Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Ecology

Abandoned fourth century AD settlement. Photo by L. LaĆ¼t. In the June 2007 issue of Ecology, Dambrine et al. have a fascinating article demonstrating that abandoned Roman settlements still affect the local abundance of plant communities. From the abstract (italics mine):

The Bestest Exclusion Cage EVAH!

The Mad Biologist loves this experiment. In the April 2007 issue of Ecology, there’s a nice article by Ellis et al. demonstrating how sea gull predation regulates community dynamics in the rocky intertidal. One of the methods used was the construction of exclusion cages. Essentially, these keep various critters of interest out of a patch…

NIH, in about six months, will release a huge sum of money to fund the study of the human ‘microbiome’: those microorganisms that live on or in us. One of the things that will be done with this money is meta-genomics which is “the study of genomes recovered from environmental samples as opposed to from…

From Monday to Friday, I attended the American Society for Microbiology meeting held in Toronto. Before I get to some of the interesting science, my apologies to all of the people who suggested we meet up. Unfortunately, I never look at the blog (or almost never) while I’m on the road, so I missed your…

Enterococci in Drosophila

(from here) Biologists have studied the fly Drosophila melanogaster for decades. Given its status as a model organism (perhaps the model organism), one would think figuring out what its microbial fauna is would be a high priority. Yet remarkably little is known about its microbial fauna. Until now.

ScienceBlogling Mike Dunford has an interesting post asking whether we should save an endemic Hawaiian plant, the williwilli. It’s a good post, but I have two comments, one silly and one serious. The silly comment is that how could anyone let a plant named the williwilli become extinct? It’s so damn cute (and is the…

NARMS Public Hearing

I’ve mentioned the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) before. Today, I’ll be attending the NARMS public hearing which is going to discuss four questions:

Antibiotic Resistance in Chimps

There’s an interesting news story about antibiotic resistance in wild chimpanzee populations that claims to have found transfer of resistant Escherichia coli from humans to wild animals.

Or maybe terrifying is a better word. I just returned from the Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus meeting, where I learned some very interesting things about S. aureus (since I’m going to refer to MRSA, methicillin resistant S. aureus repeatedly, go check this link if you want to know more about MRSA):

A Commensal ‘Epidemic’ in E. coli?

It sure looks that way. Last night, I was talking to a colleague and he told me that several groups, including his, are seeing a very interesting pattern in commensal Escherichia coli (those E. coli that live in everyone’s gut and aren’t making us sick).