Intellectual death by a thousand cuts

My business is thinking. Let me be a little less succinct. My profession as a Professor of Biology is my passion, and I am fortunate enough to be paid to think about how the natural world works and to come up with possible solutions to global problems. I was trained to do this and my past training (all 11 years) and my current salary are paid by taxpayers to do this. This all seems rather…

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Life isn’t all Rainbows and Butterflies…

Guest post by Carolyn Thickett, MSc. Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughLife isn't all Rainbows and Butterflies...… especially in an age of extreme habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasions by alien species and climate change. All of these pressures are contributing to the dramatic decline of insects currently being observed all around the world.In Canada, the general public is responding by trying to contribute their time and knowledge in any way that they can. Citizen Science…

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Amphibian Chytrid Crisis: A Deep Dive into a Deadly Disease

Guest post by Tristan Williams, MEnvSc Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughWe currently live in an era of mass extinction, where many species around the world are at high risk of being lost forever, and among these species, amphibians are at much higher risk of extinction than any other (Wake and Vrendenburg, 2008). This comes from a combination of many factors, including climate change, habitat destruction and human land use, the presence of invasive species,…

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Holiday caRd 2018!

I had a busy year, and it completely slipped my mind that I usually do a caRd for the blog! So it's a little late, but hopefully provides a little end of year cheeR ;-)A short warning: I've stopped trying to make these compatible with RStudio. I know that RStudio is very popular, but I struggle to get its internal plotting device to update iteratively to make an animation (despite trying various things, like while()…

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Into the Eye of the Elephant Storm: Poaching in Africa’s Last Great Elephant Refuge

Guest post by Adam Byers, MEnvSc Candidate at the University of Toronto-ScarboroughIt’s hard to put into words the feeling you get gazing up into the gentle, intelligent eyes of a 5-tonne African elephant. But that’s exactly where I found myself six months ago, deep within the borders of Botswana’s Chobe National Park.Two members of a small bachelor herd in Chobe National Park, BotswanaI was nearing the end of a camping safari across the grasslands of…

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Un-BEE-lievable: The Buzz on Native Bee Conservation in Canada

Guest post by University of Toronto-Scarborough MEnvSc Candidate Rachel SiblockUnless you’ve been living under a rock (much like native mining bees in Canada), you’ve probably seen the numerous campaigns to “Save the Bees”. Bee species across the globe are in decline. There are many factors that contribute to this decline, such as pesticide use, colony collapse, disease, habitat loss, and climate change1. Many of these factors interact with one another, exacerbating the consequences and impacts.…

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Floral diversity increases bee abundance and diversity

*This is a guest post by Aswini Kuruparan- student in my 'Causes and Consequences of Biodiversity' course. Bees are amongst the most crucial pollinators in the world and are critical for the success of our food crops. In fact, bees and other pollinators are responsible for the pollination of 87% of all flowering plant species (Lerman, 2018). However, due to the changes that humans have imposed on the environment through land use and agricultural practices,…

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Tea Time with Amazigh People

Guest post by University of Toronto-Scarborough MEnvSc Candidate Erin Jankovich “How do they survive?” This is the question I kept asking myself over and over as I sat sipping my mint tea on the clay floor of an Amazigh cave in the Moroccan mountains. Their faces, hands, tea-kettle and even my cup were layered with dirt and soot. Outside, prevailing winds dusted the lonely peaks of the High Atlas with orange silt. I never expected to…

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Florida’s coastal nightmare

*This is a guest post by Katherine Datuin- student in my 'Causes & Consequences of Biodiversity' course.  Imagine going on vacation to beautiful, warm Florida just to find entire beaches strewn with the rotting remains of hundreds of fish, sea turtles and manatees. This is unfortunately not a nightmare, but a current reality for the residents of southwestern Florida, and it has been this way for almost a year now. What causing all this? This…

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Losing the rainforest of the sea: Coral reef decline and loss of future ecosystem benefits and services

*This is a guest post by Karuna Sehgal - student in my 'Causes & Consequences of Biodiversity' course.  The past three decades of human activity has altered the earth in more ways than one. The Earth is losing species, ecosystems and biodiversity because of warming climates, among other factors. Coral reefs, in particular, are greatly impacted by the rise of global surface temperatures. Coral Reefs throughout tropical and sub-tropical oceans are under tremendous heat stress…

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