You know that precious cup of coffee that gets you from “awake-ish” to functional in the morning?
Well the industry is suffering. From lack of genetic diversity due to bottle necks and no funding for conservation research.
And of course, my favorite: disease.
Read about it here!
A disease that has terrified parrot breeders for the last few decades has been identified as a virus that is new to science. This discovery will allow scientists to find the source of this virus, to control its spread, develop a vaccine and to find a cure.
Want to know more? Read about it here!
“While overuse of antibiotics has been fingered as the driver of resistance to these drugs, the contribution of bacterial sex plays an underappreciated role, one that could bedevil efforts to fight antimicrobial resistance.”
Want to hear more about this sexy and interesting outcome of bacteria doing it*?
Read more here!
*I’m pretty sure that’s how the song goes:
Birds do it.
Bees do it.
Bacteria do it and it drives the evolution of resistance.
A new study suggests that human parasites—like fleas and lice—and not rats, may be responsible for spreading the Black Death that killed millions of people in Medieval Europe.
A personal favorite infectious disease of mine is the plague, what a perfect confluence of infection agent (the bacteria Yersinia pestis), susceptible population (do you know what passed as cleanliness standards in medieval Europe?), and good environmental factors (over crowding).
But it turns out that rats, previously thought to be the main culprits of spreading the plague, may not be responsible for spreading the Black Death (also, GREAT name).
Want to know more? Read about it here!
Bats, then frogs, and now. A new deadly, interspecies (not specific to one species of snake) fungus is sweeping across North America.
Which is not good for snake biologist, or for snakes.
Read about it here.
Warnings about an impending post-antibiotic apocalypse have, over the last five years, grown increasingly stark, with estimates placing the annual number of mortalities from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections at 700,000 worldwide, a number that could rise to 10m in the next three decades.
Many scientists are pinning their hopes on “superantibiotics”, essentially re-engineering existing drugs to overcome microbial resistance and make them thousands of times more potent.
But this also has it’s pitfalls and problems. Want to know more? Find out about it here.
If you’re not reading everything that Ed Young writes, you’re missing out.
And he’s once again hit it out of the park with this great post about America’s Largest Collection of Parasites (although when my coauthor Kim Lackey and I cleaned our the parasitology lab a few years ago, it could have been in the running).
These jars of wonder/parasites are kept in my favorite of the Smithsonians, the Natural History Museum. Read all about Ed’s exploration of this TREASURE trove of awesome here.
And remember, Parasitism really is the sincerest form of flattery.
The title of this post is not my own, but it kind of has a point. Not “everything dies” but rather, a lot more apocalyptic.
A brown-black beetle (the polyphagous shot hole borer) breeds inside trees. It drills networks of tunnels, which then get infected by a fungus it carries to feed it’s young. Eventually the tree dies, the beetle moves on and the whole cycle starts again.
This would be a cute horror story, if the beetle wasn’t on track to kill 26.8 million trees across Southern California. Which is going to directly link to the death of humans. Interested? Find out why here.
The Aztecs were once a great sprawling civilization, until they were brought low by a pestilence that devastated the native population of Mexico. And a pair of studies now suggest that it may have been caused by a deadly form of samonella from Europe.
Read about it over at Nature!
Working with snails was easy. They are easy to catch, easy to keep alive, and people are largely not interested in them.
Bees, however, are a challenge. They are picky about the weather, they fly around and people are coming out of the woodwork to talk to me about them. I’ve never met so many people who are engaged about bees.
So much so that after my recent Notes from the Field post, a friend sent me an article from NPR. That’s right, NPR wrote an article about things I’m working on.
Read about bees and viruses over at NPR!