This week, we’ve compiled an animal lover’s dream episode from our archives. First, the infamous John Acorn speaks about nature guides and his love of birds and bugs, then we delve into biologist Rachel Buxton’s research on Aleutian Seabirds and sound artist David Dunn’s unique investigation into the lives of Bark Beetles.
John Acorn on Field Guides
From our archives, we’re catching up with one of Canada’s most avid naturalists. John Acorn is an entomologist, television personality and author of 17 books. His best known role is probably as the host of “Acorn: Nature Nut” the popular tv show on all things creeping and crawling. But when he’s not writing television shows, teaching students or working on his research, John Acorn is often at his desk writing field naturalist guide books. If you think there’s not much controversy in how to draw or write about a few butterflies or beetles, think again. Terra Informa correspondent David Kaczan spoke with John Acorn.
The petrel is a bird that spends its entire life at sea, only landing on remote islands to copulate. But, things have gone from bad to worse for this seabird in recent years and many biologists are hatching up ideas to help the petrel population survive in an era marked by climate change and overfishing. Some of these ideas even have 80s rockers tapping their toes and thinking about our responsibility to protect the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. Matt Hirji talked to Rachel Buxton about her research into the area.
Acoustics of Bark Beetles
David Dunn, sound artist and composer produced an album in 2006 called The Sound of Light in Trees: The Acoustic Ecology of Pinyon Pines, in collaboration with the Acoustic Ecology Institute. With tiny microphones, he records the sounds of bark beetles in New Mexico’s pinyon pines. Beyond a fascinating listening experience, this is an innovative approach to the ecology of insects, and to monitoring bark beetle populations
Photo credit: U.S. Global Change Research Program