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Tommy Leung has been at 15 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
STEM Women on G+166,486We've reached over 100,000 members on STEM Women! To celebrate, we'll discuss how we manage STEM Women, including some of our favourite posts and videos, as well as some of the best comments from you, our followers! We'll talk about what it's like to be women moderators of online science communities. We'll share some tips for other women who want to use social media to communicate their passion for science, and what makes Google+ a special place to share science. This HOA will be hosted by our moderation team: Dr @108510686109338749229, Dr @110756968351492254645 and Professor @114601143134471609087. You can tune in on Sunday 7th Sep at 2.30 PM Pacific or 10.30 PM UK/ Monday 8th 7.30 AM AUS. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel after the event: http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen #stemwomen #hangoutsonair #hoa100K Celebration: Behind the Scenes of STEM Women2014-09-07 23:30:0021  
Science on Google+596,462Join us for a @105917944266111687812  Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor @116255230904882614629 and Dr @107413067341871105647 about the recent Ebola outbreak. We will discuss the basics of Ebola, why the epidemic has spread, how it might be curtailed, and debunk some of the myths surrounding this outbreak. Please leave your questions on the Event page. Vincent is a professor of virology at the University of Columbia and is a fantastic science communicator. Tara is an epidemiologist at Kent State University who has written numerous articles debunking some of the myths surrounding Ebola. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645. You can tune in on *Sunday August 10th at 2.30 PM Pacific, 5.30 PM Eastern*. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.Science HOAs2014-08-10 23:30:0085  
STEM Women on G+166,486Dr @110202052475754664683 is the Director of Research Training at the *Australian National University* (http://goo.gl/sx3ZeE). Her background was in architecture, but she's specialised in education research since 2006. We will discuss Inger's research on the gender experiences of PhD students as they negotiate their relationships with their supervisors and administration. She will also discuss her popular blog, *The Thesis Whisperer,* which provides practical advice for students across STEM fields (http://thesiswhisperer.com/). Inger will share insights for women research students and also tell us about her career, and provide tips for navigating a successful path in academia. Join us on Sunday 6th July at 2.30 PM Pacific/ 10.30PM UK/ Monday 7th of July 7.30AM Australia EST. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645 . The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event. Post your questions and comments on our #stemwomen  Event page!Finding Solutions with Dr Inger Mewburn "The Thesis Whisperer"2014-07-06 23:30:0020  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to  @112565301103246592411 on her career as a primatologist. Erin is a graduate student in physical anthropology who recently returned to Ohio after an extended field trip. She will talk to us about her recent experiences in the field working with Diana monkeys, her exciting career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important.  This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645   and you can tune in on Sunday May 25th at 4.30 PM Central/ 10.30PM UK. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.In The Spotlight, With Erin Kane2014-05-25 23:30:0053  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to @114480095884024488890  on her career as a roboticist. Annika is an engineer who works on robotics and also a passionate STEM educator, teaching kids how to program and build robots through @101828427997295401901. She will talk to us about her exciting career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important.  This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229 and Dr @110756968351492254645   and you can tune in on Sunday April 27th at 4.30 PM Central/ 10.30PM UK. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.In The Spotlight, With Annika O'Brien2014-04-27 23:30:0057  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to @114480095884024488890 on her career as a roboticist. Annika is an engineer who works on robotics and also a passionate STEM educator, teaching kids how to program and build robots through @101828427997295401901. She will talk to us about her exciting career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important.  This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229 and Dr @110756968351492254645  and you can tune in on Sunday April 13th at 4.30 PM Central/ 10.30PM UK. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.In The Spotlight, With Annika O'Brien2014-04-13 23:30:0055  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA panel discussion as we speak to Professor @114601143134471609087, Dr @111479647230213565874 and Dr @115510485336217794615 about the impact of everyday sexism in academia.  We will discuss the sometimes subtle role that gender plays in academia, and discuss situations that might not be obviously sexist, but can in fact be damaging to female academics. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229 and Dr @110756968351492254645  and you can tune in on Sunday March 30th at 1 PM Pacific/ 9 PM BST (UK). The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.Everyday Sexism: A STEM Women Conversation2014-03-30 22:00:0047  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to @106279635800132388713 on her career as a behavioral scientist. Clarissa is a clinician with sixteen years of experience in public health. Clarissa has worked at the Harvard University Global Health Institute and the Columbia University Medical Center. She will talk to us about her career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important.  This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229   and Dr @110756968351492254645 and you can tune in on Sunday March 16th at 1.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.In the Spotlight, with Clarissa Silva2014-03-16 21:30:0065  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to Dr.  @103389452828130864950 on how men can help with the issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. Yonatan is the Chief Architect of Google+ and also has a PhD in Physics with a strong engineering background. He is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM, and will talk to us about what we can do to encourage women in STEM. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229   and Dr @110756968351492254645  , and you can tune in on Sunday March 2nd at 12.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel(http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event. Follow us on Twitter @stemwomen and on www.stemwomen.netSTEM Women: How Men Can Help with Dr Yonatan Zunger2014-03-02 21:30:0096  
STEM Women on G+166,486Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to @103101121348859087349 on how men can help with the issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. Jonathan is a Professor at UC Davis and also the Academic Editor-in-Chief for PLOS Biology (http://www.plosbiology.org/). He is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM, and will talk to us about what we can do to encourage women in STEM. This is an important issue that affects both men *and* women. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645, and you can tune in on Sunday February 16th at 12.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event. Follow us on Twitter @stemwomen and on www.stemwomen.netSTEM Women: How Men Can Help, with Professor Jonathan Eisen2014-02-16 21:30:0061  
Science on Google+596,462Happy Hour is a new hangout (not Hangout On Air), which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). The monthly hangout will start at 10:00 PM (EDT) on the last Wednesday of each month. Grab a coffee, beer, wine, or cocktail and join us as we discuss recent science findings, our favorite science communities and pages on Google+, and ways to improve the Science on Google+ community. This hangout is open to all of the friendly people in the Science on Google+ community. RSVP “yes” if you want an invite for the next Science on Google+ Happy Hour.Science on Google+ Happy Hour2013-10-31 03:00:0068  
ScienceSunday85,118Join hosts +Buddhini Samarasinghe and +Scott Lewis  for another “SciSunHOA”, a live Google+ Hangout On Air broadcast, brought to you by +ScienceSunday. This episode, Professor +Vincent Racaniello joins Buddhini and Scott to discuss his work in virology. Vincent is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University. His research includes the study of poliovirus (Polio), rhinovirus (Common Cold), and other RNA viruses. His work focuses on how our immune systems interact with these viruses, how they cause disease, while also discovering new viruses in wild animals. Outside of the lab, Vincent is involved in many science outreach efforts, including hosting the excellent podcast series This Week in Virology (TWiV). You can read more on his website here (http://www.virology.ws/) We’re all very excited for this episode of “SciSunHOA” as Vincent is not only a brilliant scientist, but also an outstanding science communicator! Questions for Vincent, Buddhini and Scott can be left here in the event page, as well as during the live show through the shares of the HOA, including on Twitter using the hash tag: #SciSunHOA  Going Viral: #SciSun Hangout on Air featuring Vincent Racaniello2013-04-29 00:00:0058  
NASA2,408,076Having trouble watching the event? Try watching directly on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8LI5JiWEfs --------- Have you ever asked a question to someone in space? No? Well now’s your chance. In a first for the agency, NASA will host a Google+ Hangout live with the International Space Station on Feb. 22 from 10:30 a.m EST to 11:30 a.m. EST. Google+ Hangouts allow people to chat face-to-face while thousands more can tune in to watch the conversation live on Google+ or YouTube. This unique opportunity will connect you, our fans, with astronauts living and working on the orbiting laboratory 240 miles above the Earth. During the event, several video questions will be selected and answered by astronauts on the space station and on the ground. Additionally, NASA will ask real-time questions submitted by our followers on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Unique and original questions are more likely to be selected. You can view the Hangout live on the NASA Google+ page or the NASA Television YouTube channel to watch the astronauts answer the questions. SUBMITTING REAL-TIME QUESTIONS To ask a real-time question during the event on Google+ or Twitter, please use the hashtag #askAstro. You can also post a comment on a thread on NASA’s Facebook page that will open for questions on the morning of the event. WATCHING THE GOOGLE+ HANGOUT To join the hangout, and for updates and opportunities to participate in upcoming hangouts, visit NASA's Google+ page at http://plus.google.com/+NASA. During the hangout, astronauts Kevin Ford, Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn will answer questions and provide insights about life aboard the station. Station crews conduct a variety of science experiments and perform station maintenance during their six-month stay on the outpost. Their life aboard the station in near-weightlessness requires unique approaches to everyday activities such as eating, sleeping and exercising.NASA Long-Distance Google+ Hangout to Connect with Space Station2013-02-22 16:30:008329  
Billy Wilson1,546,029Another Episode of my weekly G+ variety show @108595299975404341987 ! The show is one of the largest & longest running on G+ and brings together a variety of the most interesting people on G+ for a hangout! This week is a Science Special in honour of DeSTEMber that Google has been doing this month and we'll be joined by Molecular Biologist @108510686109338749229; Psychology Professor @102953771827580749160; Astronomer & Researcher @109479143173251353583; Scientist & Engineer @107896084561441926092; @106123026171763346651; and Special Musical Guest @106481981826916607971 ! The show will be embedded on this event where you can watch and chat with us and other people watching the show, the recording will be available immediately afterwards. You can get reminders about the show if you RVSP by saying you're "Going". @111188574736819390850 loves to share screenshots of himself posted to the event!  You can watch previous episodes here: http://goo.gl/ceHtH The video is embedded above! TSBW Variety Show #39: Science Special with Live Music from Meri Amber ! (On Air Hangout)2012-12-29 04:00:00105  
Fraser Cain959,639To celebrate the landing of NASA's Curiosity Rover - the Mars Science Laboratory - we'll be running a special live hangout.  In conjunction with @106911959181067745693. We'll have all your favorite space/astronomy journalists on hand to discuss the mission in depth, and celebrate the landing live, when it happens. Join Fraser Cain, @109036978092446954908, @108952536790629690817 and @102887292457967781591 for this special event. Over the course of this 4-hour Google+ Hangout on Air, we'll interview members of the Curiosity team live in the hangout, as well as other special guests from the @111419948721791453320 and the @108759765804984663877. @109479143173251353583 and @107051665537162034944 will be on location at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to interview members of the engineering team, and show you what it's like to be at NASA during this amazing moment. We'll update this event as we lock down more of the guests and participants. See you there! You can follow the hashtag #marshangout   (this will replace our regular Sunday night @100902337165997768522)Google+ Hangout - Curiosity Landing Coverage2012-08-06 05:00:004861  

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 16

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2014-11-14 02:43:22 (16 comments, 4 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Astronomical Sexism
The world has been abuzz with news that the Rosetta spacecraft landed on a comet 500 million kilometres from Earth, in an attempt to collect vital data about the origins of our solar system. Unfortunately, this event is also marred for women in STEM and our allies due to the pervasive power of sexism. Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor chose to wear a shirt with semi-nude women, effectively telling the world and our next generation of STEM workers that sexism is still very much part of our professional culture.

This comes only a couple of weeks since the +The New York Times declared that sexism is dead in academia (http://goo.gl/91IjEq). What this wardrobe choice says is that some male scientists in strategic positions for major science organisations, like the +European Space Agency, ESA (and who is also linked to +NASA) do not see equality as a seriousiss... more »

Most reshares: 8

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2015-04-10 02:39:14 (0 comments, 8 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Clams Containing Contagious Clonal Cancerous Cells
Some of you might remember might previous post about contagious cancers occurring in dogs (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/K5vV3NpbNJD) and in Tasmanian Devil (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/E8TnqYoD1Dj). Now, another possible case of clonal contagious cancer cell line has been discovered, but whereas the previous known examples have been from mammals, this comes from a very different type of animal - clams.
To find out more, see this post by +Ed Yong 
#scienceeveryday  

Most plusones: 26

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2015-06-26 12:59:19 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Parasitising Parasitoids
Yo dawg, I heard you like parasitoids. So I wrote a new Parasite of the Day post here: http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk about a hyperparasitoid that parasitises parasitoids, so you can read about how this hyperparasitoid manages to parasitise parasitoids which are parasitising caterpillars.
http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk
#scienceeveryday  

Latest 50 posts

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2015-06-26 12:59:19 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Parasitising Parasitoids
Yo dawg, I heard you like parasitoids. So I wrote a new Parasite of the Day post here: http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk about a hyperparasitoid that parasitises parasitoids, so you can read about how this hyperparasitoid manages to parasitise parasitoids which are parasitising caterpillars.
http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk
#scienceeveryday  

Parasitising Parasitoids
Yo dawg, I heard you like parasitoids. So I wrote a new Parasite of the Day post here: http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk about a hyperparasitoid that parasitises parasitoids, so you can read about how this hyperparasitoid manages to parasitise parasitoids which are parasitising caterpillars.
http://goo.gl/JvS9Gk
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-06-21 22:46:06 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Dead Clade Walking
Koolasuchus was the last of the temnospondyl amphibians, it lived alongside dinosaurs such as Leaellynasaura in southern Australia during the Early Cretaceous. It was the final surviving member of a group which has been a Dead Clade Walking since the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event.
This weekend, I decided to draw to draw a Koolasuchus as Ononoki Yotsugi - a character from the Monogatari series anime to explain the concept of Dead Clade Walking

Dead Clade Walking
Koolasuchus was the last of the temnospondyl amphibians, it lived alongside dinosaurs such as Leaellynasaura in southern Australia during the Early Cretaceous. It was the final surviving member of a group which has been a Dead Clade Walking since the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event.
This weekend, I decided to draw to draw a Koolasuchus as Ononoki Yotsugi - a character from the Monogatari series anime to explain the concept of Dead Clade Walking___

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2015-06-12 23:29:20 (4 comments, 2 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Promiscuous Ladybirds Pay The Price When It Comes To Parasites
There is a new guest post at the Parasite of the Dayblog! This one is by Katie O'Dwyer (‪https://sites.google.com/site/katieodwyer00/‬) who recently completed her PhD at the University of Otago. She has written a post about a parasitic mites which makes a living as a sexually-transmitted infection between ladybird beetles.

#scienceeveryday  

Promiscuous Ladybirds Pay The Price When It Comes To Parasites
There is a new guest post at the Parasite of the Dayblog! This one is by Katie O'Dwyer (‪https://sites.google.com/site/katieodwyer00/‬) who recently completed her PhD at the University of Otago. She has written a post about a parasitic mites which makes a living as a sexually-transmitted infection between ladybird beetles.

#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-06-10 01:58:07 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Another day, another prominent male scientist reveals himself to be a completely sexist douche-canoe. For every Tim Hunt, there are a bunch of other male scientists with similar sexist attitudes who simply don't say that stuff in public. And for every man like that, there are a group of apologists waiting in the wings, ready to jump to their defence, and excuse their sexism on the basis of their work - as if somehow being good at your job gives you a free pass to be a complete asshole.
Men, if you are in a position of power or authority and you decide to be quiet about this stuff or simply let it slide, then you are complicit in perpetuating sexism in science - because this shit is everywhere and it happens all the damn time.

Lovesick Crybabies?

The problem with "girls" in lab according to Nobelist Tim Hunt: "You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.” Hunt went on to explain that he was in favor of "single sex" labs although he didn't want to "stand in the way" of women.

Sadly, this sort of rubbish is routine for women in STEM. 
#EverydaySexism  ___Another day, another prominent male scientist reveals himself to be a completely sexist douche-canoe. For every Tim Hunt, there are a bunch of other male scientists with similar sexist attitudes who simply don't say that stuff in public. And for every man like that, there are a group of apologists waiting in the wings, ready to jump to their defence, and excuse their sexism on the basis of their work - as if somehow being good at your job gives you a free pass to be a complete asshole.
Men, if you are in a position of power or authority and you decide to be quiet about this stuff or simply let it slide, then you are complicit in perpetuating sexism in science - because this shit is everywhere and it happens all the damn time.

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2015-06-09 04:08:46 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Imposter Stories
Earlier today, I was on ABC New England recording a new episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment that I go on once a month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talked about Cuckoo Bees and Cuckoo Birds - animals that make a living by pretending to be something they are not. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment, which you can see below. To find out more about these natural-born imposters, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
P.S. This will most likely be lost on most listeners, but there are numerous subtle references to the anime series Nisemonogatari which I have woven into that radio segment and its associating drawing. 

#scienceeveryday  

Imposter Stories
Earlier today, I was on ABC New England recording a new episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment that I go on once a month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talked about Cuckoo Bees and Cuckoo Birds - animals that make a living by pretending to be something they are not. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment, which you can see below. To find out more about these natural-born imposters, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
P.S. This will most likely be lost on most listeners, but there are numerous subtle references to the anime series Nisemonogatari which I have woven into that radio segment and its associating drawing. 

#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-06-05 01:05:45 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Better Advice From Science Careers
This is a follow-up to a previous published (but quickly retracted) post by Science Careers where a postdoc was suggested to "put up with" her adviser leering down her shirt - to basically "lean back and think of the science".
Due to the flood of criticism that "advice" had (rightfully) attracted, Science Careers has published a follow-up with a collection of posts outlining why tolerating sexual harassment is a bad thing (beyond the blinding obvious).

Better Advice From Science Careers
This is a follow-up to a previous published (but quickly retracted) post by Science Careers where a postdoc was suggested to "put up with" her adviser leering down her shirt - to basically "lean back and think of the science".
Due to the flood of criticism that "advice" had (rightfully) attracted, Science Careers has published a follow-up with a collection of posts outlining why tolerating sexual harassment is a bad thing (beyond the blinding obvious).___

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2015-06-03 01:44:22 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Lean Back And Think Of The Science
Recently, Science magazine had to retract an advice post in which a postdoc was suggested to "put up with" having her advisor leering down her shirt - to basically "lean back and think of the science".
(The original post can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20150601150626/http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2015_06_01/caredit.a1500140)
I don't think I need to explain why this is really bad advice. Additionally, there are many other people who have already explained what's wrong with this kind of "advice", in a more eloquent manner than I can. So here are a collection of posts pertaining to this issue:
By Christina Richey from Women in Astronomy
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-response-to-bothered-from-science.html
By+... more »

Lean Back And Think Of The Science
Recently, Science magazine had to retract an advice post in which a postdoc was suggested to "put up with" having her advisor leering down her shirt - to basically "lean back and think of the science".
(The original post can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20150601150626/http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2015_06_01/caredit.a1500140)
I don't think I need to explain why this is really bad advice. Additionally, there are many other people who have already explained what's wrong with this kind of "advice", in a more eloquent manner than I can. So here are a collection of posts pertaining to this issue:
By Christina Richey from Women in Astronomy
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-response-to-bothered-from-science.html
By +Philip Plait 
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2015/06/02/sexual_harassment_in_the_workplace_advice_for_men.html
By +Janet D. Stemwedel 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetstemwedel/2015/06/01/advice-to-put-up-with-ogling-adviser-hurts-scientists-and-science/___

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2015-05-29 15:18:14 (4 comments, 4 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

Hidden Passengers
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post: http://goo.gl/s56Tb9 
The European earwig, Forficula auricularia, was introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century, and when arrived in their new home, they also brought along a wormy passenger inside them. To find out more, read more new post about this introduced duo here: http://goo.gl/s56Tb9

#scienceeveryday 

Hidden Passengers
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post: http://goo.gl/s56Tb9 
The European earwig, Forficula auricularia, was introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century, and when arrived in their new home, they also brought along a wormy passenger inside them. To find out more, read more new post about this introduced duo here: http://goo.gl/s56Tb9

#scienceeveryday ___

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2015-05-22 04:41:18 (0 comments, 7 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

Ancient Invader
The pentastomids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentastomida) or "tongue worms" are a bizarre group of parasitic arthropods that infect the respiratory tract of various vertebrate animals - mostly reptiles. As their name indicates, they resemble worms more than "typical" arthropods and their evolutionary origin is shrouded in mystery. Specimens of fossil pentastomids have been found from deposits dating back from the Cambrian period which are about 500 million years old - they resembled modern tongue worms, but the specimen were not found associated with any host animal.

Now, this new fossil might just hold the key to their evolutionary origin - a 425 million year old tongue worm caught in the act of supposedly invading its host. Unlike living tongue worm, instead of a vertebrate, this little parasite (named Invavita piratica) was latching... more »

Ancient Invader
The pentastomids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentastomida) or "tongue worms" are a bizarre group of parasitic arthropods that infect the respiratory tract of various vertebrate animals - mostly reptiles. As their name indicates, they resemble worms more than "typical" arthropods and their evolutionary origin is shrouded in mystery. Specimens of fossil pentastomids have been found from deposits dating back from the Cambrian period which are about 500 million years old - they resembled modern tongue worms, but the specimen were not found associated with any host animal.

Now, this new fossil might just hold the key to their evolutionary origin - a 425 million year old tongue worm caught in the act of supposedly invading its host. Unlike living tongue worm, instead of a vertebrate, this little parasite (named Invavita piratica) was latching onto a crustacean. This mean that while the evolutionary origin of this group of parasite is indeed very ancient, they didn't start out infecting vertebrates, but "broke into" parasitism by the way of parasitising arthropods, and at some point between now and 425 million years ago, they made a jump to vertebrate animals where they remain to this day.

One thing to note is that modern tongue worms have a complex life cycle where the larval parasite infects a prey animal, which are eaten by a predatory animal where the tongue worm reach sexual maturity. This fossil may indicate this life cycle had evolved through a process of "upward incorporation" (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6957/fig_tab/nature02012_F1.html), where the parasite had evolved the ability to live on despite having its original host eaten by a predator simply as an insurance-type survival strategy (this happens in some modern parasites too), but over time it eventually incorporated the predator as a usual part of its life cycle. Maybe as their original crustacean hosts were being eaten more often by newly evolved predatory vertebrate animals, the tongue worm simply co-opted these new-fangled predators into life cycle routine.

Note: the paper is not available yet, so this is just my superficial, face-value impression of this find. I would love to read and scrutinise the finding in detail for myself later. Also, I am both excited and frustrated by this fossil because I would have loved to include this in a manuscript that I just submitted about a month ago - I can even picture exactly where I would fit in the discussion of this fossil!!!

#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-05-15 13:05:46 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Monkey Business
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post! This post features a long term study on the impact of a species of tapeworm on a population of gelada baboons. Also, it features a monkey named Frodo and the parasite is closely related to a species which starred in an episode of House!
#scienceeveryday  

Monkey Business
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post! This post features a long term study on the impact of a species of tapeworm on a population of gelada baboons. Also, it features a monkey named Frodo and the parasite is closely related to a species which starred in an episode of House!
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-05-12 03:38:19 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Some Like It Hot
Earlier today, I was on ABC New England recording a new episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about the Alvinellids - a family of segmented worms that thrive around deep sea hydrothermal vents, living at temperature and conditions that would normally kill most animals. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment which you can see below. To find out more about these denizens of the deep sea, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
#scienceeveryday  

Some Like It Hot
Earlier today, I was on ABC New England recording a new episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about the Alvinellids - a family of segmented worms that thrive around deep sea hydrothermal vents, living at temperature and conditions that would normally kill most animals. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment which you can see below. To find out more about these denizens of the deep sea, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-05-06 01:31:58 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

An Oddity
In which I decided to jump on the Yi qi / Jurassic Wyvern bandwagon and draw this odd bat-winged dinosaur. Of course, being me, I cannot  simply do a "normal" reconstruction of this dinosaur - no, I've decided to draw Yi qi as Oshino Shinobu - a character from the Monogatari series... Because reasons.
Also, it seems drawing prehistoric animals as anime characters has totally become a thing I do semi-regularly now... Did I just accidentally PalaeoAnime?
#sciart  

An Oddity
In which I decided to jump on the Yi qi / Jurassic Wyvern bandwagon and draw this odd bat-winged dinosaur. Of course, being me, I cannot  simply do a "normal" reconstruction of this dinosaur - no, I've decided to draw Yi qi as Oshino Shinobu - a character from the Monogatari series... Because reasons.
Also, it seems drawing prehistoric animals as anime characters has totally become a thing I do semi-regularly now... Did I just accidentally PalaeoAnime?
#sciart  ___

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2015-04-27 00:10:39 (4 comments, 3 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Evening Rendezvous
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about pea crabs tickling mussels under the cover of darkness - and no, that is not an euphemism for anything, that's literally what the post is about. Go check it out!
#scienceeveryday  

Evening Rendezvous
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about pea crabs tickling mussels under the cover of darkness - and no, that is not an euphemism for anything, that's literally what the post is about. Go check it out!
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-04-16 00:24:35 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Egg Wars
Most people who look at a bird's nest might not think much of it, but it can be the front line of a perpetual battle that has been fought over many millennia between brood parasites and their hosts. Brood parasites are birds like cuckoo and cowbirds that have evolved to use other species of birds to raise their young.
This of course comes at a cost to the host bird, which might have less energy to take care of their own offspring which, in some cases are outright killed by the brood parasites. So the hosts have in turn evolved strategies for detecting and evicting any such parasites, which means cuckoos and cowbirds have also evolved methods of bypassing such defences.
This article discusses the fascinating details of this perpetual conflict between brood parasites and their hosts. It is a evolutionary tale of surveillance, deception, detection, aggression and... more »

Egg Wars
Most people who look at a bird's nest might not think much of it, but it can be the front line of a perpetual battle that has been fought over many millennia between brood parasites and their hosts. Brood parasites are birds like cuckoo and cowbirds that have evolved to use other species of birds to raise their young.
This of course comes at a cost to the host bird, which might have less energy to take care of their own offspring which, in some cases are outright killed by the brood parasites. So the hosts have in turn evolved strategies for detecting and evicting any such parasites, which means cuckoos and cowbirds have also evolved methods of bypassing such defences.
This article discusses the fascinating details of this perpetual conflict between brood parasites and their hosts. It is a evolutionary tale of surveillance, deception, detection, aggression and countermeasures worthy of any spy drama.
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-04-14 12:30:02 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Call Of The Sirens
Earlier, I recorded an episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about Sirens - which are eel-shaped, fully-aquatic salamanders that live in freshwater habitats in south eastern United States and northern Mexico. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment which you can see below. To find out more about the Sirens, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
#scienceeveryday   #sciart  

Call Of The Sirens
Earlier, I recorded an episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about Sirens - which are eel-shaped, fully-aquatic salamanders that live in freshwater habitats in south eastern United States and northern Mexico. As usual, I also drew the art that goes with the radio segment which you can see below. To find out more about the Sirens, follow the link below to download an MP3 of that segment.
#scienceeveryday   #sciart  ___

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2015-04-10 12:32:42 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

2 Parasites, 1 Mosquito
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about what happens when two different species of microsporidian parasites find themselves infecting the same mosquito host.
#scienceeveryday  

2 Parasites, 1 Mosquito
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about what happens when two different species of microsporidian parasites find themselves infecting the same mosquito host.
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-04-10 02:39:14 (0 comments, 8 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Clams Containing Contagious Clonal Cancerous Cells
Some of you might remember might previous post about contagious cancers occurring in dogs (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/K5vV3NpbNJD) and in Tasmanian Devil (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/E8TnqYoD1Dj). Now, another possible case of clonal contagious cancer cell line has been discovered, but whereas the previous known examples have been from mammals, this comes from a very different type of animal - clams.
To find out more, see this post by +Ed Yong 
#scienceeveryday  

Clams Containing Contagious Clonal Cancerous Cells
Some of you might remember might previous post about contagious cancers occurring in dogs (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/K5vV3NpbNJD) and in Tasmanian Devil (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/E8TnqYoD1Dj). Now, another possible case of clonal contagious cancer cell line has been discovered, but whereas the previous known examples have been from mammals, this comes from a very different type of animal - clams.
To find out more, see this post by +Ed Yong 
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-03-26 11:45:40 (1 comments, 3 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Deadly Serenade
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about a parasitoid fly and why the songs of male cicadas might bring them some unwanted attention. Emblemasoma erro is a parasitic fly that lays its maggot in the body of cicadas - my new post is about how they track down their prey and what the maggots do to their cicada host.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #entomology  

Deadly Serenade
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about a parasitoid fly and why the songs of male cicadas might bring them some unwanted attention. Emblemasoma erro is a parasitic fly that lays its maggot in the body of cicadas - my new post is about how they track down their prey and what the maggots do to their cicada host.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #entomology  ___

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2015-03-24 13:17:28 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Parasite Perfume
Malaria is caused by single-cell protozoan in the genus Plasmodium and it is one of the most successful parasites in the world. It uses the mosquito as a site for sexual reproduction, as well as a flying hypodermic syringe to inoculate any hosts that the insect feeds on with infective stages of the parasite.
While female mosquitoes would usually feed on blood as a source of protein for egg development, she also feed on sugar as a source on energy, and her main source of the latter usually comes in the form of nectar. While Plasmodium already resides in one of her food source (blood), it seems that it can maximise its chances of encountering a mosquito by causing the host to also emit a lemony perfume which mimics the mosquito's other food source - nectar.
To find out more, see this post by +Carl Zimmer 
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology  
P.S. Seeal... more »

Parasite Perfume
Malaria is caused by single-cell protozoan in the genus Plasmodium and it is one of the most successful parasites in the world. It uses the mosquito as a site for sexual reproduction, as well as a flying hypodermic syringe to inoculate any hosts that the insect feeds on with infective stages of the parasite.
While female mosquitoes would usually feed on blood as a source of protein for egg development, she also feed on sugar as a source on energy, and her main source of the latter usually comes in the form of nectar. While Plasmodium already resides in one of her food source (blood), it seems that it can maximise its chances of encountering a mosquito by causing the host to also emit a lemony perfume which mimics the mosquito's other food source - nectar.
To find out more, see this post by +Carl Zimmer 
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology  
P.S. See also this post written by one of my students in 2013 about how a species of malaria may cause its bird host to become more attractive to mosquitoes. http://dailyparasite.blogspot.com/2013/08/plasmodium-relictum_15.html___

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2015-03-17 11:41:08 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Scourge Of The Teredo
Earlier, I recorded an episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about shipworms - a peculiar wood-eating mollusc that had plague wood structures at sea (that includes any wooden sailing ships) throughout human history. I talk a bit about its biology and what we can learn from the extraordinary partnership that it has formed with wood-digesting symbiotic bacteria.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #mollusc  

Scourge Of The Teredo
Earlier, I recorded an episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This week, I talk about shipworms - a peculiar wood-eating mollusc that had plague wood structures at sea (that includes any wooden sailing ships) throughout human history. I talk a bit about its biology and what we can learn from the extraordinary partnership that it has formed with wood-digesting symbiotic bacteria.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #mollusc  ___

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2015-03-15 12:08:35 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Shrimp of Prey
I came up this speculative evolution creature while reading the recently published paper which described Aegirocassis benmoulae - a 2 m long filter-feeding anomalocaridid that lived during the Ordovician period. 
(see: https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/UBGu4kxxe9n)
Together with species such as Tamisiocaris borealis which lived during the Cambrian, and the many other species of post-Cambrian anomalocaridids, they show that these extinct arthropods had occupied a much wider range of ecological niches than we had previously expected. 

So did the anomalocaridids evolved other ecomorphs that we we don't know about (yet)? Many large filter-feeders, such as the baleen whales, or the filter-feeding pachycormid fishes which lived during the Mesozoic, evolved from ancestors that were nektonic macrophagous predators (predators that cruise the mid-waterfo... more »

Shrimp of Prey
I came up this speculative evolution creature while reading the recently published paper which described Aegirocassis benmoulae - a 2 m long filter-feeding anomalocaridid that lived during the Ordovician period. 
(see: https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/UBGu4kxxe9n)
Together with species such as Tamisiocaris borealis which lived during the Cambrian, and the many other species of post-Cambrian anomalocaridids, they show that these extinct arthropods had occupied a much wider range of ecological niches than we had previously expected. 

So did the anomalocaridids evolved other ecomorphs that we we don't know about (yet)? Many large filter-feeders, such as the baleen whales, or the filter-feeding pachycormid fishes which lived during the Mesozoic, evolved from ancestors that were nektonic macrophagous predators (predators that cruise the mid-water for small to medium-size prey). Indeed the authors of the paper described A. benmoulae as one such example, having evolved within a clade of predatory anomalocaridid. 

So what other examples of convergent evolution which are comparable to those in modern oceanic fauna which might be found among the anomalocaridids? We already have a giant filter-feeder in the form of A. benmoulae, what about a pelagic, fast-swimming, macrophagous anomalocaridids? A large(-ish) streamlined predator that filled a similar ecological niches to that occupied by tuna, billfish, mako sharks, and oceanic dolphins today.

This is Lamnicaris - or how I imagine an anomalocaridid that occupied that niche might have looked like, swimming in the sea alongside A. bemoulae. It is named after the the Lamna - the Greek word for fish of prey, which in turn was named after Lamia of Greek mythology. The front grasping appendages of Lamnicaris are very robust, armed with serrated spines for cutting up prey. Those appendages are usually tucked away for streamlining and Lamnicaris only extend them when it is within close proximity to its prey.

The streamlined head-shield is inspired by that of Hurdia and the pair of "fins" situated just behind the head - which functions like dorsal fins on tuna or Mako sharks - are based on those found on Schinderhannes bartelsi. Taxonomically, Lamnicaris is in the Hurdiidae family alongside Aegirocassis benmoulae and Hurdia spp.
#SciArt   #scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-03-12 23:53:55 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Giant Arthropod And Its Tiny Prey
For the tl;dr crowd, back in the Ordovician period (between 485-443 million years ago), the sea was inhabited by 2 m-long, centipede-shaped arthropod that filtered the water for plankton.
I am a big fan of the anomalocaridid - or "Demon Cuttlecrabs". Most of the known anomalocaridid are active predators and I was quite excited when scientists discovered a filter-feeding anomalocaridid call Tamisiocaris borealis https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/FS53Z4zDSoT
- but that did not prepare me for Aegirocassis benmoulae - a 2 m long, centipede-shaped filter-feeder with a head-shield that looks like the front end of a cruise missile.
For more on this bizarre beast, follow the link below to read +Brian Switek's post on this amazing discovery.
#scienceeveryday  

Giant Arthropod And Its Tiny Prey
For the tl;dr crowd, back in the Ordovician period (between 485-443 million years ago), the sea was inhabited by 2 m-long, centipede-shaped arthropod that filtered the water for plankton.
I am a big fan of the anomalocaridid - or "Demon Cuttlecrabs". Most of the known anomalocaridid are active predators and I was quite excited when scientists discovered a filter-feeding anomalocaridid call Tamisiocaris borealis https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/FS53Z4zDSoT
- but that did not prepare me for Aegirocassis benmoulae - a 2 m long, centipede-shaped filter-feeder with a head-shield that looks like the front end of a cruise missile.
For more on this bizarre beast, follow the link below to read +Brian Switek's post on this amazing discovery.
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-03-11 23:16:17 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Under The Skin
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about a rather large parasitic nematode that lives under the skin of the pygmy sperm whale - Kogia breviceps.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday  

Under The Skin
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about a rather large parasitic nematode that lives under the skin of the pygmy sperm whale - Kogia breviceps.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday  ___

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2015-02-26 01:29:23 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Croc Country
In my first year zoology course, I try to get the student to realise "living fossil" is a bullshit term, and the idea that animals like crocodiles have been "unchanged for hundreds and millions of years" is utter dross cooked up by our limited perspective, having only existed on this planet for a fleeting moment.
Far from being "unchanged", the crocodilians we see today can be considered as a remnant of a much vaster array of different species which once existed. A recent discovery in Peru shows just how diverse crocodilians had been in the past. In the Amazon bonebeds, palaeontologists discovered at least 7 different species of crocodilians, all exploiting different ecological niches.
There's Purussaurus - a massive carnivore which grew to over 12 metres long and a bite force measured at about 69000 Newton... more »

Croc Country
In my first year zoology course, I try to get the student to realise "living fossil" is a bullshit term, and the idea that animals like crocodiles have been "unchanged for hundreds and millions of years" is utter dross cooked up by our limited perspective, having only existed on this planet for a fleeting moment.
Far from being "unchanged", the crocodilians we see today can be considered as a remnant of a much vaster array of different species which once existed. A recent discovery in Peru shows just how diverse crocodilians had been in the past. In the Amazon bonebeds, palaeontologists discovered at least 7 different species of crocodilians, all exploiting different ecological niches.
There's Purussaurus - a massive carnivore which grew to over 12 metres long and a bite force measured at about 69000 Newton (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117944).
Then there's Mourasuchus - a similarly-sized crocodilian which instead jaws shaped like that of a pelican (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23193096).
And one of the new species discovered by this team was Gnatusuchus - a crocodilian with a shovel-like jaw, lined with short, globular teeth which indicates it probably crunched on shellfish.
Those species and more lived merely 10 or so million years ago in the Miocene. And before that, during the Mesozoic there was a bewildering array of crocodilians of all shapes and sizes living alongside the non-avian dinosaurs.
Crocodiles are not "living fossils" which have been "unchanged for millions of years" - we have merely label them as such due to our own ignorance and preconceptions.
#scienceeveryday  ___

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2015-02-24 11:28:02 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Full Spectrum Mimic
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about )Gelis agilis_, a parasitic wasp that:
(1) Parasitised other parasitic wasps, making it a hyperparasitoid,
(2) Does a really good impersonation of an ant - from how it looks like, to the way it acts, and even how it smells like.
My new post is about why such "full spectrum mimicry" pays off in this tiny, flightless hyperparasitoid wasp.
#scienceeveryday   #insects   #parasitology   #entomology   #parasitismeveryday  

Full Spectrum Mimic
I've written a new Parasite of the Day post! This one is about )Gelis agilis_, a parasitic wasp that:
(1) Parasitised other parasitic wasps, making it a hyperparasitoid,
(2) Does a really good impersonation of an ant - from how it looks like, to the way it acts, and even how it smells like.
My new post is about why such "full spectrum mimicry" pays off in this tiny, flightless hyperparasitoid wasp.
#scienceeveryday   #insects   #parasitology   #entomology   #parasitismeveryday  ___

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2015-02-17 03:14:07 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Do Stunned Fish Dream Of Electric Eels?
This morning, I recorded another episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This time I talked about Electrophorus electricus - the Electric Eel and other related electric fish that live in the freshwater systems of Neotropical South America Follow the link below to find out more about this fish's shocking power.
#scienceeveryday   #scicomm   #ichthyology   #freshwaterfish  

Do Stunned Fish Dream Of Electric Eels?
This morning, I recorded another episode of Creepy but Curious - a regular radio segment on ABC New England that I go on every month to talk about weird and wonderful animals. This time I talked about Electrophorus electricus - the Electric Eel and other related electric fish that live in the freshwater systems of Neotropical South America Follow the link below to find out more about this fish's shocking power.
#scienceeveryday   #scicomm   #ichthyology   #freshwaterfish  ___

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2015-02-12 12:07:44 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Darwin And His Barnacles
Today is #DarwinDay ! I'm not sure if many people know this but Charles Darwin actually spent eight years describing many, many species of barnacles, and that they actually played a key role in the formulation of his theory of natural selection. One of the species that he described is Anelasma squalicola - a bizarre shark-infecting parasite. I wrote a blog post about this parasite back in September 2014, and I thought today is the perfect day to reshare it.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology  

The Shark-Eater
A few months ago, I wrote a Dispatch for the journal Current Biology about a new study on Anelasma squalicola - a bizarre species of barnacle that infects the velvet belly lantern shark. Unfortunately, that article is behind a paywall, so I decided to write a new blog post for a more general audience based on the content of that Dispatch. To find out more about this weird parasite, follow the link below.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #shark   #marinelife   #marinebiology  ___Darwin And His Barnacles
Today is #DarwinDay ! I'm not sure if many people know this but Charles Darwin actually spent eight years describing many, many species of barnacles, and that they actually played a key role in the formulation of his theory of natural selection. One of the species that he described is Anelasma squalicola - a bizarre shark-infecting parasite. I wrote a blog post about this parasite back in September 2014, and I thought today is the perfect day to reshare it.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology  

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2015-02-12 11:55:50 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Vulture Culture
What does pigeon canker, a sexually-transmitted infection, and this species of vulture parasite have in common? You can find out in my new Parasite of the Day post!
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #biology  

Vulture Culture
What does pigeon canker, a sexually-transmitted infection, and this species of vulture parasite have in common? You can find out in my new Parasite of the Day post!
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #biology  ___

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2015-01-29 00:50:05 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

Pandas Perish due to Pathologies from a Persistent Parasite
To say that Giant Pandas are totally adorable is probably one of the least controversial statements you can make, but these charismatic megafauna are currently facing a serious threat from within, in the form of a deadly parasite. In this new article for The Conversation, I wrote about Baylisascaris schroederi, a species of parasitic worm that is currently the leading cause of death among wild giant pandas.
#scienceeveryday   #pandabear   #parasitology   #conservation  

Pandas Perish due to Pathologies from a Persistent Parasite
To say that Giant Pandas are totally adorable is probably one of the least controversial statements you can make, but these charismatic megafauna are currently facing a serious threat from within, in the form of a deadly parasite. In this new article for The Conversation, I wrote about Baylisascaris schroederi, a species of parasitic worm that is currently the leading cause of death among wild giant pandas.
#scienceeveryday   #pandabear   #parasitology   #conservation  ___

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2015-01-27 03:18:07 (3 comments, 3 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Insey Winsey Vegetarian Spider
The radio show I was doing last year - Creepy but Curious - is back for 2015! This morning I kicked off this season by talking about Bagheera kiplingi a little jumping spider that feed mostly on the food nubs grown by acacias trees that use ant colonies as body guards. Follow the link below to find out more about this incredible creature.
#scienceeveryday   #spider   #scicomm   #ants  

Insey Winsey Vegetarian Spider
The radio show I was doing last year - Creepy but Curious - is back for 2015! This morning I kicked off this season by talking about Bagheera kiplingi a little jumping spider that feed mostly on the food nubs grown by acacias trees that use ant colonies as body guards. Follow the link below to find out more about this incredible creature.
#scienceeveryday   #spider   #scicomm   #ants  ___

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2015-01-26 13:45:19 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Giant Pandas And a Problematic Parasite
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post, in time for #sciencesunday ! This post is about Baylisascaris schroederi a species of parasitic roundworm which is currently one of the leading causes of death in Giant Pandas. A group of scientists conducted a study on the population genetics of these worms - follow the link below to see what they found out about this panda killer.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #endangeredspecies   #giantpandas  

Giant Pandas And a Problematic Parasite
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post, in time for #sciencesunday ! This post is about Baylisascaris schroederi a species of parasitic roundworm which is currently one of the leading causes of death in Giant Pandas. A group of scientists conducted a study on the population genetics of these worms - follow the link below to see what they found out about this panda killer.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #endangeredspecies   #giantpandas  ___

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2015-01-18 12:03:54 (0 comments, 6 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Migratory Birds Catches The Worms
Sharing for #scienceeveryday  and #sciencesunday , here's a blog post about a paper I co-authored with Dr. Janet Koprivnikar (http://www.ryerson.ca/cab/facultyandstaff/janet-koprivnikar.html). This paper was recently published in the journal Oikos and it is comparative analysis of the parasitic nematode (roundworm) fauna found in migratory birds versus their migratory cousins.
In our study, we found that for any given order of birds, migratory species tend to have a more diverse array of nematodes infecting them compared with the non-migratory species. In the blog post we wrote for the Oikos blog, we summarised some of the potential reasons why that might be the case and some of the implications of this result - you can read all about it here: http://www.oikosjournal.org/blog/travelling-around-catch-more-parasites
P.S. While working on thispa... more »

Migratory Birds Catches The Worms
Sharing for #scienceeveryday  and #sciencesunday , here's a blog post about a paper I co-authored with Dr. Janet Koprivnikar (http://www.ryerson.ca/cab/facultyandstaff/janet-koprivnikar.html). This paper was recently published in the journal Oikos and it is comparative analysis of the parasitic nematode (roundworm) fauna found in migratory birds versus their migratory cousins.
In our study, we found that for any given order of birds, migratory species tend to have a more diverse array of nematodes infecting them compared with the non-migratory species. In the blog post we wrote for the Oikos blog, we summarised some of the potential reasons why that might be the case and some of the implications of this result - you can read all about it here: http://www.oikosjournal.org/blog/travelling-around-catch-more-parasites
P.S. While working on this paper, I was also inspired to indulge in a bit of #sciart  and created this: http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Avitium-Vermes-and-Scientiamancer-492114898
#parasitology   #ecology   #ornithology  ___

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2015-01-16 02:43:54 (2 comments, 5 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

Amphipods With Exquisite Exoskeleton
Most people usually don't think of crustaceans as cute or beautiful, indeed most people probably wouldn't even think or know of amphipods if you mention "crustaceans". But while amphipods are usually tiny creatures (with the exception of beasts like this: http://www.livescience.com/18287-supergiant-crustaceans-deep-sea.html), they are extremely diverse and found in many different ecosystem all over the world. On top of that, as you will see in the post (by +Christopher Mah) below, some of them are simply beautiful.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #crustacean  

Amphipods With Exquisite Exoskeleton
Most people usually don't think of crustaceans as cute or beautiful, indeed most people probably wouldn't even think or know of amphipods if you mention "crustaceans". But while amphipods are usually tiny creatures (with the exception of beasts like this: http://www.livescience.com/18287-supergiant-crustaceans-deep-sea.html), they are extremely diverse and found in many different ecosystem all over the world. On top of that, as you will see in the post (by +Christopher Mah) below, some of them are simply beautiful.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #crustacean  ___

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2015-01-11 11:52:06 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

A Parasite With A Porpoise
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post - in time for #sciencesunday ! In this post, I wrote about a peculiar parasitic copepod call Pennella balaenopterae that has been found on some porpoises from the Aegean Sea. Not only is it an odd-looking creature, P. balaenopterae is an oddball among oddballs as it parasitise whales, whereas all its closest relatives parasitise fishes. To find out more, follow the link below.
#parasitology   #marinemammals   #biology   #parasitismeveryday   #marinebiology   #marinelife  

A Parasite With A Porpoise
I have written a new Parasite of the Day blog post - in time for #sciencesunday ! In this post, I wrote about a peculiar parasitic copepod call Pennella balaenopterae that has been found on some porpoises from the Aegean Sea. Not only is it an odd-looking creature, P. balaenopterae is an oddball among oddballs as it parasitise whales, whereas all its closest relatives parasitise fishes. To find out more, follow the link below.
#parasitology   #marinemammals   #biology   #parasitismeveryday   #marinebiology   #marinelife  ___

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2015-01-07 14:19:54 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

Bring Me Ant Heads
The Phoridae is a family of tiny parasitoid flies that have a habit of decapitating ants. I have previously posted about them here:
https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/MWKLUSWeS6k
https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/9yyzME7YmH2
In a newly published study, it seems that for these flies, there's more than one way be take off an ant's head. For more, see this post by +Ed Yong.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #entomology   #parasitismeveryday   

Bring Me Ant Heads
The Phoridae is a family of tiny parasitoid flies that have a habit of decapitating ants. I have previously posted about them here:
https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/MWKLUSWeS6k
https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/9yyzME7YmH2
In a newly published study, it seems that for these flies, there's more than one way be take off an ant's head. For more, see this post by +Ed Yong.
#scienceeveryday   #parasitology   #entomology   #parasitismeveryday   ___

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2015-01-02 22:56:19 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

My 2014 In Art
I noticed that I don't post about art as much as I used to on G+ any more (at least on my main public stream), which is bit of a shame because I've been just as active in 2014 as I had been in the previous year. Below is a collage of some of the art I have made in 2014 and links to them.
The Little Jawless Mermaid
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/The-Little-Jawless-Mermaid-431036633
Ursula from The Little Mermaid re-imagined
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Uuhruula-Ursula-from-TLM-re-imagined-442220777
Home Sweet Home (inspired by Phronima: http://dailyparasite.blogspot.com/2014/01/phronima-sp.html)
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Home-Sweet-Home-436115507
Anelasma squalicola (see associated blog post here: http://dailyparasite.blogspot.com/2014/09/anelasma-squalicola-revisited.htmlmore »

My 2014 In Art
I noticed that I don't post about art as much as I used to on G+ any more (at least on my main public stream), which is bit of a shame because I've been just as active in 2014 as I had been in the previous year. Below is a collage of some of the art I have made in 2014 and links to them.
The Little Jawless Mermaid
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/The-Little-Jawless-Mermaid-431036633
Ursula from The Little Mermaid re-imagined
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Uuhruula-Ursula-from-TLM-re-imagined-442220777
Home Sweet Home (inspired by Phronima: http://dailyparasite.blogspot.com/2014/01/phronima-sp.html)
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Home-Sweet-Home-436115507
Anelasma squalicola (see associated blog post here: http://dailyparasite.blogspot.com/2014/09/anelasma-squalicola-revisited.html
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Anelasma-squalicola-and-Etmopterus-spinax-462391332
Brood Beast And Symbiomice (which was featured on the Symbiartic blog http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2014/09/15/brood-beast-tommy-leung/ by +Glendon Mellow)
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Brood-Beast-and-Symbiomice-479329460
Scientiamancer
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Scientiamancer-revisited-489176785
Avitium Vermes and Scientiamancer
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Avitium-Vermes-and-Scientiamancer-492114898
And my final piece for 2014 is as esoteric as they come - an unlikely combination two of my favourite things - Triassic reptiles and #puellamagimadokamagica ...
Puella Magi Reptilia Triassica
http://the-episiarch.deviantart.com/art/Puella-Magi-Reptilia-Triassica-495998325
#sciart  ___

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2014-12-30 11:11:38 (1 comments, 7 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Facts Of Life On Planet Parasite
I have written an end-of-2014 round-up post for the Parasite of the Day blog! A look back on 2014 and some of the interesting parasite stories that were covered on the blog this year.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday  

Facts Of Life On Planet Parasite
I have written an end-of-2014 round-up post for the Parasite of the Day blog! A look back on 2014 and some of the interesting parasite stories that were covered on the blog this year.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday  ___

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2014-12-21 02:09:04 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Dinosaurs At The Zoo
I went to +Taronga Zoo yesterday and took plenty of photos. I also heard they have some really cool dinosaurs there, which is 100% true (https://twitter.com/The_Episiarch/status/546264652863111168). I took a photo of a Cassowary which I've turned into this response image. From now on, this is going to be my main Go To Response Pic for any fools who say "Dinosaurs with feathers aren't scary!" and "Scientists should stop pointing out inaccuracies in Jurassic World!"

Dinosaurs At The Zoo
I went to +Taronga Zoo yesterday and took plenty of photos. I also heard they have some really cool dinosaurs there, which is 100% true (https://twitter.com/The_Episiarch/status/546264652863111168). I took a photo of a Cassowary which I've turned into this response image. From now on, this is going to be my main Go To Response Pic for any fools who say "Dinosaurs with feathers aren't scary!" and "Scientists should stop pointing out inaccuracies in Jurassic World!"___

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2014-12-19 13:33:12 (5 comments, 5 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Say Hello To My Little Fungal Friend
I have previously posted about nematophagous fungi - these are fungi that trap and kill microscopic nematode worms in the soil (https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/eRvrXi5PRzE). Some of them use sticky spores, other use lassos to ensnare their prey, but no matter how they do it, they feed on nematode worms. Some of the worms that these fungi prey upon are themselves predators - they feed on bacteria in the soil.
So it seems that in this case, the fungi and the bacteria shares a common interest, the fungi want nematodes to eat, while the bacteria want to be rid of their wormy threat. Now, not all these nematophagous fungi are full-time killers - some of them usually feed on rotting vegetation and only start trapping nematodes when they sense that there's a lot of worms around. But it seems that a bacteria has evolved a way of turning the... more »

Say Hello To My Little Fungal Friend
I have previously posted about nematophagous fungi - these are fungi that trap and kill microscopic nematode worms in the soil (https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/eRvrXi5PRzE). Some of them use sticky spores, other use lassos to ensnare their prey, but no matter how they do it, they feed on nematode worms. Some of the worms that these fungi prey upon are themselves predators - they feed on bacteria in the soil.
So it seems that in this case, the fungi and the bacteria shares a common interest, the fungi want nematodes to eat, while the bacteria want to be rid of their wormy threat. Now, not all these nematophagous fungi are full-time killers - some of them usually feed on rotting vegetation and only start trapping nematodes when they sense that there's a lot of worms around. But it seems that a bacteria has evolved a way of turning the fungi into killers when threatened by nematodes.
For more, see the post by +Ed Yong below.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #microbiology   #ecology  ___

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2014-12-15 00:37:01 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Scicomm FTW!
I now have a page where you can find links to all my #scicomm  stuff (http://goo.gl/98K1LV) - this includes the Parasite of the Day blog, my articles in The Conversation, episodes of the "Creepy but Curious" radio segment, as well as various interviews. You can find them all here: http://goo.gl/98K1LV
#scienceeveryday   #scicomm   #sciencecommunication   #biology  

Scicomm FTW!
I now have a page where you can find links to all my #scicomm  stuff (http://goo.gl/98K1LV) - this includes the Parasite of the Day blog, my articles in The Conversation, episodes of the "Creepy but Curious" radio segment, as well as various interviews. You can find them all here: http://goo.gl/98K1LV
#scienceeveryday   #scicomm   #sciencecommunication   #biology  ___

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2014-12-14 11:58:15 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Marine Blood-Suckers
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This post is about how an infestation at an aquarium led to new insights into the life-cycle of a blood-sucking parasitic crustaceans. When life hands you an infestation - you might as well do some science with it!
As a bonus, here's an origami version someone has made of the parasite featured in the blogpost below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/battanosyokkaku/6248288128/
The blogpost I've linked to was written while listening to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GZ51dBqw-w on a loop (who would have thought it made such good writing music?).
#sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #marinelife  

Marine Blood-Suckers
I have written a new Parasite of the Day post! This post is about how an infestation at an aquarium led to new insights into the life-cycle of a blood-sucking parasitic crustaceans. When life hands you an infestation - you might as well do some science with it!
As a bonus, here's an origami version someone has made of the parasite featured in the blogpost below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/battanosyokkaku/6248288128/
The blogpost I've linked to was written while listening to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GZ51dBqw-w on a loop (who would have thought it made such good writing music?).
#sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #marinelife  ___

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2014-12-10 23:48:12 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Eagle Face And Horned Faces
Another day, another new dinosaur species - but this isn't just any species, Aquilops americanus is a basal ceratopsian - in another word, this cute little dinosaur is the oldest known member of the group that includes the extravagant horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops. In this post, artist Brian Engh describes the process of illustrating Aquilops in a way which speaks "to the idea that it was a once-living creature, with instincts, and habits and needs."
For more information on Aquilops itself, see this blog post by +Andrew Farke - one of the scientists who described this dinosaur: http://blogs.plos.org/paleo/2014/12/10/aquilops-hello/
And here's the paper itself: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0112055 (which features a Triceratops silhouette by +Raven Amos)
#scienceeveryday   #sciart  #din... more »

Eagle Face And Horned Faces
Another day, another new dinosaur species - but this isn't just any species, Aquilops americanus is a basal ceratopsian - in another word, this cute little dinosaur is the oldest known member of the group that includes the extravagant horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops. In this post, artist Brian Engh describes the process of illustrating Aquilops in a way which speaks "to the idea that it was a once-living creature, with instincts, and habits and needs."
For more information on Aquilops itself, see this blog post by +Andrew Farke - one of the scientists who described this dinosaur: http://blogs.plos.org/paleo/2014/12/10/aquilops-hello/
And here's the paper itself: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0112055 (which features a Triceratops silhouette by +Raven Amos)
#scienceeveryday   #sciart   #dinosaurs   #paleontology  ___

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2014-12-04 23:47:35 (4 comments, 4 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Do Stunned Fish Dream Of Electric Eels?
The electric eel ( Electrophorus electricus )  is well-known for its ability to delivering deadly jolts of electricity to stun its prey. But a recently published paper in Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6214/1231) shows that its electrifying power is more sophisticated than we previously thought. It does not merely shock its prey - the electric eel takes control of its muscles via remote control. For more on this stunning animal, see this article below by +Carl Zimmer.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #animalbehavior  
Edit: see also +Ed Yong's take on this (there's a nice little picture of the experimental set-up):
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/12/04/electric-eels-can-remotely-control-their-preys-muscles/

Do Stunned Fish Dream Of Electric Eels?
The electric eel ( Electrophorus electricus )  is well-known for its ability to delivering deadly jolts of electricity to stun its prey. But a recently published paper in Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6214/1231) shows that its electrifying power is more sophisticated than we previously thought. It does not merely shock its prey - the electric eel takes control of its muscles via remote control. For more on this stunning animal, see this article below by +Carl Zimmer.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #animalbehavior  
Edit: see also +Ed Yong's take on this (there's a nice little picture of the experimental set-up):
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/12/04/electric-eels-can-remotely-control-their-preys-muscles/___

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2014-12-02 01:15:00 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Anatomy of A Starkiller
Since June 2013, millions of seastars have been dying off the west coast of North America. A recently published study indicates that the agent responsible for this mass mortality is a virus. This morning, I was on the local radio for their last "Creepy but Curious" segment for 2014 to talk about this finding and its ecological implications.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #outbreak   #epidemiology   #ecology

Anatomy of A Starkiller
Since June 2013, millions of seastars have been dying off the west coast of North America. A recently published study indicates that the agent responsible for this mass mortality is a virus. This morning, I was on the local radio for their last "Creepy but Curious" segment for 2014 to talk about this finding and its ecological implications.
#scienceeveryday   #marinelife   #outbreak   #epidemiology   #ecology___

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2014-11-24 21:37:09 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

When a worm hits your eye, like this bird parasites...
I've written a new Parasite of the Day blog post. This post is about Oxyspirura petrowi a worm that inhabits the eyes have many birds in North America, including the flamboyant but vulnerable prairie chickens.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #conservation  

When a worm hits your eye, like this bird parasites...
I've written a new Parasite of the Day blog post. This post is about Oxyspirura petrowi a worm that inhabits the eyes have many birds in North America, including the flamboyant but vulnerable prairie chickens.
#scienceeveryday   #biology   #parasitology   #parasitismeveryday   #conservation  ___

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2014-11-19 00:14:09 (3 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Devil's Disease
The Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a contagious cancer that is currently spreading in the Tasmanian Devil population in Tasmania, Australia. It somewhat resembles the Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour (CTVT) in the sense that it is a clonal line of cancer cell that have evolved into an infectious agent (you can read more about CTVT here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/K5vV3NpbNJD).
But unlike CTVT, the cancer cells causing DFTD is extremely virulent,
and has the potential to drive this carnivorous marsupial to extinction. I wrote a little blog post about DFTD back in 2012 (http://goo.gl/xxdlx) as a part of covering a conference I attended.

Earlier this week, an article was published in +The Conversation claiming that the disease is NOT caused by the contagious cell line, but rather, by environmental chemicals. Thata... more »

Devil's Disease
The Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a contagious cancer that is currently spreading in the Tasmanian Devil population in Tasmania, Australia. It somewhat resembles the Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour (CTVT) in the sense that it is a clonal line of cancer cell that have evolved into an infectious agent (you can read more about CTVT here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/K5vV3NpbNJD).
But unlike CTVT, the cancer cells causing DFTD is extremely virulent,
and has the potential to drive this carnivorous marsupial to extinction. I wrote a little blog post about DFTD back in 2012 (http://goo.gl/xxdlx) as a part of covering a conference I attended.

Earlier this week, an article was published in +The Conversation claiming that the disease is NOT caused by the contagious cell line, but rather, by environmental chemicals. That article severely misrepresented the science behind DFTD and ignores the body empirical evidence that has been published on the cause and spread of this disease.

I have linked to the article below which lay out the case for DFTD being caused by a contagious, virulent cell line, and rebut many of the false claims made in the article published earlier this week in +The Conversation. It also acts as a nice explainer for DFTD.

#scienceeveryday   #cancer   #marsupials   #wildlife  ___

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2014-11-17 23:29:51 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Starkiller
Some of you might recall that last year, there were numerous reports that starfish on the west coast of North America were disintegrating from some kind of mystery disease call sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS): https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/7TXroPvv6Cj
The starfish afflicted with SSWS become covered in festering lesions and eventually melt away into a cloud of starfish mash. 
As with any such spectacular mass mortality event, there were much speculation about the cause of this die-off, ranging from informed, testable hypotheses to paranoid conspiracy theories. Now, a newly published study might have pinned down the agent responsible for this starfish massacre - and it is a virus call SSaDV. To find out more, follow the link below to read a write-up about this study by +Ed Yong.
#scienceeveryday   #seastar   #diseaseoutbreak   #virus ... more »

Starkiller
Some of you might recall that last year, there were numerous reports that starfish on the west coast of North America were disintegrating from some kind of mystery disease call sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS): https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TommyLeung/posts/7TXroPvv6Cj
The starfish afflicted with SSWS become covered in festering lesions and eventually melt away into a cloud of starfish mash. 
As with any such spectacular mass mortality event, there were much speculation about the cause of this die-off, ranging from informed, testable hypotheses to paranoid conspiracy theories. Now, a newly published study might have pinned down the agent responsible for this starfish massacre - and it is a virus call SSaDV. To find out more, follow the link below to read a write-up about this study by +Ed Yong.
#scienceeveryday   #seastar   #diseaseoutbreak   #virus  ___

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2014-11-16 10:51:02 (0 comments, 6 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Dawn Of The "Fish-Lizards"
Recently, a newly published paper in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13866.html) described the fossils of Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, an amphibious reptile that lived just a few million years after the devastating end-Permian mass extinction event which wiped out over 95% of all life on Earth. For whatever reason, the ancestor of Cartorhynchus was able to pull through. 

But aside from being a plucky survivor, there is another thing that makes Cartorhynchus special - it helps fill the gap in our knowledge regarding the evolution of the group of streamlined, fully-aquatic reptiles known as ichthyosaurs which swam in the seas of the Mesozoic era 252 - 65 million years ago. In some ways, the appearance of Cartorhynchus is pretty much what paleontologists had been expecting from a... more »

Dawn Of The "Fish-Lizards"
Recently, a newly published paper in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13866.html) described the fossils of Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, an amphibious reptile that lived just a few million years after the devastating end-Permian mass extinction event which wiped out over 95% of all life on Earth. For whatever reason, the ancestor of Cartorhynchus was able to pull through. 

But aside from being a plucky survivor, there is another thing that makes Cartorhynchus special - it helps fill the gap in our knowledge regarding the evolution of the group of streamlined, fully-aquatic reptiles known as ichthyosaurs which swam in the seas of the Mesozoic era 252 - 65 million years ago. In some ways, the appearance of Cartorhynchus is pretty much what paleontologists had been expecting from a "proto-ichthyosaur" - an animal that is between a fully aquatic reptile and one which is more terrestrial. But there were a few surprises as well. One of which is their feeding style - judging from its anatomy, it appeared to have been a suction feeder, like some fish:
Tiger fish, Datnioides sp., suction feeding on a live goldfish
Ocyurus chrysurus (Yellowtail snapper)
Inimicus didactylus real time versus slow motion
salamanders:
Suction feeding in giant salamander
and turtles:
Slow motion suction feeding by the mata mata turtle
(For more on suction feeding, see this post by +Michael Habib  https://plus.google.com/+MichaelHabib/posts/Sb6jTdsE5Lq)
Another important finding is that it reinforces a hypothesis regarding the relationship between the fishy ichthyosaur and hupehsuchians - a group of marine reptiles with long bills, paddle-shaped limbs, and thickened ribs. (see: https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/VizG9QiuJqx)

For a full write-up on the scientific significance of Cartorhynchus, follow the link below to read the post by +Darren Naish 

P.S. For a light-hearted rendering of Cartorhynchus see here: https://plus.google.com/+TommyLeung/posts/61G5xFUPD94

#scienceeveryday   #sciencesunday    #paleontology   #evolution  ___

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2014-11-14 02:43:22 (16 comments, 4 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Shirtstorm And Everyday Sexism
As some of you know, the other day the European Space Agency landed a spacecraft on a comet some 500 million kilometres away from Earth - an astonishing achievement and a truly momentous occasion for humanity. Unfortunately, when the Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor decided to talk about this to the entire world, his choice of attire was...problematic (to really understate it)...

First, I would like to point out that it is possible to celebrate this achievement (harpooning a comet with a spacecraft) AND talk about the problem with that shirt AT THE SAME TIME. I'm not sure why people have this idea that you can only look at something in one way. Having mixed emotions is something that human beings are totally capable of doing. 

Aside from being blatantly sexist, it is tacky and tasteless, not to mention unprofessional. And it's... more »

Astronomical Sexism
The world has been abuzz with news that the Rosetta spacecraft landed on a comet 500 million kilometres from Earth, in an attempt to collect vital data about the origins of our solar system. Unfortunately, this event is also marred for women in STEM and our allies due to the pervasive power of sexism. Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor chose to wear a shirt with semi-nude women, effectively telling the world and our next generation of STEM workers that sexism is still very much part of our professional culture.

This comes only a couple of weeks since the +The New York Times declared that sexism is dead in academia (http://goo.gl/91IjEq). What this wardrobe choice says is that some male scientists in strategic positions for major science organisations, like the +European Space Agency, ESA (and who is also linked to +NASA) do not see equality as a serious issue.

On our blog, we've described how some people see Taylor's dress as harmless or eccentric, yet we show how this   incident is an example of everyday sexism. This includes the daily things that men say and do which contribute to professional exclusion of women in STEM. 

Entomologist, Professor +Terry Wheeler, noted that this is an important lesson for STEM men like himself, who are senior researchers and have White male privilege.

"We need to make science and research and academia a fair and welcoming place for people who are not white, straight, males... We are only going to get there if senior, white dudes like me either step up and say “yes, let’s change things” and then work to make that change happen, or just shut up and get out of the way". (http://goo.gl/svdzg1)

On our blog we look at ways that you and your organisation might help to address everyday sexism in STEM. 

Learn more on our blog:  http://www.stemwomen.net/astronomy-sexism-rosetta-shirtstorm/

Credits
Image: Prof +Katie Hinde (http://goo.gl/1yo1vx)

#stemwomen   #stem   #rosettamission   #astronomy   #space  ___Shirtstorm And Everyday Sexism
As some of you know, the other day the European Space Agency landed a spacecraft on a comet some 500 million kilometres away from Earth - an astonishing achievement and a truly momentous occasion for humanity. Unfortunately, when the Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor decided to talk about this to the entire world, his choice of attire was...problematic (to really understate it)...

First, I would like to point out that it is possible to celebrate this achievement (harpooning a comet with a spacecraft) AND talk about the problem with that shirt AT THE SAME TIME. I'm not sure why people have this idea that you can only look at something in one way. Having mixed emotions is something that human beings are totally capable of doing. 

Aside from being blatantly sexist, it is tacky and tasteless, not to mention unprofessional. And it's not as if Taylor didn't have anything else to wear - he was wearing the scantily-clad ladies shirt on top of another one he already had on! And sure, some people will say we should judge on the basis of achievement rather than appearance. I have two things to say about that:

(1) Not only did he decided it was a good idea, but that no one else on the team thought "Hey, maybe save that shirt for...a different occasion."
(2) As pointed out in this article (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/rosetta-scientist-matt-taylor-wore-sexist-shirt-for-philae-launch-2014-11), during a live online chat, Taylor was asked how he gained acceptance in his field while having sleeve-length tattoos. He replied that the people he work with value him for what he is capable of doing, and not for his appearance. 
If only such courtesy could be extended to women as well.

When writer and producer Rose Eveleth, pointed out the problem with giving a press conference while wearing a shirt decorated with scantily-clad women, as per usual she received the usual array of threats that gets directed at women on the internet who have the temerity to voice an opinion. All of this, from Taylor's choice of attire to the reactions to the reaction that shirt evoked, is a microcosm of the sexism that still exist in STEM (Despite what that NYT column tried to tell you).

For more, see this article on +STEM Women on G+  written by +Zuleyka Zevallos 

See also this article by Alice Bell: 
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/13/why-women-in-science-are-annoyed-at-rosetta-mission-scientists-clothing

posted image

2014-11-13 00:58:58 (5 comments, 2 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Attack On Comet
So yesterday, I mentioned in passing on Twitter that given Philae is harpooning itself to the surface of comet 67P, someone should do a Philae comet-landing / Attack on Titan crossover. No one has acted upon that yet, so I decided to take up the initiative and made this quick drawing.
#cometlanding  

Attack On Comet
So yesterday, I mentioned in passing on Twitter that given Philae is harpooning itself to the surface of comet 67P, someone should do a Philae comet-landing / Attack on Titan crossover. No one has acted upon that yet, so I decided to take up the initiative and made this quick drawing.
#cometlanding  ___

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