Thanks to Sonia for the awesome and ever inspirational stickies!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Now the question is out there - what is a dissertation anyway?! Perhaps it seems I ought to to have breeched this topic with you earlier dear reader but here we are so let's dive in.
My dissertation focuses on how animals might use reproductive delays to allocate limited resources to reproduction (i.e., are delays adaptive?)
Reproductive delays are pauses in reproduction that occur between mating and egg fertilization, between fertilization and implantation of the embryo in the female, or after an embryo has implanted. Stated simply, females with reproductive delays can take a break (energetically speaking) mid-pregnancy while the embryo (at various stages depending on what type of delay) sits in a convenient sort of suspended animation. The mother can continue her pregnancy at a later date when food or weather is more favorable. This type of reproduction while understudied is not uncommon. Over 200 mammals are able to delay some part of a pregnancy.
Monday, July 9, 2012
I have been traveling recently and so I am still catching up as one always does for a few days after their return home. Amid the various e-mails was one from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) about a conservation issue I thought I should mention here. To quote the letter directly: "The government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is considering a proposal from Japanese investors to lease nearly one-fourth of Pagan Island as a dumping ground for tons of tsunami debris. Pagan Island hosts much of the endemic flora and fauna of the Mariana Islands, including several threatened and endangered species."
This evening as I sat down to watch a movie from my childhood: 'the Neverending Story' and noticed that in addition to a 'Rockbitter' and Troll called 'Nighthob' one of the first characters we meet is a bat. This seemed like a fun topic to blog about. I've been intending to start a list of movies with bats in them anyway together with comments on the overall accuracy of the depictions. So lets start here with this 1984 classic!
Surprisingly, (in my opinion) the bat is depicted rather accurately. Indeed, if I were pressed to identify it I would suggest a real species namely the Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) . This species would be consistent with the filming location (and hence bats the film-makers may have seen) in Germany. (See below to see if you agree with my ID of this bat!)
In fact, I am inspired to see if I can contact the filmmaker (Wolfgang Peterson) to ask where he got this idea and who he may have consulted to make the mechanical model bat used in the film! Perhaps the author (Micheal Ende) of the book upon which the movie is based should be credited with the accurate depiction. I am not sure but in either case it seems the movie does a good job!