Great Ecology
Great Ecology
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  • By Liz N. Clift This year, Earth Day (April 22nd) falls on a Sunday. This year, Earth Day is focused on plastic pollution. Plastics take many different forms—ranging from drinking straws and Styrofoam to mattresses and medical supplies to cigarette filters and shopping bags, and many more items we use on a regular basis. Since […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz N. Clift In ecology, edge effect refers to changes in a population or community along the boundary of a habitat. A clear example of this is when an agricultural field meets a forest. Perhaps a less well-defined example is a fragmented habitat (such as those that occur because of selective logging or in […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift It’s not always easy to know what’s happening in a landscape—or why it’s happening. This can be especially true if you’re not familiar with the native (or invasive) plants in your area, with natural local variations in topography, or with the presence/absence of certain animal species seasonally and generationally (among many other […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Randy Mandel, Vice President, Technical Services has been elected as one of five Regional Representatives for North America for the Society for Ecological Restoration’s (SER) International Board of Directors! SER’s International Board of Directors is responsible for: Policy development and maintenance; Strategic planning; Operations; Fund-raising; and Rela...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • by Liz Clift I was in middle school when Titanic hit movie theaters. The RMS Titanic, which sank in April 1912, rests more than two miles below the surface of the water, off the coast of Newfoundland. And while the footage in the early scenes of the movie showing a submerged ship turned artificial reef […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift One of the gifts of TED talks is that you can learn a lot about a concept, idea, or experience in a fairly short amount of time. This may spark your interest enough to do further research on your own, provide fodder for a dinner conversation, help you reimagine the world, or […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift We’ve watched the West burn. If you look at a map from last year—current as of December 28, 2017 at the time of this writing, the majority of the state of California appears freckled with fires of various sizes. Idaho and northern Nevada look much the same. Property damage is what a […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • by Liz Clift “What we contemplate here is more than ecological restoration; it is the restoration of relationship between plants and people. Scientists have made a dent in understanding how to put ecosystems back together, but our experiments focus on soil pH and hydrology—matter, to the exclusion of spirit.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, a scientist […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By: Liz Clift Not too long ago, sand cat kittens were filmed for the first time, and the internet went gaga over the brief video—especially the portion of the internet that’s convinced the internet is for cats. So, I pose this question to you: what could be better than cats wearing snowshoes? Yes, these exist. […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Kay Wiseman When was the last time you observed a healthy fox in Colorado? I moved from the mid-west to Fort Collins, CO in 2011. I work and play in the outdoors so I tend to take notice when nature seems a bit “off.” No sooner had I settled into my new city that […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 24-30, 2017 This summer, I had the opportunity to watch an otter hunt in the surf off the coast of Olympic National Park, in Washington state. The otter rode the waves in, close to the shoreline, and then swam back out, repeating this routine a couple […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift (with thanks to Joseph Ehrenberger!) If you grew up in one part of the US (many of the eastern states extending into the Great Plains), the calling of the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) was probably a staple of your childhood evenings. If you grew up in other places, perhaps not so much. […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • By Liz Clift Visual note-taking, sometimes also called sketchnoting or graphic recording, allows you to represent ideas non-linguistically. And considering that the written word is a relatively modern invention (in particular, it wasn’t until very recently in the history of human beings that the written word was something most of us in the Western world, […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
Blog Post
  • by Liz Clift Have you seen the photos—and worse, the video!—of the giant mats of floating fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)  in the wake of the flooding in southeast Texas? Yeah, us too, and we’ll admit they’re a bit horrifying. And look, guys. The ants are now just feet from house. pic.twitter.com/rt2aU7Uvm3 — Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) […]

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • There are almost 2,500 species of scorpions in the world, and many differ in the shape and size of their venomous tail. The reasons for this large variation in tail shape are often not known. While scorpions sting their insect prey slowly and precisely, they defend themselves from attackers with a fast and swooping strike of their tail. The defensive strike may therefore be the more demanding beha...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Islands are great natural biological laboratories to investigate how organisms can adapt to different selective pressures. This study by Donihue et al (www.colindonihue.com) takes advantage of the different sizes of islands in the Greek Archipelago to investigate how a common lizard, Podarcis erhardii, differs in body size, head shape, and bite force depending the size of the island The authors...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Anolis lizards are well known for their colorful, expandable throat fan, called the dewlap, which they use to attract mates and repel rivals. The dewlap is a very thin structure and some of the light that strikes its surface shines through it, becoming colored and spreading in all directions as it does. If strongly lit from behind – for example when the sun is on the opposite side of the dewlap f...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • For effective communication, there should be a close match between bird song characteristics and the auditory mechanisms that facilitate signal processing, so birds should be good at hearing the kinds of songs they make. In this study, the authors looked at three species that inhabit forest areas, three species that live in intermediate, scrub-like areas, and three species that live in open areas....

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Stag beetles are renowned for their spectacular male-male battles. In these scuffles, males fight each other with their long jaws over mates or desirable stumps of rotten wood. As a result of this, their jaw is strongly shaped by sexual selection and in some species, can become as long as their own body. How does this effect their ability to run? Intuitively, one would expect that such large stru...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Unlike humans, some animals evolved on a sugar diet equally rich in glucose and fructose. Hovering hummingbirds are rare among vertebrates in their ability to rapidly make use of ingested sugars to fuel energetically expensive hovering flight, powering up to 100% of their metabolic needs with the sugars they drink, while humans athletes max out at around 30%. Until now, we haven't understood to wh...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Animals move within natural habitats in complicated ways, in response to many aspects of the environment. To understand those patterns of movement, we need new methods to gather highly detailed information on exactly where a free-ranging animal spends its time; and new methods of analysis to extract maximum insight from those data. We attached miniature GPS transmitters to large lizards- bluetongu...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Bees and other pollinating insects are declining in many countries. Many people are concerned and want to help reverse this decline, but do not know how. One way that the general public can help is via their gardens, by growing ornamental plants that are also attractive to flower-visiting insects. Although individual gardens are relatively small, collectively they comprise a substantial area. But ...

Great Ecology
Great Ecology
YouTube Video
  • Forests play the important role of fixing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and storing the carbon as biomass and soil organic matter. In the northern hemisphere, CO2 concentration fluctuates with the seasonality of photosynthesis of plants. Recent global warming has made the arrival of spring earlier, and leaves appear sooner. How does this influence the carbon cycle in forests? In an oak-...

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