The Story of Serpentine

Submitted by Hannah D. on Wed, 06/07/2017 - 23:03

Trek through the hills of the Northwest’s Sierra Nevada, and you will find red soils peppered with some smooth, waxy rocks called Serpentinite. Attractively streaked with greens and blues, serpentine, as it is locally known, is a type of metamorphic rock with quite the fascinating history. To begin, let’s take a glimpse into a chapter of geology known as Plate Tectonics.

Hidden Helpers

Submitted by Hannah D. on Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:16

When Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington State, the surrounding ecosystem was pulverized into a barren land of sterilized ashes. Plants couldn’t grow there, and without them, animals were absent.

But eventually, slowly and surely, life returned. How did this happen? It could only occur after the arrival of invisible life.

The Language of Bacteria: Winning the Battle

Submitted by Hannah D. on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 15:31

Today, doctors treat infections and diseases almost exclusively with antibiotics. However, bacteria have two big ways of fighting back: they can pass around genes for antibiotic resistance, and they can coat themselves under biofilms to keep antibiotics at bay. In this ongoing chess game, the move is now ours. What strategies should we take as we continue the fight for health among communicating superbugs?

The Language of Bacteria: Chemicals and Communication

Submitted by Hannah D. on Fri, 03/03/2017 - 16:18

In the last essay, we covered how bacteria share helpful genes with each other, and what that means for the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria (“superbugs”).

Another aspect of the bacterial world is that of chemicals and molecules. When you live in the world as a single cell, you cannot eat the kind of food we do, and you cannot interact with your environment the way we do.

Marine Biodiversity

Submitted by Hannah D. on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 05:06

Part of developmental biology studies how the environment affects the diversity and development of various organisms. Such factors can be abiotic, biotic, or symbiotic. Here, I focus on oceanic ecosystems and organisms to epitomize each type of factor and how they (in these cases) improve biodiversity.

How We Get Fat

Submitted by Arthur on Sun, 11/30/2014 - 23:52
   "Why We Get Fat" is a fascinating read and a very informative book written by Gary Taubes. Taubes, an investigative journalist, in his book, "stand the received wisdom about diet and exercise on its head". Taubes goes back through the history of the study of obesity and finds that prior to WWII, scientists had a very different view on what caused obesity; he goes through study after study, but finds no support for the current theory of cause for obesity.