Note: It is a translation. Happy Halloween!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Note: It is a translation. Happy Halloween!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Say it ain't so! What a horrible nightmare you sent me Eelke!
I vow in front of all 6 of my readers right now that I will NOT forget to vote for Obama on Nov. 4th. Mark my word. You can trust me, I have a beard.
*Bivalve anatomy & systematics postdoc*
A postdoctoral position is available for a full-time postdoctoral researcher in the Bivalve Tree-of-Life project. For project information, please see www.bivatol.org.
Initial appointment for this Field Museum (Chicago)-based term position is made for 12 months, with opportunity for performance-based renewal for up to three additional years. Starting salary is $40,000.
Primary focus of the position will be to investigate gill and labial palp morphology across the Bivalvia, using various techniques including anatomical dissections, histology, electron microscopy, 3-D computer-assisted reconstructions, as well as field observations on living animals. In addition, the postdoc will participate in the collections management aspects of the BivAToL project, and will be part of larger group efforts such as field collecting and phylogenetic analyses. Opportunity will exist for "first-authored" project development as well as for exposure to additional (e.g., molecular) techniques.
The candidate should have the following proven attributes:
● PhD in relevant area
● Experience in at least some of the mentioned techniques and approaches
● Marine invertebrate background; with molluscan expertise preferred
● Strong interest in comparative and functional morphology
● Capacity to work in a team as well as independently
● Availability in early 2009
Interested candidates should send a CV, statement of research interests, and contact information for three references via email (pdf) to Rüdiger Bieler (rbieler at fieldmuseum dot org).
Evaluation of applications will begin on November 1 and continue until a suitable candidate is found. Earliest starting date will be in January 2009.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I love this video of Euglossine bees pollinating the brazilian orchid, Catasetum macrocarpum.
I highly recommend you check out Alex Popovkin's flickr account "A Russian in Brazil", especially to see the finished product of the bees hard work!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Apparently, fruit fly research is wasteful spending, along the lines of 3 million Bear "paternity testing" and 3 million dollar "overhead projectors". That sucks for the research being done on autism using the fruit fly model. I wonder if Palin knows anything autism?
UPDATE: Bjorn Brembs takes offense to the attack on his research area. He basically lays the smack-down (not that that is hard to do or anything).
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
So what is the news that may exacerbate the misunderstanding of this species?
Welll, it seems that at least one of the Nephila species wanted to see the invert vs. vert series brought back and figured the best way was to show how an real invert can take on a much larger vertebrate:
Of course this is getting much play across the net, most of it remarkably good, but some reactions of fear and loathing.
Classification for the orb weaving spiders
- Arthropoda (crustaceans, insects, spiders & related)
- Araneae (Spiders)
- Araneidae (orbweavers)
Life Photo Meme
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
For those who claimed we were exceptionally biased in our Invert vs. Vert wars...this one comes from one of my favorite fish ecologists...
Wolffish eating a sea urchin from CLF (credit: Jonathan Bird) on Vimeo.
Oh, the horror. This poor echinoderm managed to wander right in front of the wolf's den. Then again, it is a worthy sacrifice, considering the current state of the wolffish. That's it, yeah, the urchin was doing it's part to save the wolffish!
I'll have to add the score in later... I gotta run, late for class! In the mean time enjoy the other Wolffish videos from CLF, including another invert vs. vert.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Miriam at the Oysters Garter needs a little invert help. Her beautiful short play is a finalist in a competition, but the competition is tough and one of the competitors is using an eight year old to play the cute card. At stake are four dozen farmed oysters which Miriam and Eric plan to share with a handful of poor graduate students (is there any other kind?).
So check out the options, then do the right spineless thing and vote for Oysters Garter. Remember, a vote for Miriam means a high quality meal for half dozen grad students and $80 towards the Nature Conservancy’s Olympia Oyster restoration project. Just think of the incredible progress they will be able to make on their theses with such a high quality food in their bellies!
Of course I think that the only way to have four dozen oysters is raw with Tabasco or lemon juice. Or fish sauce, lime and chili peppers!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Apparently its really bad to associate with atheists. This video was produced with the aim of exposing North Carolina senate candidate as a supporter of the godless. "Heaven forbid" she actually does not see godless americans as a threat and take every opportunity slander them. This is just so ridiculous and offensive. Its produced in such a slimy way to mislead and direct voters to a false argument of guilt by association. I think it shows she is open minded and welcoming to all philosophies. It is a rare individual in politics to acknowledge the existence of the "nones".
The Letterkenny Institute of Technology in County Donegal, Ireland is looking to fill a biochemistry postdoc position screening and analyzing bioactive compounds from crustacean shells. If you have a Ph.D. in a related field and love screening bio compounds, chromatography and protein isolation, check out the postion at www.cambio.ie or email the Project Manager, Dr. W. Brück at wolfram dot bruck at lyit dot ie.
Closing date is November 7th.
Nikon has declared the winners of the 2008 Small World Photomicrogaphy Competition. The winner was this image of filaments within diatoms shot through polarizing filters by retired microsopist Michael Stringer.
All my favorites are among the invertebrate entries of course:
And the Thinning soap film in the Popular Vote Contest.
While you're at the Small World site, check out the "Identify the Image Challenge"
Today I managed 4 of 5, earning a rank of Magnification Master! But each day is a different set of images...
Friday, October 17, 2008
Time for an ostracod portrait! This is one of around a hundred ostracod (I believe they are of family Podocopida) that were saved from one a small tank that we tore down this week. I had to make sure we saved a few of them to seed the remaining tank – which I have never seen even a single ostracod in (until now!)
These particular ostracod have a very cyclical lifestyle in the tank which makes me wonder if they might have originated in vernal pools. We see the ostracod predominantly from September through June, when hundreds can be counted in very short order. In July and August I only a small handful can be found, even allowing far more time.
You can find out more about ostracods including their bioluminescent dances and their connection to the Nobel Prize, (truly fascinating buggers, very important to paleontology too) at:
The Other 95% - Ostracod Posts
Evolutionary Novelties - The OstraBlog Posts
As a side note, I think I have finally got a rig for taking pictures through he scope figured out. Actually it's not a rig yet, but now at least I can fabricate a mount so I can have the camera securely connected to the scope.
Life Photo Meme
Coffee is something that is sacred to me. I value heavily the flavor, robustness and quality of craft roasted beans. I read Coffee and Conservation regularly because it provides me news on the small coffee growers that are trying to grow their coffee crops in sustainable ways. Coffee plantations planted under shade trees have a direct ecological benefit to many tropical fauna and flora, including rare or endangered butterflies and birds. Large corporations that grow coffee beans on a large scale clear the land for large plantations and make the habitat unfavorable to forest fauna. This reduces soil quality very quickly. Bean flavor is related to soil quality which is one reason that Folgers, Maxwell, etc. beans lack the key characteristics of a really good coffee that you may buy at a coffee house. The other reason is that the "robusta" bean variety has been heavily engineered to be mild for the average american palate. So much so that I feel as if I am just drinking hot dirty water.
But there is a human cost to buying coffee from these large multinational corporations. It increases poverty and prevents farmers from making beyond 5-10% profit on the beans. Coffee and Conservation has a nice article up today that lays out the case with several important link embedded in the article. I highly recommend bookmarking the website and flipping through its webpages!
Can switching the coffee I drink really help?
The U.S. is one of the world's largest coffee consumers. We can make a difference. Quit supporting the poverty and environmental destruction that cheap coffee from these large multinationals perpetuates.
Good coffee for which a fair price is paid is not too expensive for most Americans. In fact, 45% of Folgers and Maxwell House purchasers have incomes greater than $50,000 a year. Even coffee that costs $15 a pound works out to well under a dollar a cup, tastes great, helps preserve biodiversity, and provides a decent living for coffee farmers.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Kristjan Wager (no relation to Pascal) has the 116th Tangled Bank collection online at Pro-Science!
Mike Haubrich also has the 4th edition of the Carnival of Evolution up at Clashing Culture. I'll be hosting the next edition of the Carnival of Evolution here on November 1st. Send me your submissions through the blog carnival submission form or leave the links in the comments!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Todd Oakley, writer of the wonderful OstraBlog series at Evolutionary Novelties, put up a post in which he invited all of us to "Tawk amongst yah-selves." He offered up two topics for discussion, one for for the bar scene, the other more appropriate for all other social environments – Why has bioluminescence evolved SO many times in the marine environment, but almost never in freshwater environments? Be sure to head over and join in the Tawk.
After leaving a quick comment I decided I could spare 10 minutes or so for some a quick journal search (is that really possible?) I found a couple of interesting abstracts, but one of the most intriguing paper is....not available through my institution.
If anyone has access to the following paper please let me know at eric.heupel at gmail or at eric.heupel at uconn dot edu...
Seliger, H.H. (2008) The Origin of Bioluminescence. Photochemistry and Photobiology 21, 355-361(1975). DOI:10.1111/j.1751-1097.1975.tb06684.x
Praxis, the blog carnival about "scientific life", has landed here at The Other 95%. Welcome and make sure you look around at the work of my spineless co-blogger Eric and myself. The last edition was held at Life v. 3.0. Make sure you submit to Praxis #4 to be held at The Lay Scientist. Go ahead and host one yourself as well! Now on to the carnival.
Open Access Day and 5 Years of PLoS!!!
It was Open Access Day yesterday which (nearly) coincided with the 5th year anniversary of PLoS on October 13. PLoS asked "Why does open access matter to you". Check out all the replies aggregated in the Synchroblogging Competition post!
Difficulties of Being a Scientist
KH at Lecturer Notes ponders junior faculty naivete. Head over there to remind KH that making mistakes is part of the learning process!
The Rock Doctor at Life v. 3.0 has a post up describing her thoughts on being different from her friends. Science often takes people down an interesting path that neither social circumstances, religion or personaly/family history can control. You either succumb to the mold or let the journey carry you onward.
Bill at Open Reading Frame reminds everyone that no goes into science to get rich by plotting monthly salary versus experience. The results? Go there and see his analysis!
Searching for a job is no easy task. We all have our ideals. A nice salary, maybe able to purchase that first home, live in a nice area with plenty of weekend adventure opportunities and culture. But the job we want isn't always there or isn't always yours. That is why Physioprof over at Drugmonkey reminds us to cast a wide net when job hunting!
Is Biology Chemistry?
Bora from A Blog Around the Clock waxes poetic on Green Fluorescence Protein winning the Nobel prize in Chemistry. For some reason he seems to think the "nobel" jellyfish isn't deserving of the prize. Oh, I guess some people got the prize not the jelly. My bad. But he has several comments on what discerns Medicine/Physiology from Chemistry. The line is often blurred in the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. The don't join the bandwagon rant resonates with me for sure!
Abel Pharmboy at Terra Sigillata also weighs on the GFP Nobel issue and concludes that "funding agencies [need] to support a broad range of chemical and biological research". Find out why at Terra Sigillata!
Revolutionizing Peer Review
Cameron Neylon at Science in the Open offers up a few ideas about bringing peer review into the 21st century. This includes taking into account online articles (such as blog posts), wiki-style reviewing, open reviewing, aggregation after review, and much much more. Be sure to follow the excellent comment thread. Cameron also offers up his personal view of open science. If you are not a "believer" in open access and open science after this post (the 1st in a series), then there is no hope for you or you must work for "that one". Superbly done.
Bjorn Brembs also puts out an excellent post about transparent peer review, but has a different take on it from Cameron. It starts with a discussion forum, ends with a journal publication. But it is what happens between those two stages that is important.
Do it for the Children?
Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science supports the progress of women in science but asks a very important question of a german initiative. Should women with kids get special treatment for scholarships? There are lots of underlying assumptions with this, be sure to read through the comment thread as well. Zuska also weighs in with her thoughts.
Fight the Power!
Sick of Thomson-ISI or just want an open source alternative to EndNote? After hearing about Thomson Reuter's bogus lawsuit against George Mason University, where the open source referencing software Zotero was made by Dr. Daniel Cohen, for violating its license agreement and destroying the EndNote customer base (i.e. reverse engineering the .ens file format), I decided to give Zotero a whirl. It rocks and it integrates well with NeoOffice, the open source word editting software made for the Mac platform. Kevin Smith from Scholarly Communications@Duke distills down the copyright issues associated with the lawsuit. He has many excellent points and concerns, such as:
"In general, open source software is a gift that many universities like George Mason give to the academic community as a whole, and the value of that gift is increased if it is possible for scholars who have been using a costly commercial product to move their research resources from the latter into the former. That increased value (an “externality” in economic jargon) could be weighed against Thomson’s loss (which they allege is around $10 million per year) in reaching a reasonable decision about contract enforcement."Somewhat on the topic of Thomson, at least the use of their metric, John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts mentions the joint response of many journals from the History of Science, Technology and Medicine fields to the stupidity of index metrics.
"We now confront a situation in which our own research work is being subjected to putatively precise accountancy by arbitrary and unaccountable agencies."Larry Moran at the Sandwalk kindly reminds us that scientists, too, can be activists. The picture of Haldane raising his fist, passionately lecturing a large crowd of the "United Front" is priceless. What scientists are standing up with the people and demanding answers to pertenant issues of our day?
Anonymous Coward of Bayblab posts the letter by scientists in Canada (America's hat!) who are protesting government interference in science.
College or Bust
Are too many people trying to get a B.A. degree? Should colleges be more selective, admit less students or be tougher to cater to the portion of society with higher IQs? Razib addresses this question with data and discusses why college is still the best bet.
Monday, October 13, 2008
In lieu of a full quasi-informational posting while I prep for mid-terms I offer....
Give us your best caption idea for this pair of Nudies in the comments below!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
"... all aspects of life as an academic, whether it's the lifestyle, career progress, doing a Ph.D., getting funding, climbing the slippery pole, academic life as a minority, working with colleagues and students, dealing with the peer-review process, publishing, grants, science 2.0, amusing anecdotes, conference experiences, philosophical musings, public engagement, or even historical articles about what life was like in the good (or bad) old days."So leave your submissions in the comments here or email them to me (address in the sidebar)! You have till midnight October 14th!
CEPHALOPODS HAVE TAKEN CONTROL of this month's Carnival of the Blue!!! There is much fine tentacled offerings over at the Cephalopodcast. Jason lays it out real nicely and offers entertaining commentary. Lots of great links so be sure to drop by for a visit and check the place out! Deep Sea News will be hosting the next edition of the Carnival of the Blue in November, so be sure to write some great posts on anything related to the oceans and let them know!Also be sure to read the International Cephalopod Appreciation Day post where you can find such great fun as the "Top 10 Things You Can Do on Cephalpod Appreciation Day" which includes listening to my song Giant squid Breakdown. I also wrote another song starring a cephalopod, Big Dead Squid.
When I think of spiders I typically think of either the orb weaver spiders with their beautiful webs or tarantulas and trapdoor spiders that line burrows with layers of silk. Comparatively the cellar spider's web is a downright mess, lines going every which way, no order, random chaotic (hmmm...a bit like my desk!).
The time of year has come in New England for the cellar spiders of the family Pholcidae to show up in the house. A family with some 1000 species and a truly worldwide distribution these spiders are often referred to as "daddy long legs" which Christopher explains is an absolutely useless name since it is applied to many diverse groups of animals including our friends the harvestmen, which Christopher explains is . The one above is the Longbodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides). This one was drunkenly admiring the art, but when the paparazzi attacked it decided to take a break from visual arts and engage in some culinary arts hiding behind the recipe books in the kitchen.
I say "drunkenly" since when these spiders walk about on the floor they often bob and weave as if they are one of the late night drunks headed past my house on a Saturday night. Their walk is not the only interesting motion of theirs. If disturbed in their webs they will begin vibrating wildly, seeming to dance. It does make them at times hard to track so I can see where this would work as a defensive maneuver.
Anyone know the meaning of "phalangioides"?
Classification for Ctenocephalides felis
- Pholcus phalangioides
Life Photo Meme
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Ok, it a stretch, but this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three scientists, Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien, for their "discovery, expression and development" of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, providing scientists with a high resolution molecular level marker to track both inter and intra cellular processes. GFP has revolutionized scientist's ability to track cell division, gene expression, protein interactions, chromosome replication, transport pathways, organelle inheritance and more. GFP has also been used to create sensors which can be read from within living cells, reporting pH values and ion concentrations. All this coming from a sweet little protein first observed in a jellyfish.
You may ask "What's so special about GFP that makes it different from other fluorescent compounds?"
What's really cool, and what makes GFP so useful as a marker is that it needs no other compounds or structures to cause its fluorescence. The chromophore is formed spontaneously from the structure of the protein and it only requires oxygen fluoresce. This means that the protein by itself can be placed into any organism and it will maintain it's fluorescent properties when it is expressed. The protein is also non-toxic and has been expressed in many organisms with no or minor physiological effects on the organism. The gene for GFP can also be combined with genes for proteins scientists want to study. This doesn't change the study protein's normal activity, yet the GFP remains fluorescent so the protein can be tracked by its fluorescence signature (400nm excitation peak -> sharp peak 505nm emission).
While the original GFP comes from the jellies, GFP-like proteins have been found in other cnidarians, primarily in the corals (anthozoa), allowing GFP monitoring with a range of spectral signatures to be used like with the red glowing cat below!
As a note one of the recipients, Osamu Shimomura, worked extensively on Cypridina ostracods, one of several bioluminescent ostracods. However they are not molluscs, contrary to what is in the Nobel Prize report (pdf).
If you haven't been following the Deep Sea News trio since the big move to the Discovery Channel, you have some catching up to do on some great posts. Kevin has kept the invertebrates in the spotlight there too, with posts such as the Deep Sea Quiz featuring a baby shrimp.
For the rest of the month the guys are featuring a daily series featuring the best deep-sea species. The series is off to a spectacularly spineless start with brachiopods of the deep and exotic shores. An immediate follow up with the Pig Butt Worm (Chaetopterus pugaporcinus) a post with great images of the Big Butt and a revealing admission by Miriam of the Oyster's Garter. They have completed an invert triple play with creeping crinoids including some great video!
I can't wait to see what is served up next in the series, there are still many great deep sea inverts to feature!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Welcome to the 24th edition of the Boneyard. The blog carnival for everything old. Zach gave a good carnival last month, but there was something missing. Something obviously out of place. After pondering about it all month I realize this blog, The Other 95%, was the only blog that submitted a palaeo-invertebrate entry out of 15 total links. 1 out of 15, that's 6.7%, meaning that the amount of vertebrate entries were 93.3%. I was shocked, flabbergasted! While this edition will also be laden with vertebrate-centric scriblings, I'll will even out the score and ensure that at least 93.3% of the links, images and video for this edition more accurately reflect the diversity of animal life. Enjoy!
Bond, Peter Bond that is, presents his palaeo-art for all the world to critique. There is also an interesting discussion on how a fossil skeleton that is 95% complete can have widely varying artistic renderings.
Did you know that the world's oldest fossil animal tracks were from an invert?
Zach over at When Pigs Fly Returns gets a slight invert bent discussing the weirdest dinosaur I've seen in recent memory. Check out its arms and learn what MYRMECOPHAGY means and what that (unfortunately) means for some poor invertebrate. Also, be sure to check out his virtual palaeo-art show!
In more recent historical news, Carl Zimmer wrote an excellent piece on the allure of big antlers. The extremely productive (despite what he might say of himself, his blog record speaks for itself) Brian Switek writes on horsies and shares a fascinating entry on "Professor Paleozoic" from the 19th century.
On the topic of palaeontological history, Over at Cryology and Co. there is a wonderful post on an extraordinary geologist, William Smith, the from 18th century. Smith wandered the hills and mapped out the geology and described such wonderful fossils as these below.
Zinjanthropus gives us a reason to take a closer look at fossils with an open mind and fresh view.
Traumador the Tyrannosaur gives an expose on Albertosaurus (or is it?) and a provides an interesting narrative on Joeseph Tyrrell.
Will Baird discusses the caste ecology of carboniferous times. In a very well-written essay taking a whole ecosystem approach, instead of focusing on a particular organism, and has some fascinating drawings of a land much foreign to our current time. Though hints of some of these amazing trees can still be found in strange areas such as southern Africa, Madagascar and other exotic locales.
Of course, saving the best for last. Todd Oakley gets the inverts major props for having an enormous phossilized phallus. Of course, he was naturally drawn to its large "eyes". Sure Todd ;)
There was also some good food for thought in the last edition of Linnaeus' Legacy, hosted here by Eric. Be sure to stay tuned for the 25th edition of the Boneyard at The Big Dinosaur Lie next month and remember to worship thy trilobite!
I won't be able to get the Boneyard up and running till I get off work tonight. Which gives YOU till 8pm Eastern US time to get your last minute Boneyard submissions in! Everything will be counted. Remember, you make the difference in blog carnivals by participation! You can also submit articles you liked from blogs other than your own! They don't have to be invert related, we are just an invert blog here! Hurry!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Bug Girl has created a great challenge at Donors Choose, one that should be of interest to all our readers – it's a collection of insect related projects at high poverty schools. A worthy cause for sure.
If you're not familiar with DonorsChoose.org, they describe themselves as "a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund."
She's also asking for suggestions for a wacky reward to all of us once we help fund all the projects on her challenge...go read about her previous wacky adventures, give her some idea for the "reward" and help out some potential future entomologists.
Electron microscope photo of a Flea. 86 times magnification, originally uploaded by RBirtles.
I always love closeup shots of the the inverts, great macro shots or SEM's like this one.
Couple that with excellent Ignoble Award winning research such as Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert, and Michel Franc of Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, France who discovered that the fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than the fleas that live on a cat.
M.C. Cadiergues, C. Joubert, and M. Franc (2000) A Comparison of Jump Performances of the Dog Flea, Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis, 1826) and the Cat Flea, Ctenocephalides felis felis (Bouche, 1835). Veterinary Parasitology, vol. 92, no. 3, October 1, 2000, pp. 239-41. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-4017(00)00274-0
Classification for Ctenocephalides felis
- Ctenocephalides felis
Life Photo Meme