Ecology

Category archives for Ecology

Searching for drugs in new places

I mentioned that it’s microbiology week at fellow Scienceblog Deep Sea News. Today’s post over there is on “bioprospecting” in the sea–looking for naturally-produced chemicals that we can harness for employment as drugs or other uses. For example: Over the last 20 years at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution we have developed a culture collection containing…

While E. coli typically makes the news as a food-borne pathogen, that’s only one facet of the bacterium. It can be deadly, sure, but it also helps us digest our food; it produces vitamin K for us; benign strains can even protect us from invading pathogens. It’s one of the most-studied bacterial species and a…

As I mentioned in the introductory post, we know incredibly little about the very basics of Marburg virus ecology and epidemiology. The sporadic nature of outbreaks of illness, their occurrence in remote areas of Africa lacking established medical research capabilities, and often in countries experiencing governmental strife and instability, compound the difficulty of determining the…

A few must-read posts

Today is the kids’ last day of school, and just happens to be an early dismissal as well, so I’ll be busy with them and not tied to the computer this morning/afternoon. However, there are tons of good things to read elsewhere. First, Orac has a long-awaited update on the Tripoli Six: the group of…

Way back in a few editions of Animalcules, several of the submissions mentioned a fungus that was killing frogs. Wednesday at the ASM meeting suggested that there may be a way to protect these amphibians:

Everyone knows about the “butterfly effect”: the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could eventually result in the formation of a tornado in Texas by virtue of very small alterations in the initial conditions of a system. Though this description of it is often decried by people who study chaos theory as…

I haven’t had a chance yet to mention Seed’s promotion of the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, the cream of the science fair crop. It’s so prestigious, in fact, that it attracts young adults from all over the world to share their research. However, one brought more than the judges bargained for, as she also…

I had a strange worry as a kid. I was very scared of getting bit by a tick and developing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). I know, weird–even for nerdy kids like me, who knows about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? How many readers are even familiar with it? For those who aren’t, RMSF is a…

When we think of the spread of antibiotic resistance between animals and humans, we tend to think of it going from Them to Us. For example, much of the research over the past 20 years on the sub-clinical use of antibiotics in animal feed has looked how this use of antibiotics as a growth promotant…

“Basics” elsewhere

I’ll try to get the third installment on normal flora “basics” up tomorrow, before I spend Wednesday at Darwin Day events here in Iowa City and then the next few days at AAAS in San Francisco. In the meantime, in case you’ve not come across it yet, John Wilkins has been keeping an updated list…