Home » Ecological Documentaries (Page 2)

  • 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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  • Let Them Eat Flies! KQED/QUEST (2014)

    Let Them Eat Flies! KQED/QUEST (2014)

    Insects are a hugely successful group of organisms. Their evolution transformed life on land immensely especially influencing flowering plant evolution. Insects also play a large role as food sources. Here in this KQED documentary we see how a fly farm in Ohio rears a common insect, the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) to be used as food for fish farms. Some City farms have successfully been growing fish beneath the plants which helps recycling of nutrients reducing fertilizer use. Aquaponics […]

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  • A Ghost In The Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – Neil Losen & Nate Dappen (2016)

    A Ghost In The Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – Neil Losen & Nate Dappen (2016)

    Honeybees are fragile animals that have lost most of the traits that provide survival advantage in their wild counterparts. Public attention was particularly grappled when an experiment in the 1950s aiming to regain lost genes by hybridizing domesticated European honeybees with the wild African ones failed miserably. The experiment that started with good intentions lead to invasion of Africanized honeybees from Brazil to north all the way up to Texas. There’s clearly a disproportionately large emphasis on honeybees while neglecting […]

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  • Acid Test – Natural Resources Defense Council (2009)

    Acid Test – Natural Resources Defense Council (2009)

    Since the beginning of the industrial revolution a quarter of the carbon that has been released into the atmosphere was absorbed by the oceans. As a result the acidity of the oceans has increased by %30. Increasing acidity makes it corrosive dissolving the calcium shells of marine organisms. Among them are planktons, corals and pteropods which form the base of the food web. Carbon dioxide dissolves higher quantities in cold water, therefore first biological signs of acidification is observed closer […]

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  • A Spawning Aggregation in a Bluehead Chub Nest  – Brandon Peoples (2014)

    A Spawning Aggregation in a Bluehead Chub Nest – Brandon Peoples (2014)

    This short observation shows a spawning aggregation containing seven species of fish in a Bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus) nest in Toms Creek, New River Drainage in Blacksburg, Virginia. These species are Mountain redbelly dace (Chrosomus oreas), White shiner (Luxilus albeolus), Rosefin shiner (Lythrurus ardens), Rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides), Central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum) and Crescent shiner (Luxilus cerasinus). Bluehead chub with it’s impressive nesting behavior provides a rich natural history for ecologists. Brandon Peoples who recorded this short observation is a […]

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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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  • 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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