Home » Ecological Documentaries (Page 2)

  • Plants are Cool Too! (All Episodes)

    Plants are Cool Too! (All Episodes)

    Welcome to the “Plants are Cool Too!” series supported by the Botanical Society of America (BSA) and hosted by Dr. Chris Martine. Here we will be posting all episodes of the series in reverse chronological order (last-in-first-out) but each program is designed to be viewed independently. Please stay tuned. Plants unfortunately get less attention from wildlife filmmakers. This is most probably due to a narration problem. When we see animals in a film we more or less can interpret what […]

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  • Ants Defending Plants

    Ants Defending Plants

    Plant eaters are called herbivores and they pose a threat for plants. Understandably, nobody would like to get eaten. In order to prevent tissue loss and damage from herbivores plants have evolved defensive adaptations such as hard to digest tissues and poisonous chemicals. Some plants however, have evolved a different solution. Plants can use nectar as drivers of beneficial behaviors such as pollination and protection from herbivores. Nectar is an attractive fluid for many animals. It is a rich calorie […]

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  • Fish Tool Use Documented in the Wild – (2016)

    Fish Tool Use Documented in the Wild – (2016)

    The news that a black spotted tuskfish, Choerodon schoenleinii, (Valenciennes, 1839) was observed using a tool made the hearts of ethologists race. Here you can see a few recorded examples of the behavior from different locations and species belonging to the same genus within the wrasse family. As the story goes the behavior was first observed by Scott Gardner in Australia. On November 12th 2006, Mr. Gardner did an 18-m dive in the Keppel region of the southern Great Barrier […]

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  • Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    We humans rarely have punch ups with each other to decide who will mate. However, an anole lizards life is frequently interrupted by brawls. Neil Losin is an evolutionary biologist from UCLA who studies aggressive behavior among anole lizards. Anole lizards not only have punch ups among each other (intraspecific aggression) but they also have such interactions with other species (interspecific aggression). This is when things get even more interesting. In less than 10 minutes this documentary outlines the research […]

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  • UConn BioBlitz 2015

    UConn BioBlitz 2015

    On July 24th – 25th 2015, 49 experts collaborated with >150 citizen scientists to identify 1180 species in a 24-hour marathon of biodiversity survey (see a meta analysis at the bottom of this post). The UConn BioBlitz 2015 had many workshops that continued day and night including Bat activity monitoring, Blacklight/Mercury lamp curtain survey for nocturnal insects, setting camera traps for mammal activity, owl prowl, science expose, ants exploring space as well as tours of Collections Facility and the UConn […]

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  • Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    With its retina punishing feather colors this is a spectacular solo mating dance performed by a male bowerbird advertising his male qualities. The independent dilation and contraction of the pupils is a striking part of the choreography at the beginning of the performance. In Humans male brains perceive dilated eyes as a signal for sexual readiness of females. Seeing the exaggerated form here should make us curious about our “inner reptile” since birds and mammals have evolved from independent reptilian […]

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  • Learning to Live on the Moon – PBS

    Learning to Live on the Moon – PBS

    Energy flows, nutrients cycle. This is how we can define working principles of an ecosystem in a nutshell. Our planet has a very complex land-air-water interaction and we are only beginning to understand the behavior of these systems by simplifying them in enclosed systems such as Landscape Evolution Laboratory (LEO). Due to its proximity, the Moon appears to be the most convenient celestial body to colonize. The Moon is so close that it can even occasionally get shielded by the […]

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  • Conserving Colombia’s Cotton-Top Tamarin – Federico Pardo (2011)

    Conserving Colombia’s Cotton-Top Tamarin – Federico Pardo (2011)

    About the size of a squirrel, the cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) is a New World primate. It has a characteristic shock of white hair on it’s head. Males and females do not vary in size (not sexually dimorphic). The cotton-top tamarin was declared endangered in 1973 following the exportation of 20,000-40,000 tamarins to the United States for use in biomedical research. Cotton-top tamarins were found to spontaneously develop colorectal cancer and for this reason served as an ideal model for […]

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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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  • The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    A well-designed filming set up to capture the motions of running Cheetahs. Since late MIT professor Doc Edgarton’s time highspeed cameras have evolved wonderfully enabling technical capabilities for producing great slow motion films. In this production the filming crew used a Phantom Flex highspeed recording camera. The following talk by the director Greg Wilson gives us the behind-the-scenes view of the project. The entire set up was constructed on the running alley specially designed for exercising the Cheetahs of Cincinnati […]

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  • Visitors of Jerusalem Thorn (Paliurus spina-christi)

    Visitors of Jerusalem Thorn (Paliurus spina-christi)

    The Jerusalem Thorn (Paliurus spina-christi) is a native evergreen bush of the Mediterranean basin belonging to the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae). As you might have already guessed from its scientific name, this is the plant depicted as a torture device (the crown of thorns) on prophet Jesus Christ’s head. The genus Paliurus is quite recognizable by its orbicular-winged fruit. The fossil record for the genus is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere and goes back to the middle Eocene epoch (~34 million […]

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  • If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican Forest at Risk – Mike & Sam Goldwater (2010)

    If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican Forest at Risk – Mike & Sam Goldwater (2010)

    “If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican forest at risk” is a documentary film produced and directed by Mike and Sam Goldwater. The project was commissioned by IIED – the International Institute for Environment and Development exploring the validity and application of the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries abbreviated as REDD. The documentary was shot in the Northern Mozambican province of Nampula. The film portrays an example for the tragedy of […]

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  • BioBlitz!


    NEW! UConn BioBlitz June 3rd – 4th 2016 in Two Rivers Magnet School, Hartford CT. 2016 BioBlitz will possibly be the biggest ever organized thus far. You can have more information here. BioBlitz 2015 was a huge success held at UConn Campus on July 24th – 25th 2015. In May 2013, National Park Service/National Geographic organized a BioBlitz in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve near New Orleans, Louisiana. The video above is based on experiences of young participants. […]

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  • Chain Forming Leptogenys Ants from Cambodia – Stephane de Greef (2014)

    Chain Forming Leptogenys Ants from Cambodia – Stephane de Greef (2014)

    The ant behavior described in these observations were first recorded by citizen scientists in Cambodia (see the original recording at the end of this post) where ants have been shown to form chains to transport large prey. The level of cooperation is so striking that myrmecologists scrambled to find out whether it is genuine. Two researchers have successfully documented the behavior by filming them in Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Self-assembling cooperation in ants is known to take many interesting […]

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  • Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Catches Ants by Changing Slipperiness of Peristome – Ulrike Bauer (2015)

    Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Catches Ants by Changing Slipperiness of Peristome – Ulrike Bauer (2015)

    Biologists have shown that a pitcher plant has a remarkable adaptation for varying the slipperiness of the rim of its trap (the peristome). In Borneo, the pitcher plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana) traps sporadically large group of ants from the same species. In experiments where the trapping surfaces were kept continuously wet the plants no longer captured large groups of ants. When scout ants find a pitcher trap full of sweet nectar, they return to the colony and recruit many more ant […]

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