Searching for Missing Mass

In 1933, astronomer Fritz Zwicky discovered that there was something deeply wrong with our view of the universe. While calculating the amount of mass in the Coma galaxy cluster, he noticed that there appeared to be a hundred times more mass than what could be visually seen. The discrepancy was so large that Zwicky believed a new form of non-visible matter was the reason for it. He proposed a new name for the mysterious mass as well: dark matter.

Microbial assessment of effective earthworm management trials for restoration of an urban temperate forest site

Invasive Asian earthworms (Amynthas hilgendorfi and A. agrestis) have transformed forest ecosystems along the eastern seaboard of the United States by decimating the forest leaf litter layer, shifting nutrient cycles, and altering belowground fine root distributions and microbial dynamics. Natural resource managers are looking for management methods that both control invasive earthworm populations and ameliorate their damaging effects on the forest ecosystem. Healthy fungal populations in forest soils are particularly important for the successful establishment and growth of plants and tree seedlings in reforestation efforts. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact on soil microflora of earthworm control treatments in an urban forest restoration project.

Water Quality of Estuarine Ponds in Hilo, Hawaii: Monitoring of Nutrients, Benthic Organisms and Bacteria

The coastal area of Hilo, Hawaii are dotted with estuarine ponds with varying degrees of influence by input of terrigenous water by run-off and ground water. These estuarine ponds are popular for recreational uses such as swimming and collection of benthic diatom, Melosira sp. as fishing bait. The purpose of our study is to determine if the ponds act as a buffer zone for the adjacent coral formations and to generate a baseline data set of the water quality of these ponds and compare the bacterial concentrations to the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) and national Environmental Protection Agency standards. Nutrient levels, Clostridium perfringens and Enterococcus faecalis concentrations within the ponds were monitored and surveys of benthic macroalgae and invertebrates were conducted monthly from September 2005 to March 2006. Nutrient concentrations varied spatially and temporally. Benthic flora and fauna cover and assemblage varied temporarily within ponds and spatially between ponds. The microbe levels also showed high frequency and range of concentrations. The concentrations of C. perfringens and E. faecalis were consistently higher than the state standards some as much as eight times as high.

Identification, Phylogenetic Characterization, and Preliminary Bioactivity Screening of Bacteria Isolated from Suberites zeteki, a Hawaiian Sponge

Sponges are a prolific source of biological compounds with diverse bioactivities. However, structural similarities between the metabolites of the sponge and its associated bacteria, those found within its tissue, indicate that these compounds are of bacterial origin. 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses have been widely used to identify and characterize both culturable and unculturable populations of marine bacteria. The purpose of this research was to isolate sponge-associated bacteria and screen them for antibacterial activity. In this study, a total of 178 potentially different bacteria were isolated from the Hawaiian sponge Suberites zeteki. Due to time restrictions, only the first forty of the bacterial isolates were subjected to further analyses. 16S rRNA gene analyses identified many isolates with a diversity of bacterial groups, including the genus Bacillus and Vibrio. Three of the seven representative bacterial isolates tested inhibited the growth of Bacillus subtilis, a microbe commonly used in bioactivity screening.

The Design and Use of Engineered Antibodies: Novel Therapeutic Magic Bullets

The emergence of antibodies as immunotherapeutic agents has offered a tremendous new potential for the treatment of a multitude of human illnesses and diseases. The use of antibodies offers target specificity unparalleled in conventional treatments and therapies. Generation of monoclonal antibodies was made possible by the development of hybridoma technology. Subsequent advances in the development of phage and transgenic mouse technologies have allowed the generation of fully humanized antibodies. Antibody based therapies have used naked antibodies as therapeutic agents or conjugated them with other therapeutic agents such as toxins, radionuclides, and enzymes.