The simplicity of collecting and drying plant material makes this an appealing way for laypeople to collect arthropod samples

Keywords: ecology , ecosystem , eDNA , biomonitoring , arthropods , plant–arthropod interaction

In combination with the ability to reconstruct diverse arthropod communities from common household items like tea bags, this gives the approach of a ‘bug in a teacup’ high potential for outreach. Dried plant material could serve as an easily acquired terrestrial eDNA matrix to raise awareness of arthropod biodiversity. The collection and storage of dried plant material is straightforward, does not entail killing large numbers of insects, and requires no hazardous chemicals or freezing. This makes the approach ideal for working with schoolchildren.

As we learn to recognise the importance of diverse environments, and conversely the damage we can cause by imposing man-made constraints on them, more and more we are trying to give nature a helping hand

Keywords: england , flowers , friendly friday , themed galleries , ealing , insects , shropshire , wildflowers

I have been visiting one of England’s pretty rural counties, Shropshire. We went for a walk in Cardingmill Valley where I came across many wildflowers, several of them with insect visitors. The valley takes its name from the woollen industry that used to be based in these hills. More on that in a future post. For now I hope you’ll enjoy a taster in the form of some of its loveliest wildflowers.

It’s always fun to get out the long lens and photograph the critters that live there

Keywords: photography

I stayed until the two families paddled their way to the far side of the pond, then moved to see it there were any turtles sunning themselves on the dead tree that has been laying half submerged for the past forty years I have been visiting that pond.  There were only three or four, but the day was cool and I’m sure that old tree will be covered with all sizes of turtles when it gets sunny and hot.

I have seen images through social media of the Badlands with snow but to actually see it in real life was such a completely different feeling

Keywords: badlands , badlands national park , photography , snow , south dakota , weather , winter

It’s not uncommon to see temperatures in the wintertime get below -30 degrees (F) with wind chills below -40 degrees (F) while in the summer temperatures can get as hot as 100 degrees (F) with heat indexes of 110 degrees (F). While the extremities in temperatures can be pretty dramatic, nothing is more dramatic than the landscapes South Dakota has. This includes Badlands National Park in the western part of the state.

By understanding all the different groupings of every single species, we are then able to build something known as an Extant Phylogenetic Bracket (EPB)

Keywords: blog posts

An EPB is a sort of tree of life, showing all the connections between every living thing. The full EPB is absolutely huge, but to give you an example of what a small section would look like, see the diagram

Launched in 2008, iNaturalist, now a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, lets anybody — from expert biologists and naturalists to people like me who have trouble remembering what poison ivy looks like — contribute their photos

Keywords: politics , dont , trees

To take photos that will have a better chance of becoming research grade, Goforth has three tips. Don’t rely on the zoom; get as close as you safely can. Make sure the subject fills as much of the frame as possible. And try to submit photos that are in focus.

Birding is the opposite of being at the movies — you’re outside, not sitting in a windowless box; you’re stalking wild animals, not looking at pictures of them

Keywords: birding, birds, midwest, nature, ourdoors

You’re dependent on weather, geography, time of day—if you miss the prothonotary warbler, there isn’t a midnight showing. – The New Yorker