Monthly Archives: January 2009


The Better to Hear (Some of) You With, My Dears

Posted 24 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

As mentioned in a previous post, many ecosystems and communities contain “ecologically redundant” species. One important question to keep in mind when considering interspecies interactions is that of intraguild competition: how do different species conduct very similar lifestyles without constant struggles over access to prey, shelter, and other essential resources? This is where niche differentiation comes in. With closely related, sympatric species, detailed data on their behavior often reveals very slight differences that allow the two species to co-exist by... Read more

Escargot is No Delicacy for Otters

Posted 21 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

A study published in this week’s edition of the PNAS reports that otter populations in California are facing major outbreaks of toxoplasmosis. This in itself is not very breaking news, the past five-ten years have seen record numbers of dead otters that test positive for the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Cat feces was thought to be the How do I enter links, images, and formatted text? likelist source, from storm drains or rain carrying surface runoff from dumps and feral cat... Read more

Coprophagy Killed the Cat

Posted 18 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

I am on the road, attending the ScienceOnline 2009 conference this weekend, so we have another classic favorite from Pondering Pikaia (which is where you can also find my updates on this week’s conference). I decided to make cheetahs a theme for the week (between reproductive issues, habitat loss, and prion disease, the damn things can’t catch a break) and resurrected this post from last May. Cheetahs have posed a challenge to zoos and conservation programs for decades, because they... Read more

In Which I Venture North for Blog Fun

Posted 16 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

This morning I rode the arctic blast northwards, and I am here in Raleigh. I took a look around NC State earlier today (I am currently on the hunt for grad schools), but my main purpose for being here is the ScienceOnline 2009 blog conference! I had a fantastic time last year, and am looking forward to even more interesting sessions and people this time around. I will be on the panel for the Blogging Adventure: How to Post from... Read more

Family or Function? The Diversity Debate

Posted 14 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

One of the most crucial factors involved in studying ecology is to have an accurate measure and description of the diversity comprising a given community. Seems simple, right? How hard can it be to list the taxa? Unfortunately, measuring diversity is not as simple as compiling a catalog of the different species found within a habitat. There are different approaches you can take in sampling and analyzing the data, and even different definitions that can be used to describe “diversity.”... Read more

Barking Cats are Sexy

Posted 12 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

Zoos serve a purpose for educating the public and stimulating interest in conservation. That being said, I do think that zoo animals tend to give the public a false sense of security about the status of endangered species. It’s easy for people to tell themselves that even if habitats are destroyed, at least there are “back-up copies” in captivity. This, of course, is problematic for enough reasons to fill entire books, for scientific reasons well beyond general welfare. One key... Read more

Social Clocks: How Do Cave Bats Know When It Is Dark Outside?

Posted 6 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

I thought it might be appropriate for my first repost from Pondering Pikaia to be the piece that made it into this year’s edition of The Open Laboratory, an annual science blogging anthology!. This post was actually a guest appearance at A Blog Around the Clock, back in April. This is the slightly tweaked and polished version that will be published in the book: On the infamous Vegas strip, casinos spare no expenses when it comes to extravagant decorations and... Read more

Making my entrance

Posted 5 January 2009 by Anne-Marie Hodge

Welcome to Endless Forms! I’m a new blog on the block here at NN, and this is my obligatory introductory post. Although I am new to this network, I have actually been blogging on science for several years now. I first started the habit with Pondering Pikaia, a science/conservation news blog I began as a college freshman. Time flies! I am now a senior, approaching my last semester of undergraduate work and setting myself up for graduate school. A little... Read more