ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "protists"

The Artful Amoeba

Parasitic Trypanosomes Contain Nature’s Only Chain Mail DNA

kinetoplast_minicircles_lukes_et_al_2002_200

The organisms that cause us untold suffering can also be astounding works of art, sculpted by evolution into elegant, deadly packages. Such is the case for the trypanosomes, the protists I discussed last time as the source of Chagas Disease, but which also cause sleeping sickness in Africa. But what lurks inside those little packages [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

Americans May Be More at Risk from Deadly Heart Parasite Than Realized

kissing_bug_200

The kissing bug may have the most misleadingly cute name in entomology. It bites, rather than smooches, its victims around the mouth or face. But far worse than the bite itself is what may find its way into it: wriggling worm-like parasitic protists called Trypanosoma cruzi that teem in the feces of these bugs, which [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

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

Penicillium_vanorenjei_colonies_Cobus_M_Visagie_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

Everyone Poops — Even Paramecium

paramecium_caudatum_youtube_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

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

micropredators_glowing_Schmeller_et_al_2014_200

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: [...]

Keep reading »
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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

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

dictyostelium_aggregating_pd_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

Green Alga Found to Prey on Bacteria, Bolstering Endosymbiotic Theory

cymbomonas_bacteria_ingestion_current_biology_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

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

foraminiferan_ammonia_tepida_wiki_cc_Scott_Fay_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »
The Artful Amoeba

Cameron’s Team Divulges Discoveries in Deepest Trenches on Earth

xenophyophore_noaa_pd_200

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 [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Holiday Sale

Limited Time Only!

Get 50% off Digital Gifts

Hurry sale ends 12/31 >

X

Email this Article

X