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Category archives for Science

At the Jersey Shore, Signs of a Comet, and a Climate Crisis

In a new study, scientists say they have found evidence along the New Jersey coast that an extraterrestrial object hit the earth at the same time a mysterious release of carbon dioxide suddenly warmed the planet, some 55.6 million years ago. The warm period, known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), is often cited as…

Anja on fire

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to the Anja, Madagascar, to record wild soundscapes. While there he finds a community grappling with how to balance protecting nature with making a living.

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

Tracking Antarctica

The largest wilderness on Earth – Antarctica is also the most isolated continent. The oceans around Antarctica are some of the most pristine in the world with more than 8,000 marine species, more than half of which are seen nowhere else in the world. However, this epic wonder is under pressure. Parts of the Antarctic…

Solving Humanity’s Grand Challenges Requires a Healthy Ocean

Human well-being and human rights are inextricably tied to the health of the ocean, yet ocean conservation work is often isolated. Last month, as the United National General Assembly focused on tackling the grand challenges represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both the ocean goal (aka Goal 14, “Life Under Water”) and me, as…

I wonder what’s up there?

Five years ago I met an anteater that changed my life. As a first-year grad student, I was in the midst of my academic identity crisis trying to figure out what exactly I was going to study. I joined a team of researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to survey wildlife in…

Terrestrial Conservation on Tetiaroa

On Tetiaroa Marlon Brando wanted to “to maintain the natural beauty of the atoll setting” and as our expedition draws to a close we too are marvelling at the natural marine and terrestrial beauty of the atoll.

Keeping peace with predators can cut livestock deaths

When predator animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolves attack livestock animals like goats, cows and horses, you need to kill off the predators to reduce livestock deaths, right? Wrong.

Polynesian Rats Don’t Come From Polynesia

The Polynesian rat is distributed throughout the Pacific Ocean and is found on most islands. Early European naturalists thought that because the rat was already present it must be native to each island.

African Lions on the Brink: A Conversation with Lion Expert Craig Packer

With roars that rend the African night, lions have captured our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. “Lions have long been celebrated in art and literature throughout the world,” says ecologist Craig Packer, National Geographic Explorer and Expeditions Council grantee, and director of the University of Minnesota Lion Center. In the face of habitat loss and…

Creating Music from Data: Sonification of Hubbard Brook

In today’s world, science and art don’t usually mix. For many years we operated under a now-defunct left brain/right brain dichotomy that fostered the presumption that people were good at either math and science or the arts, but not both. In secondary education, funding for arts classes often finds itself directly threatened by the need…

Our Seed Stories – a Participatory Educational Media Project this School Year

Join me this school year on my journey to India to learn about seed saving, community food systems, and how to cultivate a future for biodiversity!

Dung Beetles: how tough are these savanna insects?

    “Why? What if….? How does this happen?” I asked a simple question in June 2014, when I stepped out of our lime-green LandCruiser (lovingly named “Kermit”) and into the Kenyan savanna. For the last decade, biologists and ranchers and natural historians have noticed the creeping invasion by the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), but…

Systematically Surveying the Ants of Tetiaroa

Ants are one of the best hitchhikers in the world. This is so true that in the Pacific, it’s hard to unravel whether the ants on even remote motu are native or ancient introductions with original voyagers.

A Sherlock-Worthy Look at an Ancient Horse Mummy

Tiny marks and deformations reveal clues to the ancient cultures that rode these plains for millennia.