First Episode of Naturistic on Horsetails

My old friend Hamilton Boyce and I started a new YouTube series called Naturistic. We’ve been talking about making some fun, artistic, and educational video content for years. Last time I was in Seattle we decided to just start shooting and see what happened. We walked around the green space behind Hamilton’s house looking for […]

Explaining Anomalies and Training Your Inner Naturalist

Patches of Earth with no plants are eye-catching. They stand out because the default, lucky for us, is that plants are everywhere, and if they’re absent it’s typically because of something obvious and dramatic. Perhaps a bolder, a concrete parking lot, a sand dune, or a riverbed. But if it’s not something like that, and […]

Backyard Biocontrol

I’ve been noticing that one of the plants in my backyard here in Orlando is getting totally mauled by insects. I didn’t know what this vine with heart-shaped leaves was, but I thought it looked like a wild yam species. The level of herbivory damage is often intense. Then Isa Betancourt (@isabetabug) on her bug-themed […]

Nature At Your Door

Shamrock and I are staying at some friends’ house in Orlando and this evening I saw Shamrock swatting at a long-winged insect fluttering outside the glass door. It erratically drifted up and down the glass attempting the reach the light inside and Shamrock tracked every move. Every now and then Shamrock shot a paw or two onto the […]


Here are all my favorite photos and videos from my recent trip to Iceland along with some ominous music I made: FacebookTwitterGoogle+

Close Encounters with Toxic Grasshoppers

Eastern lubber grasshoppers (Romalea microptera) are ridiculously photogenic. A combination of huge size, bright colors, and calm behavior makes them easy to find and photograph. The common name lubber comes from the old English word “lobre” meaning lazy or clumsy. If you guessed, based on behavior and coloration, that these are poisonous animals, you are correct. They accumulate toxic chemicals from the […]

Sumac Gall Aphids – Master Tricksters

I was walking around in a cemetery with a friend who spotted these strange balls on staghorn sumac leaves: I figured they were a galls, which are swellings in plants caused by parasitic fungi, bacteria, nematodes, or in most cases, insects and mites. It’s always fun to crack open galls to find out what is living […]

Colorful Symbioses

Lichen are a classic example of symbiosis. A fungus teams up with an algae or a cyanobacteria, the fungus use their digestive powers to extract nutrients from just about anything while also creating a nice home for the algae or cyanobacteria to turn sunlight into energy. They give and take, and together they can thrive in places where […]

Phenomenal Fen

Recently Chad Zirbel posted a photo of a stunning orange lily that I just had to see for myself. He directed me to a nearby high-quality prairie fen. This habitat is flooded with calcium-rich groundwater which selects for a unique community of plants, many of which are adapted to this specific habitat. The spongy peat and dense communities of […]

Marvelous Milkweed Herbivores

All plants are involved in an evolutionary battle with herbivores, where plants evolve various traits that deter herbivores and then herbivores evolve the ability to eat them again. This evolutionary struggle has raged on for over 400 millions years, contributing to the massive diversification of both plants and the wide range of herbivores that eat […]