King Snake Physiology

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:09

     A recent study compared the constricting power of both king snakes and rat snakes, two different kinds of snake who kill their pray by way of constriction. It was shown that king snakes produce roughly twice the power of rat snakes, despite having very similar levels of muscle mass. This test was conducted by putting pressure sensors in the body of a dead mouse and shaking it in front of these snakes. This revelation seems to indicate that a snake's power comes not from its muscle system but rather from how it orients its body. This discovery has laid the groundwork for futher studies into the topic, perhaps allowing researchers to discover more about how constrictors work.

journal

Submitted by jiadam on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:05

Abl kinase

A normal abl kinase works with different signal adaptors kinases, phosphatases and cell regulators. They work in many cellular processes that control cell growth/ division as well as operate in the cell survival pathway. In addition, the abl kinase is active in oxidative stress, DNA damage repair, actin, and cell migration. Because of its overreaching ability, it is strictly regulated and this partly thorough localization. It is also regulated through intramolecular interactions and phosphorylation. The kinase contains a nuclear import signal and nuclear export signal so that it can travel to and fro the nucleus. When abl is active in the nucleus, it signals through the DNA damage response pathways. In the cytoplasm it deals with actin dynamics and cell migration.

Grass Genetics Provide Insights Into Grasses' Hardiness

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 09:59

A recent study of the genome of Brachypodium distachyon has provided a potential insight into how grasses are able to survive harsh changes in condition so well. Specifically, this study had to do with the genetic regulation of the plants stomata, an organelle that helps to control the exchange of both water and gasses with the environment. The experiment mutated a gene called MUTE and thus inhibited the production of the MUTE protein. The lack of the mute protein made the function of the stomata much less efficent, and thus the grasses were more likely to die in harsh conditions. This discovery could revolutionize modern farming; if scientists are able to somehow genetically modify crops to start producing this protein, prehaps scientists can make commerical crops more hardy and thus increase the production of food worldwide.

REU Application Draft

Submitted by kmichaud on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 09:33

Professionally, I seek a career capable of linking my interests in environmental preservation, wildlife conservation, and the methods of ecology, and hope to pursue graduate studies in field relating those goals. I am confident that participation in this research experience would develop my professional skills as a researcher and would shape my path of study in graduate school. Ecology encompasses a wide range of systems and organisms to focus on, and this experience will be invaluable in determining if my life-long interest in avian species will lead to a career in avian related ecological studies. I find the challenge of learning new laboratory and field procedures and interacting with live vertebrates inviting, and am confident that this learning opportunity and emersion into a new ecological field would be vital in directing my career path as a scientist. This opportunity would broaden my breadth of knowledge in ecology and expand my skills in research substantially. I have always been comfortable working independently, and my commitment to detail would lead to a successful independent research project during the summer program. 

Worm-like creature transformation

Submitted by koganezova on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 23:34

Before spring break, my worm looking creature that was given the beginning of the semester was in a coccoon for about 2 weeks. Slowly, parts of the coccoon were breaking apart. When I got back yesterday, I noticed that the coccoon was completely dismantled and my worm looking creature looked nothing like a worm anymore; it had transformed into a moth. Shortly after I noticed it was desperately trying to get out of the container it was in, so I let it fly away outside. Safe travels to the non-worm looking creature.

Hunting

Submitted by amprovost on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 17:10

     Research conducted in an Alaska national park has revealed that grizzly bears actually do much more hunting of land animals than previously thought. For quite some time, there was a popular misconception that with the exception of salmon hunting, most bears subsided mainly on vegetation. However, in a study conducted by park rangers and by the department of the interior, it was revealed that grizzly bears are also active land hunters, going out of their way to track down and kill prey. This study was conducted by tranquilzing adult bears and attaching multiple remote camereas to them. The footage obtained revealed everything about the bears' lives, including their grusome hunting habits.

Hunting

Submitted by amprovost on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 17:10

     Research conducted in an Alaska national park has revealed that grizzly bears actually do much more hunting of land animals than previously thought. For quite some time, there was a popular misconception that with the exception of salmon hunting, most bears subsided mainly on vegetation. However, in a study conducted by park rangers and by the department of the interior, it was revealed that grizzly bears are also active land hunters, going out of their way to track down and kill prey. This study was conducted by tranquilzing adult bears and attaching multiple remote camereas to them. The footage obtained revealed everything about the bears' lives, including their grusome hunting habits.

Journal #19--Moss Growth

Submitted by skhall on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:52

 

 

For my group’s research proposal we are going to do some kind of experiment involving the water absorbance of moss and it’s effects on the growth of the moss. In finding information on this, I was looking at some facts on moss and their available water storage.  Moss are able to absorb water and nutrients over the whole surface of their “shoots.”  Because they lack roots they have a finite about of space to absorb water. With this information in mind, we have to think of some factors about when doing the experiment. 

 

   Initially we want to take the same type of moss and put them in their own environments. We will either initially add the same amount of water to both or vary the amount and then everyday check the amount of growth the moss has done. We will want to make sure that each moss is grown in similar environments so that other factors will not make a difference in growth patterns, such as sunlight. We will want to measure the amount of water absorbed but possibly also the water retention capacity to look at any changes that might be happening between moses. We will want to make as many measurements as possibly to notice any growth differences between the two mosses. If we want, we could compare the mosses to other plants to note the difference in those absorbance capacities. We could also take different mosses to note the difference int after absorbances based on their original location. We want to make sure that the weights and sixes of the mosses chosen are of the same size (and possibly weight) to allow for accurate calculations and measurements. With these factors in mind we will hopefully retrieve good data on our moss experiment.

Journal 17

Submitted by kngallant on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:42

    In my mammalogy lab we went on a field trip to the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. One wall of the museum showed skeletons of horses over the past 50 million years to display how horses evolved over time. 50 million years ago, horses were the size of dogs. They lived in forests and were omnivorous. As time passed, the environment started to change. The forests transformed into dry grasslands. With this change, the horses’ teeth began to evolve as they became grazers, who ate grass. The height of their tooth crowns got higher over time. Along with this change, they increased in body size. One of the most significant changes was the evolution of their toes. Horses eventually became unguligrade, walking on hooves to optimize running from predators. This happened by fusion of their bones and decreasing number of digits, until they only have one.

Journal China National Parks

Submitted by matjbaker on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:00

    Officials in China are planning to establish a national park that will potentially be 60% larger than Yellowstone. The conservation efforts of the park focus on two endangered big cats. The Amur leopard and the Siberian tiger are two of the rarest big cats on the planet, with their numbers at one point reaching lows of 30 and 40 respectively. Although China has had many areas designated to protecting wildlife, they were plagued with mismanagement and general inefficiency. They are bringing in help from the Paulson Institute in Chicago to help create a national park that will be effective and comparable to other national parks on the international level. China will begin with a series of smaller pilot parks over a three year period. This will provide immediate conservation effects and allow the government to work out any issues with the current park system.

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