Friday Coffee Break



A rather depressing new figure that is circulating around the social media sites about the prospects for a biology PhD. (From Sarah)

Beard trends in men are undergoing negative frequency dependent selection…. seriously. (From Sarah)

The world from the fabulous point of view of the snail. (From CJ)

Whooping cranes make a nest, lay an egg in Louisiana for the first time in 70 years. This reintroduction has been extremely difficult, with locals shooting captive bred released birds repeatedly and a host of other problems. It’s obviously not out of the woods yet, but this is amazing progress! (From Noah)



NBA and WNBA players perform differently with age


Life-history traits are often shaped by a balance between somatic maintenance and reproductive investment. That is, an individual wants their own cells to be active, but also needs to invest in making offspring. This tension between natural and sexual selection can generate age-related physiological trajectories that differ between organisms, environments and populations. In simpler terms, how you age is as much an evolutionary response to your environment as it is to your reproductive success!

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Friday Coffee Break



Documenting butterfly life cycles through paintings, long before such things were done. Especially by women! (From CJ)

Whales eat a lot. So if there were a 100x more whales in the ocean than there are now, where did all their food come from? Turns out whales create a more fertile ocean using their own poop! (From Amy)

How can male academics better help and include their female counterparts? A new bi-weekly chat held by STEM women. (From Amy)

Never underestimate a salamander. Researchers in California have found that they may help combat the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (From Noah).

Do you like charismatic megafauna? You’re not alone. Apparently the bigger the animal, the more publications. (From Jeremy)

One of the fastest changing ecosystems? The grasslands of the Dakotas. (From Jeremy)

WARNING! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! (These are both from Sarah)

First, a toad with a visible parasite in it’s eye.

Second, an intense botfly removal… 

And a slightly less gross video about a rare oarfish sighting. (From CJ)

Friday Coffee Break



Well this is terrifying. Ebola outbreak in Guinea, that is both unexpected and spreading at an alarming rate. (From Sarah)

An eight year old girl tries to make the wooly mammoth the state fossil of South Carolina… and is blocked by state senators? (From Sarah)

APRIL FOOLS! Or not. A few science claims by people we wish were joking. (From Amy)

Just-so stories in science, dead-end explanations or a scientific horizon? In defense of a long held bias agains story telling. (From Jeremy)

Along the line of good stories, here we have a collection of images from the horror fiction genera featuring interesting organisms! (From Noah)


What Would Darwin Do With $100,000?

One of my favorite things about professional conferences is getting to hang around and chat with friends/mentors/heros/other biologists. This year I found myself one evening hanging out with a group of exceptional biologist and we came around to discussing some society business.

SSE may have a bunch of this. What should we do with it?

SSE may have a bunch of this. What should we do with it?

One of the biologists in the group is on the board of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). He mentioned a little quirk of numbers over the past few years. You see, the societies try to break even on the conferences. They estimate how much it’ll cost to run the conference, divide that by how many people will attend and then set this as the cost of registration. However, as luck would have it, every year for the past 5 or so there have been more attendees than anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus or funds.

So the question came up, what do we do with extra money?

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Friday Coffee Break


Yo mama so microbial! Sarah brings us  a link about how we inherit our microbial community from our mothers. Or if you prefer the article, it’s open access!

CJ is thinking about scientific literacy quite a bit these days, so she brings us a link about misused scientific words. Just a “theory” you say?

Also, if you haven’t checked out this awesome blog you should. It’s all about natural events happening largely in the backyard. This week we get a bonus post!

Friday Coffee Break


Jeremy is kicking off the links this Friday with a bacteria that can terraform a squid. I don’t think I need to comment on how bizarre/cool that is.

Sarah has a link only for the strong of stomach, a video view of a flight over the arctic.

Have you paid attention to what’s happening in Louisiana? The ground is swallowing cypress trees… literally.

Finally, the future of blogging? Birds who will be posting daily blog posts about their well-being. It may be a model we here at NIB will be adopting soon!

Friday Coffee Break


Sarah is full of links this week!

First “pub-style science” where people sit around and chat about science topics. this week – families and science.

Second a cool collection of evolution related things!

Jeremy found this article on death by sugar informative on multiple levels. Did you know that high fructose corn syrup only has about 5% more fructose than table sugar?

Noah has found a new species of carnivore! Or more accurately he’s found out about the olinguito, a new species hiding right underneath our noses.

Finally, also from Sarah a cutesy video of common evolution misconceptions:

Friday Coffee Break


It’s that wonderful week where the scientifically minded and modern man all get together and celebrate…. shark week.

As a result, CJ is reading about the brains of the Whale Shark (an animal so cool I’ve included a picture)


Sarah is thinking about food. A lot. We start with a simple equation: does no sleep = give me junk food? makes perfect sense to me! How losing a night’s sleep will reduce your ability to resist junk food.

Also from Sarah, whiskey is distilled corn ferment, rum is distilled sugarcane ferment, so why shouldn’t we have liqour made from distilled coffee bean ferment? Because the only thing scientists love more than coffee or alcohol is coffee and alcohol.

Speaking of fish, Jeremy is learning how to school fish. 

Finally, after a long time and much controversy NIH finally makes good with Henrietta Lacks family. 

Friday Coffee Links


The battle of North vs. South America! A really good synopsis of the epic battle between placentals and marsupials.

This week is photo heavy. The first set coming from Sarah an awesome collection of photos of marine microbes (and be sure to check out the “More Ocean Galleries” – so pretty!).

CJ is looking at exquisitely weird spiders and they are stunning!

Jeremy is feeling revolutionary. Or more accurately reading about the milk revolution and the history of lactose tolerance.