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Our pledge to you: We will stand up for the ocean – and that means standing up for science

During this bruising presidential campaign, there was an eerie sense that we had moved into a post-truth world, with fake news circulating on Facebook and the veracity of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump continually called into question. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries just declared “post-truth” its 2016 international Word of the Year. But for me personally, facts…

Lessons learned in tropical tree climbing

Oh yeah, I forgot about that… The beginning of any field study includes at least a few remedial lessons. For weeks before I start climbing, I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic that I have forgotten all my knots. I look over old gear lists trying to figure out what…

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…

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…

Surveying Canopy Wildlife: A Brief Look at Looking Up

There is more to come in the way of introductions, but here is a quick first look at my project, Looking Up: A Canopy Wildlife Expedition. Throughout the year, I’ll be conducting wildlife surveys in forest canopies of Malaysia and Ecuador. As a scientist, I’m excited to expand my work to new research sites. Camera trapping…

Tiny ants may pose a big threat for diversity in Laikipia

In the shadow of Mt. Kenya, everyone has a story about a small, shiny ant that steals their cooking oil and sugar. When the seasonal rains come, they retreat into their underground nests, but they strike with full force during the dry months. The “big-headed ants” (Pheidole megacephala, which literally means “big head”) don’t bite or…

The Fight to Save the Vaquita

The vaquita, Spanish for little cow, is the world’s smallest porpoise and one of its most endangered sea mammals. Found only in the Gulf of California, the species is being driven to extinction by illegal gillnet fishing — caught in nets dropped for toatoba, an endangered fish whose swim bladders are thought to hold medicinal value in…

World Oceans Day Celebrated in Compelling Photos

From the vastness of the world’s oceans, the mystery of underwater ecosystems to humankind’s reliance on marine processes, the ocean is a wonderfully strange, altogether necessary part of our world. It is on World Oceans Day that we reflect on all of the benefits, mysteries, and wonders of the ocean.

Is Zootopia Creating Demand for Pet Fennec Foxes in China? (SPOILER: Probably Not)

You might have heard that Disney’s newest blockbuster, Zootopia (titled Zootropolis in some European countries), is driving a “huge demand for fennec foxes as pets” in China. What you probably have not read is the evidence to support such headlines. And the reason for that is simple: there isn’t any. It is time to stop…