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The Many Personalities of Animals

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

AndySih

Have you ever wondered whether animals have personalities the way people do? Dr. Andy Sih, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Davis, researches animal personalities and shows that traits, such as an individual’s level of aggressiveness versus passivity, can impact an individual’s survival as well as the well-being of its surrounding group. Dr. Sih's work on insects even has implications for understanding how human behaviors are controlled by personality.

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From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to reach as close to the top of the atmosphere as possible. The instruments in the balloons can then record the particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere. Dr. Seo further explains how her work can help humans understand the origins of cosmic rays and why they are so highly energetic.

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Behind the Porpoise's Echolocation

Katie-Leigh Corder, Lee Miller, Fenella Saunders, Jamie L. Vernon, Magnus Wahlberg

2015-01WahlbergF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImagePorpoises navigate through their environment, find prey, and avoid potential dangers with biological sonar, or echolocation clicks. These clicks are one of the most high-pitched signals produced by any animal. The time between the released clicks and the returning echo tells the porpoise the distance and location of the nearby object. If this object is prey, the porpoise will close in on it. The closer the porpoise gets the more clicks it will release. The click rate increases to several hundred clicks-per-second right as the prey is captured.

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From Biology to Military History: Patterns in Animal Weaponry

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke, Sandra J. Ackerman

EmlenBookCoverWhat are the parallels between an ancient war ship and a dung beetle? More than you would think, actually! Douglas J. Emlen, PhD, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana, has a unique perspective on animal weaponry.

When he started to examine how humans engaged in warfare throughout time, Dr. Emlen discovered a consistent pattern that connects all the way back to animal weaponry. The pattern is so striking that he has made it the focus of his new book, Animal Weaponry: The Evolution of Battle.

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Revealing the Logic Behind Candy Crush

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders, Toby Walsh

2014-11WalshF2.jpgClick to Enlarge Image In this animation, Candy Crush is turned into a model electrical circuit, which can be used to structure the equivalent of a logic puzzle. Besides justifying Candy Crush addictions, this information could be used to harness the player power of this game for bigger concerns, including computer security. Watch the behind-the-scenes movements and how it is truly a logic puzzle.

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Hydrangea Colors: It’s All in the Soil

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders, Henry Schreiber

The Hydrangea macrophylla (big-leafed hydrangea) plant is the only known plant that can 'detect' the pH level in HydrangeaAnimationsurrounding soil!

One of the world’s most popular ornamental flowers, it conceals a bouquet of biological and biochemical surprises.  The iconic “snowball” shaped hydrangea blooms are a common staple of backyard gardens.

Hydrangea colors ultimately depend on the availability of aluminum ions(Al3+) within the soil.

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Citizen Scientists Aid Researchers in Studying Camel Crickets

Katie-Leigh Corder

MJEpps CricketsThey may bounce really high and look strange, but don't worry, they are harmless...they even scavenge for crumbs off of your floor! A continental-scale citizen science campaign was launched in order to study the spread and frequency of native and nonnative camel crickets in human homes across North America.

Mary Jane Epps, PhD, an author of the paper, went into more detail about the study and significance of citizen scientists in an interview with Katie-Leigh Corder, web managing editor.

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The Relaunch of an Ocean Workhorse

Heather Olins, Fenella Saunders

Alvin Sub

Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.

Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.

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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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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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Total Records : 14


 

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Latest Multimedia

VIDEO: The Promise and Peril of Drones

CummingsDrones

The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.
During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Dr. Missy Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she began human–drone interaction research.

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