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Cleaner than Clean: Understanding the Grooming Habits of Termites in Japan

Katie-Leigh Corder

Many unfortunate homeowners in the United States, around 600,000 to be exact, will discover these pesky and TermitesOEhard-to-control insects snacking away at their homes. On top of that, it's estimated that $5 billion a year will be spent to control these insects and repair damage. What are these common, yet unwanted insects? Termites!

The United States isn't the only country that deals with them. In Japan, termites are also a major source of structural damage, costing an estimated $1 billion per year in control and repair. Japanese homes are predominately made of wood, as are a number of its cultural heritage sites.

Dr. Aya Yanagawa discusses how she and her colleagues research ways to more effectively control termites in Japan. Biological pathogens and odors show strong potential for getting rid of them, but as Dr. Yanagawa describes, understanding the insect's grooming behavior is key in increasing the pathogens's effects.

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Preventing Spread of an Avian Influenza Strain as an Army Veterinarian

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke

YingstVetWhen a person says he or she works in the U.S. Army, people may immediately assume he or she works in combat or engineering. But there are a vast and unique set of skills in the U.S. Army, especially in science and research. An army veterinarian discusses his journeys to different places in the Middle East and Northeast Africa to study various zoonotic diseases (contagious diseases transmittable between animals and humans), including influenza A virus subtype H5N1.

Lieutenant Colonel Sam Yingst, PhD, is the chief of the U.S. Army’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Department and studies many zoonotic diseases worldwide by assisting those in developing countries with their research.

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Saving the Honeybee with Genetics and Beekeeping

Katie-Leigh Corder

Bishop with beehivesThe disappearance of honeybees continues to make headlines in the news and science journals, but are their numbers still dwindling, and if so, what are the causes?

Dr. Jack Bishop, a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a hobby beekeeper, and treasurer of Sigma Xi's Research Triangle Park Chapter,discusses the external influences that are linked to bee population decline, as well as ways to help honeybees thrive.

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Scientific Artwork Attracts Human and Arthropod Alike

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

Love Motel for InsectsHumans are bitten and stung by them, and sometimes have their gardens and crops eaten or even destroyed by these little organisms. Insects are everywhere and have a bad reputation with many people. But without them, the terrestrial environment would fall into chaos. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society exhibited scientific artwork created by artist and ecologist Brandon Ballengée, PhD, at an event in Research Triangle Park, NC, in July 2014. Named Love Motel for Insects, the goal of these renowned sculptures is to attract insects and to allow humans to get a close look while learning about their role in Earth's ecosystems.

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Drawn Together by the Casimir Effect

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fabrizio Pinto, Fenella Saunders

2014-07PintoFp283.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageHow and why does the Casimir effect take place? This animation interprets what happens to the electromagnetic field because of quantum effects and virtual photons, to show what results when two plates are brought close together in such an environment.

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Redesigning the Human Genome with DNA-Binding Proteins

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke

Gene therapy

Gene therapy and genomic engineering are rapidly burgeoning areas of research. Dr. Charles Gersbach of Duke University sat down with associate editor Katie L. Burke to discuss the history of gene therapy and what we can do now that we couldn’t do even a few years ago.

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Ultrafast Animals: Mantis Shrimp and Trap-Jaw Ants

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke

Mantis Shrimp

When people think of the fastest animals, most consider running cheetahs, flitting hummingbirds, or jumping kangaroos. But there's a level above what we think of as “fast”: Ultrafast organisms conserve energy and move in nano- or even micro-seconds.

TJ Ants

Dr. Sheila Patek discusses her research with two ultrafast creatures: mantis shrimp and trap-jaw ants.

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Chasing Down Cosmic Dust

Fenella Saunders, Katie-Leigh Corder

Cosmic Dust Image

The formation of tiny particles of pollutants in the atmosphere, raindrops in a cloud, and cosmic dust share common physics, closely related to a process called nucleation, the means by which molecules begin to form solids. The key unknown is the physics and behavior of nanoclusters that are far more complex than a single molecule, yet not big enough to be considered solids or liquids. Davide Lazzati discusses his research on cosmic dust and how additional findings can improve the current theory's performance and ability to predict the properties and formation of nanoparticles.

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Latest Multimedia

EmlenBookCover

VIDEO: From Biology to Military History: Patterns in Animal Weaponry

What are the parallels between an ancient war ship and a dung beetle? More than you would think, actually! Douglas J. Emlen, PhD, has a unique perspective on animal weaponry that looks at patterns in military history.

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