Life Science

Category archives for Life Science

Exercise grows bigger fish

A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored the effects of exercise on growth and hormone regulation in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata). The main hormones that regulate growth are, perhaps not surprisingly, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor. Researchers discovered young gilthead seam bream that underwent…

How woodpeckers avoid concussions

I just read an interesting blog entry from I Spy Physiology describing how woodpeckers avoid getting concussions even though they routinely bang their heads. By routinely, I mean an impressive 12,000 times a day approximately. I was amazed to learn that each time a woodpecker taps a tree, the impact is about 10 times that of an…

Mystery of the buzzing ocean discovered

I love a good mystery. This one has puzzled scientists for several years now…ever since they discovered a humming or buzzing noise in the Pacific ocean, an otherwise rather quiet place. This was no ordinary noise, that they knew of. In a recent interview on NPR, Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla,…

I am excited to report that it’s that time of year again when the American Physiological Society hosts their annual video contest! This year’s Phantastic Physiology Voyage theme is “Function Follows Form.” Here is just a sample of the fun videos in the contest: Please vote for your favorite physiology video here!

What’s new in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Physiological Society held their 6th annual meeting at the University of Puerto Rico this past Friday February 12th. The theme of the meeting was “Pathophysiological Mechanisms of Stress: From Cells to Organisms.” While the meeting did not feature much of what would be considered comparative physiology, there were several really good talks…

Decompression sickness

Animals exposed to military sonar are thought to develop symptoms similar to decompression sickness. Since microparticles in the blood are known to increase with decompression sickness in diving land animals, researchers explored whether levels were also increased in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), that similarly hold their breath while diving. Microparticles are fragments of cell membranes. The…

New research published in Biology Letters suggests that, similar to dogs, horses may understand our facial expressions. In a quote published in Discovery News, study author Amy Smith (University of Sussex) said, “It’s possible that horses developed this ability during their 6,000-year co-evolution with humans, or indeed that individual horses learn it during their lifetimes.”…

Researchers are spending a lot of time exploring how the microbes living in our guts impact our health. In a new study published in Cell Reports, researchers wanted to know how the gut microbes of wild brown bears changes between summer and hibernation. They discovered that during the summer, the microbial species present in the gut are…

Beware of freezing hearts

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) are really cute when they hibernate (above). During torpor bouts, their body temperature decreases to a few degrees Celsius and their metabolism drops by as much as 95% with heart rates ranging from only 3-10 beats per minute. These bouts of torpor are interrupted by periodic arousals every couple of weeks during which their…

Oh rats!

As I was perusing YouTube I came across a video from National Geographic that I must admit was fascinating while at the same time disturbing. The video describes how rats are able to travel from the sewer into your toilet. Although this is reportedly an uncommon occurence, I will be sure to look before I…