Life Science

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…

One of the most common dodges used by Intelligent Design creationists is to use a vague definition of their subject so that critics have nothing specific too attack, and also so they can accuse anyone who disagrees with them of using a strawman argument. For example, they claim that organisms exhibit “specified complexity”, which cannot…

Stephen Hsu thinks super intelligent humans are coming. He thinks this because he’s very impressed with genetic engineering (he’s a physicist), and believes that the way to make people more intelligent is to adjust their genes, and therefore, more gene tweaking will lead to more intelligent people, inevitably. And not just intelligent, but super-intelligent, with…

Mostly, the killer whales native to Puget Sound are salmon eaters. But there are also transient orca who cruise through the Sound, and their diets may be a bit more adventurous. And then this week the gray whales were passing by, and…uh-oh. Gang fight. It’s that time of year. The Great Migration of 22,000 Eastern…

Experimental Biology – Day 2

Today was a great day for trainees in comparative physiology! Here are some of the highlights from their sessions: Poster presentations: Alexis MacDonald et al., (Union College – Mentor Dr. Scott Kirkton) presented research showing that grasshopper skeletal muscles may use lactate for energy! Similarly, Dongying Wang et al., (Saint Louis University – Mentor Dr. Daniel…

Today marked the official start of the Experimental Biology meeting for the American Physiological Society! The highest award the society offers a scientist is named in honor of Dr. Walter B Cannon, the physiologist (and 6th President of the society) who came up with the term ‘homeostasis’ in his 1930 book The Wisdom of the…

I am packing my bags and heading out to sunny San Diego for the annual Experimental Biology conference, which officially kicks off today!

The Squid Scientists take a photo of their baby animals, and unwittingly reveal what they’re actually doing. Look behind the squid — I know it’s hard, why would you want to look past cephalopods? — and what do you see? That blurry poster in the background? It’s a space shuttle launch. And now you know.…

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!

Heat stress in livestock

With the approach of summer, a timely study was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology on whether inflammation plays a role in heat stress-related complications in muscles. Heat stress is a major problem in the livestock industry. In the United States alone it is reportedly associated with a loss of approximately…