The field of microbiome research has been hugely popular in the past few years. It has forced us to rethink our approaches to various medical practices, and has captured the imaginations of both amateur and professional scientists...... Read more »
Meisel JS, Hannigan GD, Tyldsley AS, SanMiguel AJ, Hodkinson BP, Zheng Q, & Grice EA. (2016) Skin microbiome surveys are strongly influenced by experimental design. The Journal of investigative dermatology. PMID: 26829039
Migrants to ancient Rome, more advanced Mesolithic Swedish communities, delayed transatlantic flights, expanding bird populations, and greener deserts thanks to climate change. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »
Killgrove, K., & Montgomery, J. (2016) All Roads Lead to Rome: Exploring Human Migration to the Eternal City through Biochemistry of Skeletons from Two Imperial-Era Cemeteries (1st-3rd c AD). PLOS ONE, 11(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147585
Stidham, T., & Eberle, J. (2016) The palaeobiology of high latitude birds from the early Eocene greenhouse of Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada. Scientific Reports, 20912. DOI: 10.1038/srep20912
Boethius, A. (2016) Something rotten in Scandinavia: The world's earliest evidence of fermentation. Journal of Archaeological Science, 169-180. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.01.008
Lu, X., Wang, L., & McCabe, M. (2016) Elevated CO2 as a driver of global dryland greening. Scientific Reports, 20716. DOI: 10.1038/srep20716
Biosensors are powerful tools in synthetic biology for engineering metabolic pathways or controlling synthetic and native genetic circuits in bacteria. Scientists have had difficulty developing a method to engineer "designer" biosensor proteins that can precisely sense and report the presence of specific molecules, which has so far limited the number and variety of biosensor designs able to precisely regulate cell metabolism, cell biology, and synthetic gene circuits.
... Read more »
Taylor, N., Garruss, A., Moretti, R., Chan, S., Arbing, M., Cascio, D., Rogers, J., Isaacs, F., Kosuri, S., Baker, D.... (2015) Engineering an allosteric transcription factor to respond to new ligands. Nature Methods, 13(2), 177-183. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3696
Scientists may be in agreement on the causes of climate change, but the US public is not. We can blame biased news sources all we want for this disconnect, but a new study suggests yet another explanation: our science teachers. Although most are teaching about global warming, many simply aren’t doing it right.... Read more »
Eric Plutzer, Mark McCaffrey, A. Lee Hannah, Joshua Rosenau, Minda Berbeco, & Ann H. Reid. (2016) Climate confusion among U.S. teachers. Science, 351(6274). info:/10.1126/science.aab3907
Home of tumbleweeds and roadrunners, it’s no surprise that the Southwest is the driest region of the United States. And yet, new research confirms that which many have predicted: it’s getting even dryer. Not only are droughts more common, but they are more intense and longer-lasting too.... Read more »
Prein, A., Holland, G., Rasmussen, R., Clark, M., & Tye, M. (2016) Running dry: The U.S. Southwest's drift into a drier climate state. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066727
Way, way up in northwestern Canada (on the lower east side of Cape Bathurst, Northwest Territories), where the mainland meets the Arctic Ocean, a 30 km stretch of seacoast has been smoldering away for hundreds if not thousands of years.The Smoking Hills, named by the explorer John Franklin during one of his early 19th century expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, consist of shale bedrock covered by several meters worth of soil and loose rocks deposited by ancient glaciers and rivers. The land fall........ Read more »
Adams C, & Hutchinson T. (1984) A comparison of the ability of leaf surfaces of three species to neutralize acidic rain drops. New Phytologist, 97(3), 463-478. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1984.tb03612.x
Sheath R, Havas M, Hellebust J, & Hutchinson T. (1982) Effects of long-term natural acidification on the algal communities of tundra ponds at the Smoking Hills, N.W.T., Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany, 60(1), 58-72. DOI: 10.1139/b82-008
Happy year of the monkey! Last time in the Petri dish, I considered the replicator dynamics between type-A and type-B cells abstractly. In the comments, Arne Traulsen pointed me to Li et al. (2015): We have attempted something similar in spirit with bacteria. Looking at frequencies alone, it looked like coordination. But taking into account […]... Read more »
Li, X.-Y., Pietschke, C., Fraune, S., Altrock, P.M., Bosch, T.C., & Traulsen, A. (2015) Which games are growing bacterial populations playing?. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(108), 20150121. PMID: 26236827
We all know pollen can terrorize your eyes and nose and make you miserable, but now scientists think it could do something pretty amazing: store energy. Yes, that’s right. By precisely processing the irritating stuff, pollen’s unique structures appear to be perfectly suited to store energy in batteries. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.... Read more »
Tang, J., & Pol, V. (2016) From Allergens to Battery Anodes: Nature-Inspired, Pollen Derived Carbon Architectures for Room- and Elevated- Temperature Li-ion Storage. Scientific Reports, 20290. DOI: 10.1038/srep20290
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have engineered a new synthetic biopathway that can more efficiently and cost-effectively turn agricultural waste, like corn stover and orange peels, into a variety of useful products ranging from spandex to chicken feed.
... Read more »
Tai, Y., Xiong, M., Jambunathan, P., Wang, J., Wang, J., Stapleton, C., & Zhang, K. (2016) Engineering nonphosphorylative metabolism to generate lignocellulose-derived products. Nature Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2020
by Anna Schneider For the iconic monarch butterfly, the shorter days in fall mean it’s time to pack up and head south to a warmer climate! Just like clockwork, the Eastern population of monarch butterflies makes a 2000 mile journey to their winter paradise roosts in central Mexico. The journey in itself is one of the greatest migrations among all animals. But here’s the catch: none of these butterflies has made this trip before. Several generations of monarchs have come and gon........ Read more »
Gegear, R., Foley, L., Casselman, A., & Reppert, S. (2010) Animal cryptochromes mediate magnetoreception by an unconventional photochemical mechanism. Nature, 463(7282), 804-807. DOI: 10.1038/nature08719
Guerra, P., Gegear, R., & Reppert, S. (2014) A magnetic compass aids monarch butterfly migration. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5164
Merlin, C., Gegear, R., & Reppert, S. (2009) Antennal Circadian Clocks Coordinate Sun Compass Orientation in Migratory Monarch Butterflies. Science, 325(5948), 1700-1704. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176221
Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.
... Read more »
Solan, M., Hauton, C., Godbold, J., Wood, C., Leighton, T., & White, P. (2016) Anthropogenic sources of underwater sound can modify how sediment-dwelling invertebrates mediate ecosystem properties. Scientific Reports, 20540. DOI: 10.1038/srep20540
Greenland has long held sea-level rise at bay, absorbing melted water into spongy upper layers. But new research has found that icy covers to these layers are preventing water absorption and driving water into the oceans.... Read more »
Machguth, H., MacFerrin, M., van As, D., Box, J., Charalampidis, C., Colgan, W., Fausto, R., Meijer, H., Mosley-Thompson, E., & van de Wal, R. (2016) Greenland meltwater storage in firn limited by near-surface ice formation. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2899
A recently paper published in
PNAS, members of the CEES Marine Group explores potential climate effects on
Calanus finmarchicus, a key zooplankton species in the North Atlantic. The paper shows how the combination of shallow mixed-layer-depth and increased wind apparently increases chlorophyll biomass in spring, and in turn
C. finmarchicus biomass in summer. These findings strongly suggest bottom-up effects of food availability on zoopla........ Read more »
Kvile, K., Langangen, Ø., Prokopchuk, I., Stenseth, N., & Stige, L. (2016) Disentangling the mechanisms behind climate effects on zooplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201525130. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1525130113
Within the ground beneath our feet lie dark cavities of various shapes and sizes. They're home to pale and eyeless creatures living a midnight existence. Natural holes in the ground, filled with air and/or water, can be roughly categorized into three types based on the particular habitat they provide for subterranean organisms:(1) Caves are large, deep, and tend not to contain much organic matter for organisms to munch on. They're often found in karst and volcanic areas prone to developing big h........ Read more »
Pipan T, Fišer C, Novak T, & Culver D. (2012) Fifty years of the hypotelminorheic: What have we learned?. Acta Carsologica, 41(2-3). DOI: 10.3986/ac.v41i2-3.564
By Spencer Henkel People love a good underdog story, and nowhere is that image more embodied than in the rodents that live in deserts. In the desert there are two main problems that animals must face: it is way too hot and way too dry. You would think that rodents, the smallest of mammals, would not have much difficulty surviving in this kind of habitat. You might think that they would need far less food and water than their larger neighbors like reptiles and birds. Unfortunately, this is no........ Read more »
SCHWIMMER, H., & HAIM, A. (2009) Physiological adaptations of small mammals to desert ecosystems. Integrative Zoology, 4(4), 357-366. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2009.00176.x
Think about the last time you stood squinting in front of a full-length mirror, trying to decide whether the colors in your outfit went together. Now imagine you're a reptile, and you wouldn't even understand a mirror if you saw one, but somehow you need to find a rock that matches your skin color. Otherwise you might get eaten by a bird today. Oh, and the skin color you need to match is on your back.
Certain lizards in Greece manage to pull this off every day, though how they do it is a ... Read more »
Marshall, K., Philpot, K., & Stevens, M. (2016) Microhabitat choice in island lizards enhances camouflage against avian predators. Scientific Reports, 19815. DOI: 10.1038/srep19815
A commentary in Nature proposes a complete overhaul of how we treat our wastewater. Among the benefits would be new energy-producing industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!... Read more »
Levels of the toxic compound PCBs in the marine environment are now so high that they threaten the very existence of some of Europe’s top sea predators, suggests new research. ... Read more »
Jepson, P., Deaville, R., Barber, J., Aguilar, �., Borrell, A., Murphy, S., Barry, J., Brownlow, A., Barnett, J., Berrow, S.... (2016) PCB pollution continues to impact populations of orcas and other dolphins in European waters. Scientific Reports, 18573. DOI: 10.1038/srep18573
by Piter Kehoma Boll About a year ago, almost nobody on the whole world was aware of the existence of a virus named Zika virus and the illness it may cause in humans, the Zika fever or Zika disease. But … Continue reading →... Read more »
Kohl, A., & Gatherer, D. (2015) Zika virus: a previously slow pandemic spreads rapidly through the Americas. Journal of General Virology. DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.000381
Vasconcelos, P. (2015) Doença pelo vírus Zika: um novo problema emergente nas Américas?. Revista Pan-Amazônica de Saúde, 6(2), 9-10. DOI: 10.5123/S2176-62232015000200001
Overfishing, global warming, waste and contamination, and ocean acidification are at the forefront of scientists concerns.... Read more »
Boonstra, W., Ottosen, K., Ferreira, A., Richter, A., Rogers, L., Pedersen, M., Kokkalis, A., Bardarson, H., Bonanomi, S., Butler, W.... (2015) What are the major global threats and impacts in marine environments? Investigating the contours of a shared perception among marine scientists from the bottom-up. Marine Policy, 197-201. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2015.06.007
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