Help some local pollinators by building your own bee hotel.
There are plenty of tutorials and guides out there. Below are a few easy steps to quickly building a home for solitary bees, followed by links to some other guides.
With a craft knife, cut both ends off the plastic bottle to create a cylinder.
Make your lengths of bamboo, grass or reeds 3 cm shorter than the bottle to protect them from rain – use sharp garden clippers to trim them. Bees can’t burrow through the knots in bamboo, so avoid lengths with too many knots.
Use sandpaper to smooth the … » More …
A unique look at the interplay between wild North American bees, European bees, and Washington farmers.
Photographer Zach Mazur ’06 highlights the apian stars of Southeast Washington’s thriving alfalfa seed industry. The spare yet stunning landscape is home to millions of native alkali bees which, together with leafcutter bees, make Walla Walla County one of the nation’s top producers.
Read more about wild bees and pollinators in “Plan Bee.”
Any good strategist knows that an accurate map can win a battle. If your enemy is cancer, a chaotic and elusive foe that changes its environment, finding a new dimension to examine a tumor can make all the difference when developing treatments.
Like all scientists and doctors looking for ways to defeat cancer, Weimin Li wants to better understand how cancerous tumors grow and adapt. His innovative technology using 3-D tissue culture “scaffolds” delivers a far more relevant environment to research the deadly disease.
It’s a fight that Li has fought on many fronts. He spent seven years practicing oncology in China and witnessed … » More …
For decades, scientists have been intrigued by a black hummingbird that appears to be singing, its throat and jaw moving in all earnestness, but without making any obvious sound. Augusto Ruschi, a naturalist who catalogued dozens of hummingbirds in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, first noticed it in 1959.
The bird, called a black Jacobin, appeared to have portions of its song that were ultrasonic, “inaudible to humans,” said Ruschi, “and while one would only perceive it with special equipment, one can notice the moment in which the bird emits it, as its guttural region makes characteristic movements, commonly observed when a bird sings.”
It would be … » More …
Edited by David G. James
The University of Chicago Press: 2017
Meet some of the world’s most wild, weird, and beautiful caterpillars. Using its own hairs, the lichen moth builds a basket around itself to stay protected during metamorphosis.
As the Red Helen caterpillar develops, its body starts to resemble a snake’s head. When threatened a red, forked appendage inflates from behind its own head, giving off an unpleasant … » More …
Darwin developed key aspects of his theory of evolution while pondering finches from the Galapagos Islands. It’s only fitting that reproductive biologist Michael Skinner would choose those same islands to propose a Lamarckian idea—that environment can directly impact inheritance of physical traits.
In this case, the process is driven by epigenetics, he says. “If we think about evolution, we can’t simply think of genetics. We also need to think about epigenetics.”
According to Skinner, epigenetic mutations occur 1,000 times more frequently than do genetic mutations and could help explain why new species emerge more often than expected.
“The reason epimutations exist might be to dramatically … » More …
In a word, Michael Skinner is tenacious. Growing up on a ranch outside Pendleton, the former Eagle Scout and college wrestler learned early on that you don’t back down from a little head-butting or controversy. It’s all just part of the game.
The trait has served Skinner ’82 PhD well over the years and enabled him to persevere through the fallout of a chance discovery in his reproductive biology lab in the 1990s. The unexpected findings threw 200 years of scientific ideology into question and initiated a paradigm shift in the understanding of inheritance and evolution. They also sparked a wave of outrage and … » More …
A TEDxRainier presentation by Washington State University biologist Michael Skinner
Read more about Skinner and his work in our feature “Evolution evolution.”
WSU environmental biology doctoral student Travis King joined a team of biologists in 2017 to monitor wildlife in the remote region of La Mosquitia in Honduras, home to the newly-discovery “City of the Lost Monkey God.”
Travis and his colleagues in Conservation International and the Honduran government used motion-activated camera traps, hair collecting traps, and other methods to identify the wild animals in this untamed region. Below are some of the images that King brought back.
Read more about Travis and his research in “To catch a cat.”