Category Archives: Ecology

Clear-Cut Fishing

A few years ago, in a post about a reconstructed fish weir–a fence used to trap fish–I noted that, historically, this was a good strategy: Every year, a fishweir is reconstructed on the Boston Common (more information is available here). … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Fish, Food | 1 Comment

The Need to Characterize ‘Near’ Missing Diversity: A Comment on the Subway Microbiome Paper

I’m a few weeks late to the subway microbiome paper which, in internet time is decades, but I’ve noticed two things are missing in the commentary. Before I get to those issues, one of the advantages of being behind the … Continue reading

Posted in E. coli, Ecology, Microbiome | 3 Comments

Passenger Pigeons: Speculation on Humans and Ecological Release

There’s a review of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction that’s worth reading. I’ll probably end up getting a copy of the book at some point, but, according to the review, the book doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Aves, Ecology | 4 Comments

Reconsidering the Easter Island Collapse (and the Irony of Jared Diamond’s Interpretation of It)

Barbara King recently asked “Why Does Jared Diamond Make Anthropologists So Mad?” It’s not my place to speak for anthropologists (I’m not Mike the Mad Anthropologist), but I do know what has made me very skeptical of Diamond’s claims: his … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Easter Island, Ecology, Environment | 3 Comments

I Know Beavers Are Important Ecosystem Engineers…

…but, based on the below specimen, I’m having a hard time believing it. You see, beavers can have massive effects on ecosystems: Beavers are famously busy, and they turn their talents to reengineering the landscape as few other animals can. … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Rodents

On Boston’s Fishweirs and the Demise of Coral Reefs

Andrew Revkin, in response to a NY Times op-ed claiming that the coral reefs are doomed, finds some other marine ecologists who disagree. Frank Bruno states: It is scary, but is it true? I don’t think so. I have been … Continue reading

Posted in Boston, Ecology, Environment, Fish, Food, Lobstah! | 2 Comments

Heuristics Are Not a Cognitive Flaw, But a Necessity in an Uncertain World

So says economist Gerd Gigerenzer. As far as I’m concerned, this video is essential viewing for not only economists, but also biologists, especially those interested in behavior. As one behavioral ecologist I know once quipped, “I don’t believe in optimal … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Economics, Evolution | 3 Comments