April 22, 2022

Bruce Means - Earth Day 2022

Bruce Means - Earth Day 2022

Bruce Means and I talk about frogs, tepui, biodiversity, Florida's coastal plain, alien species, habitat destruction, pesticides and fertilizers and what we can do to save the planet for our children and grandchildren.

Transcript

Disclaimer: Unedited AI Transcription

 

Larry (00:06):

I'm Larry Barsh. And you are listening to specifically for seniors, the podcast, for those of us in the remember when generation This podcast is brought to you in conjunction with the Alzheimer's Association's longest day fundraiser on June 21st, 2022, if you are enjoying our podcasts, or if you would like to honor or a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, please consider making a donation at www.specificallyforseniors.com. Your donation will help increase awareness, support caregivers, and fund the research nest necessary to eventually cure this disease. Please visit www.specificallyforseniors.com to make a donation. Thank you.

Larry (01:18):

It's earth day 2022. Three specials will appear on Disney plus that will highlight the wonders of our planet and the dangers that it faces. One of the specials is called Explorer. The last Depuis, this special features a trip to the rainforest of Guiana to make an ascent up Mount OU based around biologists. Bruce means work to discover what frogs live on and around the taboo. We are privileged today to have as our guest on specifically for seniors. Dr. Bruce means Dr. Means is president emeritus of the coastal Plains Institute and land Conservancy and adjunct full professor in the department of biological science, Florida state university, a field ecologist with more than 50 years experience his main research interests center on fire ecology, long leaf pine ecosystems, tropical biology to PUI, ecology, bio geography, pond, ecology, amphibians, and reptiles, and rare and endangered species. His researchers have helped bring attention to the Southeastern United States, coastal plane, as one of the world's top 35 biodiversity hotspots. Welcome to specifically Fs Bruce

Bruce Means (03:05):

Pleasure. Glad to be here since I am a senior <laugh>

Larry (03:10):

How old are you? If I can ask

Bruce Means (03:12):

81

Larry (03:14):

You recently had a birthday.

Bruce Means (03:16):

Yes. March 9th, right?

Larry (03:18):

Can congratulations. Thank

Bruce Means (03:20):

You.

Larry (03:20):

Welcome to those of us who don't need pediatricians anymore. <Laugh> so, because most of our listeners don't know what a Tepui.

New Speaker (03:31):

Is. Can you describe one

Bruce Means (03:34):

Of course, very simple. It's a Mesa Mesa's are a high table mountains that are formed when a, a landscape rises up by tectonic events and rivers begin to erode the intervening land, leaving pieces of this ancient landscape, isolated on top of table mountains. Very simple. The ones I've been studying are the tallest and the most abundant in the world.

Larry (04:01):

And those are the ones in Giana

Bruce Means (04:04):

Both Guyana Brazil and especially Venezuela, right on the border of all three countries.

Larry (04:11):

The most recent trip you've taken must have taken more than a little planning and quite a team.

Bruce Means (04:18):

Oh, for sure. Yeah. The mark Senate is one of the, is a climber and he and I had done previous expeditions to this particular area. And he had climbed Mount Royal Remus cliff, which is about 1500 feet. And I as the biologist on those expeditions had explored all of the surrounding out forest at the base of the cliffs and on the slopes of these beautiful maces, what hadn't happened was I hadn't explored the other side of the valley, which had this other smaller taboo called WAAS APO. So to complete my scientific work mark and I dreamed up this expedition pres it to Nat geo, which he has a, is a writer for, and I've had grants from and they bought it. So then we engaged in the expedition and he, he brought along Alex Honnold, who is a very famous, you know, the most famous cliff cliff climber in the world because he free solo el capitain. And the whole idea originally was to haul my Carcas up this cliff <laugh>, I'm not a cliff Clemer, but it was gonna be part of the video. And you'll see that my 80 year old legs kinda gave out on me. <Laugh>

Larry (05:40):

What's the trip like getting through cloud forest?

Bruce Means (05:46):

Well from, you know, I I'm biased. I love those kinds of habitats. So I've been mucking around in them for 50 years, practically they're they're scrubby, usually all the trees can be up to even 60 feet tall, but there's an under story of vegetation of smaller trees and shrubs. And the entire environment is FTO with what are called epiphytes, Moses, Amelia ads, orchids, all kinds of other plants that grow on the stems, the bowls of all the bushes and trees and the leaves and all over on the ground. So it's and it's, and it's Misty all the time because it's in fairly high altitude between four and 7,000 feet. That's where it's you know, the clouds form a lot. And it's, it's either raining or Misty in these environments all the time. I love 'em, they're just fabulous habitats and they're not very poorly explored because they're scattered around on the planet. They're few and far between, and they're hard to get to,

Larry (06:54):

I heard one podcast that you did way you describe the sounds or the lack of sounds right around the base of a taboo. That was absolutely fascinating. Can you describe it for us?

Bruce Means (07:09):

Yes. you know, the tropics have seasonal weather patterns that are either rainy seasons or dry seasons, but it, you know, it rains a lot in the dry season and sometimes it's dry and wet, but the difference, the reason I brought that up is that in the rain season, you get a lot of frogs calling. So you'll hear peeps and squeaks not any really well if there's a stream nearby you can hear some louder frog calls, but, and during the most of the time, let's say nine months of the year, it's very silent in those environments, very peaceful, calming. And I just like to sit and absorb the, I, I hope you can hear me, but I've lowered my voice. So you get the idea of just how magical these places are.

Larry (08:04):

It, it must be quite an experience.

Bruce Means (08:08):

Oh, for sure. Yeah. I I, I've actually written a book about the it's not published yet, but it's it's a narrative of all my field work on taboo and Guyana. And I, I keep a daily journal in which I very meticulous to record my feelings and my thoughts and all that. And hopefully if this book gets published it will be a way that readers can maybe get a slight. What would you say feeling understanding of what, what we're talking about?

Larry (08:41):

How will people know when this book comes out?

Bruce Means (08:45):

Well, I have a Facebook site, which I would post that on and it would come out, it'd be available on amazon.com. All my books are, are, are sold, enlisted through Amazon Amazon books. So the title of it is taboo, colon, a naturalist in Shangrila.

Larry (09:12):

What, what can I say? What is your Facebook page for people who wanna visit

Bruce Means (09:19):

Just Bruce means, I guess you put that in Facebook, Bruce means, and it'll pull it right up.

Larry (09:25):

Okay. now you visited the Topo basically to study frogs.

Bruce Means (09:33):

Well, no, actually to stay Eddie, the HERPA fauna, which is amphibians and reptiles, frogs, lizards Salma, well, there aren't any salamis there, but snakes but the frogs take the largest share of attention because in the, in the tropics new world, tropics actually, it's very, very difficult to encounter a snake Mo even though south America and central America are full of all kinds of species of snakes. The individual abundances of them are quite low compared to up here in the temperate zone. And also they're secretive. So to study, snake just takes an inordinate amount of effort and time, which most, you know, biologists and most funding agencies don't have. However at night frogs come out and they sit on leaves, they sit on the ground, they hang on branches and you can very carefully just take a step at a time, stop with a headlight and look around and spot frogs doing various things, sitting, usually waiting on a butterfly or moth or something to come by. So frogs are the animal that you most encounter in a tropical environment. And that's why I've focused on frogs. Although I collect the other animals as well and do research with them when I find them, th this trip's a good example, there were maybe let's see, in a whole month or five weeks, all of the people that that we had porters, AIAN, porters, whom I paid dollar per every animal, they, every specimen they bring me we only encountered like five snakes

Bruce Means (11:24):

<Laugh> and fortunately one of 'em seems to be new to science, but but we encountered maybe 300 frogs as a comparison.

Larry (11:36):

Were you looking for a special frog?

Bruce Means (11:41):

There is a group of frogs in a family, a special family of that they lay their big eggs on the back, the female extrudes, an egg, and the mail swipes it up underneath the two of them. And it gets glued to the, her back and the eggs go through their entire development and, and bypass the tad pull stage and hatch into little froglets that when you happen to find them right after they've hatched, they're all, they're all glued to mama's back till they jump off one at a time. That's a very important group. It's only found on and among taboos in south America where I've been, and it looks like their evolutionary radiation, their act evolutionary activity over time can tell us an awful lot about how the taboos have been connected, how long they've been separated. And we, because we can using DNA, we can determine how, how distantly, how long it's been since a couple of them shared a common ancestor. And so if we're looking at a series of 20 or 30 of these frogs, which seems to be the case, we can develop an entire evolutionary story about how, how they got isolated on each taboo and how long it's been since they've diverged from each other.

Larry (13:03):

So I would imagine that the ones on top of a taboo, as opposed to the ones that the base are different.

Bruce Means (13:13):

Oh yes, absolutely. And those on well, they're different because in, in the tropics, especially climate changes with elevation, oh, it does everywhere else. But there because let's say an animal frog or even a plant that lives at 5,000 feet elevation in the tropics, the temperature and the rainfall pattern humidity, they don't change year round. You know, like it may be 80 in the daytime or 85 and 65 at night, year round. So animals become adapted to that, that let's say thermal regime. And if climate changes and that thermal regime moves up slope, those animals have to move with it, to stay in their comfort zone. Whereas in the tempera zone up here where we live, you know, you get winters with snow, you'll get freezing temperatures in the summer. You might get hundred degree, temperatures and animals have to be adapted for that physiologically. So that up here differences in elevation are not nearly as strong in terms of species being restricted to certain elevational zones as in the tropics. So that's one of the things I study is the change over elevation and things on the tops of tipo are very different from those at the base of the cliffs mm-hmm <affirmative>, which is only like a thousand feet. And then you go down a thousand feet, you get another suite of animals, and likewise, as you keep going down or up depending.

Larry (14:52):

So it's almost like a geological progression up the side of a tooo.

Bruce Means (14:59):

Well, a climatological pro progression, the geologic, right? And these taboo, the geology are the same, whether you're lower high, because it's all sandstone hard sandstone. If wa if it were an environment where, you know, there was different kinds of rocks or geology, then that would play somewhat as well, depending on, you know soils are made from the parent materials, geological materials, underlying them. So soils could be more as acidic if they were created by granites or more basic if they were created by limestone, et cetera.

Larry (15:36):

Now, most of these frogs have a secretion.

Bruce Means (15:40):

Yes.

Larry (15:41):

Some of it is poisonous.

Bruce Means (15:45):

Yeah. Well, yeah. In fact, all of them are not let's, let's use the word nauseous. The purpose of that of course, is to deter predators if, and, and, and as a mammal, which I am, what I do when I catch a frog is I've not seen before I smell it. And a lick skin to see what the, what the skin secretion does, of course spit that out. But it gives me the same idea of what a, let's say, a raccoon or a, a bird or any other kind of vertebrate animal that might be a predator would experience. Here's a, if you let me expound a little bit, this is a really fabulous story. The frogs do not manufacture the toxic materials themselves. They sequester it, meaning they get it from the insects or the invertebrate animals. They eat.

Bruce Means (16:47):

Now, the invertebrate animals get it from the plants. They eat the plants, originally manual factor, these secondary compounds that are noxious to insects that eat to plants over time, the insects be some insects, become tolerant resistant to those toxins. And over a long evolutionary time, interestingly, some of those insects are able to a quest or in other words, take those toxins and store them in glands or other places in their body. So the insect can use the material, the plant created to keep its predators from eating it. And then you get that same step goes to the frogs who eat the insects. And eventually some of those frogs develop over resistance to that. And furthermore, they then physiologically, and we don't know all the mechanisms yet that, that, that this, that caused this to happen. But it's a fabulous evolutionary story. Those toxins then are, are, are accumulated in the, the bloodstream from the stomach and deposited in skin glands of the frogs.

Bruce Means (17:55):

And then when a, like me or a raccoon or whomever, whatever else happens to bite or eat a frog, you get this nasty taste and you can smell this bad odor. You usually survive that at, and then the next time you happen to see one of these animals, if it was multiple or, you know sometimes they're also, they also come with bright coloration. So the bright coloration will tell you, wait a minute, last time I ate one of those, it was terrible. Or if you, if they're not brightly colored, then they have that odor. So if they got, if the predator goes to eat the animal, it smells that odor, wait a minute. Last time I ate that thing, I had to throw up for three hours. So <laugh>, it's an wonderful evolutionary story. And that's going on on these taboos I've been studying.

Bruce Means (18:44):

I think I have a frog, a fairly big tree frog that eats smaller frog, and it sequesters their toxins to make its toxin way more powerful. I grabbed one of those frogs to collect it, and my hands started tingling, or, you know, I started getting numbness in my hands. I, I might have had tiny little cuts I didn't know about but it was very powerful. And when I tasted it, I thought, whoa, this, this is too much. I do know there are some dark poison frogs that are so dangerously toxic that if you eat one of those, it'll kill you. And I don't understand the evolutionary thing going on there because most of these things are dependent on, on the predator learning. You know, if you're gonna kill the predator every time, then the next time a a naive predator sees one of those things it'll lead and die from it

Larry (19:50):

Is the environment to round, to POIs in danger.

Bruce Means (19:55):

Oh, for certain everywhere on the planet is, I mean, let's face it. We have what, 7.3 billion peoples on the, on the planet and, and predicted to have 11 billion in another 20 or 30 years. I mean, it's, it's the overwhelming demand for living space and raw materials. That's eaten up everything on the planet. Unfortunately, the taboos have diamonds in the sandstone and then there are intrusions of hot water over the eons, up into the center of some of 'em. So there is also gold. That's how gold is deposited in, in hydrothermal activity. And then of course well, all the surrounding Guyana is very fortunate because a large percentage of Guyana is Virgin rainforest and it's being cut down left and right for the money that's in, in the trees, you know, as the populations of various countries continue to grow and they're growing in Guyana, as well as everywhere else, there's going to be more and more demand for the goods and services that nature can prove wide. And anyway, it's it's a bleak outlook. And if you don't follow the carbon curve problem we have on this planet and global climate change day, <laugh>, you really got your head in the sand. <Laugh>,

Larry (21:21):

Let's talk about the north American coastal plane. That includes Florida. What's special about the area.

Bruce Means (21:29):

Oh, it's wonderful. About 70 million years ago the Appalachians, which were a lot higher than they are today as they began eroding, their sediments were brought down and put on by rivers on top of the limestone that lay offshore from a place called the fall line, which is about, oh, depending on where it is. Anyway, it's the boundary of the coastal plane and in, and the interior Highlands of the east Southeastern United States. And over about 70 million years, those sediments have created this sort of undulating plane call, the coastal plane and, and other parts of the world have coastal planes as well, but ours is quite large. And it turns out recently, I, and, and, and colleagues have recognized the coastal plane of the Southeastern United States as one of the 35 top biodiversity hotspots in the entire world. And the reason for that is that the underlying sediments, which are simply sand and clay, once in a while, some little pebbles that is the the, the, that forms a soil of the coastal plain.

Bruce Means (22:46):

And because the coastal plain expand is from Virginia and, and long island all the way down to Mexico and even includes parts of Mexico. It transverses an, a different latitudinal areas and the big rivers that cut through it, the Savannah, the Appalachia Cola, the mobile tens all system and all that create barriers for species moving east and west. And therefore over time the coastal plane has been the home of a lot of evolutionary activity, producing animals and plants that are endemic and only found, which is what that means in the coastal plane. Florida is entirely in the coastal plane. Some places in Florida, there are limestone out crops, which is different from the sand and gravel. I was just telling you about the Sandy soils are relatively inert or slightly acidic Sandy clay soils, but the soils created from limestone are basic calcar soils, you know, and those are very D those very different soils have very different plant responses, so different ecosystems occur on those. And then you get down into, you know, wetlands, the coastal plane is full because it's relatively low lying. It's full of wetland environments, and wetlands are just great evolutionary theaters of a, of speciation. So the coastal plane is a wonderful place and, and Florida, like south, Florida's very different from north Florida and north peninsula, Florida, and all of the peninsula is different from the panhandle. Panhandle of Florida is a very biologically rich place.

Larry (24:37):

What are the specific problems we're facing in Southern Florida?

Bruce Means (24:43):

Well, water problems pollution problems. You know, if, if you look at a at a Google earth map, you'll see that all of the coastline of flow of south Florida from homestead all the way up to, well, all the way up to coast, actually there used to be a rock and call them the, the slash pine Rockland area that is completely now eliminated. There only, there's only a few hundred acres of that kind of habitat left in the world. It's in Everglades, national park and all the rest of that. Rockland has all been converted to concrete and asphalt and homes. There, there was some agriculture at one point, I think that's slowly diminishing as well, but like all kinds of organisms that used to be their natural and just take the indigo snake for instance, which I'm familiar with, used to be very common in that whole area.

Bruce Means (25:42):

It's gone completely. I don't think there's a record for an indigo can the whole part of Southeast peninsula for many years, but then we have the problem of south Florida being in sort of it's not tropical as subtropical sort of climate, but it's conducive to alien species invading it. My gosh, we now now have well over 50 species of just amphibians and reptiles that have from other parts of the world that have become naturalized down that the best example of which course is the Burmese Python, which is basically taken over the EC college. You have the Everglades. You want me to go on

Larry (26:28):

You answering my questions before I get a chance to ask them I was going to ask you about the effect first of habitat destruction, and then invasive species. Well, look, I know the agricultural reserve is getting built up with some land swap things by certain builders. We, we seem to be overusing pesticides, so that insect population is down. So that amphibian population is down. So that bird population is different. I know we lived in Florida 15, 18 years ago, and every year we'd have these massive migrations of Sandhill cranes, which don't, don't seem to be around anymore.

Bruce Means (27:27):

Well, we can go on and on and on the list is as, as long I've been in Florida, 60 years, I came here from Alaska where I was raised and fell in love with north Florida. And I've been doing my research at my, you know, although I'm an expert on taboos, it's the coastal plane in the especially Florida and, and, and north Florida is, you know, more than anything is my main Bailey wig. And I've been studying it for all this time and publishing on its biodiversity. Let me tell you what's wrong or what's bad about habitat destruction and, and alteration animals and plants evolve together a, a group in a community that composed of their, of them, their populations. And so if you alter that by concrete or just a, a field, a pasture, that's got two or three or five or 10 species in it, whereas the previous environment had a hundred or 200 species of plants and animals, then you're losing biodiversity. Biodiversity is hugely important on this planet to us, as well as to the whole workings of the planet. And it's the one thing we can't afford to lose in the long run. A good example of that of telling you that is the there have been several experiments to make biological contained environments, bio what do they call it? Bio 

Larry (29:03):

Bio habitats,

Bruce Means (29:04):

Bio bio habitat of sort. And they, none of them work, no matter how many animals and plants they put in these large enclosures they, they, they failed. So the point is that they failed because there wasn't enough plants and animals interacting with oxygen in the water to make a self staining environment for very long, for more than a year or so. So the point is what does it take on this planet, which is itself an enclosed environment? What how, how, how many of the species that we're causing to become extinct? Can we afford to lose before the planet suffers from the

Bruce Means (29:50):

Problems with losing the species richness of the planet? All right. There's, I hate to use this example, but these animals and plants are, are directly valuable to us. Where do we get our clothing? Where do we get our food? Where do we get our medicines from other creatures? Largely we don't just go out on the ground and dig up some food, you know, and eat rocks. We get it from the plants that do that for us. And then the animals that eat the plants. So biodiversity is hugely an important to us directly in terms of the goods and services. They provide animals and plants provide for us. So that's why habitat loss and destruction is over time. The more of it that we perpetrate on the planet, the more difficult it's gonna be for us. It's another phenomenon maybe, maybe as, as insidious and immediate as global climate change due to carbon dioxide build up Aner, but it is another one of these factors that will have a direct effect on us in the future.

Larry (30:58):

<Laugh> well, you asked, oh yeah. As a dog owner, who's sitting right in the back of me being very quiet, nicely. I, and many of my neighbors are concerned about the increase in population of the cane. Toads. Is there anything we can do about that? Is there any way to control them?

Bruce Means (31:23):

Not really. I mean, it's just like the Burmese Python. They're so firmly in ensconced in the Everglades, those pythons, you know, you can kill as many and try to harvest as many as you can, but, and the can toes are the same way. They're extremely 

Larry (31:42):

Oh 

Bruce Means (31:45):

Well, they're, they're adaptable. They're, they're, they're a, a good weed animal. For instance, you know, a weed is an organism that, that can survive and produce huge amounts of re have great reproductive output and handle all kinds of different adverse situations in nature. Well, that's what the can to does and how to get rid of the can to, nah. Yeah. I mean, first off it, they, they have thousands of tad pulls when they lay eggs. So for then, if you got rid of all the adult toes, what would you do with all those tad pulls that are gonna become towed shortly? It it's over with, as far as getting rid of it, Australia is a good example. They got loose in Australia, completely taken over the whole continent and wiped out an awful lot of the native animals in Australia, by the way. Do you know that story?

Larry (32:37):

Hmm.

Bruce Means (32:38):

Do you, do you know about the Australia cane to problem? No. Well, if you want to know how bad it is here, go read about Australia. Fortunately, maybe our temperate climate here in Florida and in the Southeast United States, as you get further north, the temperature seems to be a limiting factor in the distribution or the expansion of the range of a lot of these alien creatures. But but as far as south Florida goes, we're gonna have to get used to 'em. That's all.

Larry (33:13):

Well, I, I, yeah, we talked a minute ago about the, well, what I see is the overuse of some of these pesticides and plant control chemicals in, in these isolated communities.

Bruce Means (33:30):

Well, I hate to, I, you know, all my stories are sort of negative ones. I mean, I have some good ones too, but years ago when I did my doc and master's research up here in the panhandle, I studied a Saland that was the most abundant Solom Manter in the wetland environments, all over the panhandle, especially the swampy mucky, low lying places. And about 1972 to 1975, after I'd done my research and I'd studied, you know, maybe two, 300 localities for this animal, all of a sudden I couldn't find 'em anymore. And to this day, they've disappeared except in one or two small places we know about this species. And, and also in Georgia and elsewhere where this animal used to occur, it's completely gone in habitats where it was, I could go out, see 10 or 20 of them in an hour, hour and a half effort.

Bruce Means (34:25):

And now I, and graduate students that I've, I've got, who do this kind of work. We don't find 'em at all. We don't know what the reason is. It is likely to be a pathogen and we've been trying to study what kind of disease organisms could be at, at at work here. But but on the other hand, it could be what you're talking about. We spray chemicals so much around in nature that gush knows what might be working into the water that these animals utilize and live in the, that has caused their decline. You know, we spray for mosquitoes like mad that's been going on for more than half a century. Interestingly the two national forests where there are some limited populations left of the it's called the Southern dusky Salome. That's where I, I still can find a coup couple of these populations. They did not permit spraying now, you know, that <laugh>, that is proof of cause and effect. It's a coincidence maybe, but it might be telling in, in the long run as well, that not just that, but all the agricultural pesticides and herbicides and all the other things that we put in nature are contaminating our waterways tremendously.

Larry (35:52):

And, and the change has been recent just in the decade and a half that we moved from Florida elsewhere and back to Florida the change in, in the degree and amount of pesticide use and plant control has increased tremendously.

Bruce Means (36:21):

Oh yeah. Well look what we do to our garden, our lawns, you know, if you have a lawn you, well one of the big polluting things is not just bad chemicals. It's nutation by enriching with fertilizers our soils, and that runs off as ni nitrogen and phosphorus, which tremendously U Tate mean increase the richness of the water ways, which cause huge Al blooms, which cause tremendous problems with polluting our water supply. And we know that all you have to do is look at the records of any municipality, where they generate water from Wells and, and have been keeping records for the, the nitrogen and the phosphorus and other chemical loadings of those water. You'll see over time that all these bad things have increased to the present day by overuse of these chem. So what are you gonna do?

Larry (37:23):

I have two final questions. <Laugh> very simple to answer. He says, sarcastically, How can we in our generation help preserve the biodiversity here and leave this world as a beautiful, healthy place for our children and grandchildren?

Speaker 3 (37:47):

<Laugh> no, I didn't say you've gotta stage <laugh>

Bruce Means (37:54):

No, look, all we can do is do the best we can do. We can become informed for one thing, and that's what you're doing here. You know, learn about the problem. Don't deny them. And then you can do things about, you know, you can recycle things like all of our plastic waste and other things that we might in the future decide we can recycle. Remember we, we kind of slowed down the ozone problem by getting rid of certain gases that affected the ozone layer. Well, if we can do that, we certainly can do other things as well. If we can you know wean ourself off of carbon based fuels, you know, like natural gas and petroleum, that was very helpful. So anything and everything that an individual can do, it's gotta be done on the individual level. I mean, you can't do it governmentally, you know, that's not, we don't, well, I wouldn't like to live in China or Russia. Let's put it that way. And we live in this country and we better be careful so we can still live the way we have in. But there's your, there's your answer to that question? Anything and everything. And given individual can do to kind of learn what the problems are, be concerned about them and do whatever an individual can do to, to help take care of the problem.

Larry (39:10):

One final question. What keeps you up at night?

Bruce Means (39:16):

L I F E when I wake up in the morning and I'm not in the obituaries, I got a whole nother day ahead. I mean, <laugh>, I mean, look, after all, it is a planet of vibrant functioning life and no matter what we do to it, and to us, it is going to survive as, so from the, on the larger view, I don't have a problem on the smaller view what's gonna happen in the next 50 years or so to my grandkids and my, my kids, if they live that long is not a, not a happy prospect. I wouldn't think in my mind anyway, but still every day is a, Hey, you know, I, I gotta tell you, I am not a religious man, but, and it, and if everything disappears, when I finally closed my, the last time I had paradise while I was alive, I was living and knowing I was alive. And if I don't take every advantage of that, Carpay diem, then I had a gift that I threw away <laugh>. So I live day by day, moment by moment and appreciate everything that fortune in life has given me.

Larry (40:43):

Thank you, Bruce. This, this has been, I I, what can I say? This has been astounding. Thank you so much for being on specifically for seniors.

Bruce Means (40:55):

Well, thank you very much. It's been my great pleasure. And just remember if you're eight year older or up in the area, keep on keeping on,

Larry (41:06):

We keep trying

Bruce Means (41:07):

Society, but you know what as time we realize that we old older folks are just as vibrant as anybody else, especially right up here. Right?

Larry (41:16):

This has been fantastic. Thank you. Thank you again.

Bruce Means (41:20):

My pleasure.

Larry (41:21):

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Bruce Means Profile Photo

Bruce Means

D. Bruce Means is President Emeritus of the Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy (CPI) and Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. He received his Ph.D. from FSU in 1975 and was Director of Tall Timbers Research Station from 1976-1984. In 1984 he founded CPI where he served as President and Executive Director until Oct. 2018. A field ecologist with more than 50 years’ experience, his main research interests center on fire ecology, longleaf pine ecosystem, tropical biology, tepui ecology, biogeography, pond ecology, amphibians and reptiles, and rare and endangered species. His researches have helped bring attention to the Southeastern U. S. Coastal Plain as one of the world’s top 35 biodiversity hotspots. Based on 33 expeditions to high-altitude tropical mesas called tepuis, he is a major authority on the biodiversity of this Shangri-La region. He has published more than 310 scientific research papers, contract reports, and popular articles and is author of ten books including Priceless Florida; Florida, Magnificent Wilderness; Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology; and Diamonds in the Rough, Natural History of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. He seeks a publisher for his 11th book which is about the natural history of those amazing tepuis. Here he grubs for one of three new species of salamanders he named in 2017 from the Florida panhandle and the SE U.S.