Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Reconstructing the effects of fishing on the ecology of petrels

Reconstructing long-term ecological records is always a challenge, but for the open ocean the problem can be especially vexing because animal remains don’t last, and even if they did they’d be so deep as to be very difficult to access. … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Environmental Sciences | Leave a comment

Happiness is in your genes (partly)

Feeling happy? Enjoying life? Our quality of life rides upon more than objective social or economic measures–our state of health, employment, or nourishment. Much of our satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) comes from how we feel about our lives, and this depends, … Continue reading

Categories: Physiology | Leave a comment

High fiber diets affect E. coli infections

A high fiber diet is good for your body in more ways than one, but it could spell trouble if you eat food that’s contaminated with pathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria. A new PNAS Early Edition paper concluded that mice on … Continue reading

Categories: Microbiology | Leave a comment

The ants go falling, one by one

For an ant scurrying up a dark, nearly vertical tunnel, one tiny misstep can mean a long tumble down the steep passageway. At least, that’s what happens if the ant doesn’t perform some acrobatic feats to catch himself mid-fall. So … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Biophysics and Computational Biology | Leave a comment

Recovering function after brain damage

Picture yourself driving home. Half way there, you find a huge tree in the middle of the road, blocking your normal route. Rather than abandoning hope, you turn around and go home by another way. When our brain regains function … Continue reading

Categories: Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Fewer animals, more money–a new model for grassland management?

Bayin Village sits high on the Mongolian Plateau, part of northwest China’s vast grasslands. This region is inhabited by ethic minorities who graze sheep, goats, and cattle, selling meat to southern and eastern China, where there is greater affluence. Since … Continue reading

Categories: Sustainability Science | Tagged | Leave a comment

Emotions link sound-color associations

Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky literally saw sounds and heard colors. The artist is believed to have had synaesthesia, a harmless condition where people experience sounds, colors, or words simultaneously through several senses. Kandinsky used this gift to create what many … Continue reading

Categories: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Tagged | Leave a comment

The brain biology of nicotine relapse

At the moment a former smoker catches a whiff of tobacco, glimpses the corner store where they used to buy cigarettes, or sees a stranger pull a pack of smokes out of their pocket, something happens in their brain that … Continue reading

Categories: Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Your brain is not that big, get over it

Humans are proud of their brains, and rightfully so. A new comparative analysis suggests however, that we should not be so obsessed with size when considering our smarts. This week evolutionary anthropologists Robert Barton and Chris Venditti report the results … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

New ruler for telomere length

It’s not just organisms that change as they grow old—individual cells age too. Among myriad changes during cellular aging is the gradual shortening of telomeres, the protective ends of gene-containing chromosomes. To study telomeres, their regulation, and their associations with … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Genetics | Leave a comment