What is that spot?

We’ve all probably heard of the dog Spot in the old “Dick and Jane” stories that we learned to read in the first grade. In the Gulf there’s a fish that doesn’t look like a dog with the common name spot (Leiostomus xanthurus). The spot is a member of the scianidae family like the croaker and red drum. Continue reading

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They don???t travel in flocks

The sheepshead (Archosargus progatocephalus) is a member of the porgy family (Sparidae), which is made up of about 120 species. Sheepshead is its common name in the Gulf of Mexico but other areas of the United States it is convict fish, sheephead, seabream and southern sheepshead. Some other common names around the world include kubinskiy morskoi karas’ (Russian), rondeau mouton (French), sargo (Spanish), sargo-choupa (Portuguese), and sparus owczarz (Polish). Continue reading

Foreign invaders of tree and ground!

As best it can be figured it began happening quietly and slowly around 15 years ago. An insect called the emerald ash borer arrived from its native China in wood used to make crates. This borer is a beetle loves our ash trees. It flies from ash tree to ash tree laying its eggs in the bark. The eggs hatch and the larvae bore into the tree and block the flow of water and nutrients. The US experience with this pest is that every infected tree dies and once a tree is infected it dies within three years. Continue reading

Differences mean survival ??? think about it!

When we look at the animals in the world around us, its hard see that the ways animals use to survive has any bearing on the humans. We think of how we adapt to a changing world as an intellectual process. If something changes we reason out a method of dealing with it – if it gets cold we find a way to generate heat, if there’s a hurricane or drought we move somewhere else. Continue reading

Making a count of nature

A global sampling project of the oceans of the world began on September 11, 2003. It’s scheduled to last for ten years and cost over one billion dollars. The majority of the funding for this project is coming from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and several coastal countries. These countries include the United States, Japan, Russia and England. Continue reading

Animals know before we do

Animals always seem to be more in touch with their environment than humans. As an example dogs and horses always seem to know a few minutes or days before we do that an earthquake is about to occur. With the increase in the global temperature and associated climate altering implications, it only follows that animals would be the first be aware and start to acclimate to this new paradigm of their existence. It turns out that they have been responding to these changes for years and we were just not paying attention. Continue reading

People dare – animals don???t.

Risk is defined as ‘The possibility of meeting danger or suffering harm or loss’. When we look at animals we always seem to view them as if, like us, they had a choice in what they do. When fish school to spawn or caribou migrate it’s because they evolved that way. It’s not a conscious choice. When their environmental or physiological cues are altered or removed they have a difficult time and are at risk. There is usually massive mortality associated with these events. Some individuals survive due to the diversity in the species’ gene pool. These individuals are ‘fit’ for the altered environment. They establish a balance with it and over time repopulate. Continue reading