Wildlife and the Observer Effect

Wildlife and the Observer Effect

By observing something, you change it. It’s a phenomenon that occurs in all areas of science. We don’t know what’s inside a tree until we cut it down. We can’t observe tiny organisms without disturbing them and putting them under a microscope. We can’t see into the abyss without shining a light into it. Many wild animals are very sensitive to the presence of humans and change their behavior when they know we’re around. So how much do we really know about the lives of tortoises, rhinos, bumblebees, clams, and all the rest?

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Planning Habitat Restoration: quantity, quality and context

Planning Habitat Restoration: quantity, quality and context

Habitat loss is often to blame when wild animal populations are declining. When we think about habitat loss, we often think of quantity- how many acres of the Amazon rainforest have been burned for agriculture today, or what percent of a watershed is developed land. Quantity of habitat is certainly important when we’re talking about increasing the population of an animal species.

However, protecting species is not a simple math problem- more area doesn’t always equal more animals.

 

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Invasive plants: If we can't beat 'em...

Invasive plants: If we can't beat 'em...

Scientists, people with yards, and nature lovers generally all agree that invasive plants are the worst. Mention buckthorn or multiflora rose at a party and I bet you won’t hear anyone say how much they like them.  Before we go on, check out Christopher Wells’ post, Why Study Invasive Species?

So, does anyone have a reason to like invasive plants? I’m looking for a silver lining, to help me sleep at night. I have nightmares of Japanese knotweed gradually covering the New England area, such that wildflowers and trees are merely a memory.

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