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  • Parasitoid Wasp (Labena grallator) Ovipositing

    Parasitoid Wasp (Labena grallator) Ovipositing

    Recorded at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, USA on July 18th 2017. Here you can see a parasitoid Ichneumon wasp (Labena grallator) searching for a prey living inside a dead branch. She uses her antennae to locate the prey and sets out to drill with her ovipositor straight into the wood. She does a few exploratory oviposition exercise before committing to a full injection. At multiple instances the wasp is chased away by ants. Indeed, in the last […]

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  • A Deeper Creek – The Watchable Waters of Appalachia

    A Deeper Creek – The Watchable Waters of Appalachia

    Ecofocus Film Festival of Athens GA featured a number of short documentaries including Hidden Rivers of Appalachia filmed on location in Conesauga River by Freshwaters Illustrated. Like birdwatching, riverwatching could be a great immersive activity and have the potential to become a citizen science project. A Deeper Creek shows us how this could be done. Similar to organizing a BioBlitz, snorkeling in a river can generate a lot of informative observations. Rivers have a rich body of natural history and […]

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  • Seed Dispersal and Habitat Fragmentation | HHMI BioInteractive – Danny Schmidt (2017)

    Seed Dispersal and Habitat Fragmentation | HHMI BioInteractive – Danny Schmidt (2017)

    Forests are under intense pressure. In the tropical forests, between 50-90 % of the canopy trees depend on animals for seed dispersal. Even in temperate forests animals such as deer, moose, boar and even bears disperse seeds. Today due to hunting for bush meat many tropical forests are becoming depleted of their seed dispersers. Here in this HHMI documentary, the researchers Andres Link and Carolina Urbina Malo of Los Andes University in Colombia in Colombia track brown spider monkeys to […]

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  • The Cuckoo – Artur Homan (2013)

    The Cuckoo – Artur Homan (2013)

    In the James Bond movie Spectre there’s a reference to the cuckoo bird in two scenes. The evil villain Spectre leers: “I see you! Cuckoo!” when he detects Bond in the classic evil assembly room scene. In the other scene towards the end of the movie Spectre reveals why he considers Bond as a cuckoo. In order to understand the reference we must know the biology of the Common cuckoo bird (Cuculus canorus). The European common cuckoo is a well […]

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  • Cameras Reveal the Secret Lives of a Mountain Lion Family – Sharon Negri (2013)

    Cameras Reveal the Secret Lives of a Mountain Lion Family – Sharon Negri (2013)

    Mountain lions were once thought to be solitary animals. They are feared and hunted by humans. New footage captured by motion-triggered cameras in secluded areas deep in the Wyoming Wind River range shows a mountain lion family and the animals’ previously unknown social bonds. In this short documentary produced by WildFutures, we also learn about how hard it can be to be a mountain lion. They face an increasing loss of habitat, harsh winters, trophy hunters and even predators. Like […]

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  • Some Animals Are More Equal than Others: Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades  – HHMI (2016)

    Some Animals Are More Equal than Others: Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades – HHMI (2016)

    On a field trip with students to the Pacific Coast, ecologist Robert Paine discovered a thriving community of aquatic organisms at Mukkaw Bay, at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. The tide pools were full of green anemones, purple sea urchins, pink seaweed, bright red Pacific blood starfish, as well as sponges, limpets, and chitons. At the low tide rocky surfaces exposed bands of small acorn barnacles, and large, stalked goose barnacles, beds of black California mussels, and some very […]

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  • The Ecology of Fear – KQED/QUEST (2014)

    The Ecology of Fear – KQED/QUEST (2014)

    The return of wolves had a profound impact on vast wilderness areas in North America. Biologist Aaron Wirsing explores why wolves and other top predators are necessary for maintenance of diversity in ecosystems. Using a “deer-cam” Wirsing is quantifying some of the behavioral relationships between predator and prey. Wildlife cameras provide unprecedented opportunities to view social lives of many wild animals including mountain lions. The gray wolf is one of the world’s most adaptable and widely distributed mammals, ranging over […]

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  • A Wolf’s Place – Annie White (2013)

    A Wolf’s Place – Annie White (2013)

    Ecological theory predicts that by keeping herbivore populations under check predators can indirectly enhance growth of vegetation and can even alter local climate. The influential ecologist Robert Paine has demonstrated this phenomenon of keystone species on predatory starfishes and sea otters maintaining species diversity in coastal rocky communities in Washington. Directed and produced by Annie White, “A Wolf’s Place” tells the story of wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone national park in 1995. Wolves became locally extinct in much of the United […]

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  • Otters vs. Climate Change – KQED/QUEST (2014)

    Otters vs. Climate Change – KQED/QUEST (2014)

    Presence and absence of keystone species in a biological community has significant effects. To cite a few examples: Tropical fig trees form abundant food resources for many animals in times of scarcity. Bluechub fish in Eastern North American rivers construct rock nests which form a critical spawning area for many other fish in the same habitat. Beaver activity slows down hydrology and enhances water retention capacity of the ecosystems. Increased water table invigorates vegetation. At the same time reduced sun […]

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  • The Man Who Planted Trees – CBS – (1987)

    The Man Who Planted Trees – CBS – (1987)

    Forests are under intense pressure. The story by the French author Jean Giono published in 1953 is one of the most poetic depiction of landscape restoration that has touched feelings of so many people. The story inspired many restoration projects around the world. When read it for the first time many thought it was real. In fact, there are genuine independent reforestation projects impressively achieved by determined individuals and NGOs such as Plant a Billion and People and Reforestation in […]

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  • Protecting Forests – Equator Initiative (2015)

    Protecting Forests – Equator Initiative (2015)

    Under the umbrella of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Equator Initiative supports the work of local and indigenous communities worldwide in creating sustainable development solutions. In 2015, the Equator Prize was awarded to 20 communities in recognition of their efforts. This short film highlights the work of five of the recipients of the Equator Initiative Prize protecting forests around the world. These include Wanang Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea, Prey Lang Community Network in Cambodia, Mtandao wa […]

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  • Forest Man – William D. McMaster (2013)

    Forest Man – William D. McMaster (2013)

    Since 1979, Jadav Payeng has been planting hundreds of trees on an Indian river island threatened by erosion. Payeng is truly the embodiment of the protagonist in the famous story “The Man Who Planted Trees” published in 1953 by the French author Jean Giono. The photographer Jitu Kalita guides us through Payeng’s home the Majuli Island. This is the largest river island in the world located on Brahmaputra River. Floods generated by monsoon season threatens the Majuli Island by rapid […]

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  • Leave It to Beavers – PBS (2014)

    Leave It to Beavers – PBS (2014)

    There are two species of beavers in the temperate zones of the world. North American (Castor canadensis) and Eurasian (Castor fiber) beavers were almost exterminated to extinction. These rodents are the largest after the tropical capybara that lives in wetlands of the South American tropics. Now bouncing back from extinction beaver populations are recovering under protection. Beavers are being recognized as keystone species by ecologists and conservation biologists. As habitat constructors and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers can recharge water tables and […]

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  • Galapagos Finch Evolution – Dan Lewitt – HHMI (2013)

    Galapagos Finch Evolution – Dan Lewitt – HHMI (2013)

    The Galapagos is home to many iconic species. Each are unique on their own and form a case study in evolutionary biology. Darwin’s finches and mocking birds with their striking beak morphology provided the first clues to Darwin in formulating the mechanism of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos was the origin of the Origin of the Species. Finches in the island of Daphne Major have been studied for more than 40 years by Princeton University scientists Peter and Rosemary […]

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  • Genesis: Final Point – Fernando Gonzalez-I. Sitges (2000)

    Genesis: Final Point – Fernando Gonzalez-I. Sitges (2000)

    Galapagos archipelago occupies a special place in our quest to understand nature. It sits right on the junction of the Pacific ocean current where warm and cold water shifts. The nutrient levels reaching the islands by cold Humboldt current show a drastic decline when warm surface waters engulf the archipelago. The Galapagos lies at the southeast trade winds. When the current shifts the rainfall pattern changes drastically. The

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