As snow goes, where go the animals?

As snow goes, where go the animals?
Animals like the wolverine evolved to live in the snow, and they excel in conditions that defeat most animals. How will they fare if (when?) snow continues to decline in their homes? And whassup with the balmy but hidden ecosystem under the snow? More »

Secrets of the microfarm: Amoeba grows bacteria!

Detail from schematic diagram

Classroom Activity Page: One species of amoeba can transport and plant bacteria when it runs short of its normal food, bacteria in the soil. A recent study is the first proof that anything smaller than an ant can “farm,” and shows how evolution can produce alternative strategies to meet the challenges of survival. More »

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Lake Vostok could house ancient bacteria, but we already know that bacteria can live in boiling water or light up a glowing squid. Countless weird-and-weirdest critters live between grains of sand… Curious about biology’s strange shelf? More »

The secret life of cats

The secret life of cats

Humans and cats have enjoyed each other’s company for millennia, but scientists have discovered some troubling secrets of free-roaming felines that have wildlife and health experts worried. A new study reveals what free-roaming cats do all day, and The Why Files investigates some implications of their outdoor habits. More »

Thanksgiving: What’s what with wild turkeys?

Thanksgiving: What’s what with wild turkeys?
Turkeys got help for 75 years from conservation agencies. Coyotes spread across half the country all on their own. Why have these animals succeeded? How have they changed the environment? More »

Assembly-lines don’t work for ants!

Specialization may work in factories, but it does not make ant colonies more efficient. As the conventional wisdom about social insects goes topsy-turvy, what’s an ecologist to think? More »

At last: Parasites get some respect!

Along the coast of Baja, California, a new study finds that parasites outweigh top predators. What does this mean for ecology, and what is the story with “castrating parasites”? More »

New Zealand Bugs Do Mouse Work!

Small rodents spread lots of seeds in nature, but they were absent from New Zealand. Do giant grasshoppers replace mice and rats in transporting seeds? More »

Extinct No More: Wild Woodpecker

The ivory-billed woodpecker is back — after 60 years. What does that say about extinctions, and about other rare forms of life? Seen any Tasmanian tigers lately? Does habitat preservation work? More »

Salvage Logging: Helpful or Harmful?

Salvage logging of forests after natural disturbances is a bad idea, ecologists warn. Evidence from a forest whacked by a 1938 hurricane show how salvage logging changes the landscape. More »

Plant Diversity Under Threat

Brown future: New study finds large increase in number of threatened plants, calculates that 22 to 62 percent of plant species are threatened. More »