Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Author Archives: Amy McDermott

Pollen frozen in a glacier reveals the legacy of human impacts in the heart of the Inca Empire

The Illimani glacier sits between the urban sprawl of La Paz, Bolivia, on one side, and the roads and plantations of the Amazon basin on the other. It was no doubt a very different landscape some 550 years ago, when … Continue reading

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Sweeping study finds big landscape changes on the fringes of Europe’s protected areas

Quaint cobblestone towns and green pastures dot the Pyrenees Mountains, at the gates of Catalonia’s Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Hike a few miles into the park, though, and the Spanish landscape of trickling rivers and montane … Continue reading

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Honeybee queens influence offspring caste through egg size

Queen bees have surprising sway over the future development of their eggs, a recent study reports. The reigning bee matriarch lays larger eggs in the wax honeycomb cells where workers raise new queens as compared with the eggs laid in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Protozoan predators help pinpoint how evolution and ecology shape predator-prey dynamics

A hungry lynx bounds after a scampering hare. Occasionally the lynx secures its catch. Often, it doesn’t. For ecology students, this back and forth battle is the textbook example of an ecological process driving predator–prey population dynamics. The predator population … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In big advance for lab-grown organs, 3-D printing better replicates tissue complexity

The lung is a feathery web of blood vessels and air sacs that branch closely together, but never touch. They’re nestled near enough that oxygen can diffuse into the bloodstream, but far enough that blood and air flow through separate … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly discovered ion channel gene promises disease insights

The molecular identity and precise function of a commonly expressed cell-membrane chloride channel has long been a mystery. A recent study in Science uncovers the gene responsible for the channel, potentially shedding light on its role in the body. Researchers … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Sex ratios in glossy green sweat bees hint at the origins of cooperation in social insects

On Barro Colorado Island, in the middle of the Panama Canal, a population of metallic-green sweat bees is divided. Half the breeding females live socially, as queens reigning over one or two worker daughters in nests burrowed into twigs. The … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Brain scans and behavior suggest oxytocin can change perceptions of fairness

Some people are more generous in social situations—offering to cover the dinner bill for example. Others are more individualistic, preferring to keep resources for themselves. A recent study in Nature Neuroscience finds that perceptions of fairness vary from person-to-person based … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Carbon payments could prove more profitable than mining or logging for some nations

Logging, mining, and other activities plow through the tropical forests of developing countries, releasing 10 to 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. One proposed solution is for wealthy countries to pay developing nations to keep … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Low-intensity focused ultrasound shows promise as tool to probe deep brain function

To study the brain’s networks of neurons, neuroscientists typically alter the activity in one area, and observe the cascade of effects on others—something like unscrewing one bulb in a string of Christmas lights and observing as others go dim. But … Continue reading

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