Grab your gas masks--here comes Hailey. Though today we don't normally view comets through plastic visors, in 1910, comet-protection proved a profitable business. Yet, this is not the first time we have feared the heavens. Ancient astrologers cited comets as ill omens of death and famine. Now, planet-destroying comets and asteroids inspire terror in popular films such as Deep Impact and Armageddon. Why have humans always feared what scientists dub celestial "small bodies"? On all accounts, the problem seems to be a lack of understanding.
Some scientists are coining mercury to be "The New Lead". Humans are exposed to mercury by one of two ways: as methyl mercury from fish consumption, or by breathing vaporous mercury. Out of these two, methyl mercury is the most deadly; it has the capability of affecting the central nervous system.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (DOE, INEEL) report a significant step forward in their efforts to produce hydrogen from water. Using a high temperature variant of conventional electrolysis, the team has been able to extract hydrogen from water with a roughly 20 percent boost in efficiency as compared to conventional methods. They hope that this development will one day streamline hydrogen production to help advance the nation towards a clean hydrogen-based economy.
Why are a group of chemicals proven to save lives in fires feeling the burn from scientists and governments over public health concerns? Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are added to products like couches and electronics, but are now found in places they shouldn't be, like our food and breast milk. A number of studies about the possible health effects from BFRs have ignited a movement to ban them. As some BFRs are being pulled from the shelves, will a recent plot twist in the BFR story be enough to quell this heated debate?
"They would swell beneath the armpits and in the groin, and fall over while talking. Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this illness seemed to strike through breath and sight. And so they died. None could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices.And they died by the hundreds, both day and night, and all were thrown in those ditches and covered with earth... And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world."
-Agnolo di Tura of Siena, description of the Black Death (after 1347)
It's 6:35 on a gray July morning on the northern California coast.chilly, 52 degrees. A dense fog envelops the bluffs and jagged coastline below. Monolithic waves crash with merciless fury, driving even the stalwart harbor seals to search for cover. Sea spray and salt air sting my face like a caustic reminder of nature's wrath, while the eerie sound of a distant foghorn haunts the soul. Though this may seem like the setting for a chilling murder mystery, it's actually the start of a typical day for a Bodega Marine Lab REU student collecting sea urchins from the tide pools of the Pacific Ocean.
Let's talk about sex. It is by far the most widely employed mode of reproduction in nature, and yet, even now, no one knows why. The alternatives to sex are relatively simpler, more energy efficient, and, in many cases, safer. Despite its obvious disadvantages, sex is an evolutionary path to which most species have stuck, and in the last few months, research has shown that the advantages are not as mysterious as we had thought.
The first time I saw orange roughy, it was marinated in Teriyaki sauce. I didn't know that the fish was probably older then my grandmother, or that it came from one of the most surprising and mysterious environments on our planet. At ocean depths generally perceived as abyssal and void of life, there are thriving coral reefs and conglomerations of diverse marine life.
The definition of a scientist and engineer can be as varied the people who define them. Engineers are generally considered to be those who create products to meet human needs, while scientists are those who devise instruments and experiments to test their theories. A more limited definition might describe engineers as those who make the instruments that scientists use to take their measurements. This point of view, however, ignores the fact that engineers can only solve complex problems after developing a keen understanding of the underlying scientific phenomena, or that scientists can only convert their experimentally acquired knowledge into working systems after understanding the engineering required to scale up the process.
As an aspiring academic, I read with great pleasure and interest A Ph.D. Is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter Feibelman. My research mentor suggested this book to me; a year later, I finally picked it up. Finishing a paper for a course, I decided to review the contents of the book so I could cite it.
Cryptophycin is a promising drug in many cancer therapies. Unfortunately, cryptophycin is expensive to produce synthetically because of its complex structure; however, certain strains of micro-algae naturally produce cryptophycin. This work studies the production of cryptophycin from two strains of Nostoc sp., ATCC 53789 and GSV 224.
Copepod nauplii are marine zooplankton invertebrates that have been shown to be advantageous as a food source for larval finfish ornamentals when the larvae first begin to feed. Despite this potential, copepod nauplii have up not been reared in sufficient quantities to sustain the large-scale feeding of ornamental finfish in captivity until this point. The aim of this scientific investigation was to develop a protocol for the effective cultivation and collection of eggs from the calanoid copepod, Bestiolina similis, and to compare the rates of mortality and egg production in response to additions of various food sources and concentrations to optimize animal longevity and reproductive performance.
The creation of a paleohydrologic record for the Hawaiian Islands is essential to understanding future implications of climate change. Determining the oxygen isotope composition of diatoms present in Lake Waiau cores will allow the paleohydrology of the lake to be reconstructed, which can be related to the hydrologic history of the entire Hawaiian Islands. Prior to the isotopic analysis of the diatoms, they must be isolated from the rest of the sediment. This study attempts to determine an effective method for this isolation, as well as to identify the diatom species that were isolated.
The 16S rDNA genes of fourteen bacterial isolates derived from shrimp larvae were successfully amplified, cloned and sequenced. Comparison of the sequences with those available at the NCBI web site using BLAST (nr database) allowed for bacterial classification based on similarity indices of greater than or equal to 96%. These identifications were consistent with previous phenotypic analyses of the same isolates by their carbon source utilization patterns and fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Use of 16S sequencing to identify bacteria to species level is not without problems.
The marine bacterium Streptomyces tenjimariensis is known to produce an array of primary and secondary metabolites. The mechanisms of genetic regulation and control of these metabolic production pathways have yet to be elucidated. In this study, two specific aspects of metabolism and gene expression in S. tenjimariensis were investigated: the expression of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of aminoglycoside antibiotics and the extracellular breakdown of starch.
Although water quality is extremely important to the Hawaiian Islands in terms of tourism and coastal ecology, very few studies have been done to investigate water turbidity along the south shore of Oahu. The reintroduction of sediments from the sea floor to the water column plays a major role in the turbidity of this area, and is heavily influenced by physical oceanographic forces such as currents, swells, and tides. This study focuses on using Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) echo intensity to examine the relationship between the aforementioned physical forces and changes in suspended sediment concentration on the south shore of Oahu.
In the last few years, the severity of coral bleaching events and disease observances has increased worldwide. Very little is known about disease in the Hawaiian Islands, although it is a commonly held belief that conditions are generally unfavorable for disease development/establishment due to Hawaii's open ocean circulation and low human population. This study focuses on characterizing bacterial communities found on healthy and lesioned Montipora capitata, Porites compressa, and Porites lobata collected from various sites around Oahu, Hawaii including the North Shore, Hanauma Bay, Kaneohe Bay and Kahe Point.
Viral vectors can be used to introduce sequences that cause gene silencing in plants. In this study, a sequence from the salt-tolerant green alga Dunaliella salina was used to silence a DEAD box helicase gene in Nicotiana benthamiana, a plant related to tobacco. Phenotypic changes due to silencing were observed, and changes in expression of the DEAD box helicase gene were quantified using real-time PCR. The results suggest that the gene is involved in critical RNA processing functions. More generally, it was demonstrated that although N. benthamiana is only distantly related to D. salina, gene silencing could be induced in N. benthamiana using a sequence from D. salina; this indicates that it may be possible to use gene silencing in N. benthamiana to characterize genes from a wide variety of organisms.
In 1977, a series of functional growth hormone secretagogues (GHS), which activate the endogenous receptor of the stomach peptide ghrelin, were synthesized in order to stimulate growth hormone secretion from the pituitary gland. Following this work, subsequent efforts concentrated on the development of an orally active GHS with a long lasting effect and high bioavailability. This paper discusses the effect of the functional growth hormone GHS CP-477335 on the GH/IGF-I axis in tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, using both in vivo and in vitro experiments.
Through human activities, endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) have become ubiquitous in the aquatic environment. Although much research has examined the effects of these chemicals on reproduction, there remains a paucity of information regarding effects on growth. In order to study the effects of EDCs on growth, hepatocytes (liver cells) and pituitary cells were cultured from female tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, and exposed to heptachlor, a pesticide, and DDE, a by-product of the pesticide DDT. Cells and media were assayed for liver vitellogenin, IGFBPs, and pituitary GH.