28 episodes

Two prairie biologists make the ever-growing argument for why grasslands are the world's best biome.

The Best Biome Rachel Roth and Nicole Brown

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Two prairie biologists make the ever-growing argument for why grasslands are the world's best biome.

    Savage Stinky Scavengers

    Savage Stinky Scavengers

    CW: we talk about animal genitalia in this episode in the last 30 mins (it's hard to avoid with hyenas)

    Hyenas have historically been painted in a pretty negative light, only for recent PR teams to praise their strong women leaders, successful hunts, and sophisticated societies. And while we're all for praising the underdog, a lot of recent media is half truths. Let's all learn to appreciate them for what they are: rowdy stinky scavengers.

    Thanks for listening to our weekly exploration of why grasslands are the best biome. We'll see you in two weeks!

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!


    Holekamp Lab website (spotted hyena researchers)
    Hyena Project website (also spotted hyenas researchers)
    Schmidtke, M. Brown Hyena. Animal Diversity Web.
    Howard, C. Striped Hyena. Animal Diversity Web.
    Stump, M. Aardwolf. Animal Diversity Web.
    Frank, Laurence G.; Weldele, Mary L.; Glickman, Stephen E. (1995). Masculinization costs in hyaenas. , 377(6550), 584–585. doi:10.1038/377584b0
    Holekamp, K.E., Smale, L., Berg, R. and Cooper, S.M. (1997), Hunting rates and hunting success in the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). Journal of Zoology, 242: 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1997.tb02925.x

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    • 1 hr 31 min
    The Noble Ibis

    The Noble Ibis

    We are always fans of highlighting underappreciated animals and this week we tackle the ibis. Bin chicken or noble alarm clock? You decide. One thing's for sure: their poop is a problem. Thank you to our guest this week: Allan Saylor!

    Thanks for listening, we'll see you again in two weeks!

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!


    Curicaca (Theristicus caudatus). WikiAves. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://en.wikiaves.com/wiki/curicaca#
    Zimmerman, M. (2019, August 14). Bird Streamer outages. INMR. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from https://www.inmr.com/bird-streamer-outages/
    Moroni, E., Batisteli, A.F., & Guillermo‐Ferreira, R. (2017). Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) predation on Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) nests). Ornitologia Neotropical, 28, 291-294.
    Buff-necked Ibis call from xeno-canto, recorded by András Schmidt

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    This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Disease-ridden Bloodsuckers

    Disease-ridden Bloodsuckers

    Content Warning: talk of blood. The last of our "spooky"-themed episodes, let's talk about ticks! How do they feed, what kind of diseases do they carry, and how best to prevent getting sick from them. Did you know there are over 900 species of ticks and they live quite literally everywhere? Well, now you do. Be safe out there.

    Thanks for listening to our exploration of why grasslands are the best biome. We'll see you in two weeks!

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!


    Find the Best Repellant for You. Environmental Protection Agency.
    Scallan, M. 2015. How do ticks... tick? Smithsonian Institution. Interview.
    Centers for Disease Control. 2019. Tickborne Diseases of the United States.
    European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Tick factsheets.
    Simo, L., Kazimirova, M., et al. 2017. The Essential Role of Tick Salivary Glands and Saliva in Tick Feeding and Pathogen Transmission. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 7:281.

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    info@grasslandgroupies.org

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Bring Out Your Dead (Part 2)

    Bring Out Your Dead (Part 2)

    Content Warning: talk of dead things (not graphic). Old World Vultures have a different set of tricks in order to survive including eating fruit, bones, and garbage. We talk Bearded Vultures, Eurasian Griffons, and more in this part two of our vulture special.

    http://savebellbowlprairie.org - save this Illinois prairie by Nov. 1st! Included is more information on the prairie itself as well as easy actions to take in the next two weeks. Please share to bring awareness before it's too late!

    Thanks for listening! Liked this episode? Why not share with a friend?

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!


    Eurasian Griffons at a feeding station (video).
    Barcell, M., Benítez, J. R., Solera, F., Román, B., & Donázar, J. A. (2015). Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) Uses Stone-Throwing to Break into a Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) Egg. Journal of Raptor Research, 49(4), 521–522. https://doi.org/10.3356/rapt-49-04-521-522.1
    Margalida, A., Schulze-Hagen, K., Wetterauer, B., Domhan, C., Oliva-Vidal, P., & Wink, M. (2020). What do minerals in the feces of Bearded Vultures reveal about their dietary habits? Science of The Total Environment, 138836. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138836
    Negro, J. J., Grande, J. M., Tella, J. L., Garrido, J., Hornero, D., Donázar, J. A., … Barcell, M. (2002). An unusual source of essential carotenoids. Nature, 416(6883), 807–808. https://doi.org/10.1038/416807a
    Winkler, D. W., S. M. Billerman, and I.J. Lovette (2020). Hawks, Eagles, and Kites (Accipitridae), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.accipi1.01 (edited)

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    • 1 hr 14 min
    Bring Out Your Dead (Part 1)

    Bring Out Your Dead (Part 1)

    Content Warning: talk of corpses and the eating of them. Vultures are nasty birds which cleanse the landscape of death and disease. In this part of our first ever two part episode we learn about the New World vultures from North and South America and how they fit into their landscapes and interact with each other. Next time: Old World vultures!

    Thanks for listening to our weekly exploration of why grasslands are the best biome. We'll see you next week for part two!

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!


    Zepeda Mendoza, M. L., Roggenbuck, M., Manzano Vargas, K., Hansen, L. H., Brunak, S., Gilbert, M. T. P., & Sicheritz-Pontén, T. (2018). Protective role of the vulture facial skin and gut microbiomes aid adaptation to scavenging. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 60(1). doi:10.1186/s13028-018-0415-3
    Winkler, D. W., S. M. Billerman, and I.J. Lovette (2020). New World Vultures (Cathartidae), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

    Contact
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Vampiric Plants

    Vampiric Plants

    If you ever find yourself staring at a tangle of orange spaghetti in a grassland, it's probably a dodder plant. These talented, strange parasites have no leaves or roots, but plenty of other tricks to make sure that they succeed. Learn about plant communication systems, haustoria, plus a bonus fun tale of a maiden in a prairie looking for love.

    Thanks for listening to our weekly exploration of why grasslands are the best biome. We'll see you in two weeks!

    Primary Sources: Be sure to check out photos and more at our site!




    How to Manage Pests: Dodder. University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources.


    Penn State. 2018. Agricultural parasite takes control of host plant's genes. Science X Network.
    Shen, G., Liu, N., et at. 2020. _Cuscuta australis_ (dodder) parasite eavesdrops on the host plants’ FT signals to flower. PNAS 117(3).
    Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. 2017. Dodder: A parasite involved in the plant alarm system. Science Daily.

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    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

Brick1083 ,

Unexpected in all the best ways

Having grown up in KS, I have a pretty good grasp on grasslands, or so I thought. From parrots to river islands to prehistoric camels, grasslands are far more expansive than I ever imagined. Nicole and Rachel expertly educate and entertain in an effort to bring the Best Biome the credit it deserves.

SkyloRen~ ,

Grasslands!

Wonderful and informative podcast discussing grassland ecology and all things grassland! Theres way more to it than you thought!

JohnnyTheQ ,

Rachel and Nicole are my favorite naturalists!

Loved the GPNC podcasts. Happy to see you ladies continuing here!