"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Friedrick Nietzsche

Atheist, scientist, secular Buddhist, rat lover, etc.

Originally from Iowa,I am a biology graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Reblogged from laboratoryequipment  30 notes
laboratoryequipment:

Researchers Create ‘Day in the Life’ of Ocean MicrobesMicrobiologists who study wild marine microbes, as opposed to the lab-grown variety, face enormous challenges in getting a clear picture of the daily activities of their subjects. But a team of scientists from MIT and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently figured out how to make the equivalent of a nature film, showing the simultaneous activities of many coexisting species in their native habitat over time.Instead of making a movie, the scientists used a robotic device that dangled below the surface of the ocean, drifting in the water with a neighborhood of microbial populations and gathering samples of one billion microbes every four hours. Similar to fast photography that stops action, the robotic device “fixed” each sample so that whatever genes the microbes were expressing at the moment of capture were preserved for later study in the lab, where the scientists used whole-genome gene-expression analysis to create a time-lapse montage of the daily labors of multiple microbial species over a two-day period.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/01/researchers-create-day-life-ocean-microbes

laboratoryequipment:

Researchers Create ‘Day in the Life’ of Ocean Microbes

Microbiologists who study wild marine microbes, as opposed to the lab-grown variety, face enormous challenges in getting a clear picture of the daily activities of their subjects. But a team of scientists from MIT and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently figured out how to make the equivalent of a nature film, showing the simultaneous activities of many coexisting species in their native habitat over time.

Instead of making a movie, the scientists used a robotic device that dangled below the surface of the ocean, drifting in the water with a neighborhood of microbial populations and gathering samples of one billion microbes every four hours. Similar to fast photography that stops action, the robotic device “fixed” each sample so that whatever genes the microbes were expressing at the moment of capture were preserved for later study in the lab, where the scientists used whole-genome gene-expression analysis to create a time-lapse montage of the daily labors of multiple microbial species over a two-day period.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/01/researchers-create-day-life-ocean-microbes

Reblogged from jtotheizzoe  81 notes

jtotheizzoe:

Bats, Flowers, Tongues and Why “Necessity Is the Mother of Evolution”

If my tongue was as long as the tube-lipped nectar bat, it would be over 9 feet long. It’s only 5 cm long, but has a 9 cm tongue! This uniquely-outfitted creature was only discovered in 2005, and its feeding captured here for the first time by National Geographic cameramen.

By the way, did you know that bats constitute the second largest order of mammals after rodents?! More than 1,200 separate species have been identified.

The tube-lipped nectar bat and its favorite flower food source, C. nigricans, are an amazing example of coevolution. Here’s how it likely worked:

If you’re a flowering plant, your whole goal is to get pollinated. So a nectar-producing flower wants to make its nectar hard enough to reach that a pollinator (like the bat) has to really try to get at their snack, maximizing the potential for rubbing up against the flower and getting a good dusting of pollen. But the flower can’t make it so difficult to reach that the bat goes elsewhere for food. So evolutionary pressure says you might make your nectar tube as long as the bat can reach.

If you’re a bat, your goal is to eat. That means that in addition to learning how to hover like a bird (which is a big deal in itself), you need to possess a tongue that’s long enough to reach down and get your food. Pollen? You don’t eat pollen. You don’t care about pollen. But you just happen to get some on your head while slurping up dinner, and maybe you drop it in the next flower you visit. Evolutionary pressure says that you will be driven to have a long enough tongue in order to reach down into the flower as well as a head that fits inside the flower opening.

That’s exactly what we see here!! Two species triggering change in the other species based on selective pressures. And it’s stunning to behold.

(via Why Evolution Is True)

 ”Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.” - The Red Queen.

Reblogged from jtotheizzoe  731 notes

jtotheizzoe:

What You See When You Turn A Fish Inside Out

Sandra Raredon works at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and it’s her job to look inside fish. The museum holds specimens of nearly 4 million fish representing 70% of the world’s known species. The incredible forms that these fish have evolved are captured in this new exhibit, X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out.

From top left, see the disc-shaped lookdown, the aerodynamic wingtip shark, the snake-like viper moray, the tropical long-nose butterflyfish, and the intimidating long-spine porcupinefish. The exhibit has a wonderful Flickr gallery, and will be at the National Museum of Natural History through August 2012. From there it will travel the country as part of the SITES program, full schedule here.

Specialized and exotic, looking inside these fish is a fantastic way to appreciate the wonders of evolution that have sprung from nature’s continuing journey. 

Bonus: Here’s an interactive fish x-ray explorer!

(via Smithsonian Museum)

Reblogged from mohandasgandhi  900 notes
mohandasgandhi:

crookedindifference:

sexyactionplanet:

Rhino Wars
Rivaling the price of gold on the black market, rhino horn is at the center of a bloody poaching battle…

Ugh, humans… so intelligent yet so very stupid at the same time. It is sad to see such an incredible animal poached for such a pointless reason (or any reason, for that matter). You would think that with all the intelligence and capabilities that humans possess, we would be smarter about how we live on a rock with finite resources and delicate ecological systems. It is the only home we have the ability to live on and our current approach to stewardship is a joke. This is why I will never stop fighting for environmental causes.

Shah is the best. <3
The number one way to fight this type of poaching is with education by combating the myth that the rhino horn possess some medicinal function. This is why correcting pseudo-science is so critically important because we’re at risk of losing a number of species to poaching, hunting, and overfishing because we think some part of their bodies aids human-beings in some bizarre fashion. We’ll never get those animals back and we’ll never be able to correct the ecosystems that we’ve destroyed with our ignorance. Simply going after the poachers will not suffice. We must correct the culture that demands for such.

Some game reserve owners are poisoning the horns of rhinos in order to deter poachers.  The dye/poison cocktail is designed to bind to keratin, and as the horn is made of keratin, it will not poison the rhinos. It will make anyone who consumes products made of the horn ill (not enough to kill them, of course). The second component to the mixture is a red dye which will effectively make the horns useless for ornamentation (dagger handles, etc).

mohandasgandhi:

crookedindifference:

sexyactionplanet:

Rhino Wars

Rivaling the price of gold on the black market, rhino horn is at the center of a bloody poaching battle…

Ugh, humans… so intelligent yet so very stupid at the same time. It is sad to see such an incredible animal poached for such a pointless reason (or any reason, for that matter). You would think that with all the intelligence and capabilities that humans possess, we would be smarter about how we live on a rock with finite resources and delicate ecological systems. It is the only home we have the ability to live on and our current approach to stewardship is a joke. This is why I will never stop fighting for environmental causes.

Shah is the best. <3

The number one way to fight this type of poaching is with education by combating the myth that the rhino horn possess some medicinal function. This is why correcting pseudo-science is so critically important because we’re at risk of losing a number of species to poaching, hunting, and overfishing because we think some part of their bodies aids human-beings in some bizarre fashion. We’ll never get those animals back and we’ll never be able to correct the ecosystems that we’ve destroyed with our ignorance. Simply going after the poachers will not suffice. We must correct the culture that demands for such.

Some game reserve owners are poisoning the horns of rhinos in order to deter poachers.  The dye/poison cocktail is designed to bind to keratin, and as the horn is made of keratin, it will not poison the rhinos. It will make anyone who consumes products made of the horn ill (not enough to kill them, of course). The second component to the mixture is a red dye which will effectively make the horns useless for ornamentation (dagger handles, etc).