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Evaluation of Microplastics in Japanese Fish Using Visual and Chemical Dissections

Srebnik et al. | Jan 20, 2021

Evaluation of Microplastics in Japanese Fish Using Visual and Chemical Dissections

Does the overuse of plastic in Japan poses an ecological risk to marine species and their consumers? Using visual and chemical dissection, all fish in this study were found to have microplastics present in their gastrointestinal tract, including two species that are typically eaten whole in Japan. Overall, these results are concerning as previous studies have found that microplastics can carry persistent organic pollutants. It is presumed that the increasing consumption of microplastics will have negative implications on organ systems such as the liver, gut, and hormones.

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Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Horton et al. | Sep 27, 2018

Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Although the United States maintains millions of square kilometers of nature reserves to protect the biodiversity of the specimens living there, little is known about how confining these species within designated protected lands influences the genetic variation required for a healthy population. In this study, the authors sequenced genetic barcodes of insects from a recently established nature reserve, the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve (SWRCMSR), and a non-protected area, the Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) Menifee campus, to compare the genetic variation between the two populations. Their results demonstrated that the midge fly population from the SWRCMSR had fewer unique DNA barcode sequence changes than the MSJC population, indicating that the comparatively younger nature reserve's population had likely not yet established its own unique genetic drift changes.

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Friend or foe: Using DNA barcoding to identify arthropods found at home

Wang et al. | Mar 14, 2022

Friend or foe: Using DNA barcoding to identify arthropods found at home

Here the authors used morphological characters and DNA barcoding to identify arthropods found within a residential house. With this method they identified their species and compared them against pests lists provided by the US government. They found that none of their identified species were considered to be pests providing evidence against the misconception that arthropods found at home are harmful to humans. They suggest that these methods could be used at larger scales to better understand and aid in mapping ecosystems.

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Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Wainwright et al. | May 07, 2014

Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Farmers will need to increase crop yields to feed the world's growing population efficiently. The authors here investigate the effects of growing corn in the presence or absence of ragweed, an invasive weed found in many fields and gardens. Surprisingly, the authors found that corn grown in the presence of weeds grew taller and were more productive than corn that had weeds removed. This may help gardeners rethink the necessity of weeding, and may point a way to improve farm yields in the future.

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Evolution of Neuroplastin-65

Cremers et al. | Oct 26, 2016

Evolution of Neuroplastin-65

Human intelligence is correlated with variation in the protein neuroplastin-65, which is encoded by the NPTN gene. The authors examine the evolution of this gene across different animal species.

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The Effect of the Stomatal Index on the Net Rate of Photosynthesis in the Leaves of Spinacia oleracea, Vinca minor, Rhododendron spp, Epipremnum aureum, and Hedera spp

Segev et al. | Nov 15, 2015

The Effect of the Stomatal Index on the Net Rate of Photosynthesis in the Leaves of <i>Spinacia oleracea</i>, <i>Vinca minor</i>, <i>Rhododendron spp</i>, <i>Epipremnum aureum</i>, and <i>Hedera spp</i>

The density of stomata, or stomatal index, in plant leaves is correlated with the plant's rate of photosynthesis, and affected by the plant's climate. In this paper, authors measure the stomatal index of five plant species to derive their rates of photosynthesis. These results could help track changes in plants' photosynthetic rates with changing climate.

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Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

Kisling et al. | Feb 12, 2019

Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.

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Strain-selective in vitro and in silico structure activity relationship (SAR) of N-acyl β-lactam broad spectrum antibiotics

Poosarla et al. | Oct 19, 2021

Strain-selective <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in silico</i> structure activity relationship (SAR) of N-acyl β-lactam broad spectrum antibiotics

In this study, the authors investigate the antibacterial efficacy of penicillin G and its analogs amoxicillin, carbenicillin, piperacillin, cloxacillin, and ampicillin, against four species of bacteria. Results showed that all six penicillin-type antibiotics inhibit Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, and Neisseria sicca with varying degrees of efficacy but exhibited no inhibition against Bacillus cereus. Penicillin G had the greatest broad-spectrum antibacterial activity with a high radius of inhibition against S. epidermidis, E. coli, and N. sicca.

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The presence of Wolbachia in Brood X cicadas

Hasan et al. | Oct 15, 2022

The presence of <em>Wolbachia</em> in Brood X cicadas

Here, seeking to understand a possible cause of the declining popluations of Brood X cicadas in Ohio and Indiana, the authors investigated the presence of Wolbachia, an inherited bacterial symbiont that lives in the reproductive cells of approximately 60% of insect species in these cicadas. Following their screening of one-hundred 17-year periodical cicadas, they only identified the presence of Wolbachia infection in less than 2%, suggesting that while Wolbachia can infect cicadas it appears uncommon in the Brood X cicadas they surveyed.

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Performance of Panicum virgatum Cultivars in Competition With Bromus inermis and Differing Amounts of N Fertilizer

Ferris et al. | Mar 04, 2019

Performance of <em>Panicum virgatum</em> Cultivars in Competition With <em>Bromus inermis</em> and Differing Amounts of N Fertilizer

With growing demands for ethanol, many researchers are turning to Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) as a feedstock of cellulosic ethanol. In this study, Ferris and Gillan examine the germination, biomass, nitrogen, survival, and chlorophyll absorbance of two switchgrass cultivars of grown in competition with Bromus inermis (smooth brome) with two varying levels of nitrogen fertilizer. Results presented indicate that during establishment, competition from other species has a greater effect than nitrogen fertilizer.

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