Your Body is a Microbial Archipelago

When Charles Darwin compared the beaks of his finch specimens from the Galapagos, he saw that each had been shaped differently by evolution, depending on the natural history of the island on which that finch made its home. Many evolutionary biologists see life through this natural history lens, and while they are right to declare […]

A Wolf Dies

“The Silver Lake Wolves” sounds like the title of a young adult novel, or possibly an indie rock band with lots of close harmony and beards. Actually, it was the name given by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to a small family of wolves […]

Snark Week: Sand, Sea, and Family-Oriented Flesh-Ripping Aliens

Some years back, in search of sunshine and sand, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I packed up the Bronco II and headed down to the Florida Keys (we love punishingly long and mind-numbing drives). We’d brought camping gear because we hadn’t booked anywhere to stay and, more important, we were dirt poor. The fee to […]

Bees Are Us

Early the other morning, I woke up to a strange humming noise. My first thought was the ceiling fan motor was petering out, but it turned out the sound was coming from outside. So I stepped out onto my little balcony for a look, and listen. The hum hummed louder. It took a minute before […]

Of Time and Turtles

On Tuesday two people who I met a few years ago posted similar pictures. One still lives in the town of Kiruna, north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, where I briefly lived; the other, last I heard, had moved even farther north, to somewhere in the Norwegian wilds. Each posted a picture showing the […]

Secret Satans: Biology

For the holiday season, we here at LWON discussed a series of Secret Santa posts: we would assign one another posts about our own areas of specialization so, say, archeology might be assigned to an eco-writer.  Fear erupted. What if I get biology? What if I get physics? Count me out!  Then we realized: we could confront […]


When Iben Hove Sørensen flew to Ghana for her work with Dansk Ornitologisk Forening, a partner of BirdLife International, she couldn’t help but think about the birds. The passerines that she was headed south to study follow a similar course that her plane took to their wintering grounds–over the Mediterranean, sometimes through cloud-choked skies, for […]

Fatherhood: Trying to Raise a Tomboy Princess

A while back, I was giving my three-year-old daughter, Brynn, a bath when she laid back in the tub and announced, “Look, Daddy, I’m a princess!” When I asked what that meant, she replied that it was her job to just lounge around until some prince (any prince would do) came along to save her. […]