Home » Ecological Documentaries

  • Hotel Heliconia – Phil Savoie (2001)

    Hotel Heliconia – Phil Savoie (2001)

    Filmed on location by Philip Savoie and his filming crew at La Selva Biological Field Station in Costa Rica, this documentary provides a great crossection of life weaved around the Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) plant. Plants provide an effective template to convey many interrelated natural history observations. However they rarely become center of attention in wildlife documentaries (but see Plants R Cool 2!). Unlike documentaries jumping from one continent to the other following a global theme, Hotel Heliconia follows a very detailed […]

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  • How We Measure Photosynthesis – NEON Education (2014)

    How We Measure Photosynthesis – NEON Education (2014)

    National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a large collaborative group of long-term ecological research sites spread over 81 locations in the United States including Harvard Forest and Smithsonian Ecological Research Center (SERC). This video is a part of the educational portfolio by NEON showing how researchers measure photosynthesis at single leaf level using infra red gas analyzers. Understanding photosynthesis at leaf level enables scaling up and extrapolate photosynthesis at forest level. Infact, there are computer models that treat forest canopies […]

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  • Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) on Board ISS – NASA/SVS (2017)

    Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) on Board ISS – NASA/SVS (2017)

    NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Transport System is a remote-sensing instrument installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015. Using LIDAR technology it scans a vertical slice of the atmosphere for natural as well as human made aerosols and clouds. The near-real-time data transmitted from the ISS enables CATS team to process it within six hours. One of the natural aerosol sources is volcanoes. In April 2015, the CATS instrument provided a detailed profile of the south Chilean volcano Calbuco when it […]

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  • Dingo of the Australia – Adam Geiger (2013)

    Dingo of the Australia – Adam Geiger (2013)

    Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) appears in the archaeological record of Australia at 4230 years before present. They ruled the continent as apex predators together with the now extinct Tasmanian tiger within the last few thousand years. Dingoes successfully colonized the continent spreading into diverse habitats including tropical rainforests, temperate Eucalyptus forests, mountainous highlands and grasslands. The only exception is the dry inhospitable central deserts. Dog domestication is the earliest among other animals going back to 40,000 years ago. The Dingo […]

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  • A Day in the Life of an Elite Male Greater Sage-Grouse on the Lek – Marc Dantzker – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2015)

    A Day in the Life of an Elite Male Greater Sage-Grouse on the Lek – Marc Dantzker – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2015)

    Here’s another fascinating piece of natural history from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In this series of short observations staff producer and biologist Marc Dantzker breaks down the mating behavior and social interaction of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in five sections. Lekking or lek mating is a breeding behavior where males come together in a place and perform competitive displays to impress visiting females. While males do their “hello check me out” dances, females asses their qualities and choose […]

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  • A Leafcutter Ant Colony in Barro Colorado Island

    A Leafcutter Ant Colony in Barro Colorado Island

    Filmed on Jan 28th 2017 during the dry season. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institue (STRI) Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. Leafcutter ants are an impressive group with more than 40 different species. All evolved and diversified in the New World at around 12 million years ago. Phylogenetic evidence suggests their evolution could go back as far as 50 million years ago when America separated from Africa. A mature colony can have more than 8 million workers collectively farming a subterranean fungus. […]

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  • Ecology from the Air – Greg Asner (2009) TED Talk

    Ecology from the Air – Greg Asner (2009) TED Talk

    Being able to measure interaction of the living and the non-living at large continental-scales is eye opening. That’s what successful scientist Greg Asner does with the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO). NASA’s Landsat earth observation satellites have been feeding us invaluable global-scale data for more than 40 years. The new satellite Landsat 8 began transmitting near-realtime information. Thanks to these earth observation satellites we can instantly know scale of natural or human-made impacts on ecosystems. Deforestation for oil palm plantations in […]

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  • Western Ghats Program – CEPF/ATREE (2016)

    Western Ghats Program – CEPF/ATREE (2016)

    India’s Western Ghats is an ecologically unique biodiversity hotspot recognized by the United Nations as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) in association with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) have been supporting projects by conservationists and researchers in the area. The exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism in this mountain chain represents some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests in the world. Natural history and evolution […]

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  • Exploring the Amazon – Kew Botanic Gardens (2016)

    Exploring the Amazon – Kew Botanic Gardens (2016)

    This short documentary outlines a joint expedition to the Parc Amazonien de Guyane organized by CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), the French Foreign Legion and Kew Botanic Gardens. The area could be rather hostile to scientists where illegal gold mines are in operation in remote and unexpected places along French Guiana-Brazil border. As the prominent tropical biologist Stephen Hubbell described in the foreword of his book Neutral Theory of Biodiversity the state of tropical biology is still resembling […]

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  • Planet Earth – Jungles – BBC (2006)

    Planet Earth – Jungles – BBC (2006)

    Jungles is the 8th episode of the BBC TV series Planet Earth. It makes a rapid tour around the tropical belt and highlights a few key phenomena and spectacular behavior including mating dance of bird of paradise, forest regeneration after a treefall, plant-animal interactions in the forest canopy, fig trees as a keystone species, primate territoriality, forest sounds, mating leaf frogs, water cycle through evapotranspiration, nutrient cycle through decomposition, food webs, parental care in insects, fungal parasitism, gliding calugos, carnivorous […]

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  • Plight of the North Atlantic Right Whale – Jeffrey Mittelstadt (2013)

    Plight of the North Atlantic Right Whale – Jeffrey Mittelstadt (2013)

    Directed, edited and produced by Jeffrey Mittelstadt of WildSides the short documentary was made for Whale and Dolphin Conservation. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) are highly endangered. Less than 500 North Atlantic right whales live in the wild. Close to 350 of them live in the East Coast of North America. The whale continues to be endangered but thanks to conservation measures like the acoustic stations its population more than tripled in a century. Apart from indirect negative Human […]

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  • Climatic Dynamics of Monsoons – NASA SVS (2016)

    Climatic Dynamics of Monsoons – NASA SVS (2016)

    The monsoon was noticed for the first time in India. It is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs in many places on our planet. The quasi-regular atmospheric pattern is hugely influential in Human history. The first truly global economy was established in the Indian ocean by sea faring merchants who traveled from Africa and middle east all the way to Indonesia and Malaysia and back. Predictability of the wind patterns around the Indian Ocean was the defining factor. […]

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  • Seed Dispersal by Dung Mimicry – Nature (2015)

    Seed Dispersal by Dung Mimicry – Nature (2015)

    Plant-animal interactions have not always evolved to become mutualistic win-win strategies like birds dispersing seeds of palms while feeding on the fruits. Plants can be rather deceptive. They can hijact sensory vulnerabilities of animals. Secondary metabolites such as nicotine, caffeine, codeine can be rather addictive. Plant chemicals can also be used as deterrent. A sub-Saharan desert plant taily weed (Ochradenus baccatus) detonates a mustard bomb in the mouths of seed predators who dare to chew and destroy its seeds. Plant […]

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  • Welcome to the Anthropocene – a Film About the State of the Planet – UN Rio+20 Summit (2012)

    Welcome to the Anthropocene – a Film About the State of the Planet – UN Rio+20 Summit (2012)

    Due to Human activities our planet has now reported to have entered into a “no analog state”. This means our planet has never experienced fast changing present-day conditions in its geological and evolutionary history. The closest geological event to what is happening now is known as (PETM) Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. PETM took place 56 million years ago. Changes happening now is way too fast, much faster than those in PETM. We are indeed in a no analog state in ecological […]

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  • Observations and Simulations of 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season by NASA

    Observations and Simulations of 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season by NASA

    Atlantic hurricane season typically starts from June 1 and ends in November 30 in the northern Atlantic. There’s a noticeable peak from late August through September. Each season peak activity occurs around September 10th. During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season there was an unusually high cyclone activity surpassing any other season. The number of category 5 hurricanes, and the most intense hurricane ever measured (Hurricane Wilma) by atmospheric pressure was recorded during this time period. The visualization ’27 Storms: Arlene […]

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