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Tag: life sciences

Jul 15, 2014

Cretaceous Cold Case No. 5: When Evidence Dries Up

This is the fifth post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. South Africa, 250 million years ago. The United States,145… 

Jun 4, 2014

How a Protein “Cancer Cop” Targets UV Damage in DNA

Ah, summer. People are outside enjoying the warm weather, swimming, playing, or just soaking up that glorious, skin-damaging, high-energy UV radiation from the sun. We know that prolonged sun exposure damages skin – the sun is a nuclear reactor, after all. But how does our body respond to and repair this damage at the DNA… 

May 15, 2014

Small Number of Genes Have Big Impact on Fish Egg Quality

NC State researchers have taken a big step toward solving a puzzle that has long vexed vertebrates – predicting egg quality, or the viability of embryos in eggs. Using gene expression data and computer modeling, the researchers examined farmed striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and showed that the coordinated interactions of less than 2 percent of the… 

Feb 11, 2014

A Wealth of Wildlife, Right in the Backyard

Zoologist Roland Kays travels the world to study rare species, so he calls it a “cool surprise” to find a wealth of wildlife in the suburban backyards of Raleigh and Durham, N.C. “As scientists, we’ve traditionally thought of residential areas as non-habitat,” says Kays, a faculty member at NC State University and the North Carolina Museum… 

Jan 8, 2014

Poisonous Water Leads to Bigger, But Fewer, Fish Babies

Living in extreme environments often entails taking extreme measures to survive. Live-bearing fish mothers in toxic North and South American waters try to give their offspring the best chance at surviving the harsh environment by giving birth to big babies, according to research published in Ecology Letters. The study examining nine different live-bearing fish species… 

Sep 4, 2013

Nature in Your Backyard: Very Hungry Caterpillars

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Holly Menninger, director of public science in NC State’s Your Wild Life program. The post originally ran on the Your Wild Life blog.] Over the weekend, our friend and veteran NC State science newsman Matt Shipman took a barefooted step out onto his back porch to enjoy a little… 

Jul 22, 2013

Coastal Upwelling Linked to Upsurge in Algal Toxicity

Toxic algal blooms affect more than just the shellfish supply – they can sicken or kill marine life and people. That’s why marine scientists are interested in figuring out what triggers them. Astrid Schnetzer studies Pseudo-nitzschia, the alga that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning, and is particularly troublesome along portions of the California coast. When Pseudo-nitzschia… 

Jul 18, 2013

New Technique for Assessing Calorie Absorption Sheds Light on Genetic Driver of Obesity

Researchers from Harvard, NC State and five other universities have found a specific genetic on-off switch associated with obesity in both mice and humans, raising the long-term possibility of developing new treatments for obesity. As part of the study, NC State researchers had to develop a new technique for assessing calorie absorption in small laboratory animals, which… 

Jun 18, 2013

Scientists Seek to Solve Oystercatcher Mystery – and You Can Watch Online

Oystercatchers are beautiful birds, but to biologists they are also a mystery waiting to be solved. And the solution will be gradually revealing itself online over the next couple of years. Wildlife biologists are particularly interested in oystercatchers because they are a good indicator species for determining whether a natural space is being well managed.… 

Jun 17, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Case No. 4: Graveyard Shift

This is the fourth post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with a joint appointment at NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The graveyard shift in Madagascar… 

May 16, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Cases No. 3: Duck(bill) Amuck

This is the third post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with a joint appointment at NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. One brisk fall day in… 

May 15, 2013

Study Shines Light on Mules, Their Blood Chemistry

Offspring of female horses and male donkeys, mules are often associated with caution and hard work. While they’ll never be mistaken for thoroughbreds, mules play important roles in modern society – performing grunt work in areas from developing countries to the forests of Colorado. But even though mules have worked alongside people for countless generations,… 

Feb 28, 2013

New Species of Plant-Eating Dino Was Lunch for Prehistoric Crocs

Sometimes, the fossil record gives us some really exciting insights into prehistoric life – including grisly details of prehistoric death. Paleontologists have found evidence not only of a new species of herbivorous, or plant-eating, dinosaur, but also that these dinosaurs were preyed upon by the prehistoric forebears of crocodiles. Seventy-five million years ago, southern Utah… 

Jan 7, 2013

Drawing on Real Life

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jennifer Landin, a teaching assistant professor of biology at NC State who teaches a course on biological illustration. Check out why she thinks biological illustration is valuable – and some of the art created in her classroom. While other universities have biological illustration courses, as far as I… 

Erlikosaurus

Dec 19, 2012

Visualize This: Inside a Dinosaur’s Brain

Want to know how well a dinosaur could see, hear and smell? Get inside its head! That’s what a group of researchers from the U.K. and U.S. did when they recreated the brain of a therizinosaur called Erlikosaurus andrewsi – a 10-foot-long feathered theropod that lived in what is now Mongolia during the Cretaceous period,…