Have you ever wondered why dogs and humans reproduce very differently? Why their litter is so big, often up to 7-8 pups while humans rarely give birth to more than 1 child at a time? Well, there is a reason for it, and it has to do with the rate of mortality or death the […]Read More R-strategists, K-strategists and Survivorship curves: The reproductive adaptations of different organisms
When India was a newly formed country, just free from the clutches of the British Raj, decisions had to be made about what animals would be the symbol of our country. The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) was a strong contender for being claimed as the National Bird of India. But, considering a possible national embarrassment […]Read More Great Indian Bustard: The bird that “almost” became our national bird
The populations of different species in an ecosystem is an important parameter of that ecosystem. It determines how long the ecosystem can survive, how stable it can remain in times of environmental stresses and how many different species it can support within it. If the population becomes too much, then the ecosystem will collapse as […]Read More The top-down vs bottom-up approach in an ecosystem
Evolution, driven by “survival of the fittest”, allows the best, most suited organisms to survive in an environment. These organisms are “fit” and survive because of a behavioral or physical trait that makes them superior to other competing individuals or species. But what does being “fit” really mean? Is it just about being the best […]Read More How evolution drives niche development in ecosystems
At school, I’m sure every child was once fascinated by the knowledge that the rings on a tree trunk can tell it’s age. The very fact that the age of a tree can be recorded this way used to be unreal, and to actually count the rings of a cut tree and figuring out the […]Read More What can tree rings can tell about forest fires?
Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks are two of the most common forms of conservation and protection of wildlife. In India, there are 103 National Parks (with a few proposed) and 537 wildlife sanctuaries (source), out of a total of 733 protected areas. While both serve the purpose of protection of wildlife, there are some key […]Read More Wildlife Sanctuary vs National Park
Autumn has just passed us by. Every autumn, we see a spectacle of colors all around us. In most temperate regions, leaves change into many different colors. Then, they fall off. The only irritating thing about autumn is the fallen leaves. It can clog up drains, create a mess in our gardens and roads, and […]Read More Ever wondered what happens when you sweep fallen leaves?
(This is the third post in the “feedback loops” series) Ever used a bad eraser in your life? One that has been used so much that it’s become completely black? What happens when you erase something with that eraser? Instead of cleanly removing everything you have written on the page, it just makes your page […]Read More Positive feedback loops: Creating more of what’s already there!
When you are staring at 60% of the coral reefs being bleached, and a 40% loss in coral reefs all over the world, as a scientist, you cannot just sit there and take it. Tens of scientists all around the world are working tirelessly to ensure that the reefs have a way to cope up […]Read More Coral bleaching: Is there a way corals can recover?
Have you ever wondered why floodplains host such a variety of life? Why fishes tend to congregate in estuaries for spawning? Why humans have thrived for so long along floodplains? In nature ecosystems transition from one to another gradually as well as abruptly. I have gone into detail about the gradual transition of ecosystems in Across a gradient: […]Read More Ecotones and edges: Explaining abrupt changes in ecosystems