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Ecology

Aphid attacks should be reported through the fungusphone

We like to think of ourselves as the better results of evolution. We humans are particularly proud of our ability to communicate, having invented cell phones, the Internet, and extended forelimb digits as sophisticated means of communication not found anywhere else in nature. Not true. Where there is life, there is communication. Vocal, visual, chemical. […]

Terrible advice from a great scientist

I am not inclined to write polemic posts. I generally like to leave that to others, while I take the admittedly easier route of waxing positive over various bits of cool science I find or hear about, and yes, occasionally do myself. But WSJ editorial from E.O. Wilson has irked me so much, I have […]

ZomBee Watch, a new citizen-scientist project

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live”. — Albert Einstein No, there are no typos in the title. And, no, there is no zombie outbreak towards which people are being recruited to fight. (Well, yeah, that’s what “they” always say isn’t it?)  The ZomBee Watch […]

Zombie science roundup

  I am fascinated with zombies. Always have been, but even more so since I took an interest in microbiology. The zombie apocalypse is the best known and best chronicled viral infection which hasn’t happened. But it could happen any day, so stock up on non-perishable food, medical supplies, water purification tablets, chainsaws, machetes, baseball […]

Warm blooded turtles?

If you entered this post to comment the error in the title, then I have one word for you. Gotcha! Yes, “warm blooded” animals are not, really, warm blooded. After all, a lizard in the baking sun has a core temperature higher than most mammals, but it is still called “cold blooded”.  So-called cold blooded […]

Goat breath causes aphids to drop to the ground

Some headlines just write themselves… It has been known for some time that an approaching large herbivore causes aphids to abandon ship …err plant. Makes sense since, after all, there’s not much of a point in staying on the particular bit of shrubbery that will be consumed, lock, stalk and barrel by a ravenous forager. […]

Scary

I never metagenomics I didn’t like

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” — Proverbs 27:2 “What-ever” —  Me In PLoS Computational Biology this week, a trio of researchers provides a review of the challenges that metagenomics might ― and already do ― pose for bioinformaticians. The authors refer to metagenomic […]

More on Arctic Warming

Following the post on methane release in the Arctic due to global climate change, here is an informative image comparing temperature differences between two five year periods: 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. The time window comparison shows a significant warming in the arctic,when compared to the rest of the planet. Created by the people at The Real […]

Blog Action Day: the Methane Pulse

Blog Action Day focuses this year on climate change, which, like everything else on this planet, is also a microbial matter. Howzat? Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas which has heat retention capability 23 times of that of CO2.  Soil methanogens are the chief global producers of methane. There are an estimated 7.5x 109 tons […]