Blogs & Videos

Every day at The Field Museum we're exploring something new, whether it's hidden deep in our collections or being investigated out in the field. Tune in to our blogs and videos to learn about breakthrough discoveries firsthand from our Field Museum scientists, or discover what curiosity Emily Graslie has stumbled upon in our vaults, or see how our science is making an impact in the world around you.

The Brain Scoop

Check out what our Chief Curiosity Correspondent, Emily Graslie, has explored on The Brain Scoop!

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The Field Revealed

Explore the treasures of The Field Museum's collections with The Field Revealed video series.

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Science Newsflash

Science Newsflash brings you the most current scientific news stories from The Field Museum. 

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Recent Blog Posts

A selection of lichens with "baby" lichens (tiny phyllidia and lobules destined to form new lichen individuals)

How lichens reproduce with "greenhorn" baby lichens...

As a symbiosis between a fungus and a photosynthetic alga or cyanobacterium, lichens have particular challenges when it comes to reproduction and growing fully mature lichens out of tiny baby lichens. Many lichens have mastered this challenge by producing small thallus portions that already look like tiny lichens and, once dispersed, immediately start growing and forming a fully functional lichen. These tiny "greenhorn" lichens growing on their parent lichen are called phyllidia or lobules, due to their flattened appearance that resembles the lobes of mature lichens, only much smaller.

A selection of charismatic Lobariaceae lichens in New Zealand

Lichens as bioindicators of forest health

Going green is all about conserving the environment. Not just because a healthy environment increases our quality of living, but because we owe it to the next generations to conserve our planet so they have a chance to enjoy its spectacular beauty and diversity as we do. Since forests are one of the primary sources of oxigen, conservation of forests is of great importance both in temperate and tropical areas. In many regions, forests are monitored as to their conservation status, and bioindicators are an important tool to accomplish this task.

A recently discovered, yet undescribed "window" lichen from Hawaii

"Window" lichens mimick highly adapted desert plants

Lichens come in all colors and shapes, but many lichens are green when hydrated and metabolizing, due to their green algal photobionts. So it is not surprising that lichens are often mistaken for plants, even if they actually represent symbiotic fungi and hence are more closely related to animals. To make the confusion perfect, the internal anatomy of many lichens resembles that of plant leaves, with the photobiont layer positioned in a similar way as the chlorophyll layer in leaves.

The tiny lichen Gyalectidium setiferum is spreading in central Europe on suitable evergreen plants due to global warming.

Hoping for global warming after a cold winter... and lichens as bioindicators of climate change

This month's topic is March and green. Of course, everybody by now is anxiously waiting for spring, to get rid of the polar vortex. Hopefully that will happen soon! By the way, the expanded polar vortex that affects large parts of North America with bitter cold is a direct consequence of global warming!

Bird Calls of Amazonia

Considering how sweaty and dehydrated I became during this film shoot, it's remarkable that Ernesto and the rest of the bird team were diligently out for long periods of time, at all hours of the day and night, to listen for the birds of the Amazon.

These assessments - recording the calls and sightings of birds - helps inform distribution and range of known species, the information used to update maps and increase our knowledge about these animals and their habitats. Check out these revised maps!

Lichens: a lasting relationship like farmers and crops

Lichens: a lasting relationship like farmers and crops

With their stable symbiosis between a fungus and an alga, lichens are a prime example for lasting relationships. But these lichen fungi do not simply host their algae, they actually grow them as much as farmers grow their crop. And just as farmers select the best crop to propagate, lichen fungi do the same. Not conciously, but through the process of selective evolution.

When relationships aren't what they seem

When relationships aren't what they seem

February is all about relationships. But isn't it sad that we need a special month to dedicate ourselves to our relationships? In biological sciences, almost everything is about relationships. All year round. With the difference that we do not call them romantic or platonic, but instead phylogenetic or evolutionary. The most basic question in biology is how organisms are related to each other. This can be done by studying all kinds of features or by just analyzing DNA sequences.

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