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So far Hoot has created 65 blog entries.

How Climate Change Makes Poison Ivy Stronger

Climate change isn’t just warming the oceans and endangering polar bears.

It’s also breeding larger, more toxic poisonous plants. 

Plants basically need three things to grow: sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. For millions of years, the supply of each of these ingredients remained relatively steady. Then came the Industrial Revolution, and people started burning fossil fuels to power their factories and vehicles, and heat and cool their homes. Today, there is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than at any other time in human history.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture wanted to see how this atmospheric disturbance affected plant health. In the depths of Duke Forest, they planted giant rings of PVC pipes, which rose out of the forest floor all the way up to the top of the tree canopies. Through holes in the pipes, the scientists released either copious amounts of carbon dioxide or equivalent rations of ambient air. 

After six years, they found that poison ivy grew 149 percent faster in the presence of elevated levels of the greenhouse gas than it did under normal conditions. Not only did the supercharged plants grow larger, but they also produced more urushiol, the compound responsible for its characteristic itchy rash.

Follow-up studies have shown that the nasty weed’s growth and potency have doubled over the last fifty years.

That’s particularly bad news for […]

By |July 26th, 2017|Climate Change|0 Comments

Coral Bleaching, or, how to drown a marine animal

Coral = tiny, tentacled animals called “polyps” (with a crunchy outer shell!) + algae. They’re ancient!

In addition to giving corals their stylish colors, those algae turn coral wastes into oxygen, sugars, and other important things that keep our waters in check. In turn, corals provide the algae with homes and steady incomes of nutrients.

They’re kind of a big deal.

Even though they cover only 0.1% of earth’s surface, corals harbor at least 25% of known marine creatures. Plus, reef structures provide a barrier that protect our beaches from storms and erosion.

And they can get a little stressed out.

Temperature, light, and food changes all give corals the willies. When they get frazzled, they spit out their colorful algae friends, and they turn white.

A recent study in the Mediterranean shows an 80% decline in coral reef cover. Without their internal food factories, corals get pretty hungry.

Two changes that can cause corals to majorly freak?

  1. Higher or lower temperature, and plummeting water pH because of increasing levels of CO2 in the ocean from greenhouse gases. Climate change.
  2. Sea-level rise, declining water quality, and overexploitation of key reef-loving species can also whitewash our waters. When corals bleach, many species find themselves out of their homes.

They’re still around, for now. We have a little time to help make things right. Figure out how to alter our greenhouse gas output. Protect reefs from over-fishing and trawling damage. We can help keep these underwater creatures from drowning.

 


 

Written by Roar.

Illustrated by Allison […]

By |April 6th, 2017|Climate Change|0 Comments

The final 2017 winner!

And our last winning submission for this year’s Taxonomy Day Pun Contest! The pun’s by @phishdoc!

 

Special thanks again to our expert judges for picking the punniest puns this year! Their job was a tough one. The competition was steep!

Our judges:

James Hutson (@jameshutson) is a visual science communications specialist who explains all manner of things with award-winning, animated and narrated explainer videos, illustrations and infographics (jameshutson.net).

Christine Nishiyama (@might_could) is an illustrator and writer working out of Atlanta. She lends her approachable, charming style to picture books, graphic novels, and comics. She also writes essays and teaches courses to help other creatives tell their own stories, and encourage everyone to make more art (mightcouldstudios.com).

Hoot, graphic designer (@sarahblackmonlips)

By |March 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pun contest, day 4…another winner!

Today’s winning submission by @oberrated explains why we’ve been hearing “Free Bird” trickling through salmon-packed babbling brooks and streams. #SciArt by Hoot (@sarahblackmonlips)!

Save

By |March 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Our third winner!

Today’s pun was submitted by @manila_folder, who by all reports is a fun-gi.

By |March 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Announcing the winners of the 2017 #TaxonomyPun contest!

Happy week of Taxonomist Appreciation Day! Years ago, California State University Dominguez Hills’s  Associate Professor of Biology Terry McGlynn minted the day to call attention to the extraordinary and often-overlooked services taxonomists provide to all of us. Buzz Hoot Roar honors our systematists and taxonomists with a pun competition. This year, we had dozens of top rate punsters and some of our all-time favorite puns. We were tickled pink to have the great artists James Hutson and Christine Nishiyama, as well as our own artsy Sarah Blackmon Lips judge the puns (learn more about them below).

Without further ado, here’s our first winner. Pun illustrated by Roar.

Way to go, @LinguoMalkavian!

Our judges:

James Hutson (@jameshutson) is a visual science communications specialist who explains all manner of things with award-winning, animated and narrated explainer videos, illustrations and infographics (jameshutson.net).

Christine Nishiyama (@might_could) is an illustrator and writer working out of Atlanta. She lends her approachable, charming style to picture books, graphic novels, and comics. She also writes essays and teaches courses to help other creatives tell their own stories, and encourage everyone to make more art (mightcouldstudios.com).

Hoot, graphic designer (@sarahblackmonlips)

Stay tuned for another winner each day this week!

By |March 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Attention! Attention! Pun Contest!

In honor of our great appreciation for those who love to order, classify, categorize, group, arrange, grade and rank (and just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day), Buzz Hoot Roar is proud to announce its fourth annual pun contest.

Check out one of last year’s winners:

Pun by Emily Dangremond, @Docta_Danger. Illustration by Buzz, @verdantrobin.

Here’s how it works:

1. Tweet us your best taxonomy-related pun by Friday, March 10.

2. Our celebrity judges will select five favorites.

3. Winners will receive: their puns illustrated on Buzz Hoot Roar’s blog, a set of printed greeting cards to share with the taxonomists in their lives, and a BHR super-soft T-shirt.

Let the witticisms begin!

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By |March 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Overdressed for the Party: How Climate Change is Bad News for Snowshoe Hares

Snowshoe hares, on trend with arctic fashion, have snow-white winter coats they shed in favor of sleek, earthy brown duds in warmer months.

This luxurious look blends with their locale, keeping them safe from predators like stoats and foxes.

As the earth warms, we’re seeing fewer snowy days each year. The snow melts earlier and arrives later. Models predict that 50 years from now in Montana—one place snowshoe hares hop—there will be 20 fewer snow days each year than today. Snowshoe hares use day length, not temperature, to determine when to molt. Until recently, this trusty strategy was a more reliable indicator of seasonal flux. Now, however, snowshoe hares find themselves overdressed for the party.

But snowshoe hares don’t know they’re overdressed. They think they’re camouflaged and still practice their now not-so-sneaky “you can’t see me!” sit-and-hide strategy, making them easy pickings for hungry hare hunters. They have a 7 percent higher chance of being eaten, which might or might not sound like a lot, but, according to Scott Mills, NC State University professor of wildlife population ecology, “at this rate, given what we know, we can predict that hares will severely decline by the end of this century.”

Hares might be able to hop out of this pickle. They could learn to run and hide, or they could start changing their coats earlier and wearing their brown coats longer, thanks to natural selection.

Snowshoes aren’t the only creatures suffering a fashion faux pas. At least 14 arctic species change coats with the seasons.

Check our facts!

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1782/20140029.short

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/18/7360.short

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12568/full

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Written by Roar. Illustrated by Leia K.
Leia K. […]

By |February 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How Climate Change Puts Fish on a Diet

If humans continue to emit greenhouse gases at their current rate, catch at ocean fisheries may decline 20-50 percent by the end of the decade. (That’s 2-5 percent per decade.) JoAnna Wendel, science journalist and illustrator in Washington, D.C., caught up with Phoebe Woodworth-Jefcoats from NOAA to explain why.

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In a warmer environment, fish metabolism rises, which means they need to eat more. But in these warmer waters, there’s less to eat.


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In the North Pacific, there’s a huge, natural vortex of wind and warm water swirling clockwise. Because of warm temperatures, nutrient-rich water from below doesn’t get mixed in with surface water, which means zooplankton can’t live there.


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If there are fewer zooplankton, that means less food.

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The material for this comic was inspired by a presentation by Phoebe Woodworth-Jefcoats at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, LA, earlier this year. Woodworth-Jefcoats is a research oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.  She studies the open ocean ecosystem in the central North Pacific.  Her work focuses on how this ecosystem is impacted by factors such as fishing and climate change.

Written and illustrated by JoAnna Wendel, a science journalist in Washington, D.C., covering Earth and space science for eos.org, the news magazine of the American Geophysical Union. She also likes to dabble in science comics covering all topics of science. You can follow her on Twitter at @JoAnnaScience and check out some of her Earth and space science […]

By |August 31st, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Talk to Your Parents About Climate Change

Editor’s note: When Buzz, Hoot, and Roar are out and about, we often get asked how to tell “nonbelievers” about climate change. That’s not an easy question. Climate change is a complicated issue with many answers. When we read news of unprecedented amounts of bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef or extreme polar ice melting, climate change can seem abstract and distant. Buzz, Hoot, and Roar have each attempted to explain the causes and impacts of climate change to friends, parents who’re enjoying our pleasant-weather winter, grandparents, random people on the bus, dogs, etc., sometimes with little success, and many times with all of us ending up confused and bewildered. So here we have a mission.

We asked Aranzazu Lascurain, who explains climate change for a living, to give us some simple talking points. Over the next several months, we’re going to provide you with examples of how the world around us is affected by climate change right now. We hope you can use these specific examples to help paint a broader picture for people who might be interested in how climate change affects them. We’ve enlisted some of our favorite artists to help us impart fascinating work by top-notch researchers. The story we’re sharing is sometimes frightening but not entirely hopeless. Here, Aranzazu shares with us Susan Hassol of Climate Communication’s five top talking points when talking about climate change.

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Check our facts!

It’s real: 1 http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2016/0420/Nice-weather-eases-Americans-climate-change-worries  http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

Scientists agree: 2 http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.short

It’s us: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/abs/nature06937.html  4 https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

It’s bad: 5 seasons are shifting 6 […]

By |June 29th, 2016|Other Science|0 Comments