Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Climate Change

Ohio is talking about fixing broken hearts, the physiology of freezing, combating opioid addiction and more

The Ohio Physiological Society held their 33rd Annual Meeting at the University of Cincinnati this weekend. The keynote address was given by Dr. Mark Sussman from San Diego State University. He spoke about current research strategies that aim to improve the ability for the heart to repair itself after heart failure. Dr. Perwez Alam (University of Cincinnati) also spoke about using siRNA to try to repair heart tissue after heart attacks and […]

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New study shows mussels are “hot and bothered”

Freshwater organisms are especially vulnerable to environmental changes as they are exposed to both atmospheric changes as well as run-off from nearby cities; in particular, rising temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide levels from both natural factors (rainfall, geology, etc) as well as human influence (deforestatin, agriculture, urbanization). For example, studies of rivers around the world have found that carbon dioxide levels vary from 647 – 38,000 µatm. Higher levels are […]

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Brine shrimp tolerance of environmental changes

Brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, are neat little aquatic crustaceans. According to the University of Utah, these tiny creatures grow to about 1cm in length. They are a favorite meal choice of some migratory birds and they are often sold for use as food for fish destined for human consumption. Christopher Melendez, a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Casey Mueller at California State University San Marcos, presented his research on brine […]

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Study shows warm-blooded animals adapt better to climate changes

A new study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution looked at fossil records, current distributions and the phylogenetic relationships for over 11,000 terrestrial vertebrates. Using historical records to reconstruct climate and geographical ranges they found that birds and mammals were more successful and faster than cold-blooded animals at adapting to climate changes as well as expanding or changing the location or range of their habitats. In a quote from Scientific American, […]

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Warm Waters = Smaller Fish

I love fishing. As with every fisherman, I have my fair share of “the one that got away” stories steeped in *mostly* truth. So, you can imagine my interest in reading research that shows fish appear to be shrinking in warming waters. Warm waters carry less oxygen, which makes it difficult for fish to breath…especially larger fish. Metabolism is also higher in fish living in warm waters. Higher metabolism means the […]

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Thirsty koalas saved by drinking fountains

Thank you Dr. Barb Goodman (Director of SD Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network, Fellow of the American Physiological Society, Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota) who sent me information about thirsty koalas. Koalas typically hydrate themselves from the leaves of eucalyptus trees. But recently researchers at the University of Sydney have noticed the animals are drinking water as eucalyptus trees have succumbed to wildfires and climate change. […]

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Effects of environmental temperature on fruit flies

A changing climate has the potential to greatly impact ectotherms, which depend on the environment to regulate their own body temperatures. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, researchers were curious how exposure to varying temperatures would affect developing ectotherms. They answered this question using Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as fruit flies. They exposed freshly laid eggs to ten different temperatures ranging from 12 […]

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Reducing gas emissions…from cows

No joke: California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to regulate ‘gas’ emissions from cows along with other sources of greenhouse gases, of course. According to an interview from NPR, dairy cows are the number one producer of methane in California. The problem with methane is that it is a major component of smog, although according to scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara, it is not the leading cause of global warming. In fact, agriculture-related […]

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Protecting the Great Lakes

In a prior post summarizing the annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting, I briefly mentioned the work from Adrian Vasquez, Milad Qazazi, Andrew Failla, Sanjay Rama, Samuel Randall, and Jeffrey Ram from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI). They were exploring the diversity of water mites, a type of arachnid, in Western Lake Erie and they found a mixture of both native and invasive species. Dr. Jeffrey Ram, Professor at the School of Medicine at […]

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Experimental Biology 2016 – Day 2

Today was a great day for trainees in comparative physiology! Here are some of the highlights from their sessions: Poster presentations: Alexis MacDonald et al., (Union College – Mentor Dr. Scott Kirkton) presented research showing that grasshopper skeletal muscles may use lactate for energy! Similarly, Dongying Wang et al., (Saint Louis University – Mentor Dr. Daniel Warren) also showed that skeletal muscle from painted turtles may use lactate. I guess it […]

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