In late July, my husband and I found a bunch of crawdads, including a 3-4 inch monster that is easily the biggest crawdad I've ever seen near the mountains, resting in a small pool along the Roaring River in North Carolina. My toes have been at the receiving end of one too many pinches and I found this thing terrifying, but even though I refused to touch it, we managed to catch it a bucket. Fortunately, my Ohio-raised grandfather fearlessly displayed it for a few photographs before we returned the creature to its kingdom. There were several other crawdads much smaller and, based on coloration, of different species than the big guy. Read more →
Everybody knows that coral are essential for marine biodiversity. Most people don't know, however, that they are also secretly brutal bad asses. As cnidarians, corals and anemones (anthozoans) are related to the feared jellyfish (medusazoans). The common thread that unites cnidarians is the presence of stinging cells. Read more →
In Hawaii, volcanoes form over a hot spot, an area where magma rises from the mantle and breaks through the crust. The Pacific plate moves northwest over the hot spot—which remains stationary—eventually carrying the old volcano away from the hotspot. A new volcano then begins to form, with repeated basaltic eruptions building a broad shield volcano. Read more →
For some reason, the administrators of my university's portal think that I want pages to open in brand new windows. They're wrong; I'd much rather these pages open into tabs. Fortunately, Firefox allows me to force these renegade pages to behave civilly. Read more →
I've lived in North Carolina for over ten years, but until today I had never seen or heard of a luna moth (Actias luna). I was pleasantly surprised to find a large gorgeous green moth waiting for me on the bricks of my apartment building. It had beautiful light green wings with purple trim, golden fern-like antennae, a fuzzy white body, four lovely eye spots, and long tails. Read more →
Most geology students know what a basalt or gabbro is, but occasionally even introductory texts will refer to different mafic rocks and ultramafic rocks. This list very briefly describes a few of these, just enough to differentiate between them based on composition and formation.
This post will focus on the processes driving volcanic eruptions (for more details on all things volcano, visit this awesome site by SDSU). The most important factor controlling eruption type is the composition of the lava, which controls how much gas the lava contains. The more viscous the lava, the more gas it traps—and the more gas, the more explosive the eruption.
Seemingly adorable and innocuous, starfish are actually vicious predators, the mere mention of which would fill you with heart-stopping terror if you were a mollusc or other small marine invertebrate. And actually, considering that several starfish species brandish poisonous spines, people should probably be more afraid of them, too. In fact, starfish is too cute a name (and too inaccurate, as starfish are not "fish" at all); I propose that we start calling them death-stars. Read more →