Matthew L. Miller

Director of Science Communications

Page 51

  • Snakes on a Cliff: Rattler Research in Vermont

    There could be a rattlesnake anywhere: Join researchers as they scamper up rocky slopes while tracking snakes in Vermont, all to gain a better understanding of the timber rattler's movements, habits and health. Just watch where you put your hands.

    Matthew L. Miller

  • Matchmaking for Elms: Restoring America’s Iconic Tree Through Genetics

    Christian Marks runs a dating service. For elm trees.

    Matthew L. Miller

  • Bison Bellows and Bones: Student-Scientists on the Prairie

    Bison fighting and urinating on themselves? It's just another day at the office for student researchers on TNC's Ordway Prairie.

    Matthew L. Miller

  • The Traveling Naturalist: Solid Gold in the Rockies

    <i>Introducing The Traveling Naturalist, a new series featuring natural wonders and biological curiosities for the science-inclined wanderer.</i> The Rocky Mountains in the spring are a <b>botanist’s delight</b>, with many hills, mountain meadows and buttes awash in color. Wildflowers – many of them with interesting natural and human histories – can be easily found on your public lands. Some exist in bright but tiny cluster on alpine peaks while others cover meadows in a palette of seemingly solid color. <b>My favorite</b>: the flower that paints many foothills bright gold throughout the West, <a href="http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/balsamorhiza_sagittata.shtml"><b>arrowleaf balsamroot</b></a> (<i>Balsamorhiza sagittata). </i>

    Matthew L. Miller

  • A Lock Holds the Key to Restoring Migratory Fish

    <b><i>Author’s Note</i></b><i>: This blog originally ran a year ago, following time afield with shad researchers on Florida’s Apalachicola River. Recently, the researchers released new information with some exciting new results on Alabama shad restoration. This blog provides the background information on the project. Check back tomorrow for a look at the results of this project, which is making a big difference in migratory fish conservation.</i> Take PVC pipe. Attach to a home water pump. Add water. It’s a simple recipe, but one that might be enough to help move millions of the migratory fish species known as Alabama shad over dams, so they can spawn in rivers throughout the southeastern United States. For millions of dollars less than conventional methods. With potentially big gains for sport fisheries in those rivers. “It’s low cost, low risk and low tech,” says Steve Herrington, director of freshwater conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Florida. “You can buy any of the basic equipment at Home Depot. And we have the science to back it up.”

    Matthew L. Miller

  • The Monarch Butterfly Decline, and What You Can Do About It

    A recent report shows monarch butterflies have declined 59 percent in the past year. The reasons may surprise you. And you can help.

    Matthew L. Miller

  • Everyday Nature: Cartoonish Coot Chicks

    <b>Most baby birds, cute though they may be, are not exactly colorful</b>. This makes good evolutionary sense: Baby birds, unable to fly, make easy meals for predators. They thus must blend into their surroundings. A drake mallard or canvasback is a colorful, striking water bird, but baby ducks are nondescript. They disappear into the marshy reeds, making it harder for a hungry raccoon or mink to find them. <b>Not so the <a href="http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_coot/lifehistory">American coot</a></b>. Adult coots are fairly drab birds. But their babies? <b>They look like they were designed by a deranged tattoo artist.</b> The front half of the coot’s body is covered in orange-tipped plumes, giving them a jarring appearance. We’re not used to seeing baby birds covered bright feathers. <b>While this orange fades rather quickly</b>—in about six days—it still leaves them conspicuous when they are at the most vulnerable stage of their lives. This coloration makes them more susceptible to predation. <b>What advantage would such feathers possibly confer?</b>

    Matthew L. Miller

  • Big Fish: Roadside Pike

    Where could the pike possibly be? It turns out: In a roadside ditch.

    Matthew L. Miller