Archives for March, 2013

Fluorescent millipedes on Alcatraz

Alcatraz is even more exciting that I had previously thought! Early last year the National Park Service had baited rats on the island with a non-toxic fluorescent food dye so they could track the animals as they left behind fluorescent droppings. Volunteers from the UC Davis entomology club along with workers then searched the island using black lights to find evidence of the…

Experimental Biology 2013

I am so excited! The Experimental Biology meeting is only 23 days away and is already reportedly on track to be one of the largest meetings yet. I can’t wait to catch up on what’s new in comparative physiology at the meeting (along with many other topics). I will be sure to share the highlights.

Innovative pest control

Entomologist Dr. Coby Schal at North Carolina State University studies the chemicals involved in insect communication in an effort to more effectively manage pests. His big interest is in chemical communication using pheromones and how they impact mating and other behaviors. His research has aided the control of cockroaches, bed bugs, mosquitoes and other nuisance…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s to the physiology of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day: Cheers!!

Equine digestive physiology

Apparently I have too much free time on my hands today. I came across this cute video describing how the digestive system of a horse differs from that of humans. The video was created by Jill Johnston, a student at University of New Hampshire, Manchester.

In honor of the 125th anniversary of The American Physiological Society, a history of its founding was just published in Advances in Physiology Education. It reads like a Who’s Who list of some of the most important contributors to our understanding of modern physiology. Where would physiology research be in this country without this important…

Jellies, jellies everywhere!

I just came across two blogs dedicated to all things jellyfish: JellyBiologist  Jellyfish Aquarist Who knew there were so many people interested in jellyfish to warrant such wonderful blogs! I admit spending a lot of my free time this weekend on these blogs reading about these fascinating creatures. I found the JellyBiologist blog on Beroe…

Caffeine buzzzzz

Apparently humans and honeybees share something in common when it comes to caffeine. Dr. Geraldine Wright (Newcastle University, England) discovered that bees are more likely to return to flowers that produce nectar containing caffeine. Their data suggest caffeine improves memory in bees. Caffeine is present in higher concentrations in the leaves and other tissues of the plant where…

Antimicrobial insect wings

The animation below from Nature shows a bacteria rupturing after landing on nanopillars present on the surface of a clanger cicada (Psaltoda claripennis) wing. Dr. Ivanova (Swinburne University, Australia) and colleagues showed that nanopillars rupture the bacteria by straining the cell wall. Some scientists see this as an opportunity to create anti-bacterial surfaces in public…

Bees can sense electrical fields

New research from Dr. Daniel Robert and colleagues at the University of Bristol shows that bees are not only attracted to the bright colors and smells of flowers, they can also sense their electrical field. It has been known that bees develop positive charges as they bump into small charged molecules during flight, resulting in…