Category Archives: Opinions

The Ecology of The Lion King (With Lion Specialist Maria Gatta)

Image Credit: Wade Tregaskis, CC BY-NC 2.0, Image Cropped.

If there’s one film that I could perhaps credit for sparking my fascination with the natural world, the it’s The Land Before Time. BUT if we’re going with films that do not feature the most gangly Pachycephalosaurids you ever did see, then it has to be The Lion King. The sweeping landscapes, the (at times literal) fountains of species, the Shakespearian drama, the poor understanding of trophic cascades – it’s got it all.

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3D Printing: A Future For Studies In Ecology And Evolution

With mentions in scientific journals skyrocketing over the last few years, 3D printing is rapidly becoming a buzzword in many scientific fields. Ecology and evolution are getting in on the game too, with applications in the laboratory, field, and teaching. So as a primer to those not yet introduced to such methods, let’s cover the broad types of 3D printing and have a look at some examples where such technologies have provided novel approaches to ecological research questions, and how we may advance such techniques into the future.

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Good News In Case Environmental Anxiety Has You Down

Image Credit: Peter Trimming, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

With the constant deluge of environmental disasters and newly endangered or extinct species, it’s sometimes easy to think there is only ever bad news when it comes to nature. But there is good news lurking out there, and it’s a source of hope, inspiration and action for many. So let’s have a look at some success stories from the past month.

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The Species On The Globe Go Round And Round

Today we associate lions with Africa, but they used to be widespread around the northern hemisphere (Image Credit: MLbay, Pixabay licence, Image Cropped)

While I continuously hear my little one’s nursery rhyme about a certain stuff going round and round, I think, what else moves round and round in my field? Species! 

They move around as they are looking for a mate, food, to avoid cold weather, the list goes on. They occupy a reasonable range that can be handled by their bodily functions, and either stay in that range or move when the environment changes. A species’ historical movement is one of the most important aspects of its natural history.

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Giving A Voice To The High Seas

A hydrozoan jellyfish (Crossoto sp.) observed during the NOAA Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition in 2016 and filmed at a depth of around 3700m. (Image Credit: NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research, CC BY-SA 2.0, Image cropped)

With the publication of the new IPCC climate report, I am once again asking myself: What can I do to mitigate the problems that our world is facing? Climate breakdown, pollution, loss of wildlife… our planet suffers from humans’ greed, selfishness and destructive exploitation. It seems almost impossible for one to have any influence or power for change. Global and political action is the only way to tackle the drastic and life-defining challenges that we and future generations will be confronted with. 

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Good News In Case The IPCC Report Got You Depressed

Image Credit: Charlie Marshall, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

Image Credit: Charlie Marshall, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

I’ve spent the last few days churning through the IPCC report and by jove, it is BLEAK. I’ll have a summary up soon in some format for those of you who find even the 42 page summary a bit daunting, but don’t look forward to it… But because it’s important to share hope and stories of real progress, I thought I’d churn through the news cycles and find some cases of things going well in the natural world.

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Unlocking The Mystery Behind The Survival Of Norwegian Bats

This is a guest post by Mari Aas Fjelldal. Original Norwegian text can be found in this Adressa article.

It’s a warm day in July when I knock on the door of a house in Trondheim. A person appears in the doorway and looks at me a bit uncertainly after spotting the huge, black antenna I am holding in my hand.

“Hi,” I say, trying to flash my biggest smile, “My name is Mari. I am a biologist and a bat-researcher at NTNU! I am very sorry to bother you, but I am looking for a bat and I believe it might be living here with you?”

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The Stream Microbiome: An Ecosystem’s Health Report Card

Image Credit: mstk east, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

Thanks to DNA sequencing, there is no escape from the reality that every organism is an ecosystem. I like to think of myself as an individual human organism but actually, I am a holobiont, playing host to thousands of other species. Back in college, my body was an ecosystem in distress. A diet of coffee, beer, and bagels coupled with a steady dip of stress led to a series of health issues and an eventual diagnosis of ‘dysbiosis’. Dysbiosis is a term that describes a loss of microbial biodiversity or departure from a balanced ecology.

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