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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: ℗ & © 2016, NCPR - North Country Public Radio

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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What is a flame?

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 18, 2016) What is a flame? Why is it shaped like that? How does it keep going? Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager answer some burning questions about rapid oxidation.(image)

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Glitches? Could be gremlins, could be cosmic rays

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 11, 2016) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss cosmic rays. While many people may think cosmic rays only affect astronauts or satellites - objects in space - computers and other electronic equipment on Earth can be affected, too.(image)

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Camels: the whole body is the canteen, the hump is trail mix

Thu, 04 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Aug 4, 2016) Do camels really store water in their humps? Well, not really. And they aren't native to the deserts of the Middle East and Asia, either. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the different ways camel physiology adapts them to survive in desert conditions, and where this family of mammals originated.(image)

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Is that a plant, or what?

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 28, 2016) Mushrooms grow out of the soil like plants, but are fungi. Lichens may look leafy, but they are symbiotic colonies of fungi and algae. Seaweed looks like a plant, but is an algae colony. And Indian Pipe looks like a fungi, but is a plant. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the ins and outs of botany.(image)

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Natural Selections: Three things about squids

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 21, 2016) Squids are ten-tentacled cephalopod cousins to the octopus. They are remarkable in many ways, but three features stand out for Dr. Curt Stager, who fills in the details with Martha Foley: the way they propel themselves through the water, and the air, their amazing use of changing color, and their unique methods of self defense.(image)

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Why is the sky blue?, take 2

Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 14, 2016) Dr. Curt Stager tries once again to answer the classic child's question. It is a poser that was worthy of Einstein's time, who eventually came up with the best answer. But it's complicated. And when the sky isn't blue, why not? What's up with that? Martha Foley wants to know.(image)

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Did a dinosaur drink my water?

Thu, 07 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jul 7, 2016) In an earlier conversation on the natural world, Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talked about the longevity of atoms, and how atoms within our body may have once been in the bodies of dinosaurs. But the question remains, is that true of water? How old is it, really?(image)

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When evolution goes wrong

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 30, 2016) Not all evolutionary change is good. Genetic changes can be neutral or harmful, as well as beneficial. And some change can be both, conferring benefit when a single copy of a gene is present, and causing a life-threatening disease when copies are inherited from both parents. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager roll the dice on evolution.(image)

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Alternation of generations makes for strange botany

Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 23, 2016) What if dogs gave birth to kittens, and those kittens grew up to have puppies? That's similar to what some species, such as haircap moss, do. Each alternate generation has a different form and function. Dr Curt Stager and Martha Foley explore the biological oddity "alternation of generations."(image)

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Long necks, dark water: lake monsters

Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400

(Jun 16, 2016) Dr. Curt Stager is back from a conference in Scotland where one of the topics was the possibility of lake monsters such as the famous denizen of Loch Ness, or Lake Champlain's Champy. Could the commonly reportedly long-necked monsters be plesiosaurs, left over from the Jurassic era? Probably not.(image)

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