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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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  • 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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  • Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth – Shelf Life – AMNH (2015)

    Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth – Shelf Life – AMNH (2015)

    The Coelecanth was thought to be extinct. Its presence as a living species was discovered in 1938 by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. It is an immensely important species for evolutionary biology, especially in understanding tetrapod evolution. The story of the discovery of Coelecanth has been covered by many high profile magazines. Since its discovery from fossil remains the Coelecanth has been considered as the closest example for what could be as our last fish ancestor. This means that, it may have been […]

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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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  • Decorah Eagle Cam – Nesting Season 2017

    Decorah Eagle Cam – Nesting Season 2017

    Live feed has begun from the new nest named N2 for Decorah bald eagles. The pair known as “Mom” and “Dad” are visiting and maintaining the nest occasionally. Established by the Raptor Resource Project in 2007 this breeding pair of Bald Eagles in Decorah, Iowa has been under intense observation. The pair became famous after the PBS Nature Documentary “American Eagle” in 2008. At one point in 2012 the viewer numbers reached 250 million making the project the most heavily […]

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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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  • Cornell University Hawk Camera

    Cornell University Hawk Camera

    Everybody is excited for the 2017 breeding season of the famous Cornell University campus hawks Big Red and her new potential mate. Unfortunately Big Red’s partner Ezra reportedly has died. Last year Big Red laid her first egg at about 11:38 ET on March 28th. The breeding season 2015 started with a surprise. Big Red and Ezra moved to their nest to the light pole they used in 2012. There were no longer cameras installed at this nest so some […]

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  • Chimpanzee – Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (2012)

    Chimpanzee – Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (2012)

    The Chimpanzee is a heavily anthropomorphosized docu-feature movie targeting young audiences. It was filmed on multiple locations including Taï National Park in southwestern Ivory Coast, Ngogo and Kibale national parks in Uganda and Gabon by two British nature filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield. Martyn Colbeck was the person behind the camera. Tim Allen did the narration. Filmmakers stitched the footage recorded in these locations and consolidated into a single story creating a drama around an orphaned baby Chimpanzee they […]

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  • Albatross Nest Live from Hawaii

    Albatross Nest Live from Hawaii

    If you see a dark screen, bear in mind that it might be night time in Hawaii. Breeding season 2016 has ended happily. See y’all in 2017! Welcome to an Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) nest from the island of Kauai, geologically the oldest island of the Hawaiian archipelago. The webcam is operated by the Bird Lab of Cornell University. The Laysan Albatross gets its name from its Laysan breeding colony in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where it is the second […]

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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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