Words, words, words

I’m a writer and a scientist. For both these jobs, I think a lot about words. Nothing brings me more joy than finding just the right word to describe what I find in nature. Further, nothing gives me more anxiety than seeing how sloppily we throw around terms and phrases in science. I worry that… Continue reading Words, words, words

Yellow jackets (Vespula maculifrons)

I am the official Bug Wrangler for our household. It’s a pretty great gig. I help my friends feel more at ease in our home, I interact with cool arthropods, and I save innocent creatures from a cruel and unusual demise by slipper. A real win-win-win. Now that we’re all stuck home in springtime, business… Continue reading Yellow jackets (Vespula maculifrons)

Nature Diary 5: Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura)

Daily observation and daily writing are my goals, and I’m pleasantly surprised how well I’m able to stay with them. They are rules I’ll try to carry with me beyond this exceptional era. However daily sharing may not be reasonable. Polish takes time, which I have in spades, and energy, which I can’t always muster.… Continue reading Nature Diary 5: Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura)

Daily Nature Diary 2: Groundhogs (Marmota monax)

On the surface, today is an ordinary Saturday. I didn’t set my alarm, but still got up before sunrise. I had my breakfast, then sipped my customary earl grey tea at my desk while I listened to NPR’s Weekend Edition. I did some computer work. I read while I ate lunch: my weekend treat of… Continue reading Daily Nature Diary 2: Groundhogs (Marmota monax)

Introducing Daily Nature Diary: a challenge to enjoy being an animal

It’s an uncanny time to be an evolutionary biologist. Because I’m versed in the literature and the lexicon, I can mostly follow the epidemiological science in the news and separate fact from fiction. That’s a huge help with the incessant and ever-shifting barrage of confusing, conflicting, and sometimes just plain unscientific information surrounding the COVID-19… Continue reading Introducing Daily Nature Diary: a challenge to enjoy being an animal

Tide Pooling

We gather for the American Society of Naturalists meetings at Asilomar State Beach to argue about life. We share our most specialized natural history discoveries and our broadest theories about the nature of evolution. We debate the scale and strength of adaptation, sketch out complex feedback loops connecting ecological and evolutionary processes, and weigh the… Continue reading Tide Pooling