Ecology

Is it better to be a rumminant?

Je, ni vyema kua mnyama-mcheuzi? There is no animal that can digest and get nutrients from plants by themselves because most of the nutrients are tied up as cellulose. Cellulose is a complex and fibrous carbohydrate found in the cell walls of plants. All animals that eat plants have bacteria […]

You asked the question: How do plants communicate?

Uliuliza swali: Je, mimea inawasilianaje? If you’ve read this article you’ll already know that plants are not just standing there. In a great book by Daniel Chamowitz called What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, that author discusses the plant senses- sight, smell, touch, and hearing. In […]

A simple mutualism, not as simple as it sounds…

Uhusiano rahisi wa kutegemezana, sio rahisi inavyo sikika… We love talking about mutualisms in nature. If you’re not familiar with it, a mutualism is a relationship between two species that benefits both species. There are obligate mutualisms where the survival of one or both species is totally dependent on the […]

Acacias don’t just stand there being eaten.

Migunga haisimami kukubali kuliwa tu. Just because trees can’t move to escape from predation doesn’t mean they’re just standing there letting themselves be attacked. In fact, because plants have been around for so long, they’ve had a lot of time to evolve some very complex defense strategies. One of the […]

The incredible relationship between ants and butterflies.

Uhusiano ajabu kati ya chungu na vipepeo. (Scroll down for Swahili) Insects have evolved some of the most incredible relationships. I’m often surprised that we are not more aware of some of these relationships. One insect- insect relationship that fascinates me is the Lycaenid- Ant relationship. A relationship called myrmecophily- […]

The vital role of hippos

Umuhimu wa viboko. (Scroll down for swahili) Hippos are nocturnal grass-eaters (grazers). Because they are most active at night we actually don’t know much about what they do at night. Most of the time they come out of the water at night and follow well-worn paths to grass. They’ll eat […]