Brain & Behavior

Experimental Biology – Day 5

Today was the final day of the meeting. Dr. Joe Thompson (Franklin and Marshall College) spoke about oblique striated muscles, which get their name from the diagonal pattern formed by the location of the Z-lines. This type of muscle is common among cephalopods, nematodes, tunicates, molluscs, etc. Dr. John Whiteman (University of Wyoming) gave a…

This year’s August Krogh Distinguished lecture, the highest award given to an accomplished Comparative Physiologist from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society was awarded to Dr. Jon Harrison, Arizona State University. Dr. Harrison gave an outstanding seminar in which he reviewed some of his major research discoveries. His work has…

Still going strong…here are the highlights from several sessions held on Day 4: John Eme (California State University, San Marcos) presented data testing the effects of varying temperatures mimicking overwintering conditions on embryonic development of Lake whitefish. He found that indeed exposure to variable incubation temperatures between 2-8 deg C resulted in increased mortality. Moreover, the embryos hatched…

I LOVE THIS MEETING! DAY 3 included several very interesting comparative physiology sessions. Eldon Braun (University of Arizona) spoke about how birds have a unique way to prevent water loss and thereby dehydration. In mammals, the kidneys are responsible for recovering water from the urine. However when birds are well-hydrated, the urine enters the colon…

Don’t forget to vote!

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Phantastic Physiology Voyage video from trainees sponsored by the American Physiological Society. This year’s theme is “Function Follows Form.” Here is just a sample of the phantastic videos (from YouTube) in the contest: To see the rest of the videos and vote for your favorite, click here!

Birds seeking safety of alligators

I came across this neat video summarizing a study that found some birds build nests near alligators to protect themselves from other predators. But the protection is not without a price.

Pesticide confuses bees

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph found that the use of certain pesticides impacts wildflower pollination by bees. According to a quote by study author Nigel Raine, published in CBCNews, the use of neonicotinoid-type pesticides “modify the way in which information flows through the nervous system.” The research team found…

Why so many of us sleep

A special thank you to reader Dr. Barbara Goodman, Professor of Physiology at Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota who sent me a story from The Scientist about sleep in animals complete with footage of a dolphin that was seen apparently “sleeping” (video posted on YouTube): Why do animals sleep? This is a question with many…

Is this science writer jazzed that ninth-grade girls from a religious girls’ school in Jerusalem won a space/science contest? You bet your sweet solar-powered spacelab she is! It is not just that these girls beat out a lot of other classes (over 400), or that they break more than one stereotype. They also came up…

Dodo redemption

  Using computed tomography (CT) scans of an intact skull, researchers have discovered that extinct dodo birds (Raphus cucullatus), despite having a rather silly name, were actually pretty smart. Well, as smart as a pigeon at least, and pigeons are pretty smart. Dodos likely also had a good sense of smell based on measurements of the olfactory portion…