Biology

Category archives for Biology

Dorrik Stow’s Vanished Ocean

In his fine new book Vanished Ocean, geologist Dorrik Stow uses the biography of one of our planet’s vanished oceans to teach the reader a wide range of veeery long-term perspectives on geological history. The ocean that geologists call the Tethys came into being when the Pangaea supercontinent coalesced in the Late Permian, 260 million…

Sunday Mushrooms

Yesterday’s walk in the woods near Drevinge garnered us the following: Shaggy ink cap, Fjällig bläcksvamp, Coprinus comatus Terracotta hedgehog, Rödgul taggsvamp, Hydnum rufescens Shingled hedgehog, Fjällig taggsvamp, Sarcodon imbricatus Common puffball, Vårtig röksvamp, Lycoperdon perlatum Velvet bolete, Sandsopp, Suillus variegatus Copper brittlegill, Tegelkremla, Russula decolorans Birch bolete, Björksopp, Leccinum scabrum I’ve never picked the…

A week ago, the Swedish Research Council’s expert panel for the investigation of suspected science fraud delivered its findings regarding Suchitra Holgersson, professor of transplantation biology in the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. The panel finds Holgersson, who joined the Academy two years ago, guilty of severe science fraud in several cases where…

Shrooms

At my wife’s suggestion, I quit work 1½ hour early today and cycled with her and the kids into the woods to pick mushrooms. Lovely sunny afternoon, and I can report that the hills between Lakes Lundsjön and Trehörningen are rich in boletes right now. Here are the species we got: King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan,…

Dinosaur Fountain Sculptures

The centre piece of St. Mary’s square/park in Stockholm is a brass sculpture group in a fountain, sculpted by Anders Wissler and put in place in 1903. It depicts the god Thor at the moment when he’s fished the Midgard serpent up to the ocean surface and prepares to whack it in the head with…

Snorkeling, Eels and Sample Bias

I’ve been fishing, swimming and walking the shoreline around my mom’s summer house for almost 30 years, and so I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of fish there are out there. Most of them I have only seen during fishing with nets, so it’s clear that the visible sample of fish species…

Ant Killer

Last summer I battled with wasps: this years it’s ants. Small black ones have underground nests in our yard, and they usually don’t bother us much. But a hot and dry summer recently inspired them to investigate our house, where they found two things they really like: sugar and water. When we returned from a…

The Earth After Us

Jan Zalasiewicz is a geologist active at the University of Leicester. His 2008 book The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks? is an interesting read even though the title does not correspond very well to the contents. Zalasiewicz does answer the question about what legacy humans will leave in the…

Summer temp journalists are here again. Today, Swedish Broadcasting’s radio news ran a really silly piece about invasive species. It made two main points: a new foreign species of plant or animal is discovered every month in Sweden, and some of them are poisonous. It’s basically a case of botanical xenophobia. The journalist also made…

De Profundis

Three cool pieces of science have been retrieved from the depths. In the L’Atalante basin, one of the Mediterranean sea’s deep hypersaline anoxic basins, anoxic metazoans have been discovered. That means multicellular beings like you, Dear Reader, who live without oxygen. They’re loriciferans, Sw. korsettdjur, each less than a millimetre long. Instead of breathing like…