Planaria Ripping Themselves Apart

Planaria are little flatworms with triangle heads, beady eyes, and the ability to regenerate after being cut in half. Bet you didn’t expect that last part, did you? Unlike cell division, planarian fission is violent and … well, weird. To stimulate these little guys to split, you have to first decapitate them. Unlike mitosis, planarian…

Blue Light Kills!

You’ve probably heard of the dangers of blue light. Usually, this is in the context of phones and computers and other screens. But did you know that blue light can actually increase oxidative stress in insects? This results in death for the critters. What’s even more interesting is that different wavelengths of light will affect…

Moss-Cyanobacteria Mutualism

When people hear the word mutualism, images of bees and flowers or oxpeckers on rhinos appear in their minds. But mutualism can occur between some of the smallest organisms on this planet. In 2013, scientists discovered that the relationship between moss and cyanobacteria provided much-needed nitrogen compounds for boreal trees. In a way, you could…

Auto-Brewery Syndrome

We all have bacteria and yeast that live in our gut and you’ve probably read about them here! For most of us, we live in relative harmony with these tiny guests. But sometimes, either due to our immune systems malfunctioning or lifestyle changes (like when we take antibiotics), yeast that ferment ethanol start to grow…

The Physics of Pretty Flowers

We know that flowers love bees and bees love flowers. But their relationship, like with dogs and people, is complicated and involves interaction from both sides. Dogs evolved to read our expressions and communicate via barking. They’ve also evolved an extra eyebrow muscle to pull off the “puppy-dog eyes” and manipulate people. Bees and Flowers…

Getting Through Tough Times

Living organisms have come up with lots of interesting ways to get through tough times. Sometimes, “tough” means stuff like… winter. Other times, there might be a food shortage or the puddle dries up. Whatever the stressor, being adaptable is the key to survival. In this post, we’ll take a look at how 3 weird…

Electronic Tongues

I do this lab with my advanced biology class called “The Mystery Milk” lab. I give them 4 unknown liquids and they have to use a series of indicators to figure out what these milk-like products are. The students always ask me if they can taste the products (Answer: No, it’s a science lab). But…

Holding Up the Line: RuBisCo

With all the extra CO2 we’ve been putting into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, the age of global warming is finally upon us. In our scramble to find new sources of energy, some scientists have turned to algae. The logic is there: plants take CO2 and make O2. More plants = less CO2. It’s…

The CRISPR-Cas System

It’s about time I covered CRISPR, don’t you think? It’s the hottest topic in science since space-tardigrades! Once again, no, water bears can’t live in space naked, they have to be in a dry tun. Back to CRISPR though, this new gene editing technology isn’t actually new at all. Bacteria have been using it as…

Someone Actually Did A Study On This…

Donkeys may seem like hardy animals, but a scientific study has shown that these big-eared equines don’t do well in cold weather. Before we dive into the weird world of equine winter coat-lengths, let’s first look at some equine terms that you need to be familiar with. Also, they may be useful later on in…

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