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Each week join Martha Foley and Professor Curt Stager from Paul Smith's College as they discuss various topics from the world of nature.

Each week join Martha Foley and Professor Curt Stager from Paul Smith's College as they discuss various topics from the world of nature.
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Canton, NY


Each week join Martha Foley and Professor Curt Stager from Paul Smith's College as they discuss various topics from the world of nature.




Why so many snowy owls all of a sudden?

(Nov 15, 2018) Snowy owls are normally a rare sight in North Country. Their usual range is in the Arctic north. But a few years ago, a large number were seen all across the region. Martha Foley asked Dr. Curt Stager why that has happened.


Splake: "Frankenfish" or a manageable addition to Adirondack fisheries

(Nov 8, 2018) Martha Foley and Curt Stager continue their discussion of trout varieties in Adirondack waters. One variety that is found in streams and lakes in the region is the splake, a hybrid of the native strains of lake and brook trout. While some refer to them as "Frankenfish," fishery managers like the hybrid because it grows quickly, but does not breed well in the wild, which makes it manageable in a stocking program.


Native Adirondack trout? No such animal, technically

(Nov 1, 2018) Four species of trout can be found in Adirondacks waters. Of the mix, two were introduced from the outside, one from Europe and one from the western United States. The two species which are native to the area are technically not trout at all, but relatives of the arctic char. Martha Foley and Curt Stager get into the genetic weeds with Adirondack sport fish.


Why are coral reefs so rich in life compared to an Adirondack lake?

(Oct 25, 2018) The first time Marta Foley went snorkeling on a coral reef, she was staggered by the abundance and diversity of marine life. Doing the same in an Adirondack lake one might see a lot of mud and a snail. She asks Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith's College what the difference might be.


Mosaics and chimera: Mix and match DNA

(Oct 18, 2018) In most cases, we get half our genes from one parent, half from the other. But it doesn't always happen that way. Parts of the genetic inheritance can be turned on or off, and genes from other familial sources can play a role in shaping the individual body. Martha Foley and Curt Stager explore what happens when there are ripples in the gene pool.


What were the Adirondacks like before the Ice Age?

(Oct 11, 2018) Before the last Ice Age, 100,000 year ago, the Adirondacks were a very different kind of place. The terrain was different, the climate, wildlife, and plant life bore little relationship to what we see today. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager go way back.


Why are bats so nimble in flight?

(Oct 4, 2018) Bats are remarkably agile in flight, even more so than birds. How do they do that? Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss the aerobatic anatomy of bats.


For cats, the comfort zone is shaped like a box

(Sep 27, 2018) Of all the places a cat can hang out, why do do many of them want to hang out in boxes? According to researchers, cats that spend time in close confines are measurably less stressed than those remaining in the open. As Curt Stager tells Martha Foley, it's not just house cats who feel this way.


Couch Potato Bass evolving in response to human predation

(Sep 20, 2018) The pressure to keep billions of humans fed can have a transformative impact on amimal populations. Overharvesting that targets the largest animals can result in reduction of the average size of species, as seen in Caribbean conch snails. And sport-fishing pressure on large mouth bass can winnow out the most agressive in the gene pool, resulting in a "lazier," more passive remnant population. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about the human factor in animal evolution.


How the bomb made archaeology harder

(Sep 13, 2018) Fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons has distorted the background levels of the radioactive isotope carbon-14, used by archaeologists to date organic materials But it has an upside, providing a new scale by which to date more recent events, helping researchers track cell turnover in different parts of the body and in testing the age of everything from vintage wine to elephant ivory. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss radiocarbon dating. Listen to Natural...


Are squirrels going over to the dark side?

(Sep 6, 2018) Black squirrels are becoming more common throughout the St. Lawrence Valley. They are a normal variation of the more familiar gray squirrel species. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss melanism, an increase in the pigmentation of some species that can be a response to environmental factors.


Pitcher plants survive poor soil by turning trapped insects into potting mix

(Aug 30, 2018) Most carnivorous plants, such as the pitcher plant commonly found in Adirondack bogs, live in poor soils. Unwary insects are drawn to a sweet bait to supplement their diet. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss these botanical oddballs, which may live as long as 50 years.


More than Seven Sisters: the Pleaides

(Aug 23, 2018) The Greeks called them "The Seven Sisters," but a look at the Subaru logo shows the Japanese saw them differently. This familiar star cluster constellation actually contains thousands of stars when viewed through a telescope, as well as brown dwarf proto-stars and dust nebulae and newly-forming solar systems. Martha Foley and Curt Stager look at the night sky.


Natural Selections: stellar distances

(Aug 16, 2018) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about stars and the very clever ways we can tell their distance from the earth.


Hamsters may be going nowhere, but they came from Syria

(Aug 9, 2018) All the pet hamsters in the world derive from a small wild population collected in Syria in the 1930s. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about hamsters, in the wild and working the wheel.


You don't need a microscope for "A Field Guide to Bacteria"

(Aug 2, 2018) Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss Betsey Dexter Dyer's book, A Field Guide to Bacteria, and the distinctive traits of individual bacteria that are visible to the naked eye.


Ancient "bones" of the Adirondacks

(Jul 26, 2018) "Old as the hills" is a relative term. The Adirondacks may be relatively young mountains, but their distinctive grey granite, anorthosite, originated 1.1 billion ago, so deep in the earth's crust that only continental collision could have formed it.Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss Adirondack geology.


The madcap collective behavior of whirligig beetles

(Jul 19, 2018) Watching whirligig water beetles, found in circling clumps on the surface of calm fresh water, is a favorite childhood activity of many, including one-time child Martha Foley. Dr. Curt Stager explains the method behind their madcap collective behavior.


Life within the "glass houses" of diatoms

(Jul 12, 2018) Diatoms are fascinating creatures that share some qualities of both plant and animal. Dr. Curt Satger and Martha Foley talk about these water-borne oddities that inhabit the base of the food chain in geometric "glass houses" of their own construction.


The seldom seen barred owl hoots (and hunts) by night

(Jul 5, 2018) The barred owl is often heard but seldom seen. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss the habits of this nocturnal hunter, and Curt demonstrates his own highly-regarded version of its distinctive call.