Category Archives: Elology for the Masses

Sweepstakes

Sometimes you need to pick your battles….

Dwarfism (or skeletal dysplasia) is a genetic condition rarely found in the wild – and observed in giraffes for the first time in 2017 and again (in a different population) in 2020. The fact that these free-ranging individuals have survived to adulthood (something that about only half of giraffe calves manage to do) suggests that they are still able to overcome threats to their survival (e.g. predation) despite their morphological differences. How they do this is of course of particular interest to researchers.

Read More: Mini Giraffes Spotted In Africa For The First Time Ever

Who knows – maybe they do have an advantage when it comes down to a fight….

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

A Lily Treat

Plant pollinators come in all shapes and sizes. There are the stereotypical insects such as butterflies and bees, birds, mammals… and lizards.

Yup, you read that right. They’re not super common, but there are a few species of lizards and geckos who like going against the grain and choose to visit flowers for their daily meal, with about five species being known to act as pollinators. This makes pollination by reptilian visitors an extremely rare and understudied pollination syndrome. Hopefully at some point in the future we will know what the perfect floral bouquet for a lizard looks like!

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

Timewarped

Although virtual conferences have broken down geographic boundaries it has introduced the problem of timezones as well as the dreaded zoom-fatigue. Nothing like a few all nighters in a row to help you dissociate from reality for a while…

Oh and don’t forget the added desk clutter and absolute crumbling of any sense of time management.

Although meeting virtually may never replace a quick chat in the hallway the chance to still meet up with colleagues and learn some cool things along the way makes it worth it!

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

Over-Bearing

The paparazzi are out – and this time no one is safe!

Using photos to identify individuals in a population has long been used for species that have unique markings or patterns – for example Wild Dogs or Orcas. Recent developments have used deep learning and facial recognition to identify individuals of less differentiable species such as brown bears. This allows researchers to ‘follow’ individuals in populations without the need for invasive marking/tagging methods.

Although it remains to be seen if this will pass the ratings of the annual Fat Bear Week…

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

Platy-Party

Generally the platypus is considered a bit of an oddity. It’s an egg-laying mammal, has the bill of a duck, tail of a beaver, webbed feet, uses electrolocation, oh and its one of the few venomous mammals. Clearly the platypus was designed for the spotlight though – the UV spotlight that is.

It has recently been found that platypus fur glows a bluish-green colour under blacklight and is one of the few recorded cases of mammals exhibiting biofluorescence – alongside opossums and North American flying squirrels. Although it isn’t currently clear why a platypus is always ready for a night out at the disco (or if they can even perceive UV rays).

What other nocturnal animals may be hiding their own fluorescent secrets?

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

A Little From Columbea

It’s odd to think of those seemingly ordinary pigeons being closely related to grebes or flamingoes, but based on genetic analyses they’re all grouped together in the Columbea clade. Columbea is made up of two smaller clades – the Columbimorphae (which consists of doves, sandgrouse and mesites) and the Phoenicopterimorphae (flamingos and grebes).

Oddly enough, the Dodo is also nested within the Columbimorphae with the pigeons. I have no idea whether the Dodo would have been invited.

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. When not being a nerd she can probably be found with a warm beverage and busy with some or other art project. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.