Friday, October 30, 2009

Our pals, the pigments

On the October 21st show, we learned about why leaves change color during the fall in a temperate deciduous forest. Leaves are important sites of photosynthesis during the spring and summer months. The light-absorbing pigment, chlorophyll, gives leaves their green color. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter in part because there is less water available for photosynthesis during the winter because of freezing temperatures. As the leaves senesce, the green pigment cholorphyll is broken down for its nitrogen, thus revealing accessory pigments such as carotenoids (oranges and yellows). Red is also often revealed, although these pigments (i.e. anthocyanins) are thought by some to be produced during the chlorophyll breakdown in order to protect tissues against the harmful rays of the sun - just like sunscreen!  It has also been proposed that red colors may help make plants less susceptible to attack by insects.

As for the news...

For the animal sound quiz, we heard from some bird species that spend their winters in the southeast United States, including the Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet (pictured right), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Dark-eyed Junco, and White-throated Sparrow.

Music featured included The Twilight Sad, Azure Ray, Vivaldi, Olivia Tremor Control, Can, Radiohead, Joan Baez, Talking Heads and more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whales do the darndest things!

Check out what these Beluga Whales can do!!! Make sure you watch long enough to see the bubble rings. Want to know more about how and why cetaceans blow rings? Read this article from Scientific American!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Animal Bands

On the September 30th show, I featured bands that love the Kingdom Animalia so much that they decided to make animals their namesake. We heard from the likes of Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Cat Stevens, Fruit Bats, Cat Power, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Bonobo, Deerhoof, The Mountain Goats, and The Toadies. Some of you may be thinking... hmmm... I wonder why that list is so disproportionately Class Mammalia! Well, so did I. Perhaps in future shows I will do a catalog search to come up with some bands whose names reflect Class Insecta or Aves... or maybe Subphylum Chelicerata? You can be assured that I will be doing more shows in which I focus on the music because I had a blast playing these tunes. Hope you enjoy them!

As for the news, we learned that:
It was an unconventional show, but a lot of fun. Check out the animal bands!

UPDATE: The following week, I did another animal bands show because I had so much fun with this one. Click here for the October 7th podcast.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Turn down that racket!

Inspiration for the September 23rd show came from the noise of the motorcycles that roared into Fayetteville for Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue - an annual motorcycle rally in Northwest Arkansas.  I featured stories about noise pollution and its effects on wildlife... particularly that associated with roads.  But it's not just automobile traffic that messes with wildlife... sonar used by seafaring vessels has been shown to wreak havoc on the navigation and health of marine mammals such as dolphins and whales.

Some interesting things were in the news...

Artists featured included: Mariee Sioux, Cake, The Pixies, Sufjan Stevens, Beck, Mylo, Islands, Ted Leo, Brian Eno, Grand National, The Mountain Goats, and America.