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NCPR News Staff: Natural Selections

Stories filed by Natural Selections

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Flappy the muskie, 54 inches. She swam happily away after being caught and released last November near 40 Acres Shoal off Grindstone Island. The fishermen: Leo Greene (age 8, 52 inches), and guide Mackie Hodges in the <em>Tinker Toy</em>, owned by Richy Glassberg. Photo: Andy Greene
Flappy the muskie, 54 inches. She swam happily away after being caught and released last November near 40 Acres Shoal off Grindstone Island. The fishermen: Leo Greene (age 8, 52 inches), and guide Mackie Hodges in the Tinker Toy, owned by Richy Glassberg. Photo: Andy Greene

Natural Selections: Muskies, Part 2

The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular fighting fish found in Northern waters--and so is its cousin, the Northern Pike.

Martha Foley and Paul SMiths College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager continue their discussion about primitive fresh water predators.  Go to full article
Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esox_masquinongyeditcrop.jpg">Eric Engbretson</a>, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Photo: Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Natural Selections: Muskies, Part 1

The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular fighting fish found in Northern waters.

Martha Foley and Paul Smiths College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager talk about this primitive fresh water predator.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: "A Field Guide to Bacteria"

Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss Betsey Dexter Dyer's book, A Field Guide to Bacteria, and the distinctive traits of individual bacteria that are visible to the naked eye.  Go to full article
Myxobacteria detect surrounding cells in a process known as quorum sensing, migrate toward each other, and aggregate to form fruiting bodies up to 500 micrometres long. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Myxococcus_xanthus.png">Ayacop</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Myxobacteria detect surrounding cells in a process known as quorum sensing, migrate toward each other, and aggregate to form fruiting bodies up to 500 micrometres long. Photo: Ayacop, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Bacterial "quorums"

Bacteria have an awareness of when they are part of a large population, and change their behavior as a result. In the sea, bioluminescence is governed by this phenomena, known as "quorum-sensing." In the body, it may trigger the disease-causing effects of large infections. Martha Foley and Curt Stager get together with microbial crowds.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluestardrop/4574604134/">Andrea Mucelli</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Andrea Mucelli, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Elders

Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about the role of individuals once they are past fertility. Elders help hold communities together by acting as the living histories and resource libraries.  Go to full article
The striking colors in this peacock feather come from irridescence, not pigments. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/9422878@N08/7557113322/">Bill Gracey</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The striking colors in this peacock feather come from irridescence, not pigments. Photo: Bill Gracey, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Feathers and irridescence

Most color in nature is the result of pigments that reflect a particular wavelength of light, but some of nature's brightest offerings are created by physical structures within skin, scales and feathers that scattter and interfere with light.

Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about one of nature's flashier displays--irridescent bird feathers.  Go to full article
Chipmunk with attitude. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wainwright/234922450/">Chrissy Wainwright</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Chipmunk with attitude. Photo: Chrissy Wainwright, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Bold Chipmunks

Chipmunks aren't exactly shy--their metabolism runs too high to turn down a free lunch--but neither are they social among themselves, once beyond the nest. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about this aggressively territorial backyard fixture.  Go to full article
People have wondered how colors work for a long time, as shown by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boutet_1708_color_circles.jpg">Claude Boutet's 7-color and 12-color color circles</a>, from a publication in 1708.
People have wondered how colors work for a long time, as shown by Claude Boutet's 7-color and 12-color color circles, from a publication in 1708.

Natural Selections: Seeing Colors

The notion that all colors mixed together make white can be disputed by any child who has made a stew of his paint set, but that is what a prism shows us. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about colors, and how they differ to different eyes.  Go to full article
<em>Elysia chlorotica</em> is a photosynthetic slug that uses chloroplasts from the algae it eats to make energy from sunlight. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Elysia_chlorotica_%281%29.jpg">Patrick Krug</a>, Cataloging Diversity in the Sacoglossa LifeDesk
Elysia chlorotica is a photosynthetic slug that uses chloroplasts from the algae it eats to make energy from sunlight. Photo: Patrick Krug, Cataloging Diversity in the Sacoglossa LifeDesk

Natural Selections: "Alternative" animals

In general, plants make food from sunlight, and animals fuel themselves by "burning" oxygen. But some animals think outside the box.

Curt stager and Martha Foley look at a photosynthetic slug that hijacks the genetic machinery of the algae in its diet, and at a jellyfish that needs no oxygen, burning the alternative fuels of hydrogen and sulphur.  Go to full article
A pigeon's eye view from the Empire State Building. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuan2003/1187720684/">Richard Yuan</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A pigeon's eye view from the Empire State Building. Photo: Richard Yuan, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: more on pigeons

The ubiquitous bird of cities and towns was designed for a different environment. The pigeon's distinctive style of flight is adapted for maneuverability in tight places--near vertical takeoffs and quick changes of direction. This adaptation to cliff and mountainside environments serves them well among our urban cliff dwellings. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss.  Go to full article

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