If you ever saw the dramatic seamount scene in Blue Planet (and if you haven’t, where ya been??), then you are probably familiar with the idea that submarine mountains can attract lots of animals; as Attenborough puts it, they “create oases where life can flourish in the comparatively empty expanses of the open ocean”. In that spectacular BBC sequence, jacks and tuna swarm an Eastern Pacific ... Read more »
Morato, T., Hoyle, S., Allain, V., & Nicol, S. (2010) Seamounts are hotspots of pelagic biodiversity in the open ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910290107
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Schlegel, J., & Rupf, R. (2010) Attitudes towards potential animal flagship species in nature conservation: A survey among students of different educational institutions. Journal for Nature Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnc.2009.12.002
Coastlines around the world will be affected by rising sea level over the next several decades. In some places, the impacts will be severe as flooding, erosion, and storm surge cause damage to coastal towns and transform habitats for coastal species. The big question for resource managers and planners: Where are the most vulnerable places?... Read more »
Abuodha, P., & Woodroffe, C. (2010) Assessing vulnerability to sea-level rise using a coastal sensitivity index: a case study from southeast Australia. Journal of Coastal Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s11852-010-0097-0
This is one of those things that isn't really related to neuroscience, to weird science, or to any of Sci's normal science. Really, it was just something Sci found (in various places), and thought was really awesome. Cause it is!
BEHOLD! The INCREDIBLE HEALING MOUSE!!!
For those who know about working with rodents, it looks like a rat, don't it? It's a mouse! But it looks like a rat because these dudes are some big boys. This is an MRL mouse, which stands for 'Murphy Roths Lar........ Read more »
Bedelbaeva K, Snyder A, Gourevitch D, Clark L, Zhang XM, Leferovich J, Cheverud JM, Lieberman P, & Heber-Katz E. (2010) Lack of p21 expression links cell cycle control and appendage regeneration in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(13), 5845-50. PMID: 20231440
Have you ever wondered what happens to stuff that falls into the ocean from shore? Where does it go? What happens to it? Well, if it’s plastic or something else floaty, it’ll likely end up in some vast floating garbage vortex, as we apparently have, in our apathy, created in several locations on the planet. [...]... Read more »
Vetter, E., Smith, C., & De Leo, F. (2010) Hawaiian hotspots: enhanced megafaunal abundance and diversity in submarine canyons on the oceanic islands of Hawaii. Marine Ecology, 31(1), 183-199. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2009.00351.x
C. elegans is probably the most versatile nematode’s known to molecular and developmental biotechnologists. It has been in use in laboratories since 1974 and was the first multicellular organism to have its entire genome sequenced. As one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system, it is a favorite research specimen of neurobiologists world-wide. [...]... Read more »
Oren-Suissa M, Hall DH, Treinin M, Shemer G, & Podbilewicz B. (2010) The Fusogen EFF-1 Controls Sculpting of Mechanosensory Dendrites. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 20448153
In the brain, there are highly ordered representations of sensory input. The existence of orientation columns in the visual cortex where columns of neurons situated next to each other respond to slightly different stimulus orientations and the barrel cortex in S1 where each barrel faithfully receives inputs from one whisker are testimony to this. Recently two papers in the same issue of Nature Neuroscience dealt with the fidelity of sensory representations in the auditory cortex. Rothschild et ........ Read more »
Rothschild, G., Nelken, I., & Mizrahi, A. (2010) Functional organization and population dynamics in the mouse primary auditory cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 13(3), 353-360. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2484
Bandyopadhyay S, Shamma SA, & Kanold PO. (2010) Dichotomy of functional organization in the mouse auditory cortex. Nature neuroscience, 13(3), 361-8. PMID: 20118924
The big news this week in evolution is of course the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, and the evidence that humans carry some DNA from our extinct cousins. The paper was published in Science yesterday, and has a total of 56 authors, including team leader Svante Pääbo.... Read more »
Morgan, J., Darling, A., & Eisen, J. (2010). Metagenomic Sequencing of an In Vitro-Simulated Microbial Community PLoS ONE, 5 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010209A new era for the design of metagenomic controls starts! Morgan et al. present the benchmarking of metagenomic tools using artificial "microbial communities" mixed up in the lab.The Hook...Metagenomics is a fancy name for what's actually a large and obscure toolbox of molecular biology procedures and computational algorithms that p........ Read more »
Morgan, J., Darling, A., & Eisen, J. (2010) Metagenomic Sequencing of an In Vitro-Simulated Microbial Community. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010209
Why are large-scale structured databases and meta-analyses important to advance the field of human brain mapping? One reason is that individual functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies can be notoriously unreliable and underpowered (Bennett & Miller, 2010; Fliessbach et al., 2010; Kriegeskorte et al., 2009; Vul et al., 2009). At the recent CNS 2010 Annual Meeting, symposium organizer Dr. Tal Yarkoni gave the first talk in a session on the value of a cumulative cognitive neurosc........ Read more »
Yarkoni, T. (2009) Big Correlations in Little Studies: Inflated fMRI Correlations Reflect Low Statistical Power-Commentary on Vul et al. (2009). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(3), 294-298. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01127.x
Eliminating fishery bycatch isn’t always a good idea
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Zhou, S. et al. (2010) Ecosystem-based fisheries management requires a change to the selective fishing philosophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0912771107
Bar-tailed Godwits / Image: Phil Battley Recent studies using satellite telemetry or geolocators have shown that some bird species are capable of very long nonstop flight during migration, far longer than previously thought. Some of the longest belong to Bar-tailed Godwits, which have been tracked performing nonstop flights of over 11,000 km (or about 7,000 miles). Ruddy Turnstones perform similarly impressive flights. A new study in PLoS Biology tries to measure whether there are any limits to ........ Read more »
Hedenström, A. (2010) Extreme Endurance Migration: What Is the Limit to Non-Stop Flight?. PLoS Biology, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000362
The plagues of the Dark Ages are often considered to be one of the worst epidemics humans ever faced. With no sanitary practices, germ theory, or scientific medicine to speak of, the diseases were unstoppable and the patients’ survival depended solely on their luck and the strength of their immune systems. Today, we’re better off [...]... Read more »
Concord Coordinating Committee. (1994) Concorde: MRC/ANRS randomised double-blind controlled trial of immediate and deferred zidovudine in symptom-free HIV infection. The Lancet, 343(8902), 871-881. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(94)90006-X
Mathematical and computational biologists use algorithms to model and understand biological phenomena but as useful as computer systems are to modellers they also represent an example of what biological systems are not: designed. A recent study by researchers in...... Read more »
Yan KK, Fang G, Bhardwaj N, Alexander RP, & Gerstein M. (2010) Comparing genomes to computer operating systems in terms of the topology and evolution of their regulatory control networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20439753
Evolution has resulted in a remarkable array of reproductive strategies in the animal kingdom. After all, if one is unsuccessful in passing on one’s genetic blueprints there was really not much point in being alive in the first place. Several invertebrate organisms employ a ‘polyandrous’ sexual system, wherein a female mates with several males. It [...]... Read more »
Huigens, M., Woelke, J., Pashalidou, F., Bukovinszky, T., Smid, H., & Fatouros, N. (2010) Chemical espionage on species-specific butterfly anti-aphrodisiacs by hitchhiking Trichogramma wasps. Behavioral Ecology, 21(3), 470-478. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arq007
I assume by now that everyone has read A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. It’s free to all, so you should. At least look at the figures. Also, if you haven’t at least skimmed the supplement, you should do that as well. It’s nearly 200 pages, and basically feels more like a collection of [...]... Read more »
“FROM the perspective of a bacterium, higher eukaryotes are oversexed, unadventurous and reproduce in an inconvenient way.” So says Pål Johnsen and Bruce Levin in their commentary of today’s article for discussion, and nary a truer word said; but in retort one may ask: inconvenient as reproduction may be, bacteria clearly have no sense of [...]
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Lind, P., Tobin, C., Berg, O., Kurland, C., & Andersson, D. (2010) Compensatory gene amplification restores fitness after inter-species gene replacements. Molecular Microbiology, 75(5), 1078-1089. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.07030.x
For hundreds of years, people have been finding the remains of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in Romania’s Haţeg basin. The Cretaceous-age deposits are remnants of prehistoric islands that sported their own unique faunas, but in the days before fossils were recognized as being the remains of once-living animals, many considered them to be the [...]... Read more »
Benton, M., Csiki, Z., Grigorescu, D., Redelstorff, R., Sander, P., Stein, K., & Weishampel, D. (2010) Dinosaurs and the island rule: The dwarfed dinosaurs from Haţeg Island. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.01.026
Grigorescu, D. (2010) The Latest Cretaceous fauna with dinosaurs and mammals from the Haţeg Basin — A historical overview. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.01.030
Central pattern generators (CPGs) are neural networks in the spinal cord that generate the rhythmic patterns observed in many complex movements like chewing, breathing and walking. Within CPGs excitatory glutamatergic neurons have been implicated in generating these rhythmic patterns, and glutamatergic neurons in the hindbrain region that extend into the spinal cord are thought to [...]... Read more »
Hägglund, M., Borgius, L., Dougherty, K., & Kiehn, O. (2010) Activation of groups of excitatory neurons in the mammalian spinal cord or hindbrain evokes locomotion. Nature Neuroscience, 13(2), 246-252. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2482
This week, Science published two papers about the genetics of Neandertals from a team of scientists based at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. The first (which is the only one anyone seems to really care about) gives a draft version of the entire Neandertal genome - a whopping 4 billion base pairs of DNA. They use this information to look for genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans that led to their separation from Neander........ Read more »
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