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Posts Tagged "protists"

The Artful Amoeba

In Honor of Linnaeus, a Rogue’s Gallery of New Species

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Today is the birthday of one of my science heroes: Carl Linnaeus. Born on May 23, 1707, the Swede turned natural history from a hobby into a science with his masterful systemization and documentation of what had until then been haphazard classification of plants, animals and fungi. In honor of Linnaeus, the International Institute for [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Everyone Poops — Even Paramecium

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Perhaps you’ve heard of — or even read — the children’s book “Everyone Poops“. This illustrative tome explains that because everyone eats, everyone poops. Truer words, as they say, were never spoken. But this is no less true for you than for single-celled organisms like Paramecium. The creatures in the following film are members of [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Frog-Killing Fungus Meets Its Match in Hidden World of Tiny Predators

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As I reported in a feature story in Scientific American last December , some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink. It’s all quite depressing. But today in Scientific American online I report some good news: [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

New Octopus-like Protists in Termite Guts Named for HP Lovecraft Cosmic Monster ‘Cthulhu’

Nerds have a particular fascination for the Cthulhu mythos of horror novelist and all-around-weird-guy H. P. Lovecraft. In Lovecraft’s stories, Cthulhu was a tentacle-faced titanic god-monster who slept in a mythic undersea lair called R’lyheh, dreaming of the day he could emerge to destroy humanity. Nerds hold the mythic being in high esteem and have [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

An Illustration of the Many Ways to Be Multicellular on Planet Earth

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How many ways are there to be multicellular on Earth? You know, organisms made of more than one cell? Let’s see . . . plants, animals, and fungi. Three, right? Wrong. I give you “Representative Diverse Origins of Multicellularity …”, aka, Fig. 1 from the paper “The Evolutionary-Developmental Origins of Multicellularity” in the January issue [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Green Alga Found to Prey on Bacteria, Bolstering Endosymbiotic Theory

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A green alga with throat- and stomach-like structures can swallow and digest bacteria when deprived of light, further bolstering Lynn Margulis’s widely accepted idea that the origin of the plant-powering chloroplast was a fortuitous bout of indigestion. Termed “Endosymbiotic Theory“, the idea is that early nucleated cells called eukaryotes ate bacteria that managed to escape [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

What Lives at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench? More Than You Might Think

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The deepest, darkest, scariest place on the maps I loved pondering as a child was a crescent-shaped canyon in the western Pacific Ocean. It was called the Mariana Trench, and at the very, very bottom was the lowest point on Earth’s surface, the Challenger Deep. Its floor was seven terrifying miles down. What was down [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Cameron’s Team Divulges Discoveries in Deepest Trenches on Earth

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It’s often said that we know less about the bottom of our own ocean than we do about the surface of Mars. The governments of the world, and our government in particular, seem presently much less than enthusiastic about exploring the oceans of our own planet than in exploring other planets (ocean research seems to [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Solar-Powered Plankton Take Monty Python Advice: Run Away

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At least gazelles can run. But if you’re a tree, a blade of grass, or a hapless kohlrabi, there’s nothing you can do when the choppers, nippers, or clippers of your predator — aka “grazer” — approach. Such is the fate of most photosynthetic organisms, which we landlubbers tend to think of as plants. But [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Legionnaire’s Disease at the Luxor: What Causes It?

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In July 1976, a convention of members of the American Legion — a veterans’ group — was meeting in Philadelphia at the Belleville Stratford Hotel in honor of America’s bicentennial. Soon, 221 attendees would be sickened and 34 dead of an illness it was believed no one had ever seen before. Swine flu was suspected, [...]

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Lab Rat

Exploring inside cells – in 3D!

Side by side - the electron micrograph and the finished model taken by the students (picture used with permission)

I got sent a wonderful story recently about a group of ten college students, from St Olaf college in Minnesota, who went on an electron microscopy course at the Boulder Laboratory for 3-D Electron Microscopy of the Cell in Colorado. As well as being shown the techniques and equipment in use, the students actually got a chance to use [...]

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Lab Rat

Half-plant, half-predator, all-weird

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Still on my honeymoon, far away from any form of internet, so this is another old post from my previous blog. The post itself is not one of the best I’ve written, but the subject matter was so fascinating I feel it needed reposting! This post came to light due to Captain Skellet (whose been around [...]

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