What does the “Whoop” sound really mean?

Honeybees make a “whoop” sound. Is this a sound a tells other bees to stop looking for food in a certain area?

Or it is simply a sound of surprise?

Bee-apisHoney By Maciej A. Czyzewski – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8786717

By using accelerometers to record vibrations inside hives for a year, researchers from Nottingham Trent University managed to isolate the sound. You can hear it in the sound cloud below.

Lots of interesting ideas to why the honeybees make the “whoop” sound has been put forward. Yet, it seems that these whoops happen rather frequently. The bees made these whooping sound more frequently than would be expected if they were trying to tell other bees not to look for nectar or other types of food in a certain area. The whoops sounds happen mostly night. When the bees bumped into each other they were startled. So perhaps the whoop sound is a sound of being surprised when you bump into a bee in the middle of the night.

The insight could help us to monitor how healthy a bee hive is. A stressed colony would most likely not react to small stimulus such as the bumping into another bee in the middle of the night. Considering the many challenges that bees around the world are currently facing it is indeed important to find out ways to monitor their health.

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Guilty! Climate Change and Recent Wave of Extinctions

Does the understanding that we have helped to cause previous mass extinctions help us to become less nonchalant about our role in the present wave of mass extinction?

During the last million of years, our planet has experienced several cycles of cooling and warming. Unlike the relatively stable conditions the Earth has experienced the last 10 000 years, the Earth has undergone a series of climate fluctuations. The last cooling, the ice age, ran from about 75 000 to 15 000 years ago.

Animals have disappeared during these fluctuations in climate. For example, the largest ever living marsupial, the diprotodon, disappeared about 45 000 years ago. During this period, about 90 percent of Australia’ s megafauna disappeared together with the diprotodon.

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Diprotodon optatum

The climate on Earth never rest, it is constantly changing. As a result of these changes in climate different species have disappeared. Did Sapiens play any role in the previous waves of mass extinction?

The disappearance of the diprotodon around 45 000 years ago in Australia just when Sapiens arrived there, this is circumstantial evidence. Yet, there are several indications that Sapiens did indeed contribute to the extinctions of large marsupials in Australia. Not only does the arrival of Sapiens coincide with the extinctions of the animals but there is also no evidence of any extinctions of animals in the oceans. Usually, sea creatures are hit as hard as land dwellers when the major underlying reason for the extinction was changes in the climate. Thus, this suggests that the presence of humans on land contributed to the extinctions of these animals.

Similar pattern can we found when you examine extinction of animals in New Zealand, Madagascar, and other islands as well as in  North America, where the arrival of animals and changes in climate resulted in the extinction of several species.

The idea that human beings are powerful and responsible for negative impacts on the environment have been debated. Yet, the present extinction of animals and the changes in climate are indeed the result of human activities linked to the Industrial  Revolution.

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The graph shows the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere over the last 2,000 years.

The rate of extinction of animals may be 1 000 times faster due to human activities. Yet, we are also inventing new technologies and methods to save animals.

Why not be part of the solution? Join a group that works to save animals!

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Finding time to slow down

”When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvellous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, … and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. … To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! … that is what I call prayer.”

Claude Debussy

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Magical Winter Light – Comforts Us and Gives Us Strenght

Searching for bright spots in the woods where the pale winter lights dance through the trees and kiss our cheeks not only brings comfort it also gives us strength to face challenges.

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The smell of frost, the sounds of a stream, and the scenery of a frosty winter forest provides relaxation. Natural stimulation brings comfort to our present stress-filled society.

Nature connectedness, where we include nature as part of our identity, includes an understanding of nature and everything it is made up of. If we feel connected to nature, we are more inclined to care about nature and protect the environment.

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This connectedness can be described as containing three parts:

  • how included we feel,
  • how much we care for nature,
  • how committed we are to protect nature.

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It is worrying that fewer and fewer children are connected to nature. Studies in the UK, have found that some adults think that nature is dangerous and dirty.

On my daily walk with my dog, I cruise on a path littered with litter – plastic cups, cans, tins, wraps,  papers, and bottles. Britain is one of the most litter-blighted countries in Europe.

But not only the streets are littered with litter. So is the nearby woods.

Does nobody care?

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How connected to nature does your family feel?

How green is your workplace?

Does your organisation give extra marks for a green approach?

Would your family throw away a bag filled with plastic bags that had been used for shopping once in the bin?

What about your workplace?

Would your organisation or company allow employees to throw away a bag filled with plastic bags?

Would you even notice or care?

And would you do something about it?

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Ice Circles

Ice circles are a rare and beautiful looking

as well as sounding phenomenon.

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The ice circles in the photos are from Sävar in the northern part of Sweden.  The circles look perfect as if they have been made by a ceramist.

If you listen you can hear the sound of the river or the sea flowing continuously. When you are watching the ice circles dance by you can hear very sharp cracks and groans.

The circles are formed when a large piece of ice breaks off creating an effect called “rotational shear” where the current slowly grinds away at the free-floating chunk until it is smoothed into a circle.

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The first video is filmed by Kaylyn Messer in Seattle and in the second video you can hear the sounds of ice. Go here to read Jonna Jinton’s blog.

Giant Iceberg Ready to Break Off

A giant iceberg, with an area equivalent to Trinidad and Tobago, is ready to break off from the Antarctic shelf.

Why should I care?

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Photo:  Iceberg Arctic By AWeith

What can We Learn from Autumn?

The October air is raw and filled with goodbyes.

Goodbye green leaves and warm summer evenings.

Reluctantly I say welcome to spicy scent of colourful leaves and the shy October light.

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The forest is coming to a standstill and animals are preparing for the colder weather.

Autumn is a busy time for many animals as they prepare for winter weather. Some animals such as swallows and martins, warblers,  nightingales, and cuckoos migrate to warmer parts of the world.  Hedgehogs and toads have another approach and they decide that it is better to sleep through the winter.

So maybe the real lesson that autumn teaches us is to let go and to rest to load our batteries for Spring.

Jonna Jinton is an inspiring blogger who lives in Northern Sweden in a village with 11 citizens – what a dream!  Her blog is brimming with beautiful photos and videos. Warmly recommended.

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