Natural Selections

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About
Natural Selections

On Natural Selections each week, join a short conversation on the natural world. Topics range from evolutionary biology to geology and wildlife, from climate science to animal and human behavior.

Ellen Rocco
The program is hosted by NCPR news director Martha Foley joined by naturalist Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith's College.

Support for Natural Selections is provided by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park, and by Paul Smith's, the College of the Adirondacks.

New Book: Deep Future

"The course we take in the coming decades will affect not just the next hundred years, but the next hundred thousand years of life on this planet." --Curt Stager

Deep Future
In bookstores now

Order at: Amazon | Borders
Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Powell's Books
And please remember your local independent booksellers. Find one near you.

 

Nature features

Curt Stager on On Point

Curt StagerListen to Dr. Curt Stager as the guest on On Point, 3/24/11, talking about his new book, Deep Future: the Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth.

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Natural History
Maybe it was messier than we thought, some scientists now say. Big brains, long legs and long childhoods may have evolved piecemeal in different spots, in response to frequent swings in climate.
 
Passenger pigeons used to be the most abundant bird in North America. But hunters drove them to extinction, and by 1914, only one was left. A century later, that pigeon, named Martha, is on exhibit.
 
This bird likes livers, kidneys, entrails — anything it can pluck that's freshly dead. But what if you served it ... a painting?
 
Museums are filled with dead insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles meticulously gathered worldwide in the name of scientific discovery. But some researchers now say scientists should think twice.
 
A secretive, nocturnal species that lives on a remote island off the coast of Mexico had not been spotted since 1936. Scientists have concluded it is genetically distinct from mainland neighbors.
 
more science news from NPR

Natural Selections with hosts Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager airs Thursday mornings during The Eight O'Clock Hour.

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 Recent Natural Selections programs
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Many strains or staph bacteria show resistance to drugs.
Many strains or staph bacteria show resistance to drugs.

Natural Selections: Drug Resistance

Bacteria and viruses can adapt with extreme speed to survive exposure to antibiotics and other drugs. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about the genetic changes and rapid evolution known as drug resistance.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Opossums

Opossums are very ancient, as mammals go. These marsupials have spread their range into Northern New York over the last few decades. Martha Foley talks with Dr. Curt Stager about opossums.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Flower Wilt

Flowers wilt for good reasons; good for the plant. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss how flowers and plants use water.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: The "Willies"

Why do certain sounds make us cringe? What are the "Willies"? Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about how the body responds to fear.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Balance of Nature

Is there a balance in nature? How is it maintained? How is it disrupted? Dr. Curt Stager tackles this question with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Dogs

When did wolves become dogs? How did they come to be "man's best friend?" Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about canine evolution and domestication.  Go to full article
HIV virus buds from host cell
HIV virus buds from host cell

Natural Selections: Are Viruses Alive?

The simplicity of viruses leads to the question, "Are viruses alive?" Dr Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss what it takes to be numbered among the living. Disease-causing bacteria pass muster, but viruses may fall a little short.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Science Projects

Some suggestions for interesting, low-cost science projects! Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley offer ideas for budding scientists to try at home or at school.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Snow Flies

Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about snow flies. This tiny wingless fly likes the cold, making their own antifreeze to survive the weather. They are a pest only to rodents, carrying the roundworm parasites that infect them.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Snow Fleas

Anyone who has had pets has heard of fleas. But snow fleas--that's a different story! As Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley explain, these tiny critters look like pepper on the snow on days just above freezing.  Go to full article

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