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  • June 21, 2010
  • 12:47 AM
  • 947 views

Stress and Anxiety, aka CRF and 5-HT2

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Today's post comes to you from several tweets that Sci received way back in the mists of time (that is...two weeks ago. Three? Something like that). Sci got wind of this paper and has been meaning to blog it for a while, but other things get in the way, like other things will. And when those other things finally get out of the way, Sci sometimes finds that she's so SLEEPY she doesn't know if she can make it through any more dry, sciency prose (sciency prose, even at the best of times, is pat........ Read more »

Magalhaes, A., Holmes, K., Dale, L., Comps-Agrar, L., Lee, D., Yadav, P., Drysdale, L., Poulter, M., Roth, B., Pin, J.... (2010) CRF receptor 1 regulates anxiety behavior via sensitization of 5-HT2 receptor signaling. Nature Neuroscience, 13(5), 622-629. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2529  

  • June 20, 2010
  • 11:51 PM
  • 585 views

Mark Pagel at University of Oregon HBES conference

by Victor Hanson-Smith in Evolution, Development, and Genomics

Mark Pagel (MP) delivered a keynote lecture at the 22nd annual Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference, titled “The Rise of the Speaking Machine: Explorations in Language Evolution.” Here is a brief description of the lecture.... Read more »

  • June 20, 2010
  • 08:32 PM
  • 479 views

Marine Rewilding?

by Chuck in Ya Like Dags?

It's amazing what you'll catch in the letters to the editor sometimes.  In the latest issue of Fisheries Magazine is a classic back-and-forth editorial origination from an article by researcher John. C. Briggs.  At first my interest was piqued simply by the fact that there was something ocean-related (since the start of my subscription Fisheries has been utterly dominated by freshwater articles), but reading the debate motivated me to go back and track down the original article. ........ Read more »

Josh Donlan C, Berger J, Bock CE, Bock JH, Burney DA, Estes JA, Foreman D, Martin PS, Roemer GW, Smith FA.... (2006) Pleistocene rewilding: an optimistic agenda for twenty-first century conservation. The American naturalist, 168(5), 660-81. PMID: 17080364  

  • June 20, 2010
  • 08:06 PM
  • 506 views

Transmission of Avian Influenza restricted by cold nose

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English


One of the greater uncertanties about Avian Influenza is why it is not efficiently transmitted among humans. Thus, it is clear how likely it is that the virus is able to cross this barrier and a more efficient line appears. For example, until now the H5N1 was transmitted mainly to breeders and people in very [...]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2010
  • 05:10 PM
  • 906 views

Glomalin: Carbon stored in a protein you’ve probably never heard of

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

What’s soil made of? Take out the chunks of roots and twigs, take out the particles of minerals, and what are you left with? What makes it soil, brown and lumpy, rather than something like fine sand? It’s a mixture of organic matter: stuff produced by things living in or on the soil, that can’t [...]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2010
  • 11:50 AM
  • 911 views

Bacterial Hitchhikers

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

There was an interesting post over at Culturing Science about the widespread dispersal of bacteria which, as well as sporting an amazing hand-drawn MS Paint picture also put forward the argument that bacterial evolution occurs in very selective environmental pockets and niches, while a sort of general 'less-evolving' population floats around the world. This helps to explain why you can find almost identical species of bacteria all over the world, yet still find very specialised colonies in disti........ Read more »

Grossart HP, Dziallas C, Leunert F, & Tang KW. (2010) Bacteria dispersal by hitchhiking on zooplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20547852  

  • June 20, 2010
  • 10:02 AM
  • 860 views

The paternity myth: the rarity of cuckoldry

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

An urban myth, often asserted with a wink & a nod in some circles, is that a very high proportion of children in Western countries are not raised by their biological father, and in fact are not aware that their putative biological father is not their real biological father. The numbers I see and hear [...]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2010
  • 06:20 AM
  • 1,205 views

Mythbusting Booze: Myths and realities of alcohol consumption

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus


This is the first part of a series that aims to bust some myths about booze.
Hangovers suck and they’re probably best avoided. But once you’ve got one, can you get rid of it? People swear by their favourite hangover cures — insisting that if you just follow their advice, you’ll free yourself of the post-intoxicated state.
Can [...]... Read more »

Verster JC. (2008) The alcohol hangover--a puzzling phenomenon. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), 43(2), 124-6. PMID: 18182417  

  • June 19, 2010
  • 01:57 PM
  • 595 views

Conquest of the land, a la Chubby Checker

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Now this is wild:


It’s a fish. It jumps.

This picture was not taken in an aquarium filled with water; it’s in air.

The fish is a blenny, Alticus arnoldorum, and a new paper introduced me to this fish that barely deserves to be called a fish. According to the author, Shi-Tong Hsieh, this fish spends so much time on land that it actively defends territory on land. It can stay out of water indefinitely, as long as it stays moist.

That blows my mind.

Hsieh was interested how blennies wer........ Read more »

Hsieh, Shi-Tong Tonia. (2010) A Locomotor Innovation Enables Water-Land Transition in a Marine Fish. PLoS ONE, 5(6). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0011197

  • June 19, 2010
  • 11:18 AM
  • 6,052 views

The Burglar Alarm Hypothesis: The Role Of Bioluminescence

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat


Anyone who has disturbed water at night, especially during a bloom, will have seen the intense bioluminescence produced (see picture above). But why this occurs has long been the subject of scientific query. Dinoflagellates are one planktonic group that bioluminesce, and this occurs due to deformation of their cell membrane caused by shear forces. This is often caused by intense water movement such as breaking waves or a predators swimming movements. One hypothesis is that this is a form of co........ Read more »

Abrahams, M., & Townsend, L. (1993) BIOLUMINESCENCE IN DINOFLAGELLATES: A TEST OF THE BURGLAR ALARM HYPOTHESIS. Ecology, 74(1), 258-260. info:/10.2307/1939521

  • June 19, 2010
  • 05:45 AM
  • 1,107 views

Death by toxic goose. Amazing waterfowl facts part II

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





Yesterday we looked briefly at goose digestion. Pretty incredible stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. Hey: wouldn't it be weird if some waterfowl were poisonous? Yeah, wouldn't it. Well... guess what? Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Bartram, S., & Boland, W. (2001) Chemistry and ecology of toxic birds. ChemBioChem, 809-811. info:/

  • June 18, 2010
  • 10:44 PM
  • 783 views

Naked Mole Rats Do Not Suffer From Cancer

by Reason in Fight Aging!

When it comes to wandering Methuselah's zoo in search of comparisons between species that might lead to greater understanding of human longevity - and how to increase it - the naked mole rat stands out as a prominent point of interest. It lives for something like nine times longer than some similar rodent species, and appears to have unusually resilient biochemistry for a mammal. Naked Mole-Rats and Negligible Senescence Built Differently, Down in the Membranes You might recall that different fa........ Read more »

  • June 18, 2010
  • 08:18 PM
  • 528 views

Toxoplasmosis and Evil Cats

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

In Australia in the year 2000 there were an estimated 2.4 million domesticated cats. That’s about 1 cat for every 10 people. One of the great thing about cats is that they form a natural reservoir for a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii, a little protozoan creature that is best spread through eating cat poo. ... Read more »

  • June 18, 2010
  • 05:40 PM
  • 1,346 views

Insect-eating not (just) for the birds

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Nutritious, chemical-free and all-natural, insects are featured as the main protein several Latin American, Asian and African countries. For example, in the Santander region of Colombia, leaf-cutter ants (called "hormigas culonas") are sometimes eaten roasted, salted and have a slightly acidic taste. Mopane worms—the caterpillar for the moth Gonimbrasia belina—are popular in Botswana and are served dried or rehydrated with sauces and other ingredients.

... Read more »

  • June 18, 2010
  • 05:31 PM
  • 781 views

In Brief – A Mathematical Model of Animal Movement

by Sam W in From C to Carnivore

  There are many mathematical models describing statistical movements. One of them is Brownian motion, which most of us are familiar with from basic chemistry. It is the motion that for example particles in a fluid exhibit (simplified: they move in a straight line until they hit another particle and then change their direction. In [...]... Read more »

Humphries, N., Queiroz, N., Dyer, J., Pade, N., Musyl, M., Schaefer, K., Fuller, D., Brunnschweiler, J., Doyle, T., Houghton, J.... (2010) Environmental context explains Lévy and Brownian movement patterns of marine predators. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09116  

  • June 18, 2010
  • 04:09 PM
  • 702 views

How screwed is the polar bear?

by TwoYaks in Gene Flow


Even deniers like Akasofu wouldn't argue that the planet isn't warming. He just casts the blame elsewhwere, in a probably incorrect manner. It's the naïve who say that global warming is a hoax because "it snowed a lot last winter" (and so are those who believe in global warming because it's hot today, but for different reasons), that or the ideologues who view this through a partisan lens. Let ... Read more »

Rode KD, Amstrup SC, & Regehr EV. (2010) Reduced body size and cub recruitment in polar bears associated with sea ice decline. Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 20(3), 768-82. PMID: 20437962  

  • June 18, 2010
  • 01:40 PM
  • 896 views

Archaea, Eukaryotes and the evolution of DNA replication complexes

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

The relationship between bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes is an interesting one, and made slightly harder to approach as people tend to lump archaea and bacteria into the one grouping of 'prokaryotes' which is not much more than a scientific word for "blobs I don't care about". Delving deeper into the biochemistry of all three superkingdoms shows that while the metabolic pathways used by archaea are more similar to those in bacteria, their core DNA processes (such as replication and protein synt........ Read more »

  • June 18, 2010
  • 01:05 PM
  • 1,174 views

Can you raise reindeer on goose shit? Amazing waterfowl facts part I

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





I've just been writing about waterfowl for the day job. Which is fine, because waterfowl are among my favourite animals (as if that isn't obvious from Tet Zoo... what, you mean it isn't obvious?). Entirely because they're on my mind at the moment, here is the first of several, entirely random waterfowl facts... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

van der Wal, R., & Loonen, M. (1998) Goose droppings as food for reindeer. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 76(6), 1117-1122. DOI: 10.1139/cjz-76-6-1117  

  • June 18, 2010
  • 11:49 AM
  • 1,616 views

Microbe biogeography: the distribution, dispersal and evolution of the littlest organisms

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

In any high school biology class1, we learn that isolation is key to the evolution of species.  For example, take Australia, where an array of marsupials such as koalas and kangaroos reproduce like no other animals on the planet.  Isolation on a continental island allowed ancestral marsupials to evolve gestation via pouch, a trait which [...]... Read more »

Martiny, J., Bohannan, B., Brown, J., Colwell, R., Fuhrman, J., Green, J., Horner-Devine, M., Kane, M., Krumins, J., Kuske, C.... (2006) Microbial biogeography: putting microorganisms on the map. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 4(2), 102-112. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro1341  

  • June 18, 2010
  • 11:17 AM
  • 610 views

Some Extinct “Sea Dragons” Ran Hot

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

During the 1970s a major debate erupted among paleontologists. On the basis of new evidence, from the anatomy of the recently-discovered dinosaur Deinonychus to the microscopic bone structure of dinosaurs, paleontologists such as John Ostrom and Bob Bakker proposed that dinosaurs may have been endotherms—animals able to internally regulate their own body temperature. The work [...]... Read more »

Bernard, A., Lecuyer, C., Vincent, P., Amiot, R., Bardet, N., Buffetaut, E., Cuny, G., Fourel, F., Martineau, F., Mazin, J.... (2010) Regulation of Body Temperature by Some Mesozoic Marine Reptiles. Science, 328(5984), 1379-1382. DOI: 10.1126/science.1187443  

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