They’re Eating WHAT? Understanding Ecosystems Through Weird Meals

A few days ago, while taking an unplanned distraction break on Facebook, I came across a video of an enormous coconut crab attacking a red-footed booby. The footage was captured by a biologist studying crab behavior in the Chagos Archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean. On this trip he had already confirmed that the monstrous crustaceans snacked on large rats, but he never expected to watch one devour a full bird.
This video sent me on a research journey into other interesting meals discovered by animal researchers. Besides providing sensational headlines about what’s eating what, these studies help us understand everything from nutrient exchange to learned behavior. I’ve compiled a short list of observations and discoveries made in the past few months where researchers have used weird meals to understand complex phenomena. Warning: this might get gruesome! Continue reading “They’re Eating WHAT? Understanding Ecosystems Through Weird Meals”

For Halloween: Top 10 Scariest Blogs from Promega Connections

We at Promega Connections have covered much that is weird and scary in science over the last few years. In honor of Halloween, celebrated in the United States on October 31, we summarize and link to the top 10 scariest blogs on Promega Connections.

  1. Zombie Ants This is a story of a parasitic fungus that infects ants, causing drastic changes in normal behaviors: the ants climb to astounding heights off the jungle floor (for an ant) and bite a leaf, triggering the growth of a fungal stalk and spore sac from their heads – ultimately killing the ant and enabling the spores to hitch a ride on the wind for better distribution.

Continue reading “For Halloween: Top 10 Scariest Blogs from Promega Connections”