Monthly Archives: April 2015

Personal Attacks in Peer Review

The debate around sexism in science lit up on Twitter today after a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sussex in the UK posted an incendiary excerpt from a review she received in response to a paper on gender and … Continue reading

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Off With His Head

Unable to help himself, a sturdy labourer turns towards a waft of fresh air and staggers towards the light beckoning from the end of a tunnel. Once outside in the sunshine, he wanders aimlessly, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, making … Continue reading

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Species Lag Time

Of all of the species that exist in the world’s oceans, forests, streams, and soils, scientists have managed to describe only a small fraction. In the case of charismatic megafauna with the wide eyes and fur that everyone loves, scientists … Continue reading

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Have you lost your senses?

This entry is part of a recurring series called Use It Or Lose It that looks at those things that didn’t make the evolutionary cut and have been lost in modern species. As I’m reading, I inhale deeply and catch … Continue reading

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Screaming “Don’t Eat Me!”

This summer, I was hiking in the Norwegian mountains and experienced a phenomenon known as smågnagerår or ‘little gnawing animal year’. It occurs when a particularly mild winter and plentiful summer create the perfect conditions for a boom in the … Continue reading

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Ice Plants in Africa

This week’s species extraordinaire is the ice plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, a member of the fig-marigold family (Aizoaceae). The plant’s common name ‘ice plant’ is in reference to the plants leaves, which look like they are covered in glistening, pebbly ice. … Continue reading

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Anther Smut Disease Causes Transgender Transformations

This post is the latest in a recurring series called the Difference Between Boys and Girls, which talks about gender inequality and the battle of the sexes in biology. A group of students in an arctic biology class are lying … Continue reading

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Taming the Easter Rabbit

For the typical North American, Easter brings with it thoughts of bunnies, chocolate and otherwise. In antiquity, rabbits and hares were symbols of spring and fertility on account of their notorious fecundity: they are capable of superfetation, and can conceive … Continue reading

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Pre-Industrial Air Pollution

Geologically speaking, we are in the midst of the Anthropocene, which is defined as the time period during which humans have been significantly altering their environment. It is the first geoglogical epoch not defined by changes in the qualities of … Continue reading

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