Life Science

Category archives for Life Science

I came across this neat video from Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Michael Romero, a comparative physiologist interested in how the kidneys work. In this video he describes discoveries made in zebrafish that relate to human kidney function:

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

Ugly dogs

It is that time of year again to vote for your favorite “Ugliest dog”. I have a feeling it will be a close contest. To pick your favorite contender, click here. Honestly some of them are rather cute in their own way. I am rather partial to Rascal Deux and Icky…this will be a tough decision.…

Exposing Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) to shorter photoperiods (think winter) for about two months causes the animals to spontaneously undergo daily bouts of torpor during which time they decrease metabolic rate to conserve energy.  New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine whether decreases in growth hormone secretion…

Death by boa constrictor

New research from Dr. Scott Boback and colleagues at Dickinson College (Pennsylvania) shows that boa constrictors do not use suffocation as a primary means of killing their victims. Rather, by measuring blood pressure and heart activity of the prey, they were able to determine that the snakes restrict blood flow in their victims causing circulatory arrest and a…

Polar bear survival during summer

If you happen to be in the Arctic this summer polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be spotted spending their time on the sea ice or on the shore in areas where ice has melted. While it is difficult to study the physiology of bears living on the ice, it had been hypothesized that bears living on shore experience…

Sailing Spiders

Research published July 3 in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology supports the idea that some species of spiders can catch the wind to “sail” across bodies of water, which they suggest might be why certain spiders seem to be all over the world. While some spiders were already know to catch the breeze to travel by air relatively…

I came across this neat press release from the American Physiological Society which describes new research on understanding how the genes of burmese pythons are actually altered by feeding. Fascinating! The research was published in the May issue of Physiological Genomics. Here is a brief synopsis. For the full story, visit the APS website. What is…

Weighing meal options

I just listened to a neat podcast from Scientific American’s Karen Hopkin in which she described a new study published in the Journal of Ornithology that suggests Mexican Jays (Aphelocoma ultramarina) pick which peanut to eat only after literally weighing their options. The researchers modified some peanuts to remove the contents. The Mexican Jays were then offered unmodified nuts along with the…

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist