Friday, October 13, 2017

Taras Oceanographic hosts a series of science lectures at Jupiter High School

The Meet the Scientist Lecture Series is in its 14th season. Hosted by Taras Oceanographic Foundation  at Jupiter High School, Jupiter, FL 33458. Below is the upcoming calendar. Click on the image to enalrge, or visit their website from the link above.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Possible antrax outbreak in Namibia kills hippos

Hippo deaths in Namibia

The Daily mail is reporting that 109 hippos have died in the Bwabwata National Park since Sunday last week. The cause of death is suspected to be a natural outbreak of anthrax. Outbreaks are not uncommon and can occur when rivers are running low. The hippo population before the outbreak was thought to be 1,300. Hippopotamus are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red list. Veterinarians are still working to confirm the cause of death [anthrax].

To read the full report and read more about what Anthrax is, you can follow the Link to the full article on Daily Mail here

The Center for Disease Control also has a page explaining anthrax, which you can access here.

The CDC web page also had this graph of the Anthrax life cycle:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Feedspot's list of top science blogs

Top 100 Science Blogs on the Web

If you are searching for science blogs to follow, Feedspot offers a list of The Best Science blogs from thousands of top Science blogs in their index using search and social metrics. Data is refreshed once a week.

Here are the first few on the list. Follow the link above to access the entire list of science blogs.

About Blog - ScienceAlert features cool and interesting science news and entertainment worth sharing. It provides the latest science news, opinions, and features from Australia & New Zealand.
Frequency - about 42 posts per week
View Latest Posts

New Scientist 
+ Follow

About Blog - New Scientist is the best place to find out what’s new in science. It is the world's number one science and technology magazine, and online it is the go-to site for breaking news, exclusive content and breakthroughs that will change your world.
Frequency - about 84 posts per week
About Blog - New Scientist is the best place to find out what’s new in science. It is the world's number one science and technology magazine, and online it is the go-to
New York City, NY, USA
About Blog - Scientific American provides latest news and features on science issues that matter including earth, environment, and space. Get your science news from the most trusted source.
Frequency - about 56 posts per week

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chagas disease and the link to new host animals

Chagas Disease is a tropical disease that is spread mostly by the kissing bug. Symptoms can range from not present to heart failure. 60-70% of those infected do not develop symptoms past headaches and localized swelling of the bite area. However 20-30% can develop an enlarged heart which can result in heart failure.

Although Chagas disease is widespread, little is known about the transmission of the disease (Science Daily). The parasite is transmitted to varied animal hosts when the kissing bug bites the animal or human. Infection occurs if the bug feces enters through the mucous membrane.

A recent study by Georgieva, et. al., has stated that existing host records are heavily biased towards well-studied primary vector species. Results of this study show
New host associations for several groups of arboreal mammals were determined including sloths, New World monkeys, coatis, arboreal porcupines and, for the first time as a host of any Triatominae, tayras. A thorough review of previously documented sylvatic hosts, organized by triatomine species and the type of observation (associational, antibody-based, or DNA-based), is presented in a phylogenetic context and highlights large gaps in our knowledge of Triatominae biology (Georgieva, et. al, p.1).

To read the complete study and find out the specifics and why this study is important in the management of this disease,  follow this link.

Anna Y. Georgieva, Eric R.L. Gordon, Christiane Weirauch. Sylvatic host associations of Triatominae and implications for Chagas disease reservoirs: a review and new host records based on archival specimens. PeerJ, 2017; 5: e3826 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3826

Image credit: By Greg Hume - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rise of the cephalopod

                                                    By © Hans Hillewaert, CC BY-SA 4.0,                                                                                    
A recently study published in Current Biology, looked at current trends in cephalopod abundance. They state that Cephalopod populations are extremely variable, can fluctuate wildly and are currently experiencing a boom in numbers.  Squid, cuttlefish and octopuses have a long history of being able to adapt rapidly to changing environments.

Researchers investigated long-term trends in abundance using a global time-series of catch rates. The study revealed cephalopod populations have increased over the last six decades and were unusually consistent across taxa. Study datasets spanned the last 61 years (1953 to 2013). Results show increases of 52% squid, 31% octopuses, 17% cuttlefish and sepiolids populations. One explanation could be due to elevated water temperatures due to ocean warming. This is thought to accelerate the life cycle of cephalopods when thermal ranges are not exceeded and food remains abundant.

To read the complete study [which is open access], follow the link here [and above]


Doubleday, ZoĆ« A. et al., 2016. Global proliferation of cephalopods. Current Biology, Volume 26, Issue 10 R406 - R407. DOI:

Image credit: By © Hans Hillewaert, CC BY-SA 4.0, 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Human/polar bear conflict study

                            Alan Wilson -

Living in Florida, we often see human/animal conflicts with black bear and alligators. Western states also have to contend with grizzly bears. These attacks are well documented and studied. Conversely, polar bear attacks on humans are rare. Researchers state that concern for a rise in polar bear conflicts is warranted due to predictions of increasing numbers of nutritionally stressed bears spending more time hunting [closer to human populations]. One cause of this is loss of sea ice habitat.

The study done by Wilder, et. al., 2017 [Polar bear attacks on humans: Implications of a changing climate], published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, found that “from 1870–2014, we documented 73 attacks by wild polar bears, distributed among the 5 polar bear Range States (Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia, and United States), which resulted in 20 human fatalities and 63 human injuries” (Wilder, et. al., 2017). They also noted that attacks were mainly from stressed male bears looking for food. Attacks by females were rare and were in defense of their cubs.

Increases in human/wildlife conflicts result in negative public perceptions, which usually result in a negative outcome for the animals involved. Management goals are to educate and develop methods for coexistence. Before this study, there was no systematic data collected on polar bear conflicts.  Folklore and incomplete data help fuel the anxiety over polar bear encounters.

The study, which is very detailed and gives information about all recorded attacks, characteristics of attacking bears, bear behavior and seasonality of attacks, and the role of humans in these attacks, can be found from the reference below.

FAU library users can look up the article through Searchwise here.


Wilder, J. M., Vongraven, D., Atwood, T., Hansen, B., Jessen, A., Kochnev, A., York, G., Vallender, R., Hedman, D. and Gibbons, M. (2017), Polar bear attacks on humans: Implications of a changing climate. Wildl. Soc. Bull.. doi:10.1002/wsb.783

Image credit: By Alan Wilson - [1], CC BY-SA 3.0,