flicker, the anteater of the woodpecker family
(Aug 5, 2021) The Northern Flicker is one of the most recognizable birds. This distinctly-marked member of the woodpecker family, instead of browsing wood for their food like their relatives, digs for food in the ground. Martha Foley and Curt Stager explore its habits.
5 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
Natural Selections: Why manatees are related to elephants, and whales are related to deer
(Jul 29, 2021) Animals that resemble each other may not be closely related. Sometimes the setting shapes their bodies more than their ancestry. Manatees may look like whales or walruses, but that is only because they adapted to the marine environment in a similar way. Martha Foley and Curt stager talk about convergent evolution.
6 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
The manatee: like the mermaid, its kin live on land
(Jul 22, 2021) The big marine herbivore, the manatee, is thought by some to be the origin of mermaid legends, but it's not closely related to humankind or even to whales and other marine mammals.
5 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Natural Selections: Can ADK lake trout survive climate change?
(Jul 15, 2021) Lake trout require a lot of cold, oxygenated water to survive. Lakes in the Adirondacks of upstate New York are at the southern edge of their natural range. Although about 100 Adirondack lakes and ponds are still home to lake trout, even a small increase in temperature could sharply cut that number.
5 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
Natural Selections: The shorter winged Cliff Swallows prevail
(Jul 8, 2021) Researchers have found that variations in the wingspan of cliff swallows has a measurable impact on their survival in a human-dominated environment.
5 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
Natural Selections: Turns out bullheads ('trash fish') are really good parents
(Jul 1, 2021)
7 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
Natural Selections: hyenas get a bad rap
(Jun 24, 2021)
6 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Natural Selections: Why does hair just keep growing?
(Jun 17, 2021)
6 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Natural Selections: The curious history of Malaria in the U.S.
(Jun 3, 2021)
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