October 29, 2014

11:58 PM | Job: Faculty position in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Duke University School of Medicine
Applications for tenure-track and tenured faculty position, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology This is an open position seeking individuals that employ genetic and/or genomic approaches to investigate important and fundamental biological questions. The following areas are of special interest to this search genetic basis for behavior or disease in model systems and/or humans host […]
9:59 PM | CEO of Soylent goes even further off the deep end - going after his microbiome
Well, this is pretty deranged: Soylent CEO Is Lifehacking Water By Pissing In the Sink.  Forget all the wackiness of Soylent and the idea of limiting water intake.  And just look at the part of this on the micro biomeFeces are almost entirely deceased gut bacteria and water. I massacred my gut bacteria the day before by consuming a DIY Soylent version with no fiber and taking 500mg of Rifaximin, an antibiotic with poor bioavailability, meaning it stays in your gut and kills […]
9:04 PM | The Undersea Afterlives of Three Little Piggies
Science often answers questions that I never would have thought to ask. For example, what happens to a …
5:33 PM | Golden rain and fall color
Fall color this year is varied and very good this year, but as always fleeting. The area immediately behind our house is under the canopy of two sugar maple trees, one large and one huge, and the light especially in the late afternoon is just perfused with a completely lovely golden glow. And as a bonus, the weather was warm enough to sit on the patio and enjoy the light with a glass of wine.  But then it started to rain, not water, not cats and dogs, not frogs, but leaves, and […]
2:31 PM | Very depressing trend - decline of collections based research
The decline in collections-based research at universities has been in decline for some time as hiring decisions attempted to track newer, shinier, more fundable areas of biology. We used to say that collections-based research would only persist in museums and botanical gardens, but obviously that isn't so any longer. This is of course very short sighted, but that is actually the nature of science these days. Legislators no longer understand the need or value of basic research, […]
1:04 PM | Bat signals: genomic traces of sensory rewiring
How does evolution rewire an animal’s sensory system? In time for both National Bat Week and Halloween, new research in G3 investigates this question by comparing the genomes of bat species that “see” the world in different ways. The black … Read More The post Bat signals: genomic traces of sensory rewiring appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
12:00 PM | Almost This Or Almost That? Must Be The Other
Biology concepts – Protista, taxonomy, phylum, kingdom, monophyletic, paraphyletic, cladistics, algae, diatom, dinoflagellateEuglena gracilis is an organism in the Kingdom Protista. It has one long flagellar undulipodium, but it can also move by amoeboid movement. It has chloroplasts and can do photosynthesis, but it also can eat other organisms. Is it any wonder that classifying protists is so hard?Classifying living organisms is self-perpetuating job. Imagine if the dentist sold candy […]

Fu G, Nagasato C, Oka S, Cock JM & Motomura T (2014). Proteomics Analysis of Heterogeneous Flagella in Brown Algae (Stramenopiles)., Protist, 165 (5) 662-675. PMID:

Wei Y, Liu Q, Yu J, Feng Q, Zhao L, Song H & Wang W (2014). Antibacterial mode of action of 1,8-dihydroxy-anthraquinone from Porphyra haitanensis against Staphylococcus aureus., Natural product research, 1-4. PMID:

Maggs CA, Fletcher HL, Fewer D, Loade L, Mineur F & Johnson MP (2011). Speciation in red algae: members of the Ceramiales as model organisms., Integrative and comparative biology, 51 (3) 492-504. PMID:

Strauch SM, Richter P, Schuster M & Häder DP (2010). The beating pattern of the flagellum of Euglena gracilis under altered gravity during parabolic flights., Journal of plant physiology, 167 (1) 41-6. PMID:

9:39 AM | Improving behavioural economics
A neat new paper has appeared on SSRN from Owen Jones – Why Behavioral Economics Isn’t Better, and How it Could Be (HT: Emanuel Derman via Dennis Dittrich). My favourite part is below. As I have said many times before, giving a bias a name is not theory. [S]aying that the endowment effect is caused by Loss […]
9:00 AM | Exotic field collecting…in the hallway!
The following post is by Chloe Gerak, a Masters student at UBC who completed an undergraduate project at Simon Fraser University in the Gries lab.This past weekend, she won the top prize for an undergraduate talk at the Annual General  Meeting of the Entomological Society of British Columbia with a talk entitled “How the false widow […]

October 28, 2014

9:00 PM | Sex and power. The reproductive instinct of conquerors
The French writer Alexadre Dumas Sr., who had traveled to Caucasus in the years of 1858 and 1859, was telling in his traveling diary that the best gift that the Georgian and Lezghian youth could give to their fiancées were the chopped hands of the individuals from the neighboring tribe. These hands, brought as trophies, […] The post Sex and power. The reproductive instinct of conquerors appeared first on Social Ethology.
8:41 PM | Epic battle of wills
An epic battle of wills is shaping up here in the Phactor household.  Mrs. Phactor purchased a small throw rug to place at the bottom of the stairs leading to our basement. Every time she goes by she says, "Who crumpled up this rug?" And she straightens it. Every time a certain cat goes by, she says, "Who straightened out my play rug?" And she crumples it up to her liking. Some things are just more interesting in 3D than 2D. Note the milk bottle ring, always a favorite cat toy. Thousands […]
8:34 PM | The Making of the Mammalian Nose
As far as anatomical ventilation systems go, our noses are pretty impressive. Scrolled sheets of bone called turbinates …
7:19 PM | Genetics reveal the diversity of pollinators’ other cargo: fungi
The following is a cross-posting from the Stanford CEHG Blog by Jeremy Hsu, a graduate student in Elizabeth Hadley’s lab at Stanford University. Many animals that visit flowers are known to carry microfungal communities; these fungi are important ecologically because … Continue reading →
Editor's Pick
4:07 PM | Urban Science Adventure: Make Autumn Leaf Lanterns
It’s fall and lovely outside, but you also want to keep your students or grand/children engaged in fun activities. Well, take a look up and then down. Those beautiful autumn leaves are your... -- Read more on
4:03 PM | A message from Martha by Mark Avery | review | @GrrlScientist
This absorbing book is an engaging and wistful, yet measured, chronicle about the tragic loss of one very special, iconic, species, the passenger pigeon. This is the year of the passenger pigeon. Despite this, you might wonder how three books about the passenger pigeon could possibly have been published this year -- and, iconic or not, what more could possibly be said about an extinct species one hundred years on? Yet each book brings something new to the table. But my favourite of this trio […]
2:17 PM | How to teach yourself about an obscure snake
This article will soon become available in SpanishThe world is full of obscure snakes. According to Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology, the more you know about them, the better a person you are. Writing this blog, and in my research, I am often confronted with the challenging task of finding out something - anything at all - about a species of snake that I've never heard of before. This post is a walk-through of the process that I usually use to track down even the most basic information […]
1:49 AM | Salamanders Regrew Limbs 300 Million Years Ago
Salamanders are the only four-limbed vertebrates which can regrow lost limbs, and exceptionally well-preserved fossils suggest that their early ancestors shared this ability.
1:47 AM | An invasive species drives rapid evolution in a native
 Anolis carolinensis male, dewlapping. Photo by Ambika Kamath.In 1959, W.L. Brown and E.O. Wilson proposed the following eco-evolutionary process: two closely-related species come into contact, interact strongly (usually over food and other resources), and thereby experience natural selection to diverge from one another--ecology influences evolution. Then, if such divergence resulted in sufficient resource partitioning, the species’ population dynamics would stabilize and the two (or […]

October 27, 2014

8:23 PM | GSA Award Essays
Check out the GSA award winners' essays in this month's issue of GENETICS! GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA MEDAL Unanticipated Success Stories: An Interview with Angelika Amon Angelika B. Amon "I would argue that under some circumstances, studying yeast cells is … Read More The post GSA Award Essays appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
5:45 PM | If you can’t be a good example, be a warning. How EcoInternet’s #Scicomm #Fail can make you a more culturally aware science communicator
When I started grad school I was excited. Excited because I saw the pursuit of knowledge as the this special calling, free of the BS that my friends who worked in corporations or the government or... -- Read more on
4:15 PM | Some suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings
Been having a lot of discussions online in response to my post (Apparently, the National Academy of Sciences thinks only one sex is qualified to talk about alternatives to sex #YAMMM) tracking the awful gender ratio for speakers and session chairs at meetings run by the National Academy of Sciences in their Sackler series.  Some people were asking what one can do to improve gender diversity at meetings so I thought I would post this which I was meaning to do anyway […]
3:14 PM | The Giant Kangaroos That Didn't Hop
Ask anyone to describe a kangaroo and the word 'hopping' is likely to feature in...
3:04 PM | 17 foods Americans like that furiners find disgusting and much needed commentary
This is one of those mostly stupid www click bait lists, but inquiring minds just had to know.  Here they are in no particular order.  1. Grits – TPP finds them to be tasteless fodder. To be fair, other cultures have their versions of tasteless fodder too.  So don’t be too quick to point your spatzle/dumpling/yuca stained fingers at grits.  Actually TPP likes yucca better than grits.   2-3. Velveeta cheese/Cheese Whiz – Both of these were counted […]
3:03 PM | Birdbooker Report 344
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
12:10 PM | Conservation concern for South America’s remarkable endemic dogs
Last year the Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia volume titled Extinct Life appeared in print. I was asked to cover South American mammals, perhaps because they wanted me to write about borhyaenoids,... -- Read more on
10:05 AM | An updated economics and evolutionary biology reading list and a collection of book reviews
I have updated my economics and evolutionary biology reading list, with a few new additions including John Coates’s The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, Gregory Clark’s new book on social mobility and Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. As before, I have been selective, adding only the best books (or articles) in the area. That said, I […]

October 26, 2014

9:06 PM | You Should Know: Dr. Dr. Buddhini Samarasinghe and Jargon Wall
Welcome to the thirteenth installment of You Should Know, where I give my own #ScholarSunday salute to Science Bloggers and Blogs you may not yet know about. Introducing…Dr. Buddhini... -- Read more on
9:05 PM | An Epic Geologic Competition in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
VIRGINIA KENDALL, CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (CVNP) — What an absolutely awesome day for geology in the field!!  One of my geologic mentors once told me that “every day in the field is a day of vacation”, and today proved to be just that day.  Late October…temperatures above 60 degrees…with the fall colors everywhere!!  I […]
8:07 PM | Alu Transposable Elements and the Human Genome
For those not familiar, transposable or mobile elements are segments of DNA that have, or at one time had, the potential for moving about the genome. This occurs either via […]
6:08 PM | Spineless Giants Track Oceanic Revolutions
We’re fascinated by superlative size. That’s why humungous dinosaurs regularly make headlines, and Carboniferous arthropods – dragonflies and …
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