Life Science

Category archives for Life Science

Congratulations to Mallory Ballinger, a graduate student from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who is the 2015 recipient of the Dr. Dolittle Travel Award! The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding graduate student or postdoctoral fellow involved in comparative and evolutionary research and to provide assistance for them to attend the annual American Physiological Society…

Whose DNA is that?

Dr. Christopher Mason (Weill Cornell Medical College, Manhatten, NY) decided to sequence DNA found in NY subway stations…468 of them to be precise. At each station, his research team collected DNA samples by swabbing the kiosks, turnstiles, benches, railings, trash cans as well as the subway cars. Along with finding abundant Pseudomonas bacteria (also found…

Passing rewarming saves energy

I came across a neat study published recently in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology which examined how bats arouse from hibernation, a period during which their body temperature and metabolism are low. To minimize the high energetic costs of warming up during arousal, bats use solar radiation or take…

Cone snail’s unique weapon: insulin

A new study published in the Proceedings of  the National Academy of Sciences shows that cone snails use a pretty neat tactic to capture prey. They release insulin to lower blood sugar (i.e. hypoglycemic shock), which immobilizes fish for an easy meal. The venomous insulin is molecularly different from molluscan insulin and was actually found…

Puppy Bowl XI

I am pretty excited about Puppy Bowl XI tomorrow afternoon on Animal Planet! So cute! (3pm) Team Ruff vs Team Fluff http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/about-this-show/about-puppy-bowl/

An unexpected find and very exciting moment for researchers exploring what lies beneath 740 meters of ice in Antarctica…fish! An amazing find given the perpetual darkness and cold. In an expedition sponsored by the National Science Foundation, scientists and ice drillers bored a hole through the Ross Ice Shelf near the coast of Antarctica, 850…

Dr. Thane Wibbels (University of Alabama at Birmingham) is interested in studying how temperature affects the sex of red-eared slider turtle embryos. For humans, the answer is simple: sex chromosomes. You know, the combination of XX means girl and XY means boy. Turtles are not that simple. Temperature is a factor in determining whether the…

Sex differences in sleep apnea

I came across an interesting study published last month in American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a disorder in which the upper airway is repeatedly obstructed during sleep resulting in bouts of intermittent hypoxia (low oxygen concentrations). I had no idea that OSA is…

Flying over the Himalayas

I listened to a really interesting story on NPR this morning about new discoveries regarding the flight patterns of bar-headed geese. These birds are known for their incredible ability to fly over the Himalayas on their annual migration to central Asia. Until now, it was often assumed that the birds reached a specific altitude and then simply…

Cleanliness saves hives

Varroa mites can be highly destructive to bee colonies and are a big concern for beekeepers. They get inside honeycombs where they lay eggs and feed on the bee pupae. When the adult bees are released from their cells, so are the mites, which then go on to lay more eggs. Bees that live with…