Convergent Evolution in Poison Frogs
by Bjorn Carey
Scientists have discovered one of the most intricate examples of convergent evolution with the help of South American “poison” frogs and ants and their cousins in Madagascar. (And here’s an odd fact for smokers: one Madagascan frog studied was found to have nicotine in its system!)
Poison frogs can’t make their own poison—they steal it from ants. Poison frogs secrete a variety of chemicals called alkaloids to create a poisonous defense against predators. Since they can’t produce alkaloids on their own, these frogs maintain a steady diet of specific alkaloid-rich ants to keep up their defense.
Now, Valerie Clark of Cornell University and her colleagues have detailed two instances of convergent evolution—the process in which organisms not closely related independently acquire similar characteristics while evolving in separate ecosystems—between frogs and ants on two continents. First, species of ants high in alkaloids had to evolve on two separate continents…
(read more: Live Science)
(image: Mantella madagascariensis, photo by Valerie C. Clark)
ichthyologist: Viperfish (Chauliodus)
Deep-sea Fish Communicate by Sound
Scientists hear interesting fish sounds from 2,237 feet deep.
Fish biologists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published one of the first studies of deep-sea fish sounds in more than 50 years, collected from the sea floor about 2,237 feet (682 meters) below the North Atlantic. With recording technology now more affordable, Rodney Rountree, Francis Juanes and colleagues are exploring the idea that many fish make sounds to communicate with each other, especially those that live in the perpetual dark of the deep ocean.
Though little is known at present about the significance of sounds made by deep-sea fishes, Rountree and Juanes say that if, as their pilot study suggests, these tend to be low-amplitude, then man-made noise in the oceans may turn out to be a particular problem for some important species.
Read full article at Fishchannel
Photo credit: Justine Marshall
Ask the Editor: “Octopi” or “Octopuses”?
Kory Stamper, an Associate Editor at Merriam-Webster, talks about the plural version of octopus.
"A real education takes place, not in the lecture hall or library, but in the rooms of friends, with earnest frolic and happy disputation. Wine can be a wiser teacher than ink, and banter better than books."
"I’m not sentimental—I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last—the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability manifested in clouds.
It happens when two mediums (wind and cloud) meet at different velocities and produce waves. Sort of like blowing across a glass of water.
Anyone want to skydive and ‘surf’ the clouds? It might just be a bumpy ride… On the topic of turbulence, these Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds indicate an area of just that. If no moisture or clouds were present, clear air turbulence (CAT) would very likely be occurring. This is due to an inversion being present at the base of the clouds. An inversion is a warming with height, thus creating a stable layer in the atmosphere below. The inversion in the picture above would extend from the surface to the base of the clouds (planetary boundary layer ‘PBL’). Above the inversion (free atmosphere) is where there will be an increase in wind speed with height at a significant rate. This speed shear above the inversion in causing the clouds to break over resembling waves. The increase in wind speed above the inversion is enabled by density differences experienced between the PBL and free atmosphere and less friction.
Change The Map
It’s “Big Block of Cheese” Day, which means that Leo sends grumbling staffers to meet with organizations who are not usually heard from at the White House. C.J.’s assignment is the Cartographers for Social Equality.
"Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances."
THE FROZEN ARK
The earth is currently suffering the greatest loss of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Despite the best efforts to preserve their environment, at least 30% of all land, fresh-water and marine animals will go extinct within the next fifty years. Increases in human population are leading to habitat destruction caused by, amongst other things, the need for agricultural land, over-fishing and the acidification of the oceans. These changes are well documented by the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and The Royal Society.
The Frozen Ark was set up in response to this crisis.
The idea of the Frozen Ark is simple - to save samples of frozen cells from endangered animals. Almost all cells carry a complete blueprint of the animal, stored in its DNA. Unless we save this information now, it will be lost forever.
This is not an alternative to preserving amimals in their natural environment or keeping them in zoos, but a crucially important extra insurance. Only very tiny samples are needed. They are taken without any pain. Once frozen, cells can be stored safely at very low temperatures for hundreds of years in very little space. Ten million samples could be kept within the volume of a small house…
(FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FROZEN ARK PROJECT)
(photo: J. Patrick Fischer)
"A Buddha is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad."
Mardi Gras Drag Show
University of North Dakota’s Ten Percent Society Annual Mardi Gras Drag Show held at the VFW Post #157 in East Grand Forks, MN. The show even included a birthday surprise
Featuring LiquorRite, Prada Dior, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Brooke Lane
"Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you.Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time.If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."
Black Crowes - She Talks to Angels
This song is me……………….