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Tag: life sciences

Dec 11, 2012

5 Questions With Canopy Meg

Meg Lowman is the director of the Nature Research Center at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and a research professor at NC State. She has conquered the canopy of the rainforest, and opened up an entirely new world to scientific discovery. She’s just published a textbook that will help future generations of canopy scientists get… 

Nov 8, 2012

Stick It to Cankerworms

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Steve Frank, an assistant professor of entomology at NC State. You can learn more about the Cankerworm Project here, and keep up with Steve’s entomological pest alerts and updates by following @OrnaPests on Twitter. In spring 2012, a cankerworm outbreak occurred in many North Carolina cities. Students became… 

Nov 7, 2012

Navel-Gazing Researchers ID Which Species Live in Our Belly Buttons (But Don’t Know Why)

Researchers have discovered which bacteria species are most commonly found in our bellybuttons, but have still not discovered what governs which species will be found on which people. These are the first published findings of the Belly Button Biodiversity project led by NC State’s Dr. Rob Dunn. The researchers swabbed the belly buttons of 66 study… 

Sep 17, 2012

Estimating ‘Regions of Attraction’ Should Improve Computer Models of Biological Systems

Researchers have found an effective means of estimating the “regions of attraction” (ROA) when developing computer models of biological systems – improving the ability of these models to predict how a system will respond to changing conditions. But to talk about that, we probably need to explain what an ROA is – and why it… 

Aug 14, 2012

Green Is Good

Editor’s note: The following guest post was written by Leah Chester-Davis, coordinator of communications and outreach for the Plants for Human Health Institute in Kannapolis, N.C. Bad news, Bluto: Mustard greens and cabbage could rival Popeye’s spinach when it comes to building muscles and increasing physical performance. Recent studies show that brassinosteroids present in mustard… 

Jul 5, 2012

Researchers Seek Public’s Help to Aid Trees

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Rosemary Hallberg, of USDA’s Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center (SRIPMC), which is housed at NC State. The SRIPMC is launching a “tiny terrors” initiative to help protect hemlock species in the region. Those interested in learning more about the project can visit www.threatenedforests.com/tinyterrors, or contact Erin Mester,… 

Jun 20, 2012

Shake, Rattle and…

Let’s start by stating the obvious:  being able to predict volcanic eruptions is good.  But not every volcano is going to cause destruction on the scale of Mt. St. Helens or Eyjafjallajokull (say that 3 times fast).  Some volcanoes – like the ones located underneath the sea –can erupt without human beings even noticing. That’s… 

Jun 14, 2012

The Strain Remains the Same

Sid Thakur is an expert on the kinds of pathogens that like to make their homes in and around our pig populations. He spends most of his time testing the pigs and their environment, identifying potential dangers such as Campylobacter – a nasty little critter that we definitely don’t want in our food supply, particularly… 

May 22, 2012

Sharing Colors to Survive

At first glance, the vibrantly colored and patterned butterflies living in Central and South America wouldn’t seem to have much in common with that notorious beast of burden – the mule. In a paper published last week in Nature, though, researchers found that different species of Heliconius butterflies use interbreeding to acquire colorful wing patterns… 

May 8, 2012

Why Don’t We Study Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs have garnered a lot of attention over the past few years, including coverage from mainstream media outlets (e.g., a search of the New York Times website for “bed bugs” calls up 4,270 mentions over the past 12 months). But their high profile has not led to a commensurate increase in related research. Bed… 

Apr 19, 2012

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t

The following is a guest post by Dr. Clinton Jenkins, an NC State biologist whose research focuses on conservation science. Jenkins is co-author of a new study in PLoS ONE about the possible impact of hydroelectric dams on the Andean Amazon. Dr. Matt Finer, a researcher affiliated with Save America’s Forests and the Center for International… 

Apr 10, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Cockroaches

Most people think cockroaches are disgusting. And if you’ve ever turned on a kitchen light, to find them skittering for dark corners, you probably agree (reference: my first apartment). But of the thousands of species out there, only a few can be considered pests. There are well over 4,000 described (i.e., named) species of cockroach… 

Apr 6, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Termites

Termites are fascinating insects, and not just because they can turn your front porch into mush. For example, did you know that many researchers have concluded that termites are actually social cockroaches? Whether you group them under the order Blattodea or Isoptera (and entomologists do both), there are more than 2,500 species of termites globally,… 

Mar 30, 2012

Ticks and Mosquitoes: What the Mild Winter Really Means

There has been a lot of discussion about how a mild winter, an early spring and a bumper crop of acorns might affect the number of mosquitoes and ticks we’ll see this spring and summer. Will there be more blood suckers out there? Will we be at higher risk of Lyme disease? Like many things… 

Mar 28, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Fire Ants

No series on arthropod pests would be complete without fire ants. They are violent. They are deadly. And they’re seemingly out to conquer the world. I’m exaggerating on that last point, but not by much. There are over 20 fire ant species around the world, including at least four species that are native to the…