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Greene View

RESEARCH REFLECTIONS FROM HARRY W. GREENE

Research Curation

I’ll be curating this new offering, putting up a paper every month or so, with the goal of making available primary literature that reports surprising new discoveries about organisms and the places they live. Insofar as possible, I’ll include a link to the original article, a downloadable pdf of it, or an email address to which one can write for it—most authors are eager to share their findings and happy to provide pdf’s.

I’ll also provide a short account of my take on each featured work.

Of course, I welcome feedback, including suggestions of papers to feature here in the future: email me at hwg5@cornell.edu.

Discovery of the world’s highest-dwelling mammal

Discovery of the world’s highest-dwelling mammal

This posting highlights a spectacular discovery, recently reported in one of the world’s most prestigious periodicals. Back in 2005, concerned about dwindling support for natural history, I noted that “Theories summarize science, tell us what to measure when we test hypotheses, and help us study nature better. Nevertheless, organisms themselves embody genetics, development, morphology,...

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The power of community science to quantify ecological interactions in cities

The power of community science to quantify ecological interactions in cities

Organisms and their natural history—learning what they do out there, imagining what it’s like to be them—often are at the core of why a scientific paper is interesting. As a teenager marooned in Missouri, I was introduced to Texas Alligator Lizards by reading a book about amphibians and reptiles. It was love at first sight, and later field encounters with that and several related species...

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Relentless predation on Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) by a single American badger (Taxidea taxus)

Relentless predation on Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) by a single American badger (Taxidea taxus)

If snakes are my favorite vertebrates, weasels (Mustelidae), the most snake-like of all mammals, includes some mighty close contenders. Mustelids range in size from Least Weasels (body mass ~250 g) to Sea Otters (up to ~50 kg) and, despite habitats as diverse as boreal forests and marine kelp beds, generally resemble each other in having elongate bodies and tails, but not especially prominent...

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Seed Ingestion and Germination In Rattlesnakes: Overlooked Agents Of Rescue And Secondary Dispersal

Seed Ingestion and Germination In Rattlesnakes: Overlooked Agents Of Rescue And Secondary Dispersal

This first offering is unabashedly personal and there’s backstory. I began opening stomachs of snakes preserved in museums in the early 1970s, for my master’s thesis on the feeding biology of venomous coralsnakes. Since then I have examined thousands of specimens of hundreds of species, from all over the world. Accordingly, when my then Berkeley graduate student Randy Reiserer set out to learn...

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Meet Harry Greene

Harry W. Greene is emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, author of Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature and Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art, and a member of the NHI Scientific Advisory Council.

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