Tag Archives: science

Counting Gayfeather Stems Out Of Scientific Curiosity – Year 2

Science doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.  In fact, the essence of science is really just a way to satisfy our curiosity about the world. There is great value in rigorous science, with sufficient replication and statistical power to … Continue reading

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Measuring Our Influence as Conservation Scientists

I am a conservation scientist.  Like any other scientist, I develop and test hypotheses, trying to figure out how the world works.  Once I learn something, I publish my results in academic journals where other scientists can evaluate and build … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

How Science Works and Why It Matters

As a scientist and science writer, I’m concerned about the way science is perceived by the public.  I think some big misunderstandings about how science works are creating distrust and dismissal of important scientific findings.  That’s a huge problem, and … Continue reading

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The Much Maligned Coyote

Here in Nebraska, we’ve lost most of our largest predators.  Bears and wolves are gone (excepting rare long-distance wanderers).  Mountain lions are making a slow comeback in the northern and western parts of Nebraska, but the agricultural character and fragmented … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Natural History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

How big do prairies need to be?

There is an awful lot we still don’t understand about prairies (and the rest of the natural world, for that matter).  First and foremost, we haven’t even come close to discovering all the species that live in prairies.  We have … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Pretty but Powerful

Because they can’t run away, plants may seem helpless against the many large and small herbivores that like to eat them.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Many plants have physical defenses such as thorns or stiff hairs to … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Concerns about EARTH A New Wild’s Messages About Grassland Conservation

I know that many of you watched the first two episodes of EARTH A New Wild last week on Public Television, including Episode 2: Plains.  I watched as well, and while I was glad for the attention paid to grasslands, I … Continue reading

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Can Aphids Photosynthesize?

Well, no.  But recent research shows that at least some may be able to convert sunlight into energy in a process very similar to the way plants do it. A study published in Nature magazine back in August looked at a … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Evolution in Milkweed-Eating Insects

Not many insects can feed on milkweed.  Milkweed plants produce a toxin that disables a protein in animals – a protein that facilitates important functions such as muscle contraction.  Only a small number of insect species around the world have evolved ways to get around this … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments