Post List

  • July 14, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

When ecological opportunity knocks, does adaptive radiation answer?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

One of the most basic questions in evolutionary ecology is, "why are there more kinds of this kind of critter than that kind of critter?" As in, why are there more than twenty thousand species of orchids, but only one species of ginkgo? Why are there hundreds of thousands of species of beetles, but only four species of horseshoe crab? In a literature review just released online—and my first publication as lead author!—my coauthors and I assess the support for one hypothesis: that species mul........ Read more »

Alfaro, M., Santini, F., Brock, C., Alamillo, H., Dornburg, A., Rabosky, D., Carnevale, G., & Harmon, L. (2009) Nine exceptional radiations plus high turnover explain species diversity in jawed vertebrates. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 106(32), 13410-4. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811087106  

Blumenthal, D., Mitchell, C., Pysek, P., & Jarosik, V. (2009) Synergy between pathogen release and resource availability in plant invasion. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 106(19), 7899-904. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812607106  

Grant, B., & Grant, P. (1989) Natural selection in a population of Darwin's finches. The American Naturalist, 133(3), 377-93. DOI: 10.1086/284924  

Wheat, C., Vogel, H., Wittstock, U., Braby, M., Underwood, D., & Mitchell-Olds, T. (2007) The genetic basis of a plant insect coevolutionary key innovation. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 104(51), 20427-31. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0706229104  

Yoder, J.B., Des Roches, S., Eastman, J.M., Gentry, L., Godsoe, W.K.W., Hagey, T., Jochimsen, D., Oswald, B.P., Robertson, J., Sarver, B.A.J.... (2010) Ecological opportunity and the origin of adaptive radiations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02029.x  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 10:03 AM

Taung, 2.3 Million Years Ago – Scratched bones and fossil primate teeth as keys to a lost world

by Laelaps in Laelaps

On December 23, 1924, the Australian anatomist Raymond Dart chipped away the last bit of rock encasing the skull of a small fossil primate. The specimen had been part of a collection of fossil scraps sent to him from a limestone quarry in Taung, South Africa - not too far from where he was teaching [...]... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Uncinate processes link birds and dinosaurs

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6 (old)

I read a lovely paper last night that took to task the findings of an older paper by one of my closest collaborators. I think both papers are very strong papers and I would love to discuss my thoughts on the issue here, but I feel as though the topic might be a little too [...]... Read more »

Codd, J. (2010) Uncinate processes in birds: Morphology, physiology and function☆. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular , 156(3), 303-308. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.12.005  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Life and death and sex choices in mantids

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

If ever there was a time to be careful about who you were going to mate with, it would probably be when there was a good chance you were going to die in the attempt.

And we’re not talking about some sort of heroic situation where the male has to endure hardships to get to the female. We’re talking about situations where the female herself is the threat.

“Fair princess, I have arrived to...”

CHOMP. Nom nom nom.

A lot has been written about the cannibalistic tendencies of praying manti........ Read more »

Barry KL. (2010) Influence of female nutritional status on mating dynamics in a sexually cannibalistic praying mantid. Animal Behaviour. info:/10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.05.024

  • July 14, 2010
  • 07:45 AM

Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Contagious Yawn!

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

It's been a pretty long stressful week around here, and not just because of Pepsipocalypse and the resulting fallout. But, well, I'm back, and I have an awesome paper to tell you about. When I saw it I just KNEW it had to be blogged.

Mythbuster Adam Savage sets the yawning in motion in Mythbusters attempts to start a yawning epidemic across the globe

Did watching that video make you yawn? Chances are it did, and you can thank contagious yawning for it. What is contagious yawning? Contagious y........ Read more »

Joly-Mascheroni, R., Senju, A., & Shepherd, A. (2008) Dogs catch human yawns. Biology Letters, 4(5), 446-448. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0333  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 07:42 AM

Carnivorous trees of the sea: Notodendrodes not as harmless as it looks

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Remember Notodendrodes and the spicule tree? Don't they look so much like harmless trees sitting around sunbathing like their plant counterparts? Not all tree forams are harmless. The microscopic marine world is full of surprises, like trees waving around their long sticky network 'feet' to trap and devour any traveler that happens by. Here's some wonderful shots of Notodendrodes caught in the act:The top left image shows a clump of Artemia caught by Notodendrodes, a big carnivorous tree foram. ........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 04:43 AM

Honey’s anti-bacterial properties found?

by Grant Jacobs in Code for life

New research suggests that (some of) the secrets to honey’s anti-bacterial properties may have been revealed.

A Dutch team of microbiologists propose that the anti-bacterial properties of the honey they tested come down to four chemicals and one general property:

Sugars High concentrations of sugars have long been known to have anti-bacterial properties and are used in preserving food.
The [...]... Read more »

Kwakman, P., te Velde, A., de Boer, L., Speijer, D., Vandenbroucke-Grauls, C., & Zaat, S. (2010) How honey kills bacteria. The FASEB Journal, 24(7), 2576-2582. DOI: 10.1096/fj.09-150789  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 03:34 AM

Snakes in a brain scanner!

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Forget snakes on a plane, this was snakes in a brain scanner! To chart the neural activity associated with overcoming fear, Uri Nili and colleagues scanned snake-phobic participants' brains while they chose, with the press of a button, whether or not to bring a live, 1.5M long corn snake, located on a conveyer belt in the scanner room, nearer to their heads, or to shift it further away (watch video). A control condition replaced the snake with a teddy bear.

The subgenual anterior cingulate cor........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 02:51 AM

…maketh the man

by Rift in Psycasm

Here in Australia we have a national ‘youth’ radio station called Triple J, and on sunday nights they play a guy called John Safran – he’s a species of celebrity with a huge polarizing effect. It’s easy to see why, he’s over-cynical, opinionated and specializing in only a few key topics. I quite like him, [...]... Read more »

Peluchette, J., & Karl, K. (2007) The impact of workplace attire on employee self-perceptions. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18(3), 345-360. DOI: 10.1002/hrdq.1208  

Hannover, B., & Kuhnen, U. (2002) "The Clothing Makes the Self" Via Knowledge Activation1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(12), 2513-2525. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb02754.x  

  • July 14, 2010
  • 02:32 AM

Anne’s picks of the June literature: Watershed Hydrology

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

How long does it *really* take water to move through a watershed? Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 02:23 AM

The Effect of Chocolate on Cholesterol Level.

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

As you probably may well know, your lipid profile is of importance for cardiovascular disease. Especially a high cholesterol level is considered to be a risk factor for coronary artery disease. The efficacy of cocoa in reducing blood pressure and other positive effects on cardiovascular risk factors have been discussed on this blog for some [...]

Related posts:A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
How Much Chocolate is good for your Health?
Have Your Dark Chocolate with Green Tea
... Read more »

Lei Jia,, Xuan Liu,, Yong Yi Bai,, Shao Hua Li,, Kai Sun, Chen He,, & Rutai Hui. (2010) Short-term effect of cocoa product consumption on lipid profile: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. info:/

  • July 14, 2010
  • 01:00 AM

Quitting Behavior is Social Too

by Yuping Liu-Thompkins in Ping! -- Loyalty Science in Practice

When we talk about social networking or contagion effect, we are usually referring to getting good words out about us so that we can engender good will and gain additional customers. In other words, we often focus on positive behavior in the context of social networks. But just as positive behavior can be fostered through [...]... Read more »

Irit Nitzan and Barak Libai. (2010) Social Effects on Customer Retention. Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series 2010. info:other/10-107

  • July 14, 2010
  • 12:53 AM

Aging, Cancer, and p53

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci has recently did a post on p53. She finds it to be a fascinating little guy, and it might just become her new obsession. It appears to be everywhere, the little protein behind the scenes making things happen. (Awww, look at it, all hugging the DNA like that. What a cutie!) And one of [...]... Read more »

  • July 13, 2010
  • 09:40 PM

Analysis of Gene Expression and Longevity is Forging Ahead

by Reason in Fight Aging!

The process of gene expression, in which a gene is used as a blueprint to construct a protein, is anything but static. Levels of gene expression for individual genes rise and fall with environmental circumstances, health, injury, and over the course of aging. It's a tremendously complex system, with a lot of feedback loops and switches, but fortunately the cost of analyzing gene expression profiles over a whole genome is falling rapidly. It is now feasible to run hundreds of such profiles over t........ Read more »

  • July 13, 2010
  • 08:50 PM

This Week in the Universe: July 6th – July 12th

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

What have people been talking about this week in high energy physics, astrophysics, gravitation, general relativity and quantum gravity?... Read more »

Pohl, R., Antognini, A., Nez, F., Amaro, F., Biraben, F., Cardoso, J., Covita, D., Dax, A., Dhawan, S., Fernandes, L.... (2010) The size of the proton. Nature, 466(7303), 213-216. DOI: 10.1038/nature09250  

John Swain. (2010) Black Holes and the Strong CP Problem. arXiv. arXiv: 1005.1097v2

  • July 13, 2010
  • 05:06 PM

Xanax redux

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

There's a little corner of your brain - the anterior cingulate cortex - that's thought to play a role in monitoring errors. The electrical signals that flow from this part of the brain ramp up when the mind is challenged with conflicting information, an effect called 'error response negativity', or ERN. In short, ERN represents that anxious, uneasy feeling you sometimes get when you've made a mistake.

Back in 2009 Michael Inzlicht, at the University of Toronto in Canada, found that religious pe........ Read more »

Michael Inzlicht, & Alexa M. Tullett. (2010) Reflecting on God: Religious Primes Can Reduce Neurophysiological Response to Errors. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797610375451

  • July 13, 2010
  • 04:10 PM

A Safe and Effective Vaccine for Lethal Bacterial Pathogens

by Michael Long in Phased

Francis Nano (University of Victoria, Canada) and coworkers have developed a live bacterial vaccine that is nevertheless safe and effective for dangerous pathogens, with the aid of temperature-sensitive genetic modifications. This news feature was written on July 13, 2010.... Read more »

Duplantis, B. N., Osusky, M., Schmerk, C. L., Ross, D. R., Bosio, C. M., & Nano, F. E. (2010) Essential genes from Arctic bacteria used to construct stable, temperature-sensitive bacterial vaccines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004119107  

  • July 13, 2010
  • 03:13 PM

Are Headlines Hogwash? Part III

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

Blackburn, J., Mitchell, M., Blackburn, M., Curtis, A., & Thompson, B. (2010). Evidence of Antibiotic Resistance in Free-Swimming, Top-Level Marine Predatory Fishes Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 41 (1), 7-16 DOI: 10.1638/2007-0061.1

This week’s installment of ‘Are Headlines Hogwash’ brings us to an article from Discovery News this past June.  Here’s the headline:

Blackburn, J., Mitchell, M., Blackburn, M., Curtis, A., & Thompson, B. (2010) Evidence of Antibiotic Resistance in Free-Swimming, Top-Level Marine Predatory Fishes. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 41(1), 7-16. DOI: 10.1638/2007-0061.1  

  • July 13, 2010
  • 01:46 PM

Pipeline Drugs for Obesity

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Pharmacotherapy effectiveness for the treatment of obesity has been disappointing. Currently available agents tend to have significant adverse effects (i.e. dependency issues for appetite suppressants) or limited weight loss potential (i.e. orlistat). Drug development has also been slowed by fallout from the link of the combination drug phentermine-fenfluramine (Phen-Fen). This combination was linked to serious heart complications including valvular heart disease.Currently available agents in........ Read more »

Klonoff DC, & Greenway F. (2008) Drugs in the pipeline for the obesity market. Journal of diabetes science and technology, 2(5), 913-8. PMID: 19885278  

  • July 13, 2010
  • 10:35 AM

MR-CoNS: A Reservoir of Resistance for MRSA?

by Mike in Mike the Mad Biologist

No, MR-CoNS isn't some kind of crazy new conservative, it stands for methicillin resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci. CoNS are relatives of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (the 'SA' in MRSA), and are common human commensals--they typically live on us and in us without causing disease.

One of the important things, from a health perspective, about CoNS is that many are resistant to methicillin (methicillin resistance is the "MR" in MRSA). In fact, the resistance mechanism, know........ Read more »

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