creatures

NATURE
The Gathering Swarms

 

Get a look at some of the planet’s great gatherings: creatures coming together in inconceivable numbers — sometimes in millions, billions, even trillions. Included are bats and bees, locusts and ants, butterflies and cicadas, grunion and carp, sardines and wildebeest, and even parakeets and penguins. Some gather to breed or to migrate, some for protection, some simply to keep warm in the cold. But in the process, a kind of super-organism is created in which individual intelligence is superseded by a collective consciousness that shares information and moves with a single purpose for the benefit of all.

 

NATURE
A Sloth Named Velcro

 

Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them. Once largely ignored, sloths have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. New studies show that they’re not so “sloth-like” after all: despite their reputation, sloths in fact sleep only about as much as humans do and are much more active in the wild than they are in captivity. Other studies have shown sloths are not as solitary as we thought, that they have social structures and that males even keep small harems of females. New research into the gait of sloths has revealed another surprise. X-ray images and photographic analysis show that sloths actually move just like primates, only upside-down.

 

NOVA
Lethal Seas

 

Marine scientists across the world are hunting for clues to one of the greatest environmental catastrophes facing our planet today: ocean acidification. For years we’ve known the ocean absorbs about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. But as carbon emissions continue to rise, seawater chemistry is changing, and the ocean’s acidity is increasing. As a result, the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that form the foundation of the web of life are dissolving. Follow scientists who are seeking solutions and making breakthrough discoveries, including a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that offers a glimpse of what the seas could be like in a half-century.