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News stories tagged with "biology"

Frog and flatfish, in stages of metamorphosis
Frog and flatfish, in stages of metamorphosis

Biologist passes along his fascination with metamorphosis

Dr. Alexander Schreiber studies change--the metamorphosis of amphibians and flatfish. His St. Lawrence University biology lab teems with frogs and fish in various stages of development.

His enthusiasm for his subject sends him off campus to local grade schools. And at SLU, it attracts even English majors like our intern, Roger Miller. Schreiber told Roger he just never stopped being a kid.

Roger Miller is a senior at St. Lawrence University. He's worked as an intern in our news and web departments for the last couple of years. We'll miss him, and wish him well after graduation this weekend.  Go to full article
Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and inhaling. Source: John Pierce via Wikipedia
Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and inhaling. Source: John Pierce via Wikipedia

Natural Selections: Breathing

We all take thousands of breaths each day without thinking about it, yet it's one of the human body's most complex and interesting functions. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss what is actually happening when we breathe.  Go to full article
Nerve tissue may be part of our original equipment. Photo: wikipedia
Nerve tissue may be part of our original equipment. Photo: wikipedia

Natural Selections: New cells, old cells

With our bodies replacing most cells over a period of a few years, it raises the question "Is any part of us original equipment?" According to Curt Stager and Martha Foley, the answer is yes--parts of the eyes and teeth, as well as many nerve and (bad news for dieters) fat cells.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Climate and carbon dating

Scientists use isotopes of carbon--carbon-13 and carbon-14-- to study the age of organic material. But the activity of humans is distorting the clock. Curt Stager tells Martha Foley how added carbon in the atmosphere, pollution, and nuclear testing have made it harder to study the natural world.  Go to full article
Ralph Steinman
Ralph Steinman

Trudeau Institute board member wins Nobel--Three days after his death

A pioneering researcher and long-time board member of the Saranac Lake-based biomedical research center the Trudeau Institute, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday--three days after his death from pancreatic cancer.

The Nobel committee says it didn't know Canadian-born cell biologist Ralph Steinman had died when it awarded the prize to him and two other scientists. The committee is only supposed to consider living scientists--but it said Monday the decision to award Steinman the prize will remain unchanged.

Steinman served on the Trudeau Institute board of trustees for nearly 30 years. As Chris Knight reports, those who knew Steinman describe him as a brilliant scientist who blazed new trails in the field of immunology.  Go to full article
Fieldwork includes studying what the hares eat and where in the forest.
Fieldwork includes studying what the hares eat and where in the forest.

Tracking snowshoe hares in the Adirondacks

A group of Paul Smiths College students has spent the last few years studying one of the region's smallest mammals. Bears, moose and loons usually come to mind when you think of wildlife in the Adirondacks. But biology and ecology students at Paul Smiths are tracking and monitoring the behavior of snowshoe hares. They're small, furry and cute, but also a big part of the region's ecosystem. Wildlife experts say hares are important because they're prey for almost everything in the forest that eats meat, including raptors, foxes and coyotes.

The data collected from school field trips will help wildlife managers better understand the food cycle in the Adirondacks from predators to prey and plants.

Todd Moe tagged along with Paul Smiths biology students as they tracked snowshoe hares to find out what they're eating and how they choose their habitat in the woods near campus.  Go to full article
Tan-striped form and white-striped form.
Tan-striped form and white-striped form.

Natural Selections: white-throated sparrow

Dr. Curt Stager describes the differences between two variations of the white-throated sparrow - the white-striped form and the tan-striped form. Though the birds are from the same species and are complementary in some ways, their looks and behaviors are very different. Martha Foley asks: which is more competent?  Go to full article

Book review: "Summer World: A Season of Bounty"

It's summertime, and the living is easy. Well, not for every living thing. UVM biologist Bernd Heinrich says summer is "the season of reproduction, feeding, growing, and trying to avoid being eaten." Betsy Kepes reviews his new book, Summer World: A Season of Bounty.  Go to full article
Ed Kanze watches the treeline from a bridge along the Saranac River (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Ed Kanze watches the treeline from a bridge along the Saranac River (Photo: Brian Mann)

On Earth Day, looking down, looking up and listening

Before the first Earth Day, 40 years ago, there was no Environmental Protection Agency. No Clean Water, Clean Air or Endangered Species Acts. No concerns about global warming. There was little public understanding at all of the changes humans have inflicted on the planet.

Now, there is plenty of bad news about the Earth. But some things remain pretty much the same, and will persist long into the future if passionate scientists, researchers, and just-plain-folk have their way.

For this 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, we have a collaborative postcard from the outdoors, from Brian Mann, and Nancy Cohen of WNPR in Hartford, Conn.

Northeast environmental reporting is made possible, in part, by a grant from United Technologies, and is part of NPR's Local News Initiative  Go to full article

Exploring art, science and history underwater

A new art exhibit in Lake George combines shipwrecks, the visual arts and science. The "Raising the Fleet" exhibition is truly in the lake - viewable on land and 40 feet below the surface. Underwater easels near the sunken wrecks of 18th century vessels hold artwork by Elinor Mossop. They include microscopic images of amoebae with sketches of military shipwrecks. Todd Moe spoke with biologist Sam Bowser about this art/science collaborative exhibit.  Go to full article

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