ABOUT GrrlScientist

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grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands.

A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. She writes the popular eponymous science blog hosted by The Guardian (UK) and is working on a popular science book about plumage colour. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots — and a slightly deaf spouse — somewhere in Germany.

 

GrrlScientist: All Posts

 
 

Birth of the blue morphos

Posted 18 May 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Today’s “Museum Monday” features a visit to the Natural History Museum’s new Sensational Butterflies exhibition, where we watch a time-lapse video of their blue morpho butterflies emerging from chrysalises The Natural History Museum’s filmmakers recently captured a time-lapse video of the first of their blue morpho butterflies emerging from their chrysalises. These butterflies are now on view in their “Sensational Butterflies” exhibition. Several species of butterflies are commonly known as “blue morphos” so the specific (species) name often precedes... Read more

Birdbooker Report 372

Posted 11 May 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Journal Club: Birdfeeding favours non-native bird species

Posted 5 May 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Feeding urban birds on bread and seed encourages high densities of introduced bird species at the expense of native species, thereby altering bird communities in cities, according to a new study Feeding wild birds is a hugely popular pastime worldwide. But this is essentially a massive global supplementary feeding experiment with ecological effects that are poorly understood. A newly-published study of bird feeding in New Zealand reports that the common practice of feeding bread and seed alters the species... Read more

Birdbooker Report 371

Posted 4 May 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Birdbooker Report 370

Posted 27 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Beatboxing birdsongs of New York

Posted 21 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: In these fascinating videos, we see how one man’s quest to merge two passions -- bird watching and beatbox music – has created an experimental new form of music   I love beatboxing, but as an ornithologist and birder, I am absolutely delighted by this amazing experiment that a fellow New Yorker, Ben Mirin, is working on: he is using birdsong produced by birds that can be found in New York state as the inspiration for his beatboxing. Mr... Read more

Birdbooker Report 369

Posted 20 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Birdbooker Report 368

Posted 13 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Shelf Life: How to time travel to a star

Posted 13 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: It might surprise you to learn that astronomers maintain collections, although these collections are quite different to those maintained by other departments in natural history museums, as we learn in today’s “Museum Monday” video Since today is “Museum Monday”, I am sharing the next instalment in the Shelf Life video series created by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Today’s video captures the methods developed by a team of scientists and their students to analyse historical images of... Read more

Birdbooker Report 366-7

Posted 6 April 2015 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more