Episode 23: Zombies!

…well we’re not talking about normal zombies. For our first episode as a one year old podcast (and for halloween), we are talking about insects and how their relationships with parasitic organisms turn them into zombies.

Most notably, we talk about the cordyceps fungus that highjacks the ants and other insects forcing them to climb into the canopy where their last deed is to clamp their mouthparts tightly onto a leaf or branch. It is there that they finally die and the fruiting body of the fungus bursts from their head. This fungus then releases its spores into the forest to infect the next unsuspecting vicim.

After this, we move on to some other crazy parasites that take over their hosts brain to make them into bodyguards, lure them into their lair, and generally make it easier for the parasite to reproduce and create more zombies. There won’t be much mindless moaning or the usual brain eating, but these stories are still amazing and pretty creepy.

Additionally, if you are looking for an interesting halloween read involving zombies definitely check out The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Also stay tuned for halloween where we will be releasing another episode dedicated to things that go bump in the night!

Happy October and one year anniversary of Bugs & Stuff podcast. We hope you have enjoyed hearing us talk about the science we love.

 

Episode 22: Emerald Ash Borer

Can you all believe it? This month, it will be one year since we started Bugs & Stuff! We are so excited to have you all listening to us this year and hope you’ve enjoyed listening to us ramble about Bugs and mostly stuff.

Anyway, this week we actually spend time doing science communication instead of just talking about that communication. We are talking about the emerald ash borer, which is the small green insect behind the decimation of the ash trees. In fact, the emerald ash borer is responsible for endangerment of 5 out of 6 ash tree species in North America. Trees that once numbered in the billions are now dead or facing death.

In this episode we talk a little about what is being done about this pest and how you can help prevent it’s spread. Invasive species are a huge problem that humans must face. They can cause the destruction and degradation of land and often their movement is facilitated by humans, but there are things that we can do about it if we take the time to better understand them.

Emerald_ash_borer_3_-_Flickr_-_USDAgov

Eablarva

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If you would like to know more about the emerald ash borer check out the U.S. Forest Service. Additionally, if you think your tree is being effected by the ash borer or another other pest consult your local arborist. They can help you diagnose and find the best solution for your trees. You can also call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer hotline 1-866-322-4512 or your local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Happy Pod-iversary to us!

Wow, can you believe it was a year ago this month that we started this podcast? We certainly can’t! We want to thank you, dear listeners, for sticking with us through the good and bad episodes! We absolutely love you for it! We’ve got a lot of new episodes planned for this new year and we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you! Please never hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas!

Special thank you to Nancy Jones Creations for our new celebratory banner! We love it! Keep a look out for more of her amazing work and a guest appearance or two from her in the future!

**Sincerest apologies for all the explanation points in this post. I’m just really excited for this milestone.

Episode 21: Ecology During an Eclipse

Hello everyone! Today we’re giving you a special sneak peak into our new podcast that we’re working on called In the Elements. We’re collaborating with Dakota from The Weather Junkies and Becky to bring you interesting stories about science through a human lens. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in hearing about weather, ecology, and some exciting guests.

This week we’re bringing you our bit of an episode about the eclipse that happened in August. Cari was in Ohio at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Caitlin was all the way over in a cow pasture in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri (a great spot to watch the eclipse because no one else was there).

You can find our episodes over here on Apple Podcasts. Also, check us out on Twitter @ElementsPod. But as always, you can let us know what you think of this episode here! We love to hear your feedback!

Finally, we put this in the end of our podcast, but we wanted to say it here, if you’re interested in donating some money to the people and animals feeling the impact of hurricane Harvey and Irma please do. They can really use your help. Just make sure you’re donating to a reputable group so your money actually makes an impact.

You can always donate to the Red Cross, but we also want to encourage you to think about donating to the SPCA’s of Texas and Florida or any other animal shelters, all of which could really use your help. They’re taking in a lot of lost/abandon pets and some even help injured wildlife.

https://www.spca.org/hurricane-harvey

https://www.spcaflorida.org

❤ Cari and Caitlin

Episode 20: Caitlin’s Job

This is a quick update for you all about the status of Caitlin’s job and the new directions of the podcast. First, Caitlin got a job at The Morton Arboretum! She is a science communication intern championing the efforts of restoring woodlands and taking advantage of the benefits of urban forests. If you want to know more definitely check out the podcast.

Also we some exciting news! As we approach the year anniversary of our first Bugs&Stuff episode we will be switching our trajectory to include more discussions about bugs and other cool science. We’re no longer in academia, so we won’t have as many experiences within that realm anymore. But we’ll always be talking about outreach, science communication, and how to get more involved in both because they are our loves. If you have anythings else you’d like us to talk about please let us know!

Finally, we have some super exciting news. We have collaborated with the meteorologists over at Weather Ready Or Not and will be helping with a new podcast called In the Elements. Check it out if you want to hear the human stories behind the science! We’ve been working really hard on episodes and are excited for you to hear them! Next week (the week of Sept. 11th) three episodes will be released for In The Elements. One will be our own ecology episode, another a more natural disaster episode, and finally, of course, a combined episode about the solar eclipse! Be sure to be on the look out and we’ll post them in a blog post as well.

We’ll see you. We love you. Goodbye!

Episode 19: What’s the quality of your water?

Do you know how your water is doing? Do you buy plastic water bottles because your worried about water quality or your tap water doesn’t taste good? Well this is the podcast for you. Today we have another exciting guest for you! Andrew Lombardo is a listener who reached out to us because he wanted to get more into science communication. He works with water quality technology where he has been working with water quality technology throughout his career, and he gave us a lot of insight into how we can become more informed about water quality.

With the Flint water crisis, many people may be concerned about their water. While Andrew said that the U.S. usually does a pretty good job ensuring the quality of water, it’s never bad to check on your water. Especially since after it leaves the treatment site, the water has to travel through many pipes which may be contaminated.

The EPA is a great place to start if you want to learn more about water quality. Here is a good link if you’d like to find out how to get your water tested. Depending on your municipality, you may be able to get your water tested for free. Otherwise, it may cost you a small fee.

If you do find that your water quality is an issue or you want to eliminate some of the bad flavor in your water, you can check out these sites for looking for a certified filter.

NSF

WQA

IAMPO

Getting your water tested and understanding what disinfectant is used by your municipality can help you get the right filter. After you do this you could save a lot of money, if you are always buying plastic water bottles. Did you know that the bottled water can cost you $346 dollars a year according to consumer reports if you buy a bottle every day? Filling up a reusable water bottle once a day would only cost you an average of 48 cents for the WHOLE year! Other than saving money, using a reusable water bottle will help limit the amount of single use plastic that is used all over the world. Which helps our world be a little cleaner.

Anyway, if you’d like to get in touch with Andrew here are a few of his links.

Twitter

His website

Instagram

 

Episode 18: Junior Academy of AMAZING

Hi everyone and welcome to episode 18. We can’t believe that we’re only 2 episodes away from 20! Today we are bringing you a great interview with, Smiti Shah, a member of the Junior Academy of the Global STEM Alliance.

We’re highlighting the Junior Academy this week because Cari has been working with them over the past year, and it is a great way for high school students to get a head start in research. Students are introduced to one another from around the world. They then get to work with a mentor on a STEM project with all of those people.

The goal of the Junior Academy is to work in groups to help solve problems through innovation. Some notable projects have focused on helping underserved communities have access to clean water and reducing fruit spoilage. While talking to Smiti, it amazed me how talented and bright these students were. It really made me excited about the future to know that there are this brilliant students, the innovators of tomorrow all over the globe.

I wish I had the chance to do something like this growing up, so I strongly encourage any of you to talk about this with the young scientists in your life. OR if your currently a scientist, and have some free time to give to students, sign up to be a mentor or an expert. Cari’s experience has been incredibly rewarding.

So check it out!

Junior Academy Website

Until next time sweet listeners! We love you, we’ll see you, goodbye!