Tag Archives: microscope

The Black Sea is a Goldmine of Ancient Genetic Data

New Study Reconstructs the Past Ocean ‘Paleome’

When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that left behind their genetic makeup (i.e., the plankton paleome).

The semi-isolated Black Sea is highly sensitive to climate driven environmental changes, and the underlying sediments represent high-resolution archives of past continental climate and concurrent hydrologic changes in the basin. The brackish Black Sea is currently receiving salty Mediterranean waters via the narrow Strait of Bosphorus as well as freshwater from rivers and via precipitation. (more…)

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Research Enables Fishermen to Harvest Lucrative Shellfish on Georges Bank

Combined research efforts by scientists involved in the Gulf of Maine Toxicity (GOMTOX) project, funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program, and administered by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), have led to enhanced understanding of toxic algal blooms on Georges Bank.   This new information, coupled with an at-sea and dockside testing protocol developed through collaboration between GOMTOX and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators, has allowed fishermen to harvest ocean quahogs and surf clams in these offshore waters for the first time in more than two decades.

The shellfish industry estimates the Georges Bank fishery can produce up to 1 million bushels of surf clams and ocean quahogs a year, valued $10 – 15 million annually. “There is a billion dollars’ worth of shellfish product on Georges Bank that is property of the United States but that can’t be harvested because of the threat of toxicity, and 99.9% of the time, it is good wholesome product,” says Dave Wallace of North Atlantic Clam Association and a GOMTOX participant.  “In an unusual and unique partnership, we worked with GOMTOX scientists, the FDA, and the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware and now that huge resource can go into commerce, which helps the entire country.” (more…)

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Cambrian Fossil Pushes Back Evolution of Complex Brains

Complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, as evidenced by a 520-million-year-old fossilized arthropod with remarkably well-preserved brain structures.

The remarkably well-preserved fossil of an extinct arthropod shows that anatomically complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought and have changed little over the course of evolution. According to University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld, who co-authored the study describing the specimen, the fossil is the earliest known to show a brain.

The discovery will be published in the Oct. 11 issue of the journal Nature. (more…)

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New Tool for CSI? Geographic Software Maps Distinctive Features inside Bones

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A common type of geographic mapping software offers a new way to study human remains.

In a recent issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, researchers describe how they used commercially available mapping software to identify features inside a human foot bone – a new way to study human skeletal variation. (more…)

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Oil Spill Cleanup: Smart Filter Can Strain Oil Out of Water

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— A smart filter with a shape-shifting surface can separate oil and water using gravity alone, an advancement that could be useful in cleaning up environmental oil spills, among other applications, say its University of Michigan developers.

The system could provide a more efficient way to remove crude oil from waterways without using additional chemical detergents, or even after detergents have been added, said Anish Tuteja, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering. Tuteja is the corresponding author of a paper on the research published in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature Communications.

The researchers created a filter coating that repels oil but attracts water, bucking conventional materials’ properties. Most natural substances soak up oil, and the few that repel it also repel water because water has a higher surface tension. (more…)

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IBM THINK Exhibit App for iPad and Android Tablets Traces Ancient Roots of Modern Innovation

ARMONK, NY – 26 Jul 2012: To celebrate centuries of science and technology innovations, IBM has reinvented its award-winning 2011 THINK exhibit at New York City’s Lincoln Center as a free interactive app for iPad and Android tablets. Geared to tech fans and educators, the IBM THINK exhibit app is an “innovation time machine” that shows how early tools have evolved into modern advances that create healthier populations, greener energy and safer, less congested cities.

Through interactive content and thousands of images and historical anecdotes, the IBM THINK Exhibit app is filled with stories of progress, from space exploration to weather prediction and medical advances. It documents the roots of Big Data, from early charts, clocks and scales to microscopes and telescopes, from RFID chips and biomedical sensors in clothing to breath-sensor diabetes detectors. (more…)

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Pollination with Precision: How Flowers Do It

Pollination could be a chaotic disaster. With hundreds of pollen grains growing long tubes to ovules to deliver their sperm to female gametes, how can a flower ensure that exactly two fertile sperm reach every ovule? In a new study, Brown University biologists report the discovery of how plants optimize the distribution of pollen for successful reproduction.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Next Mother’s Day, say it with an evolved model of logistical efficiency — a flower. A new discovery about how nature’s icons of romance manage the distribution of sperm among female gametes with industrial precision helps explain why the delicate beauties have reproduced prolifically enough to dominate the earth.

In pollination, hundreds of sperm-carrying pollen grains stick to the stigma suspended in the middle of a flower and quickly grow a tube down a long shaft called a style toward clusters of ovules, which hold two female sex cells. This could be a chaotic frenzy, but for the plant to succeed, exactly two fertile sperm should reach the two cells in each ovule — no more, no less. No ovule should be left out, either because too many tubes have gone elsewhere, or because the delivered sperm don’t work. (more…)

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UCLA Researchers Combat Global Disease with a Cell Phone, Google Maps and a Lot of Ingenuity

In the fight against emerging public health threats, early diagnosis of infectious diseases is crucial. And in poor and remote areas of the globe where conventional medical tools like microscopes and cytometers are unavailable, rapid diagnostic tests, or RDTs, are helping to make disease screening quicker and simpler.

RDTs are generally small strips on which blood or fluid samples are placed. Specific changes in the color of the strip, which usually occur within minutes, indicate the presence of infection. Different tests can be used to detect various diseases, including HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and syphilis. (more…)

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