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  • A Cannibal Caterpillar?

    A Cannibal Caterpillar?

    On September 22 2012, I encountered this caterpillar eating another fuzzy insect part along the White Trail of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, GA. While the munching was going on, a familiar bully of the bushes the ground beetle (Calleida punctata) came in. The beetle harassed and eventually forced the caterpillar away from the leaf. I desperately needed help in explaining the sequence of events happening in this video. Why was the ground beetle so interested in […]

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  • Empire of the Desert Ants – BBC (2011)

    Empire of the Desert Ants – BBC (2011)

    BBC Wildlife Division’s Natural World series tells the natural history of the honeypot ant (Myrmecocystus mimicus) in the Arizona desert. This is the first footage to show honeypot ant queens co-operating in the wild. Filmmakers spent 150 days in the deserts of Arizona, US to capture the behavior of the ants. Filming the foundation of a new colony was a considerable challenge because the insects rarely ventured above ground. The team was fortunate enough to witness a mating swarm that […]

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  • Nanook of the North – Robert Flaherty (1922)

    Nanook of the North – Robert Flaherty (1922)

    In the days long before the term “documentary” had even been coined this full feature movie did it all. The filmmaker Robert Flaherty (1884-1951) had an early exposure to people of the Arctic. Born in Michigan, he spent quite a bit of time traveling with his father in northern Canada. He developed an ethnographic eye and casually filmed many short sequences of the daily lives of Inuit people. He later decided to put all these clips together to create a […]

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  • An Illustrated Introduction to Natural Selection & Sexual Selection – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2013)

    An Illustrated Introduction to Natural Selection & Sexual Selection – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2013)

    Cornell Bird Lab produced a series of quite informative teaching materials to provide scientific explanation for how new species have evolved (and are evolving). Evolution is not only a struggle for existence, it is also an effort to pass on genes to next generation. Modern biology has described mechanisms of evolution with fine details and this video effectively tells how natural selection works with three cartoonified traits in an island setting at the first few minutes. In many animals females […]

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  • American Eagle – PBS Nature (2008)

    American Eagle – PBS Nature (2008)

    This PBS Nature documentary outlines the life cycle and biology of the iconic Bald Eagle. The plot is centered around two breeding pairs in Iowa and Minnesota. Both nests were installed webcams and have attracted millions of viewers from all over the world. The nests are still active and pairs are now preparing for the breeding season. The nest in Iowa is next to Decorah Fish Management Station. As a top predator highly adapted for fish prey the location provided […]

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  • Revealing the Origins of Life – PBS (2011)

    Revealing the Origins of Life – PBS (2011)

    How life began is a very fundamental question. This short documentary is an outstanding primer for scientific explanation of the origin of life. Featuring Nobel prize winner Jack Szostack of Harvard University and John Sutherland of University of Manchester, it explains the chemical evolution leading to the formation of RNA. Scientists all agree that formation of basic building blocks of life is suprisingly very easy. The burning question is how do they react to form complex molecules? RNA world hypothesis […]

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  • Hammer Eyed Fly (Richardia telescopica)

    Hammer Eyed Fly (Richardia telescopica)

    On September 9th 2001, I encountered this hammer-eyed fly (Richardia telescopica) on STR trail (~600m mark) at La Selva Biological Field Station in Costa Rica. I was rushing on my bicycle to my field site one morning. I had to make an abrubt stop because my path was blocked by a tree fall which I believe was a Hampea appendiculata (Malvaceae). I noticed the fly on one of the branches of the downed tree. I rushed to get the camera […]

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  • Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air – PBS (2010)

    Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air – PBS (2010)

    Hummingbirds. Today they are strictly found on American continent but there are hummingbird-like fossil specimens from Germany hinting that this group might have been more widespread in its evolutionary past. More than 8000 species of plants have evolved to get their pollination services from hummingbirds. In 2013 a 50 million year old fossil showed the earliest ancestor of hummingbirds. With a heart beating at 600 beats per minute hummingbirds are champions of survival. The PBS documentary explores a rich repertoire […]

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  • Carolina Cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum) Flower Self-pollination

    Carolina Cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum) Flower Self-pollination

    Dr. Rebecca Shirk has studied genetic diversity and adaptation in native and invasive populations of Carolina cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum) during her PhD project in Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Flowers of this genus has a quite diverse pollination strategy. Flowers come in a staggering diversity of forms. There are huge flowers; tiny flowers; flowers that never open; flowers with patterns that can’t be seen by the human eye; and extremely specialized flowers that are […]

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  • One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue – Carl Sagan (1980)

    One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue – Carl Sagan (1980)

    The Cosmos, is a thirteen part documentary produced written and presented by Carl Sagan aiming to expand public understanding of science. It is one of the most successful series and is perhaps the best one for telling the fascinating history of science reaching audiences in 60 countries since it has been aired. It inspired generations to become scientists from all over the world. It was written with such poetic vigor that in title of every episode there is an attractive […]

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  • Kozmik Bestede Bir Nota – Carl Sagan (1980)

    Kozmik Bestede Bir Nota – Carl Sagan (1980)

    Carl Sagan 1980’li yıllarda televizyonu olan pek çok evin salonuna misafir olmuş Amerika’lı bir astronomdur. Onüç bölümden oluşan Kozmoz dizisi 6.3 milyon dolarlık bir bütçe ile hazırlanarak 60’dan fazla ülke televizyonunda yayınlandı. Gelmiş geçmiş en başarılı bilim belgeselinin tarzı öylesine şiirseldir ki, bölümlerin başlıkları bile işlenen konuyu kavramada yardımcı derin benzetmeler içeren özenle seçilmiş kelimelerden oluşur. Carl Sagan, “kişisel bir yolculuk” olarak nitelediği eserinde bizleri yolculuğuna yoldaş eder. Bilim tarihinde nefes kesici bir gezintiye çıkarız birlikte. Dizi içinde bir biyolog […]

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  • Mud Dauber Wasps Constructing Nests

    Mud Dauber Wasps Constructing Nests

    Insects never have boring lives. Mud daubers set a great example. These busy wasps build their nest chambers out of mud. Here in two separate videos you can see the two stages of nest construction: [1] Gathering mud by Sceliphron caementarium filmed in Athens, GA, USA. [2] Construction of the nest chambers by Sceliphron destillatorium from Canary Islands. The genus Sceliphron is found in all of the temperate and tropical continental areas of the world and on many islands (some […]

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  • Sinister Cannibals or Nurturing Fathers?

    Sinister Cannibals or Nurturing Fathers?

    In majority of sexually reproducing species females are the choosy ones. Generally, females invest more in offspring during pregnancy and post-natal care. Males try many tricks (fighting with other males, making elaborate dances, providing nuptial gifts, carrying showy and difficult to maintain body ornaments etc.) to prevent being filtered out in female preferences. Parental investment is a determinant in choosiness. In this post we will take a look at a spectrum of male behavior in parental care. Pipefishes and mudskippers […]

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  • Sinsi Yamyamlar mı? Yoksa Yemeyip Yediren Babalar mı?

    Sinsi Yamyamlar mı? Yoksa Yemeyip Yediren Babalar mı?

    Canlılığın sürekli değişen sorunlara karşı geliştirdiği evrimsel çözümleri anlayabilmek için alışılmışın dışındaki üreme biçimlerini mercek altına almakta yarar var. Doğada genel olarak dişiler yavru bakımının getirdiği yük nedeniyle seçici roldedir. Erkekler, dişilerin seçici süzgecine takılabilmek için pek çok kılığa bürünür. Bu yazıda üç ayrı balık türünde babaların yavru bakımında üstlendiği evrimsel olarak kararlı davranış biçimlerini inceliyeceğiz. Birbirine evrimsel açıdan yakın akraba olan denizatı (Hippocampus) ve deniz iğnesi (Syngnathus) türlerinde doğada görmeye alışkın olduğumuz eşeysel roller değişmiştir. Deniz iğnelerinde hamileliği erkekler […]

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  • A Biography of Edward O. Wilson – Lord of the Ants (2008)

    A Biography of Edward O. Wilson – Lord of the Ants (2008)

    Edward O. Wilson is one of the leading myrmecologists of our time. However, he is best known as a sociobiologist which in his words is “the extension of population biology and evolutionary theory to social organization”. Sociobiology didn’t gain major recognition as a concept until 1975. That year, the publication of his book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis created a lot of rattle in public space. It quickly drew arrows from prominent scientists of their field including evolutionary biologists. In a […]

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