Ever hear that old saying an apple a day keeps the Doctor away? Well it might have the right idea, just the wrong person. New research investigating the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men’s semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm. So for people wanting children it may be time to rethink that produce.... Read more »
Y.H. Chiu et al. (2015) Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev064
Hagai Levine, & Shanna H. Swan. (2015) Is dietary pesticide exposure related to semen quality? Positive evidence from men attending a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev065
Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.
We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »
Bamford, R., Kellett, B., Bradford, J., Todd, T., Benton, M., Stafford-Allen, R., Alves, E., Silva, L., Collingwood, C., Crawford, I.... (2014) An exploration of the effectiveness of artificial mini-magnetospheres as a potential solar storm shelter for long term human space missions. Acta Astronautica, 105(2), 385-394. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.10.012
Bamford, R., Gibson, K., Thornton, A., Bradford, J., Bingham, R., Gargate, L., Silva, L., Fonseca, R., Hapgood, M., Norberg, C.... (2008) The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to spacecraft protection. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50(12), 124025. DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/50/12/124025
Walsh, B., Foster, J., Erickson, P., & Sibeck, D. (2014) Simultaneous Ground- and Space-Based Observations of the Plasmaspheric Plume and Reconnection. Science, 343(6175), 1122-1125. DOI: 10.1126/science.1247212
When the government first changed policy to require ethanol in gasoline, we were told it would reduce our carbon footprint. Then food prices rose significantly and corn in particular saw the largest price rise. This was because corn is a staple in production of almost any other food from eggs to beef, but the policy made environmental sense. Well it made sense, until you found out that the new government policy also took into account people eating less.... Read more »
Searchinger, T., Edwards, R., Mulligan, D., Heimlich, R., & Plevin, R. (2015) Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?. Science, 347(6229), 1420-1422. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261221
Lifeforms that live off methane instead of water are possible on Titan’s surface.... Read more »
Stevenson, J., Lunine, J., & Clancy, P. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances, 1(1). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400067
SUMMARY: In this fascinating video, Professor Ros Rickaby from Oxford chats with Professor Simon Conway-Morris at Cambridge about how Earth’s changing chemistry has affected evolution, and how this can sometimes lead to evolutionary convergence... Read more »
Williams R. J. P. (1981) The Bakerian Lecture, 1981: Natural Selection of the Chemical Elements. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 213(1193), 361-397. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1981.0071
Cook L. M., I. J. Saccheri, & J. Mallet. (2012) Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: the last experiment of Michael Majerus. Biology Letters, 8(4), 609-612. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.1136
Dhingra A., & H. Daniell. (2004) Enhanced translation of a chloroplast-expressed RbcS gene restores small subunit levels and photosynthesis in nuclear RbcS antisense plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(16), 6315-6320. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0400981101
Hippos are strange mammals. They lack hairs and sweat glands, and have an unusually thick skin. The only other mammals that share these features with hippos are whales, but they look nothing alike, except they’re also huge and live in water. Coincidence? Traditionally hippos were included in the Suidae (pigs) branch of the mammalian evolutionary tree, but molecular data unambiguously shows that they're closely related to cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). This not only sounds unlikely........ Read more »
Lihoreau Fabrice, Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, & Stéphane Ducrocq. (2015) Hippos stem from the longest sequence of terrestrial cetartiodactyl evolution in Africa. Nature Communications, 6264. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7264
SUMMARY: It’s inevitable: as science progresses, controversy happens. But sometimes, the public sees controversy where none exists. How to remedy that? ... Read more »
Darwin C. (1839) Observations on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, and of Other Parts of Lochaber in Scotland, with an Attempt to Prove That They Are of Marine Origin. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 39-81. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstl.1839.0005
Convergent cross-mapping analysis finds 'modest causal effect' of cosmic rays on global temperatures over short timescales, but rules out effect on long-term global warming.... Read more »
Tsonis, A., Deyle, E., May, R., Sugihara, G., Swanson, K., Verbeten, J., & Wang, G. (2015) Dynamical evidence for causality between galactic cosmic rays and interannual variation in global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201420291. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420291112
Many Cambrian fossils are simply spines and sclerites unassociated with any body. Few of the exceptionally-preserved Cambrian freaks come with spines attached, and some of the most prominent of these are the chancelloriids. Originally described as sponges by Charles Doolittle Walcott back in 1920 (Walcott, 1920), modern researchers have found that the spines are very similar to those […]
The post Chancelloriids Revised appeared first on Teaching Biology.
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Stefan Bengtson, & Desmond Collins. (2015) Chancelloriids of the Cambrian Burgess Shale. Palaeontologia Electronica. info:other/
Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »
James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067
Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," at least 13 of which are named Clear. But some of these lakes are clearer and cleaner than others. Does that matter to the tourists who visit them? Researchers found an easy way to answer this question by taking a deep dive into Flickr.
Bonnie Keeler, a scientist at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, explains that it's important to measure how the public is using various lakes, rivers and streams. Agencies that are trying........ Read more »
Keeler, B., Wood, S., Polasky, S., Kling, C., Filstrup, C., & Downing, J. (2015) Recreational demand for clean water: evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/140124
The 2010 floods were among the worst that Pakistan has experienced in recent decades. Sadly, the country is prone to recurrent flooding which means that in any given year, Pakistani farmers hope and pray that the floods will not be as bad as those in 2010. It would be natural to assume that recurring flood disasters force Pakistani farmers to give up farming and migrate to the cities in order to make ends meet. But a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Valerie Mueller ........ Read more »
Mueller V, Gray C, & Kosec K. (2014) Heat Stress Increases Long-term Human Migration in Rural Pakistan. Nature Climate Change, 182-185. PMID: 25132865
Now happily living on land, our Devonian ancestors tried many ways to get out of the murky waters. Jenny Clack has been studying the water-to-land transition of vertebrates for many decades. Her discoveries broke dogmas and rewrote textbooks. Jenny Clack's passion for palaeontology began at a young age, but unlike most children, Clack found dinosaurs “rather boring” and was instead fascinated with weird older creatures from the Devonian era, over 360 million years ago......... Read more »
Initial harder learning might make for better longterm retrieval. A lot of the discussions at my university on how to improve learning focus on how to make it easier for students to learn. That never sat quite right with me … Continue reading →... Read more »
Diemand-Yauman C, Oppenheimer DM, & Vaughan EB. (2011) Fortune favors the bold (and the Italicized): effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. Cognition, 118(1), 111-5. PMID: 21040910
You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »
Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112
The popular phrase is, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Many organisms get to have both. We can learn a lot from studying old organisms, but perhaps the biggest question to answer is what constitutes a single life. Many living things seem to cheat; they have more than one life.... Read more »
Munro D, Pichaud N, Paquin F, Kemeid V, & Blier PU. (2013) Low hydrogen peroxide production in mitochondria of the long-lived Arctica islandica: underlying mechanisms for slow aging. Aging cell, 12(4), 584-92. PMID: 23566066
Seim I, Ma S, Zhou X, Gerashchenko MV, Lee SG, Suydam R, George JC, Bickham JW, & Gladyshev VN. (2014) The transcriptome of the bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus reveals adaptations of the longest-lived mammal. Aging, 6(10), 879-99. PMID: 25411232
Holland, H., Schöne, B., Marali, S., & Jochum, K. (2014) History of bioavailable lead and iron in the Greater North Sea and Iceland during the last millennium – A bivalve sclerochronological reconstruction. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 87(1-2), 104-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.08.005
In the summer of 2010, over 20 million people were affected by the summer floods in Pakistan. Millions lost access to shelter and clean water, and became dependent on aid in the form of food, drinking water, tents, clothes and medical supplies in order to survive this humanitarian disaster. It is estimated that at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion were provided as aid by governments, NGOs, charity organizations and private individuals from all around the world, and helped contain the devastating ........ Read more »
Mueller V, Gray C, & Kosec K. (2014) Heat Stress Increases Long-term Human Migration in Rural Pakistan. Nature climate change, 182-185. PMID: 25132865
Miralles, D., Teuling, A., van Heerwaarden, C., & Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. (2014) Mega-heatwave temperatures due to combined soil desiccation and atmospheric heat accumulation. Nature Geoscience, 7(5), 345-349. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2141
Inundation of nitrogen into the atmosphere and terrestrial environments, through fossil fuel combustion and extensive fertilization, has risen tenfold since preindustrial times according to research published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Excess nitrogen can infiltrate water tables and can trigger extensive algal blooms that deplete aquatic environments of oxygen, among other damaging effects.
Although scientists have extensively studied the effects of excess nitrogen in terrestrial habita........ Read more »
Altieri, K., Hastings, M., Peters, A., Oleynik, S., & Sigman, D. (2014) Isotopic evidence for a marine ammonium source in rainwater at Bermuda. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004809
How much does global warming really cost the world? Determining the Social Cost of Carbon helps put a actual dollar value on the climate damages per ton of CO2 released, and is used by -- among others -- policymakers to help determine the costs and benefits of climate policies. Remember, even on a global scale, the bottom line will always be profit. But now a group of economists and lawyers urge several improvements to the government's Social Cost of Carbon figure that would impose a regular, tr........ Read more »
Global warming, it’s a bigger deal than some people seem to realize. For years science has pointed to the increased carbon dioxide output as the main reason for man-made global warming. However, there has been no evidence to directly link CO2 output to global warming, well until now. Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.... Read more »
Goodwin, P., Williams, R., & Ridgwell, A. (2014) Sensitivity of climate to cumulative carbon emissions due to compensation of ocean heat and carbon uptake. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2304
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