December 2, 2013

Advent Biology: One bat, two bats, three bats, four…

So yesterday I started with bat transect surveys. While relatively quick and able to be carried out with minimum experience, in most environments and with fairly basic kit-though you can of course use more exciting and expensive equipment, like the EM3 which I’ll take a...

December 1, 2013

Advent Biology: A summer of Bats

A late entry from me, and very much self indulgent…so Ecology, then. My absolute favourite part of ecological studies is the fieldwork- I’m happy to be out in all weathers, in any gear, with scientific equipment ranging from GPS trackers to a bamboo pole and...

December 8, 2012

Advent Biology: Too cold in here?

Wonderful as the crisp winter days are, my fingers are creaking with cold as I type. I am however, maintaining an internal temperature with no input from my conscious mind, all the time (even if I am currently applying blankets externally to hoard my warmth!)....

December 7, 2012

Advent Biology: That thing called Ecology

I’d like to take a brief post to think about ecology, and where it fits into that corner of science we’ve labelled biology. When boiled down, and the one definition most people will hear, ecology is the study of organisms and how they interact with...

December 6, 2012

Advent Biology: Buzz?

Courtesy of a conversation in the pub I had this evening, bees! To elaborate a little on that… Cultivating honeybees is a very long standing agricultural practice. It serves as much more than a source of honey: these insect pollinators are valuable to both the...

December 5, 2012

Advent Biology: Feathered visitors

Every species has its own particular place-its niche- within the complex web of interactions that make up an ecosystem. For some, life is even more complicated: to travel between two places, fit in and flourish in both is quite an achievement, and this is certainly...

December 3, 2012

A shrimp can change its spots

Advent Biology: A shrimp can change its spots

Among the animals which can change their colour to match their background in an attempt to camouflage themselves is the common shrimp, Crangon crangon. This crustacean can detect the levels of light above and below itself and change colour accordingly in what is known as...

December 2, 2012

A bug’s dinner

Advent Biology: A bug’s dinner

Imagine a spider, sitting quietly on the corner of its web waiting patiently for dinner to come knocking. A couple of the silk strands vibrate and our spider responds by advancing towards its supposed prey. However, other things can make good vibrations! In this case,...

December 1, 2012

Bitten by an eel

Advent Biology: Bitten by an eel

Due to their aqueous environment, fish feed rather differently from terrestrial vertebrates. Though there are different methods of capturing prey, the most widespread mechanism for dealing with it once caught involves the use of suction: by creating a lower pressure inside than in the surrounding...