Science Storiented

Visit Blog Website

61 posts · 29,701 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
61 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • March 23, 2015
  • 04:55 PM
  • 166 views

A Dottyback in Damsel Clothing: Color Mimicking in Fish

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I was looking around for a study and stumbled upon one about fish mimicry in Current Biology. What first caught my attention was its use of a video abstract. What a cool idea amped up a few notches by beginning with music reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Then I started to think back about posts I've done on predator-prey relationships and could only come up with 1, the One-Third for the Birds post back in 2012. Clearly it is time to revisit that topic. Oh, and while we’re at it, we’ll ........ Read more »

F. Cortesi, W.E. Feeney, M.C.O. Ferrari, P.A. Waldie, G.A.C. Phillips, E.C. McClure, H.N. Sköld, W. Salzburger, N.J. Marshall, & K.L. Cheney. (2015) Phenotypic Plasticity Confers Multiple Fitness Benefits to a Mimic. Current Biology, 25(1-6). info:/10.1016/j.cub.2015.02.013

  • February 12, 2015
  • 01:38 PM
  • 234 views

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  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 04:21 PM
  • 229 views

Not So Simple: Social Evolution in Silk-Weaving Ants

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Silk weaving ants. That in and of itself is really neat. Then you see this picture of Polyrhachis shattuck...I mean, look at her! How many cool points can one animal rack up? A new study in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology takes a look at these arboreal nesting and silk-weaving ants.Let's begin with sociality. It is one of those subjects in biology that is considered its own discipline. When you think of social animals you probably think of herds of mammals or maybe schools of ........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 11:05 AM
  • 329 views

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  

  • December 12, 2014
  • 04:51 PM
  • 253 views

The White Elephant in the Room: The Gift of Subversion

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Ah, the holiday work party. Free food, spending time with people you spend your whole day with already, and enough boozy libations to make things a bit more interesting. Here in North America, many workplaces engage in the gift “game” called the White Elephant Gift Exchange. On this topic, I'm basing today’s post on an article that I recently came across by Gretchen Herrmann in The Journal of Popular Culture where she dissects the Machiavellian nature of this little holiday game.The White ........ Read more »

  • November 28, 2014
  • 12:11 PM
  • 258 views

Packing on the Pounds: Let the Holiday Eating Season Begin

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Here in the U.S., yesterday was Thanksgiving. A time of family, thanks, and lots and lots of food. Be honest, how much did you eat yesterday? Me, I watched a lot of football while I ate appetizers followed by turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and cake. Then I entered a food coma for a few hours. It was glorious.I typically approach a holiday with a journal article, but this time I am going to use the holiday as a jumping off point: Thanksgiving as the sta........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2014
  • 01:40 PM
  • 294 views

The Final Girl: The Psychology of the Slasher Film

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Halloween has put me in the mood to talk about slasher movies. Once I got to looking around, I found more papers on the topic than I thought I would. I gotta warn you, this is a long read, so grab some popcorn and settle in for some slasher movie fun.If you are a fan of horror films then you know Randy Meek’s “Rules that one must abide by to successfully survive a horror movie”: (1) You can never have sex…big no-no, sex equals death, (2) you can never drink or do drugs…it’s the sin-f........ Read more »

Wee, Valerie. (2005) The Scream Trilogy, "Hyperpostmodernism," and the Late-Nineties Teen Slasher Film. Journal of Film and Video, 57(3), 44-61. info:/

  • October 23, 2014
  • 04:42 PM
  • 285 views

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 »

  • September 30, 2014
  • 07:10 PM
  • 317 views

A Warm Winter Legacy: Leaf Flushing and Senescence Long-Term

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Fall is in the air. Here in North Carolina that means drastic temperature swings that cause me to dress incorrectly on any given day. It also means the arrival of fall colors. Indeed, fall colors are incredibly beautiful, but biologically speaking, you are watching death happen. This autumn splendor got me to thinking about these colors a little closer, specifically the phenology of trees.Phenology is the study of the annual timing of recurring life cycle events. The timing of these events is t........ Read more »

Fu, Y., Campioli, M., Vitasse, Y., De Boeck, H., Van den Berge, J., AbdElgawad, H., Asard, H., Piao, S., Deckmyn, G., & Janssens, I. (2014) Variation in leaf flushing date influences autumnal senescence and next year's flushing date in two temperate tree species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7355-7360. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321727111  

  • September 17, 2014
  • 12:48 PM
  • 420 views

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 »

  • August 25, 2014
  • 12:02 PM
  • 383 views

Spoiler Alert!: Are You Wasting Your Time Avoiding Spoilers?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately I have been cranking though a lot of media – TV, movies, books, podcasts, etc. To the point that I start to wonder how I have time for actual life. During this mass consumption of media, I've been thinking about, and discussing with friends, the topic of spoilers. Bring up this topic with just about anyone and you’ll find that it’s actually a pretty controversial one. As for me, I fall in the no spoilers category. Spoil one of my beloved TV shows and you will go from friend to “fr........ Read more »

Leavitt, J., & Christenfeld, N. (2011) Story Spoilers Don't Spoil Stories. Psychological Science, 22(9), 1152-1154. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611417007  

  • July 25, 2014
  • 05:39 PM
  • 541 views

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  

  • July 15, 2014
  • 11:50 AM
  • 454 views

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  

  • July 4, 2014
  • 08:44 PM
  • 424 views

The Bigfoot Question: A Genetic Analysis of Yeti Hair

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Bigfoot, and that’s a shame because he’s pretty fun to write about. As with many things, I like to keep it in a scientific context. That’s why I was pretty stoked to see a recent Sasquatch paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. A paper that takes an interesting approach: genetics. Right off the bat the paper does not assume non-existence, both pointing out that there are numerous reports and sightings yet no bodies or recent fossils. The........ Read more »

Sykes, B., Mullis, R., Hagenmuller, C., Melton, T., & Sartori, M. (2014) Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, bigfoot and other anomalous primates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1789), 20140161-20140161. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0161  

  • June 11, 2014
  • 11:56 AM
  • 431 views

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 »

  • May 1, 2014
  • 01:19 PM
  • 437 views

Deadbeat Dads: Hatching Plasticity in Glassfrog Embryos

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I have recently emerged from the all-enveloping cocoon that is data analysis and presentation writing. Powerpoint, Photoshop, and JMP have been in charge of my waking hours for the past couple of weeks. But now I am free! Is that daylight and springtime I see? If you’ve been following the Facebook page then you will still have received the occasional sciency goodness, but now it’s time for me to get back to blogging.This week a new paper published in Proceedings of The Royal Society B about ........ Read more »

Delia, J., Ramirez-Bautista, A., & Summers, K. (2014) Glassfrog embryos hatch early after parental desertion. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1785), 20133237-20133237. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3237  

  • March 14, 2014
  • 03:32 PM
  • 614 views

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 »

  • February 12, 2014
  • 09:54 PM
  • 543 views

Fun with Fundulus: The Evolution of Pollution Resistance in Killifish

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

In honor of Mr. Charlie Darwin’s birthday I thought I would read an evolution paper. Put that together with the turn my career has taken into ecotoxicology (and the associated steep learning curve), I was steered towards a study about adapting to pollution.Let me start by introducing you to today’s study organism: The mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) is a species of non-migratory killifish found along the Atlantic coast of North America. They can be found in the brackish waters of tidal cre........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 12:04 PM
  • 602 views

Pinpointing the Pollen: Honeybees and a Host Jumping Virus

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Lately I've been revisiting some of my past topics and continuing the story with new research. Such is the case today. A relatively popular post of mine from 2010 called The Buzz on the Bees described a study from that year by Jerry Bromenshenk et al. investigating Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD describes the mysterious, sudden and serious die-off seen honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies across the U.S. It is characterized by sudden colony death with a lack of adult bees in front of the........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2014
  • 12:26 PM
  • 437 views

You've Got Red On You: Improving Z-Day Models

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Yesterday I updated and expanded a long-ago post of mine called "Mmmm...Brains!: Using Mathematics To Save Us On Z-Day."This post summarized a book chapter in 2009 by Philip Munz, Ioan Hudea, Jo Imad, and Robert Smith? called "When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modeling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection." This work was interesting because it combined basic biological assumptions and epidemic modeling with the rise and spread of zombies. Now, Caitlyn Witkowski of Bryant University and Brian........ Read more »

Caitlyn Witkowski, & Brian Blais. (2013) Bayesian Analysis of Epidemics - Zombies, Infuenza, and other Diseases. arXiv.org, 1-16. info:other/

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org 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 SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.