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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
 



"Spying" jays and wren "lullabies"

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 16, 2017) Bird songs do more just decorate the air. Dr. Curt Stager talks with Martha Foley about Eurasian jays, who "spy" on each other's sounds for clues on where they might be able to raid a little food, and about the fairy wren that teaches chicks still in the egg a "family song," preventing imposters in the nest.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/vaxPCfHex4A/170216natselect.mp3




Salt: you want it because it tastes good; it tastes good because you need it

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 9, 2017) Besides making our food taste better, sodium chloride (salt) is necessary for our bodies to function. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager whet their appetites on the science of salt.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/kkpigxpH_YI/natselect170209.mp3




Why do we crave salt?

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 2, 2017) It's a delicious flavor, for humans and deer alike, but it's also so much more. There's just something special about salt, a naturally occurring mineral that humans and many animals crave. Found naturally in its crystalline solid form, sea water and rock deposits left behind by ancient oceans, this chemical compound is among those that many of our cells need to survive.Conversation with Martha Foley and Curt Stager gets a little salty.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/t7vKJW5sFVw/170202natselect.mp3




Carbon in the body, carbon in the air

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 26, 2017) Martha Foley talks with Dr. Curt Stager about how carbon cycles through the atmosphere and the bodies of all living things - why we need it to live, and how it also threatens the planet.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/LulQEsUkTx8/170126naturalselections.mp3




No nitrogen, no food, no life

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 19, 2017) Our atmosphere is about 80 percent nitrogen. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager explore the ways this common element and necessary component of all life forms interacts with the biosphere.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/vlSPyMk4YGo/130613natselect.mp3




Cliff swallows grow smaller wings to dodge cars

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 12, 2017) Researchers have found that variations in the wingspan of cliff swallows has a measurable impact on their survival in a human-dominated environment. In this week's Natural Selections, Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss how cliff swallows living in a high traffic area have adapted to survive the conditions.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/zQTshyujGBg/170112natselect.mp3




Bumblebees and "flower power"

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 5, 2017) Static electricity plays a role in getting pollen to come loose from the blossom and to stick to the pollinator. According to a recent study using petunias and bumblebees, British researchers observed that the flowers increase their electrical charge in response to the presence of pollinating insects.The charge peaks in intensity just before the potential pollinator begins feeding on nectar, and decreases after they go away.Martha Foley and naturalist Curt Stager discuss this unique example of "flower power."(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/HKubEbmUVCM/170105natselect.mp3




Flowers entice bees with nectar, and a little caffeine

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Dec 29, 2016) Plants have many strategies for manipulating animals to do their bidding. Some flowers focus the attention of their pollinators with a familiar pick-me-up: caffeine. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the natural world.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/0sN73eLlKVI/161208natselect.mp3




Cryoseisms and other ominous sounds of ice

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Dec 22, 2016) One of the features of a hard winter can be loud spooky booming noises. These may be cryoseisms or "icequakes," caused when masses of ice expand and contract until they reach a breaking point. The sound signals the release of large amounts of energy.Lake ice can also make alarming noises; some expert skaters can accurately estimate the thickness of the ice from the pitch of the noise.Ice expansion within trees and within homes can also add to winter jitters. Martha Foley and Curt Stager listen to the winter.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/c_b9UbU-Iow/161222natselectc.mp3




How ice evolves over time

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Dec 15, 2016) Fresh ice, sometimes called black ice, can be nice and clear and great for skating, but after a while ice gets kind of funky. Freezes and thaws and snowfalls take their toll on ice, creating white ice, which contains a lot of trapped air and gases.Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about the evolution of ice over the season.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/B5soSF5Tqk4/161215natselect.mp3




Spiders cast a wide variety of nets

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Dec 1, 2016) Spiders from big to tiny use their webs to snag and trap prey in fascinating ways. One spider even reels in tiny gnats that come to "roost" on the web. The silky constructions are wonders of engineering and construction. They're also highly specialized, spider to spider. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about spiders and the tangled webs they weave.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/ryrqaAMLxv4/nats161201.mp3




If a porcupine climbs a tree, don't stand directly underneath

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Nov 24, 2016) Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about porcupines: why (and how) they climb trees and why it can be a dangerous job. Plus, what to do when one lives under (and gnaws on) your porch.Get up close, but not too close, to porcupines.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/zEsUWeEFqv0/Natural_Selections_20161124.mp3




Natural Selections: Fungus and forest

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Nov 17, 2016) Tall trees may be the kings of the forest, but there is another kingdom of forest life that passes unnoticed. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about the arboreal network of fungus.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/3aiE0xn99YU/161117natselect.mp3




The violent effects of slow continental drift

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

(Nov 10, 2016) The theory of continental drift, the idea that the continents are islands of rock adrift on the earth's molten core, first gained acceptance in the 1960s. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about the consequences of their extreme slow motion collisions - earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/0NxLFbgBr1c/nats161110.mp3




Leaf cutter ants are fungus farmers

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Nov 3, 2016) Why do leaf cutter ants cut leaves? Nesting material, food? As Martha Foley and Curt Stager explain, these ants are composting. What they actually eat grows on the rotting leaves.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/TtKRssv_q-E/NaturalSelections20130411.mp3




Ancient "bones" of the Adirondacks

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Oct 27, 2016) "Old as the hills" is a relative term. The Adirondacks may be relatively young mountains, but their distinctive grey granite, anorthosite, originated 1.1 billion ago, so deep in the earth's crust that only continental collision could have formed it. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss Adirondack geology.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/YfzJzYgv8HQ/161027natselect.mp3




Natural Selections: The Treeline

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Oct 20, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about the timberline, the usually abrupt termination of forest growth above a certain altitude. While it results from a combination of unfavorable factors, the final straw seems to be the length of time free of hard frost. When the growing season is too short to overcome damage from the harsh climate, the trees die out.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/D30Gt-Fw2_k/Natural_Selection_Tree_line_20130221.mp3




Natural Selections: Solar Weather

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Oct 13, 2016) Solar weather does more than create light shows at polar latitudes. When the sun acts up, the effects can range from communications interference on earth to lethal doses of radiation for unprotected astronauts. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about heavenly weather.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/qlU9GNs3c7c/nats070104.mp3




Sunfish - is that a pumpkinseed or a bluegill?

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Oct 6, 2016) A common sight is fresh water shallows, sunfish provide an excellent opportunity to observe fish behavior. Dr. Curt Stager talks with Martha Foley about the two main varieties, the pumpkinseed and the bluegill. It may be hard to tell one from another, unless of course, you're a sunfish.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/RVAxSl4H6UM/nats161006.mp3




Why were mammals so mammoth during the last Ice Age?

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Sep 29, 2016) During the last Ice Age North America was home to many varieties of "super-sized" mammals, megafauna. Giant beaver, 'possums, bears, sloths and other creatures joined the more familiar wooly mammoth in the land bridge migration. Dr Curt Stager and Martha Foley look at the question, "Why so big?"(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/LuTjxuw_nok/160929natselect.mp3




Crab spiders can be good or bad for flowers, depending on the season

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Sep 22, 2016) Crab spiders are small, camouflaged arachnids that drink nectar from flowers. They indirectly affect the pollination of flowers by eating different insects at different times of year. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss these "freeloaders."(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/MTOV7j5vshI/160922natselect.mp3




Mole diversity: starry noses and hairy tails

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Sep 15, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk more about three different types of moles that inhabit the region, and their habits. The Eastern American mole and the hairy-tailed mole prefer dryer soils and consume up to half their weight a day in worms and grubs. Their star-nosed cousin prefers a wetter environment.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/SitUPQwjJCE/nats160915.mp3




Moles: tiny sharks "swimming" under your lawn

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Sep 8, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager reveal some interesting facts about the insectivores that tear up your lawn every year - moles.The star-nosed mole, one of three species in the region, is semi-aquatic, but all varieties are lightning-fast foragers.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/qzIKAwPmVz8/160908natselect.mp3




Ginkgo trees, one species from the age of dinosaurs

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Sep 1, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr Curt Stager talk about the ginkgo tree, an ancient species native to China. They do not spread naturally anymore, but during the time of the dinosaurs there were many types of ginkgo tree all over the world.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/nUpYC7I6dGg/160901natselect.mp3




Helpful fungi lurk inside some plants

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 25, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr Curt Stager discuss fungal lurkers - fungi that live inside plants. Fungal lurkers are a new discovery and scientists believe that this type of fungus helps the plant it lives on but may harm animals and people.(image)


Media Files:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ncpr/naturalselections/~5/YwEa6v0A_GY/160825natselect.mp3