Browsing Posts in Ministry of Biology



Today I have been getting ready for my upcoming trip to Mexico for work. I am presenting at the 40th meeting of the Desert Fishes Council and this year they are having their meeting in Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila, Mexico. View Larger Map Cuatrociénegas is a very cool place for the conference. The Desert Fishes Council and […]

The New York Times’ excellent science writers take a look at how animals perceive death and the upcoming “Sim” game, Spore is played by evolutionary biologists: “You always wonder why life tends to become more complex over time,” Mr. Wright said. “If you look at this balance between cooperation and competition, at almost every level […]

The New York Times has this interesting article on the genetic relatedness of the peoples of Europe. The genetic map of Europe bears a clear structural similarity to the geographic map. The major genetic differences are between populations of the north and south (the vertical axis of the map shows north-south differences, the horizontal axis […]

Recently, we were in Zion National Park and stopped for ice cream at the main lodge in Zion canyon. We were lucky enough to see a Botta’s pocket gopher (Thonomys bottae) excavating it’s burrow in the field near the lodge. These mammals are high specialized burrowers. They have huge incisors and their lips close behind […]

My biggest goal in my life right now is to have a species named after me. Stephen Colbert just demanded and got a spider named after him and I think it is my turn. I’m not against other things being named after me. The most “honorable” way would be to discover a comet. The first […]

Today, I received word that Mojave Max, the desert spokestortoise for the Clark County Desert Conservation Plan died. I had the pleasure of feeding and taking care of this tortoise at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in the early 1990s. He was a very friendly tortoise with a great personality and he lived in the […]

I snapped this picture of a male vermillion flycatcher last week. Vermillion flycatcher’s are arguably one of the prettiest birds in Southern Nevada and they are quite rare. They like to nest in mature mesquite woodlands. This one was photographed near Moapa Nevada near the headwaters of the Muddy River. Here is a picture of […]

Urban Owls

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I’m peripherally involved with this project to study the breeding success of burrowing owls in the urban areas in the Las Vegas Valley. As natural areas become more and more urbanized, understanding how wildlife functions in urban areas is very important. And burrowing owls are very cute.

Wouldn’t be fun to live in a place where the dominant land animal is a crab? Nice article on coconut crabs on Daily Kos tonight.

I just found this fascinating tale of evolution in action. Researchers in 1971 placed a species of lizards on a small Croatian island where they did not previously exist. After 36 years of neglect due to war and polictical turmoil, scientists returned to the island. The native lizards to the island had been eliminated and […]