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  • March 22, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Tuesday Crustie: Indiscriminate?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Male fiddler crabs spend a lot of time doing this sort of thing:

This is Uca mjoebergi, a colourful crab from south Pacific shores. They're signalling to someone - but to whom?. To their own species? Their own sex? To predators?

I had fun recently giving a talk about fiddler crab signalling at a local nature center. I had seen a decent amount of research on fiddler crabs, but had never had the opportunity to review it and try to pull it into a story before. And while I was doing that, a new p........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 09:59 PM

Unintentional Shark Tagging

by Chuck in Ya Like Dags?

This might possibly be the most awesome paper about tagging fish ever. One of the handiest advances in telemetry, especially of large, highly-migratory oceanic species, has been the advent of SPOT tags.  These tags do it all: movement, depth, temperature, … Continue reading →... Read more »

David W. Kerstetter, Jeffery J. Polovina, & John E. Graves. (2004) Evidence of shark predation and scavenging on fishes equipped with pop-up satellite archival tags. Fishery Bulletin, 750-756. info:/

  • March 21, 2011
  • 09:04 PM

The Three T’s: Treating Tolerant Tuberculosis

by Katie Pratt in

When I was growing up there was a right of passage every 13-year-old child had to go through: The B.C.G. vaccination against tuberculosis. We all stood in line and waited for our “six-pricks” (Heaf) test, and then a week later had the test site inspected to see if we needed the vaccination. Since T.B. was [...]... Read more »

Adams, K., Takaki, K., Connolly, L., Wiedenhoft, H., Winglee, K., Humbert, O., Edelstein, P., Cosma, C., & Ramakrishnan, L. (2011) Drug Tolerance in Replicating Mycobacteria Mediated by a Macrophage-Induced Efflux Mechanism. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.022  

  • March 21, 2011
  • 02:25 PM

Repost: The Pelican’s Beak – Success and Evolutionary Stasis

by Laelaps in Laelaps

I am a relatively infrequent airline traveler, and so packing for distant assignments and trips always presents me with an organizational challenge. Clothes, equipment, and supplies must be tracked down and stuffed into my cheap luggage, with frequent checks of the TSA website to ensure that I can unpack and repack my carry-ons with a [...]... Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 01:00 PM

A Viral Pyramid Scheme

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

In order to release their newly assembled virions, most viruses lyse the cells that have fed and housed them. This lysis is not a haphazard affair. Some phages, for example, employ a holin-endolysin system to rupture their host's cell membrane and digest the cell wall at a precisely controlled time. (For our earlier posts about this, click here and here.) Others instead interfere with cell wall synthesis—the same strategy that we use with our β-lactam antibiotics. Now yet another completely d........ Read more »

Bize A, Karlsson EA, Ekefjärd K, Quax TE, Pina M, Prevost MC, Forterre P, Tenaillon O, Bernander R, & Prangishvili D. (2009) A unique virus release mechanism in the Archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(27), 11306-11. PMID: 19549825  

Quax TE, Lucas S, Reimann J, Pehau-Arnaudet G, Prevost MC, Forterre P, Albers SV, & Prangishvili D. (2011) Simple and elegant design of a virion egress structure in Archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(8), 3354-9. PMID: 21282609  

  • March 21, 2011
  • 12:25 PM

OpenLab 2010 – Gut bacteria in Japanese people borrowed sushi-digesting genes from ocean bacteria

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

This post was originally published on 7 April 2010. I am reposting it in honour of the release of Open Laboratory 2010, which has just come on sale. It’s an anthology of great blog posts from last year, including this one.
Japanese people have special tools that let them get more out of eating sushi than Americans can. They are probably raised with these utensils from an early age and each person wields millions of them. By now, you’ve probably worked out that I’m not talking about c........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 11:00 AM

The Secret World of Microbes

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Since the time of Linnaeus, scientists have loved classifying the world around them. But while centuries of biologists have worked to collect and categorize the plants and animals of Earth, all that work likely only covers about a minute fraction of our planet’s life. As much as 99 percent of the biodiversity on Earth is [...]... Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 10:47 AM

Oxalaia: Brazil’s New, Giant Spinosaur

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Paleontologists have not found much of Oxalaia quilombensis. A fragment of the snout and a portion of the upper jaw are all that is known of this dinosaur. Even so, those two parts are enough to know that Oxalaia was one of the peculiar predatory dinosaurs known as spinosaurs, and a giant one at that. [...]... Read more »

KELLNER, A.; AZEVEDO, S.; MACHADO, A.; DE CARVALHO, L.; HENRIQUES, D. (2011) A new dinosaur (Theropoda, Spinosauridae) from the Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Alcântara Formation, Cajual Island, Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 83(1), 99-108. info:/

  • March 21, 2011
  • 09:29 AM

Of southern African wing-gland bats, woolly bats, and the ones with tubular nostrils (vesper bats part IV)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Time to continue our trek across the vesper bat cladogram. In the previous article we looked at the bent-winged bats (or miniopterids, or miniopterines): a highly distinctive, morphologically novel group that seem to have diverged from vesper bats proper something like 45 million years ago. Their distinctive nature and long history of isolation relative to other lineages conventionally included within Vespertilionidae mean that bent-winged bats are now argued by many to be worthy of 'family' s........ Read more »

Lack, J. B., Roehrs, Z. P., Stanley, C. E. JR., Ruedi, M., & Van Den Bussche, R. A. (2010) Molecular phylogenetics of Myotis indicate familial-level divergence for the genus Cistugo (Chiroptera. Journal of Mammalogy, 976-992. info:/

  • March 21, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Hand-hand-hand-hand-hand-hand-hand-hand-eye coordination

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

We’re smart. Octopuses are smart. But we have different kinds of smart.

Octopuses don’t process information like us. An octopus can tell -[ from ]-, but has a very difficult time telling < from >. There are plenty of task that we find trivial that are very, very hard for octopuses to do. (Many are shown in Wells 1978).

Gutnick and colleagues were interested in whether octopuses could integrate sight and touch. We do this all the time. Almost the entire video game industry depends u........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 07:56 AM

Molecular Target for Thunder God Vine

by David J Kroll in Terra Sigillata

This post appeared originally last Friday for my monthly gig at Science-Based Medicine. Thunder god vine may not be a useful herbal medicine but the compounds isolated from it are fascinating – if not as medicines, then most certainly as laboratory tools. Nature Chemical Biology recently published an article where a research team from Johns [...]... Read more »

Titov, D., Gilman, B., He, Q., Bhat, S., Low, W., Dang, Y., Smeaton, M., Demain, A., Miller, P., Kugel, J.... (2011) XPB, a subunit of TFIIH, is a target of the natural product triptolide. Nature Chemical Biology, 7(3), 182-188. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.522  

  • March 21, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

March 21, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

How do cells organize themselves into vastly different tissues and organs during development? This is a fundamental question for developmental biologists, and thankfully amazing microscopy can let us see it all unfold (or fold, or zip, or contract, or converge, or invaginate, or…well, you get the point).... Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 12:32 AM

Stygian Orchids Sucking on the Broom Bush Roots — And Shedding Chloroplast Genes

by Jennifer Frazer in The Artful Amoeba

In 1928, a farmer in Western Australia named Jack Trott was plowing a field newly carved from the Outback by fire. An unusual crack in the soil caught his attention. In it was something extraordinary — a sweet-smelling pallid little flower of the first known completely subterranean plant: the Western Underground Orchid, Rhizanthella gardneri*. Strange [...]... Read more »

  • March 21, 2011
  • 12:09 AM

Darwin Eats Cake: Lyapunov Exponent

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, you may or may not know that The Hives also said this.

URL for hotlinking or embedding:

For more, go to Darwin Eats Cake.

PARKS, P. (1992). A. M. Lyapunov's stability theory—100 years on. IMA Journal of Mathematical Control and Information, 9 (4), 275-303 DOI: 10.1093/imamci/9.4.275

... Read more »

PARKS, P. (1992) A. M. Lyapunov's stability theory—100 years on. IMA Journal of Mathematical Control and Information, 9(4), 275-303. DOI: 10.1093/imamci/9.4.275  

  • March 19, 2011
  • 10:38 PM

What would you do with $263 billion dollars?

by helikonios in The view from Helicon

That’s the price tag, in US dollars, a new study puts on describing all the world’s animal species. The authors used data on salaries for Brazilian taxonomists and the average number of species described by them to estimate how much it would cost to describe the 5,426,075 unknown animal species thought to inhabit our planet. [...]... Read more »

Carbayo, F., & Marques, A. (2011) The costs of describing the entire animal kingdom. Trends in Ecology , 26(4), 154-155. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.01.004  

  • March 19, 2011
  • 11:40 AM

Bent-winged bats: wide ranges, very weird wings (vesper bats part III)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Welcome to part III of the vesper bat series though, as we'll see, the bats I'm covering here are not really vesper bat at all (anymore, and in the strictest sense of the term 'vesper bat'). They are the extremely strange, highly widespread long-winged bats, long-fingered bats or bent-winged bats (Miniopterus). Of these vernacular names, I prefer 'bent-winged bats'. As you can see from the simplified cladogram shown below, they're consistently found as the sister-group to virtually* all othe........ Read more »

  • March 19, 2011
  • 10:30 AM

Ann Coulter, Radiaition, and Hormesis

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, you probably already know about the Ann Coulter column and interview, where she says a large number of Coulter-esque things about radiation. For a thorough takedown of her argument, check out this Pharyngula post.

For a takedown that is based on ad hominem attacks rather than evidence, but contains pictures, keep reading.

Original image at Darwin Eats Cake.
URL for hotlinking or embedding:

Calabrese, E., & Baldwin, L. (2003). Hormesis: The Do........ Read more »

Calabrese, E., & Baldwin, L. (2003) Hormesis: The Dose-Response Revolution . Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 43(1), 175-197. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.43.100901.140223  

  • March 19, 2011
  • 08:18 AM

Famine and Epidemic Anthrax, Saint-Domingue (Haiti), 1770

by Michelle Ziegler in Contagions

Earthquakes have brought devastation on the Port-au-Prince region many times in the last 300 years. The 1770 earthquake was stronger and relatively as destructive as the 2010 quake (Ker, 2010). It also was centered near Port-au-Prince and to the west of the city.   Ship captain accounts of the earthquake in the Boston Evening-Post from 9 [...]... Read more »

  • March 18, 2011
  • 10:30 PM

This newly discovered Philippine frog is the ‘girliest’

by nath in Imprints of Philippine Science

I bet Disney has not seen this frog. This species of frog is “distinguished from other members of the genus by its possession of a bright yellow-green dorsum with conspicuous orange flower-shaped spots in females…” So says the authors of a paper published in Herpetologica this month. Sanguirana aurantipunctata belongs to the Genus (Sanguirana) that includes the monophyletic [...]... Read more »

Fuiten, A., Welton, L., Diesmos, A., Barley, A., Oberheide, B., Duya, M., Rico, E., & Brown, R. (2011) A New Species of Stream Frog (Sanguirana) from the Mountains of Luzon Island, Philippines. Herpetologica, 67(1), 89-103. DOI: 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-10-00042.1  

  • March 18, 2011
  • 06:38 PM

Fighting dengue with mosquito semen

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

Dengue virus, DENV - an important mosquito-borne virus
Arthropods are important vectors in the transmission of a number of animal and human pathogens. A major vector group are the mosquitoes of which there are over 3,000 species. However, during their life cycle some mosquitoes feed on the blood of other animals - creating an excellent chance for the direct transfer of manymicrobial species. From here the bacteria/viruses/parasites can initiate infection of the new host which then, following a........ Read more »

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