Peruvian shepherds on guest worker visas tend thousands of sheep in Wyoming, but they only make about half of what agricultural workers elsewhere are paid. Some ranchers say the exemption from minimum wage requirements is necessary; workers' rights advocates say it's exploitation.
Every night for thousands of years, bats have poured out of the Bracken Cave Reserve, near San Antonio, by the millions. But conservationists are worried that plans for a housing development nearby will disrupt the bats' rural habitat.
City life can be harsh on people. For example, it pushes people to work longer and sleep less. A new study suggests that city life can have a somewhat similar effect on birds too. It shows urban blackbirds wake up earlier and go to bed later than their forest dwelling cousins.
Though the species is named after twentieth century rock star Jim Morrison, the Doors front-man, it lived in the jungles of Southeast Asia 40 million years ago. The ancient lizard king was a gentle creature who ate only plants.
Would you like to know the life history of that steak before you eat it? Technology exists to give you that information, at least in Michigan, where the state government requires all cattle to carry an electronic tag for tracking purposes.
As humans have cut into Brazil's forests, the toucan population has taken a dive. The trees, in turn, have changed, too: Without large-billed birds to eat fruit with big seeds, only trees with small seeds thrive. Eventually, one scientist says, "the impacts on the forest could be quite dramatic."
North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn and colleagues surveyed people's pillow cases, refrigerators, toilet seats, TV screens and other household spots, to learn about the microbes that dwell in our homes. Among the findings, reported in the journal PLoS One, homes with dogs had more diverse bacterial communities, and higher numbers of "dog-associated" bacteria.
In parts of the southeastern US, aggressive fire ants have been driven out by an even more recent arrival, the tawny crazy ant. Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the newcomers and how one invasive species can out-invade another.
Writer Barbara Kingsolver is one of a handful of novelists with a science background, and she puts it to use in her new novel Flight Behavior. Kingsolver discusses the book and why she chose to look at the the issue of climate change in a fictional work set in rural Tennessee. This interview was originally broadcast on November 9, 2012.