Friday, May 27, 2016

The Natural World Has Moved!

There's a lot of very exciting things going on over here at The Natural World!  For starters, we have moved to a new domain name, you can now follow us at  The new blog gives me a fresh start, and more flexibility with how I can display the images that I upload to the blog.  I am going to be keeping this blog here in its current capacity, with the caution that a number of my older posts do not adhere to the stricter levels of accuracy and discipline that I will have on the new blog.  So enjoy the old posts, but take the information contained within them with a grain of salt.  I hope, at one point, to go back through the blog and indicate which posts I still fully approve of.
The logo for the newly improved blog!  Check us out at
I have also started The Natural World Podcast, which (if all goes according to plan) should be accessible on iTunes very soon, and I will also upload the episodes in a playlist on my YouTube channel.  HERE is a link for the playlist, and you can check out the first episode below.
In another playlist on my YouTube channel, I have been uploading my Semester at Sea videos that I made of the voyage (you can find the playlist link by clicking HERE).  Unfortunately, since I was in the middle of the ocean in areas that didn't really have Internet access for most of the semester, I didn't get around to uploading these videos until just a week ago, which was when I discovered that many of the songs I used in the background are copyrighted in such a way that the audio tracks are simply removed from the videos, making them strange, fast-paced silent movies.  Nevertheless, check the videos out, as they are visually appealing, even without the audio tracks.  Below is a link to one of the best videos in the series, from South Africa!
I've got some other exciting projects in the works as well, and I will be sure to keep you updated on all of them!  In the meantime, make sure to follow us over to Wordpress, and follow the YouTube channel, as well!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Where Have I Been? SAS Update: Kruger

Hello all, it's been awhile.  Talking about it isn't always my style (Zayn reference), but today it is.  I've been on the study abroad program called Semester at Sea since the fifth of January, and I will continue to be sometime into May.  Access to the Internet is very limited, but I do have a little bit of wifi to spare here in Kruger National Park in South Africa, so I thought that I might share with you guys some of the things that I've gotten to do and see in the last week or two!
A wild Burchell's zebra (Equus burchelli antiquorum) in Kruger National Park!
To get from India to South Africa, we crossed the Indian Ocean, during which time we saw lots of marine life!  Below is a picture of one of the two sea turtles that I spotted during this portion of the voyage.
About halfway through the passage, we stopped for a day at the island nation of Mauritius, a small volcanic island that was once home to the flightless pigeon, the dodo.  It was a beautiful day, I had a Field Lab with my Marine Biology class, so we went and explored one of the mangrove areas on the coast of the island, and then went snorkeling at one of the coral reefs!
One of Mauritius's beautiful beaches.  You can see mangrove trees in the right of the photograph.
Mauritius was a very beautiful and green island, reminded me a lot of Hawaii, which to be honest is the only other random island I've been to in the middle of the ocean, so I guess that makes sense.   
Dolphins are not too uncommon, especially once we get towards the shores of whatever our next port is.  I actually saw a lot of marine life the closer we got to Cape Town, whose waters are very productive.  Saw several large pods of dolphins, a few seals, and two sharks, as well as a large number of birds (but alas, no penguins, at least not yet).  
A leaping seal.
A species of hammerhead shark, right next to the ship!
Below is a picture of my friend, Michael Collett (Big Mike) on one of the mountains surrounding Cape Town.  For much of our first day in South Africa (three days ago), we went and explored Cape Town, and I also got to poop into the natural history museum to check out their paleontology section!
Myself next to a mounted skeleton of the spinosaurid Suchomimus, attacking a juvenile Jobaria, a type of long-necked sauropod.
On my second through fourth days in South Africa (the fourth actually being today), we flew to Kruger National Park to do a safari!  I haven't downloaded my pictures from the second, full day yet (we saw a lot of cool animals yet), so these are just from our two or so hour safari on the first night!
A small herd of zebra and impala (Apyceros melampus).
A sassy impala. 
I forget what this animal is called, but I think our guide said it was called a giraffe.
A water monitor!
I've still got a lot ahead of me too, a few more days in South Africa, a few days in Ghana and Morocco, and a few weeks in the United Kingdom and Ireland, not to mention the transit days between those ports!  Probably won't be able to blog again until I get back home, so you'll just have to satisfy yourself with these fourteen pictures for the next two months or so.
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