What We’re Reading- March 2, 2018

Rock Art Natural History Many ecologists are interested in the distribution of species and how community composition changes over time.  In the present, we can go into the field and survey for species presence and absence.  However, to infer species distributions in the past we either have to have fossils or zooarcheological evidence, or less…

Interpreting the Biodiversity of Your Wardrobe

I love fashion, especially garments with animals on them. I wear so many of them, that my boss asked me about the biodiversity of my closet. I was genuinely curious so I counted all the plants, animals, and any other life forms that I could spot and calculated the Shannon Weiner Index, a real index…

What’s the Biodiversity Within Your Closet?

Conservationists and other nature lovers frequently advocate to save or increase biodiversity, but what exactly is biodiversity? One conjures up images of rainforests, coral reefs or animal clipart arranged artistically. These hint at the concept of biodiversity, which on the surface, seems simple, but gets more complicated once you try to measure it (even for…

Stop Monkeying Around! Getting Primates Right in Fashion

Vogue recently covered primate fashion for the Chinese year of the monkey. In this post, I’ll cover, monkeys in fashion, but more importantly, point out that most “monkeys” are actually apes. Primates are hard to wear, so let’s see how these designers (and you) can pull it off. Year of the Ape? Many of the monkey in Vogue’s piece are actually…

What We’re Reading: Oct 23, 2015

Identifying High and Low Yielding Palm Fruit Varieties Ask a conservationist about palm oil, and prepare for a nasty answer. Palm oil plantations have been planted across much of SE Asia, thereby removing natural habitat for many species such as orangutans. The plantations are so prevalent because palm oil makes it into many of the…

Evolution of Fashion: Cat Spots

With the recent posts about the beautiful spotted patterns that make up fashion prints inspired by leopards, jaguars, and cheetahs, it would be easy to think that all of the cats (Felidae) have coat patterns. However, as soon as you think of lions and pumas, you realize that some cats are not spotted but have…

Spotting Cheetah Prints on the Savannah and the Runway

Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are known for three things: their speed, their spots, and (unfortunately) that they are endangered.  The cheetah has a distinctive light tan coat (although the underbelly is lighter) with solid black spots.  It is the solid black spots that distinguish the cheetah from most other cat coats where rosettes are more prevalent. …