News

It takes a village: with camera and determination, Riehl studies communal nesting in birds
Dec. 14, 2015

Christina Riehl, a Princeton University assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was, as a Princeton graduate student, the first to study and document the extraordinary breeding and nesting behavior of the greater ani bird species. This fall, Riehl returned to Princeton to explore the reproductive costs and benefits of group…

Theory of ‘smart’ plants may explain the evolution of global ecosystems
Dec. 1, 2015

It’s easy to think of plants as passive features of their environments, doing as the land prescribes, serving as a backdrop to the bustling animal kingdom.

But what if the ecosystems of the world take their various forms because plant “decisions” make them that way? A new theory…

Understanding animal coexistence with a little dung and a lot of DNA
Oct. 26, 2015

Africa’s abundant and iconic wildlife provides seemingly endless wonderment. For ecologists, that has extended to the persistent riddle of how the African savanna’s diverse population of herbivores — from elephants and zebras to impalas and buffalo — survive on what appears to be limited food sources: mostly grasses or mostly trees.

Africa’s poison ‘apple’ provides common ground for saving elephants, raising livestock
June 23, 2014

While African wildlife often run afoul of ranchers and pastoralists securing food and water resources for their animals, the interests of fauna and farmer might finally be unified by the “Sodom apple,” a toxic invasive plant that has overrun vast swaths of East African savanna and pastureland.

Animating science: Student videos explain ecological challenges
March 17, 2014

Students in Robert Pringle's undergraduate Ecology and Evolutionary Biology course had a chance to try conveying science to a broad audience in a way that is understandable, accurate and entertaining -- by creating animated short videos that focused on a wide variety of ecological challenges.

Video feature: Art of Science 2013 celebrates the ‘unpredictability of beauty’
July 29, 2013

The Art of Science 2013 exhibit in the Friend Center on the Princeton University campus consists of 43 images of artistic merit created during the course of scientific research. The works, part of a recurring show now in its sixth iteration, were chosen from 170…

Morning meal
May 26, 2013

Tropical rain forests have been called the "jewels of the earth" due to the rich diversity found in their flora and fauna. La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica is a preserve where scientists conduct research on the rain forest's role in world ecology. Ants of many species enjoy nectar produced by Inga thibaudiana, a relatively small tree…

Photosynthetic Neighborhoods
May 26, 2013

Leaves carry out photosynthesis in clusters of cells locally serviced by end-units of pipes that deliver water and take away sugar. The cells must be within diffusion distance of pores to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Diffusion may set an upper limit on the size of an efficient cluster, and quasi-fractal branching of pipelines may set a…