Caterpillar’s revenge (redux)

i I study caterpillars.  But really whatever you study, if you are into it enough, becomes part of you.  And eventually, those targets of our attention and love (and well, okay, our obsession), get their revenge.  I’ve spent a lot of time on Monarchs and Milkweed, studying and contemplating their toxicity.  Milkweeds make poisons, monarchs eat the milkweed (and eat nothing… Read more

Who was James A. Perkins?

2 I just received word from the Dean’s office in CALS that I have been appointed the James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies at Cornell!  This is a huge honor, and I am thrilled and excited. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t know who he was. J.A. Perkins, who passed away 20 years ago, was the 7th President of Cornell.  Here is… Read more

Second graders do science!

1 Science education should start early!  And as part of our collaborative NSF grant on milkweed genetics and ecology (with Georg Jander from BTI and Steve Broyles from Suny Cortland), we are implementing outreach projects in the K-12 Ithaca schools.  Led by research support specialist, Amy Hastings, and inspired by a set of experiments by former postdoc Patty Jones, second graders… Read more

Summer in the milkweed patch

11 It’s peak season for milkweed and the village of insects that make milkweed its home.  In my book on Monarchs and Milkweed, I devote an entire chapter to these diverse and fascinating other milkweed insects.  Below are photos from two days last week (July 6 and 7th), one set from my front yard and the other from Shawangunk National Grassland… Read more

Winter Walks 2017 #1

Winter Walks are a tradition of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Cornell University, started by Professor Peter Marks in the 1970s.  Winter walks grew out of the teaching of Plant Ecology field labs (taught in the fall), as students wanted to continue Friday afternoon outings in the “spring” semester.  So while many animals are dormant, gorges are icy,… Read more