TED talk about migrating dragonflies

I didn’t even know what TED talks were when this was posted on YouTube (boy was I missing out!) in late 2009, but someone finally pointed me toward it yesterday and I wanted to share it.  It features marine biologist Charles Anderson and his discovery of the extraordinary migration of the wandering glider dragonfly (Pantala flavescens).  A simple behavioral observation piqued his curiosity and led him to track the dragonflies, only to discover that they make an enormously long migration, the longest known migration of any insect. It’s a great story and an excellent talk, well worth the 16 minutes of your life it will take to watch (skip the 3 minute IBM commercial at the end).  So, without further ado, I give you Charles Anderson’s TED talk:


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3 thoughts on “TED talk about migrating dragonflies

  1. I love TED talks.

    Is it horrible that I wanted to correct him as soon as he said “monsoons?”

    Love this talk. It’s such a great example of how “real” science is done. He started with a simple observation and followed, literally, where his observations took him from there. And look at the story that unfolded. Really cool.

    • That’s why I liked it too! It’s a fabulous example of the kinds of things you can learn if you just pay attention to what’s going on around you. He did the whole study without any specialized equipment, just by watching the dragonflies, indulging his natural curiosity, and calling a few friends/colleagues. I love this kind of science! It’s so simple and basic, but the results teach us something amazing about the crazy world we live in.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Round-up 6 « Contagions

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