Podcasts

Lend an ear and discover the wonders of nature — right outside your back door and halfway around the world with EOL’s One Species at a Time podcast series. Our five minute podcasts are a great introduction to biodiversity, with multimedia extras and scientist interviews. Podcasts are categorized by topics and scientific skills. Listen online or download and take us with you on your own exploration of the world around you. Hosted by Ari Daniel and brought to you by the Encyclopedia of Life, and Atlantic Public Media.

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All content is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

Harvard MCZThe One Species at a Time podcast series is supported by the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.


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Delal a kar

Phaleria nisidai

Palau, an island nation of 20,000 people in the western Pacific, is on a collision course with modernization. As a Western way of life takes hold in this archipelago, a modern ailment is taking...
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Dolphins

Stenella attenuata and Stenella longirostris

You have probably seen cans of tuna in your local supermarket marked “dolphin safe.” That label means the tuna was fished in a way that spares most dolphins from being killed in the tuna fleet’s...
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Right Whale

Eubalaena glacialis

Hear how research unfolds at sea. Playing female whale calls into the water, researcher Susan Parks suddenly finds herself the center of attention of a group of male North Atlantic Right Whales....
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Honey Bees

Apis mellifera

Have you heard the buzz about bee colonies collapsing? Entomologist Noah Wilson-Rich wanted to study ways to keep bees healthy, but grant money proved elusive. In this podcast, Ari Daniel Shapiro...
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Mexican long-nosed bats

Leptonycteris nivalis

The batman of Mexico has his own bat-cave. He just shares it with 4,000 Mexican long-nosed bats. In this episode, join researcher Rodrigo Medellin as he descends into the Devil’s Cave just north...
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Parasitic Wasps

Microplitis demolitor

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where one organism stops and another begins. That’s especially true with the kind of evolutionary arms race that takes place between parasites and their unwilling hosts...
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New Species in the Old World

Stenosis austini and Parabathyscia raffaldii

You don’t always have to venture into the heart of a rain forest to discover a new species. Sometimes all you have to do is look more closely, right where you are. In Europe, experts and...
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Iron-oxidizing bacteria

Leptothrix ochracea, Gallionella, and Zetaproteobacteria

If you were driving along a highway in Maine - located on the east coast of the United States - past pine trees and summer cottages, you might not give a ditch of rust-colored water a second...
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Bittersweet nightshade

Solanum dulcamara

Some species are born invaders, like bittersweet nightshade, a non-native vine with purple flowers and red berries. So what makes it such a successful space invader while other foreign plants...
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Moths

Automeris io, Korscheltellus gracilis, Noctuidae

Like moths to a flame, some people are irresistibly drawn to the woods at night. Carrying bed sheets and armed with special lights and lures, they come seeking moths. In July 2012, in 49 states...
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Saltwater crocodiles

Crocodylus porosus

The city of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory lies in the heart of crocodile country. In the 1950s, saltwater crocodiles were shot, skinned, and turned into shoes and handbags. After...
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Island Fox

Urocyon littoralis

In this episode, reporter Molly Samuel journeys to Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of California, to look into the mystery of the island’s tiny foxes, descendants of gray foxes who rafted...
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Ediacaran Fauna Fossils

Dickinsonia rex, Funisia dorothea

In this episode, journey back in time to learn about Ediacaran Fauna, a diverse group of organisms that lived in the world's oceans about 580 million years ago. We’ll meet Dickinsonia rex...
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Scottish Wildcat

Felis silvestris grampia

Scottish Wildcats or Felis sylvestris grampia have been around since the last ice age. A symbol of strength and independence, the cats used to roam the whole of Great Britain, but...
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Monarch Butterflies II

Danaus plexippus

As they wing their way across North America, millions of migrating monarch butterflies form a living river of orange. In this episode, the second of two podcasts on monarchs, we’ll meet citizens...
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Monarch Butterflies

Danaus plexippus

Every year monarch butterflies begin a journey north from their overwintering grounds in Mexican forests. The epic migration spans generations and the better part of a continent. In this first of...
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Beetles and Moths

Anoplophora glabripennis, Nebria brevicollis and Lymantria dispar

How much trouble can an unassuming black beetle no bigger than your fingernail be? Plenty, as we learn in this episode of One Species at a Time. Tiny stowaways like the European Gazelle beetle are...
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Seagrass

Posidonia oceanica

The species that was Àlex Lorente’s passion was an extraordinarily long-lived seagrass, once common along the coast of his native Spain. Tragically, Lorente himself was not to enjoy a long life:...
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Bowhead Whale

Balaena mysticetus

Writer Karen Romano Young takes an icebreaker to Barrow, Alaska, to join in the festival of Naluqatak and learn about the intimate relationship between the Inupiat Eskimos and the bowhead whale....
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Red Swamp Crawfish

Procambarus clarkii

For centuries, human commerce has played a role in distributing plant and animal species around the globe. But not every species can claim the title of circumnavigator. In this week’s episode, Ari...
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Chamois

Rupicapra rupicapra

Growing up in a village in the foothills of the French Alps, Francis Roucher used to hunt the chamois. But on the day one of his shots went astray, Roucher was transformed from hunter to game...
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Bacteria

Bacillus subtilis

In this episode, we raise the blinds on an invisible world that’s all around us: the realm of bacteria. Don’t reach for the antibacterial gel just yet. Roberto Kolter of Harvard explains the...
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Chaffinch and Winter Wren

Fringilla coelebs and Troglodytes troglodytes

Every morning when he walks the dog, retired professor of natural history Peter Slater can identify as many as thirty birds by their song alone. On a walk in a Scottish town with Ari Daniel...
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Black-tailed prairie dogs

Cynomys ludovicianus

Over the past century the grasslands of northern Mexico have been taken over by shrubby mesquite and turned to desert. Ecologist Gerardo Ceballos is on a mission to turn them back. Can he...
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Lebanon Cedar

Cedrus libani

Mentioned in the Bible and in the 8000-year-old epic Gilgamesh, Lebanon’s iconic cedars have been reduced to a fraction of their former range by centuries of logging. Ari Daniel Shapiro walks the...
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Hungarian meadow viper

Vipera ursinii rakosiensis

There’s a snake in the grass—but the viper in this Hungarian meadow is more threatened than a threat, at least to people. As new ways of farming replace the old, these vipers have been pushed to...
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Hedgehogs, Swifts, Glow-worms

Erinaceus europaeus, Apus apus, Lampyris noctiluca

What can species as different as a hedgehog, a swift, and a glow-worm possibly have in common? To find out, we journey to southwest England. We’ll join two naturalists on a walk through the heart...
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Ravens

Corvus corax

We humans learn some of our earliest life lessons from our brothers and sisters, watching what toys our siblings play with and what treats they stash away for later. In this Halloween season...
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Springtails

Collembola

Springtails are tiny creatures that live underfoot in the soil and leaf litter. Most people are not even aware they exist. Until 2000, biologists classified these curious animals as insects. Then...
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Western silvery aster

Symphyotrichum sericeum

When biologist Diana Bizecki Robson sits in the middle of the tallgrass prairie in a park near Winnipeg, she sees stars—the tiny, bright flowers of the western silvery aster. The prairie may seem...
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Lions

Panthera leo

Does the mane really make the lion? Certainly, luxurious locks are the feature that sets Panthera leo apart from the other large cats. But surprisingly, not all male lions have manes. And manes...
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Foothill Yellow-legged Frog

Rana boylii

How is a tadpole like a short-sleeved white tee shirt? The answer lies in the Alameda Creek outside San Francisco, California, USA. Ari Daniel Shapiro wades into the issue of dams and biodiversity...
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The Raptors of Beijing

Asio otus and Aegypius monachus

In a Beijing green space larger than New York’s Central Park, biologist Bao Weidong is scanning the trees, looking for a shy bird that’s increasingly scarce: the long-eared owl. There used to be...
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Head Lice

Pediculus humanus capitis

This week’s podcast is guaranteed to make your scalp crawl—but don’t worry, it’s most likely all in your head, and not on it. We’ll visit entomologist Richard Pollack to learn about an insect that...
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Killer Whale

Orcinus orca

Imagine yourself immersed in a chilly, blue, three-dimensional world, one where vision isn’t much use but sound travels far. That’s the leap of the imagination demanded of scientists like Volker...
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Four-Leaf Clover

Trifolium repens L.

Scientist-in-training Summer Praetorius has an unusual skill—she is really, really good at spotting four-leaf clovers (Trifolium repens L.). A single gene causes the normally three-leafed...
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Sea Butterflies

Limacina helicina and Clione limacina

In the ocean, a drama is playing out between two marine mollusks: sea butterflies--tiny swimming snails the size of a grain of sand (also known as Pteropods)—and the larger sea angel...
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Anoles

Anolis

EOL fellow Rosario Castañeda takes us to the back rooms of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, searching through dozens of jars of pickled anole lizards to see the traces of evolution in...
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Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles

Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas

Cyprus is split in half, with a Turkish sector in the north and a Greek sector in the south. The unofficial division makes scientific collaboration in this Mediterranean island nation all but...
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Tulips

Tulipa

When you think of the tools of the modern geneticist, the lowly razor blade probably don’t come to mind. But this low-tech tool is essential to the work of Dutch geneticist and passionate gardener...
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Fungi

Hypholoma fasciculare and Amanita brunnescens

This week’s podcast begins with a riddle about a life form that’s all around us, yet rarely seen. Working under cover, it sends its ghostly tendrils into almost every corner of the terrestrial...
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Marabou Stork

Leptoptilos crumeniferus

The marabou stork of southern Africa isn’t much to look at—it’s large, ungainly, and bald like a vulture, with a nasty appetite for carrion. This bird is increasingly making a home in urban areas...
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Corpse Flowers

Amorphophallus

Let’s face it—when you think of charismatic megaflora, chances are you have in mind something majestic, like a towering Sequoia, or something ancient, like a Joshua tree. But a plant with a four-...
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Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea

The arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) makes an incredible migration each year. These small birds travel distances of more than 50,000 miles, from pole to pole, crossing through temperate...
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Mydas Flies

Eremomidas arabicus

Cresting a red sand dune, you come upon an unexpected sight in the desert: a shimmering expanse of fresh water. This oasis is no mirage, but a lake accidentally created by waste water from a...
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Starlings

Sturnus vulgaris

This week, we hear a story in two acts about a very familiar bird—the common starling. It's a non-native species that is omnivorous, gregarious, adaptable, and highly successful in its adopted...
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Ugandan Butterflies

Pieridae

Ugandan lepidopterist Perpetra Akite studies at a university in the capital city, far from the farm where she grew up. Since she began studying butterflies as a girl, the landscape of her homeland...
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Mangroves

Rhizophora mangle

Follow researchers Candy Feller and Dennis Whigham as they scramble, climb, crawl, and creep through the tangled roots of a mangrove forest. Along the way, learn what’s threatening these unique...
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Sanibel Shells

Epitonium angulatum

Ari Daniel Shapiro joins the serious beachcombers along the high-tide line of Sanibel Island, Florida. These “shellers” come in search of beautiful sea shells, sometimes no bigger than a grain of...
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Chinook Salmon

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Can painted wooden fish on a schoolyard fence change human behavior and help clean up the ocean for the real salmon? Stream of Dreams in British Columbia thinks so, and a lot of wooden fish and...
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Sea Grapes Google Earth Tour

Caulerpa racemosa variety cylindracea

“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of...
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Greenland Shark

Somniosus microcephalus

Join shark expert Greg Skomal as he ventures under the Arctic ice in search of the Greenland shark. Sharing this icy, blue twilight with an apex predator is a thrill--so long as you don’t end up...
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Red Knot

Calidris canutus rufa

The red knot is a tiny shorebird that undertakes a mind-boggling migration from the tip of South America all the way to the Arctic Circle. One of the few stops on that marathon journey is the...
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Dinoflagellates

Dinophyta

Science contributor Josh Kurz, tells the story of dinoflagellates through “music from the bottom of the food chain.” There are “billions of these microscopic creatures in every bucket of the salty...
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Ediacaran Fossils

Trepassia wardae

When the cod fishery collapsed in Newfoundland in the early 1990s, the hopes of the local fish harvesters collapsed with it. Hundreds of Newfoundlanders moved away and businesses that depended on...
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Martens

Martes martes and Martes foina

On the forested mountain slopes of the Basque country, we follow two Spanish biologists on the track of a pair of secretive mammals. Pine and stone martens are elusive carnivores that make their...
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Muskox

Ovibos moschatus

There’s a chill in the air this week as we travel to a mountain range in Norway in search of muskoxen, Ice Age survivors that once roamed the far north alongside the woolly mammoth. Introduced to...
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Marine Iguana

Amblyrhynchus cristatus

No iguana wants to be cooked alive on a hot rock and then served up as dinner for a Galapagos hawk. But it turns out the marine iguanas have a strategy that warns them of the presence of hawks...
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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Thunnus thynnus

What is it like to be eyeball to eyeball with a fish the size of a Volkswagen? Learn about the process of tagging tuna and how those tags are revealing surprises that might help save tuna from...
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Branch-tip Spiders

Dictyna

The hills near Missoula, Montana, are changing, native grasses and other plants increasingly squeezed out by nonnative plants. Knapweed, cinquefoil, and other weeds aren’t only changing the look...
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Box Jellyfish

Cubozoa

Learn how three fiery, painful stings during an early morning swim in Hawaii changed the life of researcher Angel Yanagihara. Once the young biochemist had recovered from her box jelly encounter...
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Riftia

Riftia pachyptila

Host Ari Daniel Shapiro dives deep to discover a white worm as tall as your refrigerator that breathes through bright red feathery “lips.” This isn’t a creature from outer space. Meet Riftia...
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Sea Slugs

Elysia chlorotica

Come one, come all! See the amazing, the astonishing, half-animal, half-plant! Journey to Tampa Bay, Florida, where scientist Skip Pierce and one of his students first made a remarkable discovery...
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Insects of Costa Rica

Insecta

In this episode, EOL education director Marie Studer journeys to Costa Rica to experience firsthand the astonishing variety of insect life in this tiny Central American nation—20,000 different...
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Giant Squid

Architeuthis dux

How do you get two dead Giant Squid the size of a school bus from a fishing boat in Spain to a museum in Washington, DC, USA? Call in the Navy! Find out how Operation Calamari unfolded and how the...
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Polar Bears

Ursus maritimus

In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar bears. Listen as Heather Cray recalls how, dumped by a storm on a small Arctic island, she got an unexpected wake-up...
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Water Hyacinth

Eichhornia crassipes

It may have pretty purple flowers, but Eichhornia crassipes can be a green menace. Introduced to Africa from the neotropics, this invasive weed is choking Lake Victoria, the world’s...
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Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish

Pandea rubra

Vacuumed up from its habitat a mile down in the ocean, the red paper lantern jelly may not look like much. Mostly water, it’s so fragile that once brought to the surface it’s reduced to a tattered...
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Red-Shouldered Soapberry Bug

Jadera haematoloma

In the lab at American University in Washington, DC, evolutionary biologist David Angelini and graduate student Stacey Baker are studying a snazzy red-and-black insect called the red-shouldered...
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Coral

Acroporidae

Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures turn them into ghost towns. Can reefs spring back from devastating bleaching events? Ari Daniel Shapiro and...
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Great White Shark

Carcharodon carcharias

Students from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School in Massachusetts and La Salle Academy in Rhode Island question shark researcher Greg Skomal about this charismatic predator at the top of the...
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Sea Cucumbers

Holothuroidea

What reef animal comes in a rainbow of crazy colors, can throw out its innards to immobilize predators, then creep away and regrow a brand-new stomach? It’s the sea cucumber, prized as a...
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Quinine Tree

Cinchona pubescens

In a large greenhouse at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri, there grows a slender...
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E.O. Wilson

Solenopsis invicta and Paraponera clavata

Renowned evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson has spent his long career cracking the code of ants. It’s the ants’ ability to communicate and form tight-knit societies that lies behind their...
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Lichens

Xanthoparmelia plittii and Umbilicaria mammulata

Most of us walk past lichen-covered rocks, splotched with grays, greens, and golds, without giving them a closer look. Ari Daniel Shapiro visits with mycologist Anne Pringle and graduate student...
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