Evolutionary traps make the cover on this month's Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Robertson et al. 2013). Apparently, the prominence of one of my research topics is trending upwards!
Read the article here
And check out Bruce Robertson's website if you want to learn more about evolutionary trap research.
"Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time?" A fantastic trailer to a new documentary by Chris Jordan.
The stunning Laysan and Black-footed Albatross of Midway Island in the north Pacific face a serious threat that, as recently as 100 years ago, was unknown on the face of the earth... plastic. Plastics have permeated our everyday lives and become so ubiquitous (as I type this post on a plastic keyboard, navigate around the page with a plastic mouse, and sip soda from a 20oz plastic bottle) that we often forget how detrimental plastics can be once discarded. This short video is shows the grim reality of the "plastic age."
My research focuses on why these beautiful creatures consume so much plastic in the first place. Does it look like food? Does it taste like food? Are they consuming fish/squid that have previously eaten plastic? Are they consuming plastic incidentally or purposefully? What steps can we take as a society to mitigate this problem? These are all questions I ask myself as both a conservation biologist and a concerned citizen.
Many cities in California have now banned single use plastic bags. Indeed, this is a good start, but intelligently designed research asking the right questions can also help out. Stay tuned to my (new) blog as I post updates on my research progress and explore the world of plastic ingestion in marine biota. Additionally, I will be posting links to scientific papers that delve into the cutting-edge research in this field.
Awesome study (Amo et al. 2013) by a couple very famous ecologists, namely Marcel Visser and Marcel Dicke, demonstrating that terrestrial songbirds use induced plant volatiles to locate their herbivorous insect prey. Not too long ago, it was thought that most passerine birds did not have a sense of smell.
Read more here
Matthew Savoca holds a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. His research interests include sensory behavioral ecology, marine conservation biology, and seabird ecology.