Surviving the season of cold

| Dec 19, 2002

Surviving the season of cold

Plodding — that’s the only way to describe them. Deep snow blankets the winter landscape of the bison in Yellowstone National Park and plod they must through both the winter and the landscape. These mighty beasts don’t waste a calorie of energy if they ...

Vital links in a flyway chain

| Dec 5, 2002

Vital links in a flyway chain

Amazingly, we continue to take fresh water for granted. This precious resource is vital for our survival and that of a vast array of other species, from microscopic creatures and aquatic insects, to fish and hordes of birds. In Lake Baikal in Siberia, at ...

Taking the high way through life

| Nov 21, 2002

Taking the high way through life

If you were an ant, multi-limbed with a ground-hugging body, a trip across the forest floor would present you with a daunting obstacle course. Each fallen twig would be a wall to climb; each wind-blown leaf a teetering trap poised to tip and sluice ...

A venerable flash in the pan

| Nov 7, 2002

A venerable flash in the pan

Among Japan’s amazing diversity of plants that can overwhelm a visitor from overseas, there are (thankfully) some familiar forms. Astonishingly, given the literally hundreds of thousands of plant species on Earth, some here will be familiar whether you hail from North or South America, ...

Birds' island havens failing whole species

| Oct 31, 2002

Birds' island havens failing whole species

Teuri-jima Island is a special place, being a legally protected breeding habitat of seabirds. It was also the main subject of a recent Japan-U.S. government-level symposium in the nearby mainland town of Haboro, Hokkaido. Shocking facts emerged from that meeting. Over recent decades, local ...

Ticks: playing a waiting game to gorge on blood

| Oct 17, 2002

Ticks: playing a waiting game to gorge on blood

Being in the field for several months each year in search of wildlife to study, photograph and write about may sound wonderful, and it certainly does make for an exciting life. There is a downside, though, because there’s also wildlife out there looking for ...

Homing in on a sound of autumn

| Oct 3, 2002

Homing in on a sound of autumn

Thump . . . thud . . . and thump again. It’s a perennial autumn sound — the sound of falling fruit. Overripe on the branch, sometimes already rotting, apples, pears, persimmons and plums fall and burst, splattering strong-smelling juices that don’t long go ...

Prehistory still abounds in everyday life

| Aug 29, 2002

Prehistory still abounds in everyday life

In the course of a normal day, the word “fossil” may quite possibly never occur to you. Fossils are, however, crucial to many aspects of daily life. Coal, natural gas and oil (whose multifarious derivatives include many plastics), for instance, are not called “fossil ...