The best popular science books? My picks.

One of the most frequently read posts on this website was my review of E.O. Wilson's ambitious but flawed book Social Conquest of the Earth. But there are many more popular science books that I really love! So that's what I"m writing about here. Most popular science books have clear and enjoyable writing that explains some field or … Continue reading The best popular science books? My picks.

Studying bat pollination in Thailand

My friend Alyssa Stewart studies bat pollination in Thailand. I visited her this December to help* her with one of her dissertation chapters and to do a small study of our own. Alyssa is studying just how good the flower-visiting bats are as pollinators in Thailand. The most common flower-visiting bats there are: Eonycteris spelaea … Continue reading Studying bat pollination in Thailand

Recent and relevant papers– July 23, 2014

Niche-specific cognitive strategies: object memory interferes with spatial memory in the predatory bat, Myotis nattereri (Journal of Experimental Biology)-- Fruit and flower bats tend to use spatial memory over shape because those foods don't move. But insect-eating bats tend to do the opposite, perhaps because insects have distinct shapes and don't stay still. Maternal lineages best explain … Continue reading Recent and relevant papers– July 23, 2014

Foraging big brown bats use social calls to ward off competitors

Genni Wright has been studying social calls by flying big brown bats. She found that males produce distinct calls when foraging for food, and that they use these social calls to ward off competitors and claim aerial insects. Prey defense was one of the first functions of social calls suggested by field evidence in 1997 … Continue reading Foraging big brown bats use social calls to ward off competitors

The scientific pleasures of ignorance (and other big picture stuff)

This blogpost grows out of a number of recent conversations about “science”-- what it is, how to do it, and why. Whenever my research involves truly boring, tedious things (like scoring hours of video footage), my mind starts to wander off to all kinds of  such philosophical things. Y’know, big picture stuff. (Not that big … Continue reading The scientific pleasures of ignorance (and other big picture stuff)