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Preview: Natural Selections Podcast

Natural Selections



Conversations about the natural world with Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley, from member-supported North Country Public Radio.The natural world with Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager, Thursdays



Copyright: ℗ & © 2017, NCPR - North Country Public Radio
 



Well-dressed birds of the North Country

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 24, 2017) While the North Country is not exactly the tropics, we do have our share of exotically-colored birds. Blue creatures, for example, are rare in nature but we have the bluebird, the blue jay and the indigo bunting.Then there are the goldfinches and the cardinals, the ruby-throated hummingbird and more. Martha Foley and Curt Stager celebrate a little of the local color in colder climes.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/nF01c8Sy1J8/170824natselect.mp3




Humans pass the smell test better than we think

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 17, 2017) Contrary to longstanding theories, the human sense of smell is roughly as acute as that of other mammals, with an equivalent amount of neural hardware devoted to the detection of odors. So why do we seem to be so nose-blind compared to the family dog?Martha Foley quizzes Curt Stager about a sense that often operates unnoticed by our conscious minds.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/nP4UWtD-nYM/170817natselect.mp3




What isn't a GMO?

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 10, 2017) While genetically modified crops are the result of the intentional introduction of "foreign" genes by humans for a specific agricultural purpose, it turns out that nature uses the same trick all the time.Bacteria of different species share genes for antibiotic resistance. Longhorn beetles borrow bacterial and fungal DNA to digest wood. And some salamander species that produce only female offspring mate with other salamander species in order to continue their line.Even Martha Foley and Curt Stager are genetically modified organisms, carrying genes from other species - the Neanderthals and Denisovans.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/VZgoe9G0Oh4/NS081017.mp3




Ferns pay off ants to protect them from caterpillars

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 3, 2017) Ferns invented nectar - a sugary reward - long before flowering plants evolved. But instead of using it to attract pollinators, the bracken fern uses it as "protection money," paying off ants and other predatory insects that will keep voracious caterpillars away when the plants are young and vulnerable.Martha Foley and Curt Stager unveil the mobster economics of nature.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/PoKkUMJz_Gk/170802natselect.mp3




A graphic account: How Walden Pond has changed since Thoreau (the planet, too)

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 27, 2017) Dr. Curt Stager took students to Walden Pond, the retreat of philosopher and citizen scientist Henry David Thoreau, to take sediment samples and compare modern observations with the meticulous records kept in Thoreau's journals.They found evidence of a changing climate and a lake ecology that has been altered by human use. The graphic novel that records the expedition might have bemused and amused the famed transcendentalist. Curt talks about the work with Martha Foley.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/uWqBs4Zn4XE/070727natselect.mp3




How Saharan dust makes our lives better

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 20, 2017) The last time the climate warmed the Sahara was green and had a huge lake in the middle that left behind vast deposits of fine mineral-rich sediments. In these drier days the dust from that ancient lakebed now blows all the way across the Atlantic to nourish the Amazon with phosphorus and the ocean with iron.It also shades the patch of the Atlantic where hurricanes form, lessening the strength and frequency of tropical storms that reach the North Country. The current trend back toward a warmer world might be good for the Sahara, but not so good for us. Curt Stager and Martha Foley explain.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/zUXgU6KVzRg/170720natselect.mp3




Human taste buds drive 4,000 years of citrus evolution

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 13, 2017) The modern supermarket holds a bewildering variety of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines and more. But they are all the product of 4,000 years of selective breeding by humans to tease out tastier, larger, sweeter and juicier variations and hybrids from four ancestral Asian fruits. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley climb back down the citrus family tree to look at the Mandarin orange, the pomelo, the citron and the papeda.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/pnZ39Tgu11Y/170713natselect.mp3




Plants that punk pollinators

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 6, 2017) Flowers get pollinated, bees get nectar; that's supposed to be the deal. Except that some plants cheat. Known as "food decepters," they advertise rewards they don't deliver. Orchids are notorious for variations on bait and switch, with fully one-third of species giving bupkis to the hard-working insects that help them to propagate their kind.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/XXgmWp2X2EY/20170706nspunkplants.mp3




Most widespread carnivore on the planet? The red fox

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 29, 2017) The red fox isn't always red. The silver fox, for example, is the same species. But they will usually have a white tail tip and always wear black "boots." You can find the red fox pretty much everywhere, from the North Country back yard to the Australian Outback.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/t42gGuz5Owg/20170629nsfoxes.mp3




Two North Country foxes, but only one climbs trees

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 22, 2017) The gray fox has been in North America for millions of years, but the more common red fox is a relative newcomer, crossing over during more recent Ice Ages. The two kinds of fox are not only different species, they do not even belong to the same genus.Besides differing in color and aggressiveness, the gray fox has semi-retractable claws that allow it climb trees to escape from predators. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the slyer end of the canid family.As a bonus see the video below of baby gray foxes that live under Joel Hurd's barn in Pierrepont.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/3ohdwoy-rro/170622natselect.mp3




Red squirrels have a 50 spruce cone a day habit

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 15, 2017) Red squirrels do well in an abundant year for spruce and balsam cones, eating as many as fifty a day. Introduced to Newfoundland for the first time in the 1960s, squirrels eat as much as two-thirds of all the black spruce cones produced. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about the eating habits of squirrels and their impact on the environment.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/Wi1mgS_uzwQ/170615nats.mp3




Natural Selections: Can you smell that?

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 8, 2017) Humans aren't naturals at tracking smells like dogs, but they can, in fact, track by scent just like dogs. The main difference is humans get better with practice. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about people's sense of smell.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/SKUUsL7h7bs/20140327NatSelectSmell.mp3




You don't need a microscope for "A Field Guide to Bacteria"

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 1, 2017) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss Betsey Dexter Dyer's book, A Field Guide to Bacteria, and the distinctive traits of individual bacteria that are visible to the naked eye.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/WFV9xNYEo68/140109natselect.mp3




Muskie: the big toothy bad ass of Northern waters

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 25, 2017) The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular fighting fish found in Northern waters. Martha Foley and Paul Smiths College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager talk about this primitive fresh water predator.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/QH2AK_czHmc/140116natselect.mp3




Animals that make their living outside the box

Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 18, 2017) In general, plants make food from sunlight, and animals fuel themselves by "burning" oxygen. But some animals think outside the box.Curt stager and Martha Foley look at a photosynthetic slug that hijacks the genetic machinery of the algae in its diet, and at a jellyfish that needs no oxygen, burning the alternative fuels of hydrogen and sulfur.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/Q4Z8Zd_NVQw/170518natselect.mp3




Why pigeons feel at home in the city

Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 11, 2017) The ubiquitous bird of cities and towns was designed for a different environment. The pigeon's distinctive style of flight is adapted for maneuverability in tight places - near vertical takeoffs and quick changes of direction. This adaptation to cliff and mountainside environments serves them well among our urban cliff dwellings. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/HOrSj1aNodM/170511natselect.mp3




Pigeons are doves, high-rises are cliffs

Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 4, 2017) Pigeons and doves, both domestic and feral, are the same species. Today's urban environment mimics their original favored habitat, seaside cliffs in Europe and Asia. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss this commonest bird companion in densely settled areas.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/AAvc84FdU3I/170503natselect.mp3




Hyenas get a bad rap

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 27, 2017) Martha Foley wonders, "Is there a more maligned and mischaracterized animal than the hyena?" Dr. Curt Stager, a hyena fan, gives the real lowdown on this social animal.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/tnWbjaDyT4Y/170427natselect.mp3




Hermit thrush: often heard but seldom seen

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 20, 2017) One of nature's most beautiful singers is the hermit thrush. The opposite of "good children," they are often heard but seldom seen. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about this elusive insectivore of northern forests.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/K0cSEIUB4dg/170420natselect.mp3




Northern Flicker, the anteater of the woodpecker family

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 13, 2017) The Northern Flicker is one of the most recognizable birds. This distinctly-marked member of the woodpecker family, instead of browsing wood for their food like their relatives, digs for food in the ground. Martha Foley and Curt Stager explore its habits.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/4xaI1cSAXSw/170413natselect.mp3




Listen: Natural Selections Spring Call-in

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 12, 2017) NCPR's Natural Selections team, Paul Smith's College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager and news director Martha Foley took calls from listeners about the natural world as the seasons change.Amazing things are happening out there.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/KD_JASU7DRQ/170412NatSelectionsCallin.mp3




The evolution of breathing

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 6, 2017) All creatures breathe in some fashion, but how the job gets done has changed from fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal. Curt Stager and Martha Foley chart the evolution of animal respiration.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/a521VnB61Dk/170406natselect.mp3




In the North Country, earthworms are an invasive species

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 30, 2017) Earthworms, friend to lawn and garden, are actually an invasive species in northern forests, which developed in the worm-free environment of retreating glaciers 10,000 years ago. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss their return, and the consequences for boreal soil, trees and wildflowers.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/3OAZg6FuEgA/170330natselect.mp3




Why are volcanic eruptions more common in winter?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 23, 2017) Database analysis shows that winter, in addition to its other woes, is volcano season. Martha Foley wonders why.Dr. Curt Stager points the finger at the Pacific Ocean, which piles water on the North American coast and lightens the load on Asia. The stress comes out it crustal acne.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/FyRq4Gu3tGc/170323MFWhyarevolcanos.mp3




Restoring nature is a lot harder than leaving it alone

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 16, 2017) Trying to put nature back the way we found it can be more complicated than just leaving things alone. Dr. Curt Stager talks with Martha Foley about attempts to restore "green tree reservoirs," flood-plain forests that have been reduced 80 percent in size by human encroachment.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/DvqzyqDK0u0/170316natselect.mp3