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Tuesday was no less exciting than Monday! Here are some highlights: I thoroughly enjoyed a session called “Overcoming a Major Physiological Barrier: Adaptation from Saline to Freshwater Habitats” which highlighted the need for several species to shift how they regulate ion balance when they migrate between fresh water (ion absorption from the water) and salt…

I am really excited about the comparative physiology conference that starts this weekend in San Diego! Here is a press release about the meeting (author Stacy Brooks from the American Physiological Society): Bethesda, Md. (September 25, 2014) — More than 400 comparative and evolutionary physiologists will gather to present new research and discoveries in animal physiology at…

City life makes bigger spiders

A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney shows that golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) that live in the city are larger and produce more offspring as compared to country living. When they say the spiders are big, they mean really big. The females can reach up to 20-25mm (males are only ~5mm).…

Brandy Velten (doctoral student) and Dr. Kenneth Welch (Comparative Physiologist) from the University of Toronto wanted to know whether birds with very different speeds at which they flaps their wings (i.e. wingbeat frequencies) had correspondingly varying types of myosin proteins in their muscles. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Physiology last month.…

Here is a neat video that I watched at the David Bruce Undergraduate Poster session at the Experimental Biology conference last week. It describes the amazing physiology of the avian lung and was created by an undergraduate student researcher, Peter Luu for the Physiology Video Contest sponsored by the American Physiological Society. This video won…

Pigeons on the menu for some catfish

I came across this interesting video today from Animal Wire that shows a population of catfish caught hunting pigeons on land: Who knew that catfish had more in common with cats than just their whiskers.

New research provides more evidence of how birds conserve energy by flying in a “V” formation:

Just in time for Halloween: Besides being an excellent way to avoid predators, roosting or hanging upside down is optimal for taking off into flight. Bats are not able to launch into flight from an upright position because their wings do not generate sufficient lift while at a dead stop. Additionally, their hindlegs are rather…

An article came out today in Wunderground.com about an iconic bird (in both good and bad ways) in South Africa, the Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash). There are stores named after the birds, songs dedicated to them and even a documentary called “Hadeda Sunrise” that you can watch here:

Shy birds build “better” bonds

A new study published in Ecology Letters suggests that shy male great tits build stronger bonds with birds in their own flock.  This population of birds has been studied in Wytham Woods, near Oxford, UK since 1947. In case you are wondering, the team determined “shyness” and “boldness” by capturing birds and placing them in a…