Should We Eliminate Mosquitos?


Malaria. Dengue Fever. Yellow Fever. And most recently, the Zika virus. All of these are carried by msquitoes. Would it be easier if we just eliminated all of the mosquito species in the world? BBC reports here.


Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Magnets

oil spill magnet

Check this out: scientists at MIT have found a way to clean up oil spills with magnets. Essentially, they add a magnetic chemical to oil-polluted waters, the chemical then binds to the oil, and when a magnet is run over the water, it picks up both the oil and the chemical. How brilliant is that?!

See more here.

Could a gene control Speciation?

They recently discovered the gene that controls the amount of crossing over that occurs during meiosis. Could be the next step in accelerating the formation of new species on earth?

Read more here.

new species formation


Exponential HIV


This is a really neat resource to teach exponential growth through the eyes of salary and disease. It starts off with an activity in which students are given a choice:

Choice 1: They can be paid in dollars, starting with $1,000/day, and their salary increases by $1,000 each day. (so on the first day, they get $1,000, on the second, they get $2,000, $3,000 on the third, etc.)

Choice 2: They can be paid in pennies, and their salary double each day ( 1c the first day, 2c the second day, 4c the third day, etc)

Which would you choose…? They then calculate what their salary would be at the end of 30 days for each of the 2 choices and gives them an idea of what exponential growth looks like.

Afterwards, they read an article on the exponential growth of the HIV virus in the human body once it has gotten in.

Read more here.


Ecomuve Foodwebs

This is one of the best food web simulations I’ve seen so far: students get to pick whether they’d like to diagram the forest or the pond, and then they’re given a field guide and images of the organisms and have to make the connections between them:

Ecomuve Foodwebs


  • have them make 20 connections and then screenshot it to turn it in
  • an extra credit assignment could be to have them make all of the possible connections

Population Ecology Interactive

This is an amazing resource for teaching kids about population ecology.

It touches exponential and logistic growth models, limiting factors, and the carrying capacity of the African lion population, and it even relates these concepts to the idea of human carrying capacity.

Click here to find it.


AI Helps Save the Great Barrier Reef

Just heard of this super cool application of artificial intelligence to ecology!

corwn of thorns starfish

Apparently, because of overfishing, the predators of  the crown-of-stars starfish are decreasing in population size, which is leaving them to grow rampant. They normally eat the polyps on the Great Barrier Reef though, and so now, not only are humans destroying it at a rapid rate, but the crown-of-stars starfish are as well.

As a result, scientists have crafted a robot (COTsbot) that shimmies up and down the coast of the Great Barrier Reef and injects poison into all the crown-of-stars starfish that eat polyps.

Read more here.



Darwin’s Finches May Soon Be Gone

darwin finsh

The organisms that paved the way for evolution are now close to extinction: certain parasites have reached the Galapagos islands and are attacking the finches that Charles Darwin so famously studied. A mathematical model predicted that they could be gone in as soon as 50 years.

…and I thought the North African White Rhino extinction this summer was heartbreaking… 😦

Read more here.


Our Own Worst Enemy

That song lyrics comes to mind when I see this picture: “…I’m a hazard to myself. Don’t let me get me. I’m my own worst enemy…”

earth gun

They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so at the end of our Ecology Unit, instead of talking about how we’re destroying our planet, I had my students go to this site and see for themselves a couple of the shocking ways that we’re demolishing the earth bit by bit, like the one below. Scary.


On the bright side though, this did lead to a very in-depth discussion on what the actual problems are and how we can go about fixing them.