Science and education are at their core acts of storytelling. Nature tells her story to scientists and scientists in turn share Nature’s stories with the world. Whether it is a tropical biologist trekking through a swamp-filled jungle or an astronomical physicist peering off at a faraway galaxy, scientist-storytellers allow us to feel the thrill of discovery and learn vicariously through their experiences.
Today we are very excited to launch Myrmex: A Comic Ant-thology. Our team of educators, scientists, and illustrators, set out on this project to achieve one common goal: to provide students with stories of science – [...]
This past week we reconnected with Jiri Hulcr, resident Forest Entomologist at the University of Florida (and Dunn lab alum) who has just recently launched Backyard Bark Beetles – a new citizen science project that you can participate in now!
The Backyard Bark Beetles project initially underwent some trials in Florida and Missouri over the summer and is now ready to roll-out to the rest of the country! The concept is familiar (if you’ve participated in the School of Ants); the citizen scientist creates a low-cost insect trap out of household materials, collects insects, registers a log-in ID, mails in insects and [...]
It is an animal the size of a pinky finger. It hops wildly, blindly out of the dark. And still, somehow, it has moved unstudied basement to basement across North America, the yeti in our midst. It is the Asian Camel Cricket (Diestrammena asynamora).
In previous work with citizens, we very accidentally discovered that this cricket had spread much more than we (or perhaps anyone) suspected. It appears to have spread primarily indoors, though it’s also being found outdoors as it hops away from houses to find, well, we aren’t sure. Love? Food? Fulfillment?
We now need your help, [...]
This past weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual BugFest, we convinced a couple hundred people to sniff ants. We started off light, with a bouquet of lemon and citrus from the citronella ant, Lasius claviger. Then we plowed ahead, shoving an angry carpenter ant under the nose of anyone who would take it to demonstrate the acrid, vinegar smell of formic acid. If the participant was still with us, we moved onto our main quarry: the odorous house ant.
First, I have to admit that through this entire exercise I had an ulterior motive. The odorous house ant is unquestionably odorous, but [...]
Your Wild Life is excited to announce that we’re bringing our wild brand of science into classrooms! We’re embarking on a new five-year project to improve student outcomes and teacher enthusiasm around the world by creating opportunities for real scientific discovery.
We’ve spent the last three years doing science with the public. We have, in the process, discovered more fun things than we ever would have on our own. We have seen further into the truths of belly buttons, armpits, face mites, backyard ants, and even domestic cats than we ever imagined we might. It has been fun, big fun, ridiculous fun, the kind [...]
*This post first appeared on the Scientific American Guest Blog on September 9, 2013.*
When it comes to science, I have the patience of a rabid fox, trapped in a cage, in front of which a wounded rabbit is standing. My family, the folks in my lab and the need for sleep balance this nascent madness. But sometimes the caged fox of mania escapes; sometimes when everyone else sleeps I can’t resist the run.
Today was one of those days. We saw another glimpse into the life inside belly buttons. Belly buttons are ridiculous and yet the life we study in them is not; it includes both [...]
Our Urban Ecology team has returned to New York City! Over the last week, Amy Savage and Shelby Anderson have been crisscrossing Manhattan, with aspirators (the small devices we use for sucking up ants) and stepladders in hand, studying the ants living in the medians of Broadway as well as in the adjacent New York City parks.
Amy and Shelby are investigating how the stresses of city-living and Superstorm Sandy affect ants and the breakdown of dead leaves and trash, an important ecological process that happens on the floors of both forests and street medians.
They’ve kindly shared a few photos of their field work-in-action – Enjoy!
Our houses modify the climate around them. In great densities, our houses and other buildings can change weather patterns. Urbanization increases temperatures. It can also affect storms. Atlanta, Georgia actually causes lightning to form that would not otherwise exist. If one wanted evidence that we were messing with Zeus, this seems to be it. Cities change the weather outside, but what about the weather inside?
A single house on its own can create new climate conditions, conditions far different from those outside the front door (We love to be comfortable). But just how different? Ecologists have spent centuries characterizing the climate outdoors but very little time describing that indoors. [...]
In this post, our School of Ants guru Lauren Nichols answers a recent query from a family participating in SOA.
“Can you tell me why it’s important to collect data on these ants?” — Shelli & Son
This is a simple question we received by email last week from a family participating in School of Ants. I have to admit, I actually scanned our entire website, certain that we must have answered this in writing somewhere. Needless to say, I couldn’t find it – somehow we managed to overlook addressing this Very Important Question. I started crafting a brief response, and then four sentences turned into – well, a [...]