Tag: Biology

Horton Hears a Who – Hidden Communities in Leaves

A cartoon elephant holds a tiny flower close to his ear using his trunk. On this tiny flower is an even tinier speck of dust.

Maybe you remember reading the classic Dr. Seuss tale as a child, Horton Hears a Who! Or you may have also seen the 2008 movie adaptation on TV or at some recent family vacation? For those who haven’t, or whose memory might be a little fuzzy, Horton the elephant discovers, and becomes the sole champion of, an… Read more »

“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds”[1]: Topic modeling Darwin’s reading at Indiana University.

In our December 27th post  “On On the Origin of Species: An ode to science writers”, Clara Boothby explored how clear, compelling science writing can increase circulation of scientists’ ideas among the general public. While our previous post saw the Origin of Species as a model for scientific writing, here we explore how researchers at IU… Read more »

For a hybrid species of ribbon worm, it only takes one to tango

Along the eastern Atlantic coasts of France, at some point in the last 100,000 years, two ribbon worms of different species engaged in worm intercourse (do not fear, I will not discuss the mechanics here). The two species were Lineus sanguineus and L. lacteus. Interspecies sex is uncommon in itself, but what’s especially surprising in this case… Read more »

The Social Lives of Bacteria

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human.” —- Aristotle This famous quote by Aristotle gets at the heart of what is considered the most human quality – being social. However, biologists have long known that ‘social behaviors’… Read more »

On On the Origin of Species: An ode to scientist-writers

Sometimes, when we read about science in textbooks or newspaper articles, it can be easy to slip into thinking that after the scientists make their discovery, the writing is someone else’s job. Not so! In addition to being researchers and experimenters, scientists must also be writers if they wish to share their findings with the… Read more »

Branching Out with Interdisciplinary Science

A theoretical chemist and a biochemist walk into a bar.  They both speak the same language, yet it’s difficult for them to have a conversation about each other’s research.  They’re both intelligent, educated scientists who have at least a basic understanding of the other’s field, so what’s the problem? The first post from the ScIU… Read more »

Proactively combating the continuing threat of pesticide resistance

Consider briefly the process of evolution and you might imagine a lumbering process, splitting lineages and bringing new species forth from old, or the gradual formation of morphological novelties like wings. While it’s true that evolutionary processes such as  the formation of new species are generally slow by our standards, other effects of evolution that… Read more »

Safety in Diversity?

Disease epidemics can be devastating. How can the spread of infectious disease be controlled? It is believed that more genetically diverse host populations have lower prevalence of infectious diseases. This pattern is particularly strong in agricultural systems where diverse mixtures of crops are less susceptible to epidemics than single species (the “monoculture effect”). But how… Read more »

New research at IU explores links between gut microbiota and the brain

You might be surprised to learn that your body is home to tens of trillions of microorganisms. In fact, your body contains more microbes than it does human cells. While that might sound a bit worrisome, these tiny, single-celled organisms are extremely important for human health. For example, the microbes that live in the gut… Read more »