Bumble Beer Science

I’ve always had a hard time taking bumblebees seriously. While wasps dance through the air, and honeybees zoom from one flowering bud to another, bumblebees seem to … well … bumble along. I think they look more like moldy strawberries who found themselves shocked at the capability of flight, rather than an insect which natural selection has carefully sculpted for million of years. However, looks can be deceiving.

When I look at a bumblebee visiting a flower, I see a bee zealously trying to lift off while still hanging onto the flower, angrily vibrating it from the inside. Such behaviors […]

By |August 15th, 2014|Events, Nature in Your Backyard, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Mapping the ants of the world

Several years ago, Benoit Guénard decided that he was interested in knowing where one kind of ant could be found. Another ant biologist asked. Benoit didn’t know. The other ant biologist didn’t know. Benoit is not the sort of person to let a question go unresolved. Questions boil in his brain sometimes and this was one of those kinds of questions.

And so Benoit set about to understand where ants of the genus Formica could be found. But the problem was he did not seem to be able to find an answer and so he set out to systematically […]

By |August 13th, 2014|ants, Explainer, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Behind the Science: Sorting out the murky affair between scale insects, ants, red maples and climate change

This week I followed researcher Elsa Youngsteadt and her undergrad assistant Danielle Schmidt, members of Steve Frank’s lab in the NC State Entomology Department, into the field. When I arrived at their field site, I found each holding a leaf and staring at it so intensely that I first thought they were under some sort of spell. As it turns out, they were focused on counting tiny scale insect nymphs.

Elsa and Danielle are studying how scale insects — a common pest on trees — might benefit from climate change.  Scale insects may do better under climate change […]

Wowing Washington with Wild Life!

Last weekend (April 25-27, 2014), we took our wild brand of citizen science on the road to Washington, DC, to participate in the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and math in the country.

We enjoyed meeting and engaging 325,000 students, teachers, parents and enthusiastic science enthusiasts in conversations about the biodiversity in their daily lives — from camel crickets in their basements to the ants in their backyards. Drs. Roland Kays and Stephanie Schuttler added some “backbone” to our exhibit by sharing awesome camera trap photos of […]

Your Wild Life Heads to Washington!

This weekend (April 25-27, 2014), hundreds of thousands of students and science enthusiasts will swarm the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the Nation’s Capital for the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Your Wild Life will join over 700 other exhibitors for 3-days of non-stop science awesomeness that include thousands of hands-on activities and over a hundred different stage shows (including performances by our friend, Science Comedian Brian Malow).

Come find us in the NSF & Friends Pavilion (Exhibit Hall A, Booth 423) – Meet and greet the ants and camel crickets that call your backyard […]

By |April 23rd, 2014|ants, Camel Crickets, Education, Events, Participate, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Serving Up Beer (and Science!)

Generally speaking, any time we get to leave the confines of our labs and offices to engage the public in the science of their daily lives, we’re pretty stoked.

When that public engagement has something to do with BEER, well, that’s just AWESOME.

So was the case Saturday when Your Wild Life, in partnership with the NC Science Festival and the NC State Brewing Lab, set up shop in the Science of Beer Tent at the World Beer Festival in downtown Raleigh.

We served up samples of three beers, inviting Festival guests to participate in an experimental taste experience, […]

By |April 7th, 2014|Belly Button Biodiversity, Events, Your Wild Life Team|2 Comments

Yeast. Bugs. BEER!

Collaboration – when scientists come together to share knowledge and know-how in order to tackle complicated problems, answer tough questions and develop big new ideas – is one of my favorite parts of the scientific process.

When the outcome of a scientific collaboration is something DELICIOUS, that’s MAGICAL.

Over the last couple months, we’ve been part of a team that includes microbial ecologist Anne Madden (who will join us soon as a new postdoc), Anne’s undergraduate students, and John Sheppard (NC State’s resident beer scientist). Our challenge: find wild yeast, more specifically insect-associated yeast, that could be used to […]

By |April 1st, 2014|Events, Stories of Your Wild Life, Your Wild Life Team|1 Comment

Fifth Avenue and the Entangled Bank: Fashion in Field Biology

For his 1918 field season, ornithologist Edgar Chance made a gentleman’s bet. Like many scientists before him, Chance was, in fact, a gentleman. His family founded one of the largest glass companies in Britain. The same company that put the glass in Big Ben’s clock and the crystal in London’s Crystal Palace. But Chance was also an avid egg collector, and he bet that in one season he could collect more eggs from a single cuckoo than anyone had before.

The science behind the bet, though, is not what drew me to Chance’s story. I’ll get to that later. What […]

By |March 11th, 2014|ants, Urban Ecology, Your Wild Life Team|2 Comments

Amy Savage’s Take on Ants in the Big City

New York City: “the City of Ants.” Most of us wouldn’t describe the Big Apple that way. But Amy Savage has news for you.

For the last two years, Amy has crawled through New York City’s nooks and crannies, peering behind garbage cans and between sidewalk cracks, combing through the city parks’ grasses and checking out trees, getting an “ant’s-eye view” of the most peopled city in the United States. She found that right in New York City lies a metropolis of ants, with its own networks and freeways, apartments and giant buildings.

Here, Amy gives us the scoop on the […]

By |February 20th, 2014|ants, Urban Ecology, Your Wild Life Team|2 Comments

It’s HERE!

Today we are pleased to announce the publication of Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City!

In this new FREE eBook, Dr. Eleanor delights readers young and old with tales of the Big Apple ants most commonly encountered by students participating in the School of Ants project. Her stories of the heroes and villains that tiptoe around the city are brought to life in this interactive new book featuring the vibrant photographs of Alex Wild.

NYC_ants_TOC

What are you waiting for? Download Dr. Eleanor’s […]

By |February 17th, 2014|ants, Books, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments