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Posts

March 27, 2014

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2:57 PM | The Slippery Question of Control in OCD
It’s nice to believe that you have control over your environment and your fate – that is until something bad happens that you’d rather not be responsible for. In today’s complex and interconnected world, it can be hard to figure out who or what causes various events to happen and to what degree you had […]

Gillan CM, Morein-Zamir S, Durieux AM, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ & Robbins TW (2014). Obsessive-compulsive disorder patients have a reduced sense of control on the illusion of control task., Frontiers in Psychology, 5 204. PMID:

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2:34 PM | Bioenergy From Forestry Is Not Sustainable Enough for EU
The levels of forest residue bioenergy, considered to be sustainable from a forestry perspective, may provide considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in European countries. Still, these reductions fall short of a 60 % threshold planned by the EU. This mismatch may have important climate policy implications. Read more »

Repo, A., Böttcher, H., Kindermann, G. & Liski, J. (2014). Sustainability of forest bioenergy in Europe: land-use-related carbon dioxide emissions of forest harvest residues, GCB Bioenergy, DOI:

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2:00 PM | When Animals Act Like People in Stories, Kids Can’t Learn
“Yum, these grass and plants are delicious!” Mother cavy thinks as she eats her breakfast. “I will feed some to my baby cavies too!” she says. The baby cavies love to play in the grass! But they’ve... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Ganea P.A., Canfield C.F., Ghafari K.S. & Chou T. (2014). Do cavies talk?: The effect of anthropomorphic books on children's knowledge about animals, Frontiers in Psychology, DOI:

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8:40 AM | Tumor suppressor gene linked to stem cells
Just like archeologists try to decipher ancient tablets to discern their meaning, UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer biologists are working hard to decode the purpose of an ancient gene considered one of the most important in cancer research.The p53 gene appears to be involved in signaling other cells instrumental in stopping tumor development. But the p53 gene predates cancer, so researchers are uncertain what its original function is.In trying to unravel the mystery, Dr. John Abrams, […]

Wylie A, Lu WJ, D'Brot A, Buszczak M & Abrams JM (2014). p53 activity is selectively licensed in the Drosophila stem cell compartment., eLife, 3 PMID:

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3:22 AM | Infected with Love: A Viral Aphrodisiac in Crickets
Like many other insects, field crickets (Gryllinae) use a courtship song to attract potential mates and initiate mating. A team of researchers headed by Shelley Adamo at Dalhousie University has recently discovered a surprising trigger which speeds up this dating process - a virus. In their recent article “A viral aphrodisiac in the cricket Gryllus texensis” published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the researchers found that a pathogenic insect virus (iridovirus) is able to […]

Adamo, S., Kovalko, I., Easy, R. & Stoltz, D. (2014). A viral aphrodisiac in the cricket Gryllus texensis, Journal of Experimental Biology, DOI:

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March 26, 2014

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10:45 PM | The Ugly Ducklings of Science
A group of management researchers provide new evidence of a worrying bias in the scientific process – The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles ( via Retraction Watch ) The issue they highlight – the ability of researchers to eventually squeeze support for a theory out of initially negative data – […]The post The Ugly Ducklings of Science appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

O'Boyle, E., Banks, G. & Gonzalez-Mule, E. (2014). The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles, Journal of Management, DOI:

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8:01 PM | Saiga antelope
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: MammaliaOrder: ArtiodactylaFamily: BovidaeGenus: SaigaSpecies: Saiga tataricaConservation Status: Critically EndangeredCommon Name: Saiga antelope, SaigaSaigas are nomadic animals, best known for their distinctive enlarged noses that hang down over their mouth. The species originally inhabited a vast area, covering the steppes and semi-desert regions of south-eastern Europe and Central Asia from the Precaspian steppes to […]

Milner-Gulland., Kholodova., Bekenov., Bukreeva., Grachev., Amgalan. & Lushchekina. (2001). Dramatic declines in saiga antelope populations, Oryx, 35 (4) 340-345. DOI:

Bekenov, A., Grachev, I. & Milner-Gulland, E. (1998). The ecology and management of the Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan, Mammal Review, 28 (1) 1-52. DOI:

Rubin, E. & Michelson, K. (1994). Nursing behavior in dam-reared Russian saiga (Saiga tatarica tatarica) at the San Diego wild animal park, Zoo Biology, 13 (4) 309-314. DOI:

Hashiguchi K, Hashimoto K & Akao M (2001). Morphological character of crystalline components present in saiga horn., Okajimas folia anatomica Japonica, 78 (1) 43-8. PMID:

Young, J., Murray, K., Strindberg, S., Buuveibaatar, B. & Berger, J. (2010). Population estimates of Endangered Mongolian saiga Saiga tatarica mongolica: implications for effective monitoring and population recovery, Oryx, 44 (02) 285. DOI:

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6:53 PM | Insult to Injury: How a Common Practice to Prevent Pneumonia in Patients on Ventilation May Not Be Helping
A common antiseptic used to prevent pneumonia in patients on mechanical ventilation has no benefit for objective patient outcomes.

Klompas M., Speck K., Howell M.D., Greene L.R. & Berenholtz S.M. Reappraisal of Routine Oral Care With Chlorhexidine Gluconate for Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation, JAMA Internal Medicine, DOI:

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6:08 PM | Study: Electric-Vehicle Tax Incentives Are Inefficient
New research published in Energy Policy (see footnote) suggests that electric-vehicle proponents and policymakers have missed the mark when it comes to targeting mainstream consumers, arguing that electric-vehicle tax incentives for mainstream buyers are “wasteful, inefficient and ineffective.” Read more »

Green, E., Skerlos, S. & Winebrake, J. (2014). Increasing electric vehicle policy efficiency and effectiveness by reducing mainstream market bias, Energy Policy, 65 562-566. DOI:

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6:05 PM | A New Source of Protein for the Athletic and the Sedentary?
A New Source of Protein? Nitrogen is a major component of amino acids.  Amino acids are needed to form proteins.  We can synthesize some amino acids ourselves, but others need to be obtained through diet.  Dietary protein provides nitrogen and amino acids from plant or animal sources which are resynthesized into human proteins.  Unused nitrogen […] The post A New Source of Protein for the Athletic and the Sedentary? appeared first on WODMasters.

Columbus DA, Lapierre H, Htoo JK & de Lange CF (2014). Nonprotein Nitrogen Is Absorbed from the Large Intestine and Increases Nitrogen Balance in Growing Pigs Fed a Valine-Limiting Diet., The Journal of nutrition, PMID:

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4:27 PM | Fractal organization in MMOs
One of my favorite pet topics is using MMOs (online games) to understand questions of social structure and economics. Benedikt Fuchs looked at social structure in the game Pardus: But exactly what kinds of structures form and to what extent these groupings depend on the environment is still the subject of much debate. So an interesting […]

Fuchs B, Sornette D & Thurner S (2014). Fractal multi-level organisation of human groups in a virtual world, arXiv,

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4:00 PM | Mapping the Information Highway in the Brain
It’s hard to imagine life without Google Maps nowadays.  We use the interactive map daily to find out how to get from point A to point B.  Wouldn’t it be […]

Zingg B., Hintiryan H., Gou L., Song M., Bay M., Bienkowski M., Foster N., Yamashita S., Bowman I. & Toga A. & (2014). Neural Networks of the Mouse Neocortex, Cell, 156 (5) 1096-1111. DOI:

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3:00 PM | Mapping the explosion of Cassiopeia A
Supernovae are one of the most fascinating events in stellar astrophysics. Most stars suffer explosions at some point of their last days but the most […] Read more The post Mapping the explosion of Cassiopeia A appeared first on Mapping Ignorance. Related posts:Mapping areas involved in voluntary forgetting is not simple... it is double! Insights into a star forming Universe The spinning down magnetar

Grefenstette B.W., Harrison F.A., Boggs S.E., Reynolds S.P., Fryer C.L., Madsen K.K., Wik D.R., Zoglauer A., Ellinger C.I. & Alexander D.M. & (2014). Asymmetries in core-collapse supernovae from maps of radioactive 44Ti in Cassiopeia A, Nature, 506 (7488) 339-342. DOI:

Laming J.M. (2014). Astrophysics: Lopsided stellar death, Nature, 506 (7488) 298-299. DOI:

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2:12 PM | Fragmented Carbon Nanotube Macrofilms Hold Promise for Better Batteries
The electrodes in lithium-ion batteries typically comprise three components: active materials, conductive additives, and binders. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Delaware has discovered that fragmented carbon nanotube macrofilms may eliminate the need for binders. Read more »

Cao, Z. & Wei, B. (2014). Fragmented Carbon Nanotube Macrofilms as Adhesive Conductors for Lithium-Ion Batteries, ACS Nano, 8 (3) 3049-3059. DOI:

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1:30 PM | STD puts crickets in the mood
Imagine an STD that made you extra eager for sex. Oh, and it makes you sterile. This STD exists—in insects. Researchers working in a lab that studies field crickets came into work one day only to find, much to their dismay I imagine, that their colony had been infected with a virus. But, as they … Continue reading →

Adamo SA, Kovalko I, Easy RH & Stoltz D (2014). A viral aphrodisiac in the cricket Gryllus texensis., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID:

Burand JP, Tan W, Kim W, Nojima S & Roelofs W (2005). Infection with the insect virus Hz-2v alters mating behavior and pheromone production in female Helicoverpa zea moths., Journal of insect science (Online), 5 6. PMID:

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12:30 PM | Animals, Pets and Vermin
What do animals mean to you and what role do they play in your life? These and related questions were recently asked of ordinary people by the Mass Observation Project in the UK, and the results, in a paper by Alison Sealey and Nickie Charles, are fascinating.Photo: pjmorley / ShutterstockSince 1937, the Mass Observation Projecthas been collecting information from ordinary people about life in Britain. Set up with the idea of creating “an anthropology of ourselves,” data […]

Sealey, A. & Charles, N. (2013). "What Do Animals Mean to You?": Naming and Relating to Nonhuman Animals, Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 26 (4) 485-503. DOI:

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12:00 PM | Naked Mole Rats Don’t Feel The Burn
Biology concepts – thermoregulation, heat sensing, TRPV1, evolution, neurotransmitters, birds, ectothermy, diet-induced thermogenesisBBC television has a very nice Sherlock Holmes show running nowadays, but it has ticked off some mental health professionals. Sherlock describes himself as a high functioning sociopath. I have read several angry letters from those in the profession saying that he should stop doing so, he is using a mental disorder as an excuse for just plain rude […]

Smeets AJ, Janssens PL & Westerterp-Plantenga MS (2013). Addition of capsaicin and exchange of carbohydrate with protein counteract energy intake restriction effects on fullness and energy expenditure., The Journal of nutrition, 143 (4) 442-7. PMID:

Clegg ME, Golsorkhi M & Henry CJ (2013). Combined medium-chain triglyceride and chilli feeding increases diet-induced thermogenesis in normal-weight humans., European journal of nutrition, 52 (6) 1579-85. PMID:

Smith ES, Omerbašić D, Lechner SG, Anirudhan G, Lapatsina L & Lewin GR (2011). The molecular basis of acid insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat., Science (New York, N.Y.), 334 (6062) 1557-60. PMID:

Park TJ, Lu Y, Jüttner R, Smith ES, Hu J, Brand A, Wetzel C, Milenkovic N, Erdmann B, Heppenstall PA & Laurito CE (2008). Selective inflammatory pain insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber)., PLoS biology, 6 (1) PMID:

Smith ES, Blass GR, Lewin GR & Park TJ (2010). Absence of histamine-induced itch in the African naked mole-rat and "rescue" by Substance P., Molecular pain, 6 29. PMID:

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9:36 AM | Stem cell study on bipolar disorder offers hope for better treatments
Cells, made from the skin of people with bipolar disorderWhat makes a bipolar person, prone to manic highs and deep, depressed lows? Why does bipolar disorder run so strongly in families, even though no single gene is to blame? And why is it so hard to find new treatments for a condition that affects more than 200 million people worldwide?A new study by a research team at the University of Michigan Medical School, and fueled by the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, may help scientists […]

Chen, H., DeLong, C., Bame, M., Rajapakse, I., Herron, T., McInnis, M. & O’Shea, K. (2014). Transcripts involved in calcium signaling and telencephalic neuronal fate are altered in induced pluripotent stem cells from bipolar disorder patients, Translational Psychiatry, 4 (3) DOI:

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9:20 AM | Stem cell-derived pancreatic cells treat diabetes in mice
Microscopic view of Islet of Langerhans in the pancreas. Beta cells in the Islets are responsible for insulin production.Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers have shown that by encapsulating immature pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and implanting them under the skin in animal models of diabetes, sufficient insulin is produced to maintain glucose levels without unwanted potential trade-offs […]

Kirk, K., Hao, E., Lahmy, R. & Itkin-Ansari, P. (2014). Human embryonic stem cell derived islet progenitors mature inside an encapsulation device without evidence of increased biomass or cell escape, Stem Cell Research, DOI:

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8:54 AM | Vision impairment and ADHD?
Science often has the ability to surprise.So it was when I first read the paper by Dawn Decarlo and colleagues* (open-access here) which suggested that: "children with vision impairment may be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] than children in the general population". I should point out that this observation should not be totally unexpected given some media for other studies by the authors (see here).Lady in a green jacket @ […]

Decarlo DK, Bowman E, Monroe C, Kline R, McGwin G Jr & Owsley C (2014). Prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among children with vision impairment., Journal of AAPOS : the official publication of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus / American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 18 (1) 10-4. PMID:

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3:45 AM | Algorithmic Darwinism
The workshop on computational theories of evolution started off on Monday, March 17th with Leslie Valiant — one of the organizers — introducing his model of evolvability (Valiant, 2009). This original name was meant to capture what type of complexity can be achieved through evolution. Unfortunately — especially at this workshop — evolvability already had […]

Feldman, V. (2008). Evolvability from learning algorithms., Proceedings of the 40th annual ACM symposium on Theory of Computing, 619-628. DOI:

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March 25, 2014

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8:45 PM | GM wheat resists infection by the destructive take-all fungus
  A team of Chinese researchers have engineered genetically modified (GM) wheat that resists infection by the destructive take-all fungus.1 The fungus infects wheat roots, causing up to a 40-60% reduction in wheat yields.2   Take-all infects wheat grown in temperate regions worldwide. It devastated Australian wheat crops during the 1800s. Hence, farmers named it […]

Liu X, Yang L, Zhou X, Zhou M, Lu Y, Ma L, Ma H & Zhang Z (2013). Transgenic wheat expressing Thinopyrum intermedium MYB transcription factor TiMYB2R-1 shows enhanced resistance to the take-all disease., Journal of experimental botany, 64 (8) 2243-53. PMID:

Gutteridge RJ, Bateman GL & Todd AD (2003). Variation in the effects of take-all disease on grain yield and quality of winter cereals in field experiments., Pest management science, 59 (2) 215-24. PMID:

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6:27 PM | Genetically Modified (GM) Crops- Friend or Foe?
With the Council for Science and Technology advising that we need to rethink our stance on GM food, we decided to look into some of the science behind genetic engineering […]

Eamens A, Wang MB, Smith NA & Waterhouse PM (2008). RNA silencing in plants: yesterday, today, and tomorrow., Plant physiology, 147 (2) 456-68. PMID:

Funke T, Han H, Healy-Fried ML, Fischer M & Schönbrunn E (2006). Molecular basis for the herbicide resistance of Roundup Ready crops., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103 (35) 13010-5. PMID:

Paine JA, Shipton CA, Chaggar S, Howells RM, Kennedy MJ, Vernon G, Wright SY, Hinchliffe E, Adams JL, Silverstone AL & Drake R (2005). Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content., Nature biotechnology, 23 (4) 482-7. PMID:

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4:47 PM | New Solar Cell Moonlights as Light Panel
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists have developed a next-generation solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity. Read more »

Xing, G., Mathews, N., Lim, S., Yantara, N., Liu, X., Sabba, D., Grätzel, M., Mhaisalkar, S. & Sum, T. (2014). Low-temperature solution-processed wavelength-tunable perovskites for lasing, Nature Materials, DOI:

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3:54 PM | A Misplaced Protein Provides a Promising Target for Kidney Cancer Treatment
Researchers from UChicago and Beijing describe how a shortage of oxygen in cells causes a normally helpful protein go bad and drive tumor growth in kidney cancer.

Li G., Ci W., Karmakar S., Chen K., Dhar R., Fan Z., Guo Z., Zhang J., Ke Y. & Wang L. & (2014). SPOP Promotes Tumorigenesis by Acting as a Key Regulatory Hub in Kidney Cancer, Cancer Cell, DOI:

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11:52 AM | Pigs on the Pyre- Solving Cremation Mysteries
There is a mystery in archaeology that numerous regions and eras have to deal with- where are the infants? Deceased infants are potentially treated differently when they die- the argument […]

Jæger, J & Johanson, V (2013). The cremation of infants/small children: An archaeological experiment concerning the effects of fire on bone weight, Cadernos do GEEvH, 2 (2) 13-26. Other: Link

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11:00 AM | 2.3 million base pairs under the earth
An article published back in 2008 in Science by Chivian et al. details the discovery of the only known instance . . .

Chivian D., Brodie E.L., Alm E.J., Culley D.E., Dehal P.S., DeSantis T.Z., Gihring T.M., Lapidus A., Lin L.H. & Lowry S.R. & (2008). Environmental Genomics Reveals a Single-Species Ecosystem Deep Within Earth, Science, 322 (5899) 275-278. DOI:

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9:22 AM | New method to generate mesenchymal stem cellls from human embryonic stem cells
Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), reported today that it has discovered a new method to generate a potent and replenishable population of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human embryonic stem cells. This new and proprietary population of embryonic stem cell-derived MSCs displays potent immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties and has a greater than 30,000 fold proliferative capacity, relative to ordinary bone marrow-derived MSCs, the most commonly used source for MSCs in clinical trials.Read

Kimbrel EA, Kouris NA, Yavanian G, Chu J, Qin Y, Chan A, Singh RP, McCurdy D, Gordon L, Levinson RD & Lanza R (2014). Mesenchymal stem cell population derived from human pluripotent stem cells displays potent immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties., Stem cells and development, PMID:

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9:08 AM | Adjustable scaffolds promote stem cell growth
A new scaffold material based on a biocompatible silk-alginate hydrogel, which can be made soft or stiff, could provide the just right environment to culture stem cells for regenerative medicine, say researchers at the Stanford University and Queen’s University in Canada.Widespread clinical application of stem cells  requires a robust and reliable culture system that mimics the natural microenvironment of the cell. This microenvironment provides crucial direction to the function and […]

Ziv K, Nuhn H, Ben-Haim Y, Sasportas LS, Kempen PJ, Niedringhaus TP, Hrynyk M, Sinclair R, Barron AE & Gambhir SS & (2014). A tunable silk-alginate hydrogel scaffold for stem cell culture and transplantation., Biomaterials, 35 (12) 3736-43. PMID:

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8:19 AM | Repost: Conversations With My Grandpa
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill. At the time, it was the biggest oil spill in US history.  As far as the cleanup is concerned, the Exxon spill is far from over. But Exxon isn’t the spill that weighs on American minds. I wrote the following post in June of […]The post Repost: Conversations With My Grandpa appeared first on Science Sushi.

Jonathan L. Ramseur (2010). Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service , 7-5700 (RL33705) Other: Link

USCG Spill Compendium (2005). Cumulative Data And Graphics For Oil Spills (1973-2004), USCG,

Ralph A. Bianchi, Edward E. Johanson & James H. Farrell (1973). The Application of Skimmers, Piston Films,and Sorbents for Open Water Spills , Offshore Technology Conference,

U.S. Department of Homeland Security & U.S. Coast Guard (2004). California SONS 2004, After Action Report,

Paine, R., Ruesink, J., Sun, A., Soulanille, E., Wonham, M., Harley, C., Brumbaugh, D. & Secord, D. (1996). TROUBLE ON OILED WATERS: Lessons from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 27 (1) 197-235. DOI:

SWEDMARK, M., GRANMO, A. & KOLLBERG, S. (1973). Effects of oil dispersants and oil emulsions on marine animals, Water Research, 7 (11) 1649-1672. DOI:

CM Tarzwell (1971). Toxicity of oil and oil dispersant mixtures to aquatic life. , Water pollution by oil. London, The Institute of Petroleum. P. Hepple (Ed.) , 263-272.

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