The End-Permian Extinction occurred some 252 million years ago. It has been referred to as "the day the earth nearly died. It is estimated that the world lost up to 96% of all marine species, 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species, and 83% of all insect genera alive during that time. Life on this planet took much longer to rebound than at any other time in history. Though we know volcanism played a roll in this extinct, paleontologists have always been looking for a mechanism that could connect the two. Thanks to Jeff Benca and others, we now have an idea. In this episode we talk about how weakening of the ozone layer led to massive forest declines around the globe. This in turn had serious ramifications for the rest of the biosphere. This work not only fills a big gap in our prehistoric history, it tells an alarming tale for our future if we continue to disregard habitat destruction. This is one episode you don't want to miss. This episode was produced in part by Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, and Margie.
Trying to piece together an accurate picture of past ecosystems requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. That is why I am so amazed by the work of today's guest. Joining us is paleoecologist Dr. Jacquelyn Gill to talk about her work on ice age ecology. The clues she uses to tell the story of these systems are surprisingly small but incredibly useful. What's more, her work can help us better understand how ecosystems are going to change as man-made climate change rages on. This is one episode you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.
Being sessile organisms, plants have to be able to cope with changes in their environment in unique ways. One of the major challenges plants face is knowing when to flower. Whereas some species stick to steadfast schedules, others have evolved some flexibility to cope with their stochastic surroundings. Dr. Emily Austen is interested in the evolution and maintenance of flowering strategies. She is also undertaking a fascinating citizen science project involving trout lily pollen color. With spring well underway, this is a timely episode you won't want to miss.
Music by Moneycat
I have always thought of pollination as rather straight forward - a pollinator visits a plant, picks up pollen, and deposits that pollen on its next visit. As it turns out, it's not that simple. To find out more about the complexities of pollination, I called up Dr. Randy Mitchell from the University of Akron in Ohio. His research is going to blow your mind. What to us seems like the perfect mutualism turns out to be more like a dark alley transaction in which each party is trying to get as much from the other without giving too much in return. This episode was produced in part by Allan Pisula of Kinosha, Wisconsin.
Music by Moneycat