Science Storiented

Visit Blog Website

73 posts · 70,996 views

The purpose of Science Storiented is to disseminate scientific knowledge in an educational and entertaining manner. As such, while reading through this blog you will encounter an eclectic mix of serious science, funny and/or educational science videos, the occasional infographic, and general geekology references that we scientists find poignantly true.

Melissa Chernick
73 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • July 6, 2012
  • 02:20 PM

Meet the NanoPutians

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It is always nice to be reminded that science can have a sense of humor. For instance, I know that biology has a long history of naming insects after famous people including movie stars (such as the dolichopodid fly Campsicnemius charliechaplini), writers (like the dinosaur Serendipaceratops arthurclarkei), musicians (such as the trilobites Avalachurus lennoni, A. starri, and Struszia mccartneyi), science educators (like the land snail Crikey steveirwini), and even fictional characters (such ........ Read more »

Stephanie H. Chanteau, & James M. Tour. (2003) Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules:  The NanoPutians. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 68(23), 8750-8766. DOI: 10.1021/jo0349227  

  • July 2, 2013
  • 03:35 PM

The Boob-Resource Hypothesis: Why Is Bigger Better?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It has been quite a while since I've made an entry in to the "Groundbreaking science - men like boobs" category.  In the past, I've made the following statement on this topic: "Men like big breasts, therefore women evolve larger breasts. It's an evolutionarily solid argument, assuming of course that male preference exerts any pressure on the evolution of female secondary sexual characteristics." Indeed, evidence is mounting that humans have a great propensity to rely on their perceptions of........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2015
  • 02:38 PM

Will You Be My Valentine?: Making All the Right Moves

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

My Valentine’s Day themed posts have been both popular and fun to write. In last year’s Getting a Date for Valentine’s Day series, you learned that you should wear something red, gaze without being creepy, tell a good joke before walking up to your potential date who is preferably standing next to some flowers, and then open with a unique request to segue into asking them out. But that isn't the end of the story. Oh no, there are many more things that you can do to attract that special so........ Read more »

Brown, W., Cronk, L., Grochow, K., Jacobson, A., Liu, C., Popović, Z., & Trivers, R. (2005) Dance reveals symmetry especially in young men. Nature, 438(7071), 1148-1150. DOI: 10.1038/nature04344  

Neave, N., McCarty, K., Freynik, J., Caplan, N., Honekopp, J., & Fink, B. (2010) Male dance moves that catch a woman's eye. Biology Letters, 7(2), 221-224. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0619  

Bale, C., Morrison, R., & Caryl, P. (2006) Chat-up lines as male sexual displays. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(4), 655-664. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.07.016  

Cooper, M., O’Donnell, D., Caryl, P., Morrison, R., & Bale, C. (2007) Chat-up lines as male displays: Effects of content, sex, and personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(5), 1075-1085. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2007.03.001  

  • June 7, 2013
  • 04:18 PM

The Halting of the Hot Jupiter

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

We haven’t talked about exoplanets for a while, and we should ‘cause they are pretty badass. Through various podcasts and the like, I've been hearing some really cool things about NASA’s Kepler Mission and all of neat astronomical bodies it’s been finding. So I decided to browse around the NASA and JPL websites to see what new coolness has been discovered recently.NASA’s Kepler Mission was launched in 2009. It was built to detect potentially life-supporting planets around other stars........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 12:05 PM

The Chemistry of Christmas

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

What are the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the textures that you associate with Christmas? Perhaps it is Christmas trees with their lovely green shape, color and wonderful pine smell. Maybe it’s the smells of cooking, the savory smells of turkey or the sweet smell of warm cookies. Or what about all of the cozy feelings you get with big sweaters or a roaring fire? Did you know that there is a lot of chemistry that goes into all of the senses we associate with this holiday?I was browsing t........ Read more »

Jackson, D., & Dicks, A. (2012) The Five Senses of Christmas Chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 89(10), 1267-1273. DOI: 10.1021/ed300231z  

  • March 14, 2014
  • 04:32 PM

The Charge of the Crazy Ant: Chemical Warfare Between Invading Species

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I’ll be the first to admit that I've been a little blog-negligent lately. Even when all of the ice and snow we've gotten here on the East Coast forced me to stay inside I just binge watched shows on Netflix instead. I’m not sure what brought me out of my procrastination funk and compelled me to do a little reading and writing. If you've been following the Facebook page then you've been getting a lot of yummy sciency tidbits, but it’s time for me to get back on the hard science wagon. I thi........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2014
  • 12:50 PM

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Photosynthesis, Water-Splitting, and the OEC

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

A very very cool paper was recently published online. The paper details a study that shows the first images of water splitting apart during photosynthesis. So pick you jaw up off the table and we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details. Let’s start by accessing your long-term memory, dragging out some of that basic biology information you buried after high school and grabbing on to that dusty file about photosynthesis. If you remember, plants have little green, bean-shaped energy factories in t........ Read more »

Kupitz, C., Basu, S., Grotjohann, I., Fromme, R., Zatsepin, N., Rendek, K., Hunter, M., Shoeman, R., White, T., Wang, D.... (2014) Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13453  

  • May 4, 2012
  • 09:28 PM

Biodiversity Good, Extinction Bad, Climate Change Worse

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

This phylogenetic tree of life was created by David Hillis, Derreck Zwickil and Robin Gutell. It depicts the evolutionary relationships of about 3,000 species throughout the Tree of Life. Less than 1 percent of all the known species. Download the pdf from the Hillis Lab.I hope we can all agree that: biodiversity = good, extinction = bad. This incredibly simplistic statement could be taken a number of ways, but, as we are doing with so many things lately, let's look at it through the le........ Read more »

Reich, P., Tilman, D., Isbell, F., Mueller, K., Hobbie, S., Flynn, D., & Eisenhauer, N. (2012) Impacts of Biodiversity Loss Escalate Through Time as Redundancy Fades. Science, 336(6081), 589-592. DOI: 10.1126/science.1217909  

Cardinale, B. (2012) Impacts of Biodiversity Loss. Science, 336(6081), 552-553. DOI: 10.1126/science.1222102  

Hooper, D., Adair, E., Cardinale, B., Byrnes, J., Hungate, B., Matulich, K., Gonzalez, A., Duffy, J., Gamfeldt, L., & O’Connor, M. (2012) A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11118  

  • August 20, 2015
  • 03:09 PM

Falling with Style: Controlled Gliding in Spiders

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Sometimes I read a paper because the methods catch my eye. I can just imagine some scientists sitting around a table with a beer and saying, “I wonder what would happen if we just dropped a bunch of spiders from the tops of trees.” An article published online yesterday did just that.Barro Colorado Island is a man-made island is located in Gatun Lake, created by filling of the Panama Canal. It is covered in tropical rainforests, and its inhabitants have been studied extensively. It would be a........ Read more »

Stephen P. Yanoviak, Yonatan Munk, & Robert Dudley. (2015) Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders. J. R. Soc. Interface. info:/10.1098/rsif.2015.0534

  • August 16, 2012
  • 01:55 PM

Castrating the Zombie Ant

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

 Last year I posted Attack of the Zombie Ant! A post that turned out to be quite popular. To sum it up, there are fungal parasites (genus Ophiocordyceps) that infect ants and take control of their bodies. The fungus then compels the ant to crawl up into the forest canopy and clamp down on a leaf while the fungus grows inside the body, eventually producing a hyphae and stroma (fruiting body) that grows out of the head and produces and releases spores. And repeat.A recent paper in PLoS ONE ta........ Read more »

Sandra B. Andersen, Matthew Ferrari, Harry C. Evans, Simon L. Elliot, Jacobus J. Boomsma, & David P. Hughes. (2012) Disease Dynamics in a Specialized Parasite of Ant Societies. PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036352  

  • September 12, 2013
  • 03:23 PM

Dealing with Drought: How Do Plants Cope?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Have you noticed how often drought has been in the news lately? You don’t have to be a scientist to know that drought is bad. But, if you’re a plant, how bad is bad? I mean, you’re a plant; it isn't like you can pick up your roots and go looking for the nearest water source. You must have ways to cope, strategies that will let you survive until water arrives. A new paper in Tree Physiology caught my eye today that examines how plants handle drought in our changing climate.We know that drou........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2014
  • 06:39 PM

Small Things, Big Problem: Microplastics Uptake in Shore Crabs

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately I've been gearing up for some nano-particle research, and so I've been doing a lot of reading about very small things. While perusing the literature, I came across a paper published online in Environmental Science and Technology that takes a look at microplastics.Let’s start with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a very good example of this type of marine pollution. This huge collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean is created by an ocean gyre, a stable circular ocean curre........ Read more »

Watts AJ, Lewis C, Goodhead RM, Beckett SJ, Moger J, Tyler CR, & Galloway TS. (2014) Uptake and Retention of Microplastics by the Shore Crab Carcinus maenas. Environmental science . PMID: 24972075  

  • October 9, 2012
  • 03:45 PM

Dinosaurs, Diversity, Distribution, and the LBG

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

For some reason I am in the mood to read a biogeography paper. I didn’t really have a particular topic in mind when I started looking, just a few journals I occasionally peruse. Then I came across a paper about palaeodiversity and the distribution of dinosaurs. I like dinosaurs and I like biogeography. So this must be a win-win. I haven’t visited the idea of dinosaur community structure and distribution since my Dino Eco post back in 2010. That paper concluded that the entire Western Interio........ Read more »

Philip D. Mannion, Roger B. J. Benson, Paul Upchurch, Richard J. Butler, Matthew T. Carrano, & Paul M. Barrett7. (2012) A temperate palaeodiversity peak in Mesozoic dinosaurs and evidence for Late Cretaceous geographical partitioning. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21(9), 898-908. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00735.x  

  • September 30, 2013
  • 02:47 PM

Larks vs. Night-Owls: What Your Sleep Patterns Say About You

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Ugh, Monday morning really kicked my butt. Even my strong coffee failed to wake me up completely. Of course, I drag-ass most mornings, being almost useless before 10 a.m. On the flip side, I have always been wonderfully alert and productive after 7 p.m. A night owl I am, and this seems like a good topic for discussion. What determines your circadian rhythms and what does that mean for your personality?A circadian rhythm is an endogenous, near 24 hour cycle in the process of living organisms (pl........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2013
  • 06:08 PM

Heavy Metals in Fish: Toxicity and Tolerance

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Today I found an interesting paper that fits right in to my new job in the field of aquatic ecotoxicology. As the name suggests, this field is a combination of ecology and toxicology that deals with the nature, effects, and interactions of harmful substances in the environment. In my case, it is aquatic, freshwater systems in particular. The paper I came across looks at the effects of metal contamination and tolerance in freshwater fish.Metal contamination is something that occurs worldwide. A n........ Read more »

  • March 29, 2013
  • 08:15 PM

Getting to the Roots (and Fungi) of Carbon Sequestration

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

This week, I found a paper that I’m calling the best of both worlds. Well, for me at least. This paper combines my past (and lingering) interest in island biogeography with a current interest in climate change and carbon storage.If you have been reading my blog long enough then you already know my love of islands. They are just so darn useful. In the past, I have focused on oceanic islands, but lake islands are also really neat. These types of islands typically form when lower lying land........ Read more »

Clemmensen, K., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H., Stenlid, J., Finlay, R., Wardle, D., & Lindahl, B. (2013) Roots and Associated Fungi Drive Long-Term Carbon Sequestration in Boreal Forest. Science, 339(6127), 1615-1618. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231923  

  • July 3, 2012
  • 06:48 PM

A Lionfish of a Problem

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lionfish are beautiful but venomous. Very recently these fish have become quite a large problem in the Caribbean, the fastest invasion documented for a marine fish. The Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois miles and P. volitans) are native to the reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are also very popular aquarium fish. Whether through accidental or purposeful releases in the late 1970’s through the present, lionfish have made their way into the Caribbean. It started out as not-so-bad (as suc........ Read more »

Emily S. Darling, Stephanie J. Green, Jennifer K. O’Leary, & Isabelle M. Coˆte. (2011) Indo-Pacific lionfish are larger and more abundant on invaded reefs: a comparison of Kenyan and Bahamian lionfish populations. Biological Invasions, 13(9), 2045-2051. info:/10.1007/s10530-011-0020-0

John Alexander Brightman Claydon, Marta Caterina Calosso, & Sarah Beth Traiger. (2012) Progression of invasive lionfish in seagrass,mangrove and reef habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 119-129. info:/10.3354/meps09534

  • October 23, 2014
  • 05:42 PM

Trick-or-Treating: What Do You Hand Out On Halloween?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Halloween is almost here. And you know what that means: Candy! It’s one of those Halloween traditions that I just never seem to have grown out of. Those little chocolate bars are seriously dangerous to my waistline. Remember how much Halloween candy you ate when you were a kid? Were you one of those kids who gorged on all that sugary goodness, or were you the type to parse it out and make it last? I was a Trader, that kid that made deals to trade all her bad candy for the good stuff. Anyway, t........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2014
  • 12:56 PM

Engage Warp Drive, Mr. Sulu!

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

A warp drive may actually become a real thing. Permission to get a little excited.A couple of years ago, several stories hit the internet when physicist Harold White announced that his NASA team at the Johnson Space Center had begun work on the development of  a warp drive. You can probably see how news of potential faster-than-light-speed travel might throw geeks into a Star Trek-fueled frenzy. White proposed a design that would solve the problems of the Alcubierre Drive concept. Most peop........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2014
  • 01:48 PM

Live Fast, Die Young: Evolutionary Outcomes of an Asteroid Impact

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

A new semester has started and with it an influx of new students into the lab has begun. Busy has become my middle name. So when I was looking around for a paper to write about I wanted something different and cool. Not exactly hard to find in science. The asteroid known as 2012 DA14 will narrowly miss Earth this Friday, the closest known asteroid flyby on record. And by close we’re talking within the orbits of many communications satellites. This got me thinking about and looking for recent p........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit