Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Diet and Exercise

Heat stress in livestock

With the approach of summer, a timely study was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology on whether inflammation plays a role in heat stress-related complications in muscles. Heat stress is a major problem in the livestock industry. In the United States alone it is reportedly associated with a loss of approximately $158 billion annually in the swine industry. To cool off, swine seek shade and often mud baths […]

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Flight advantages in older hummingbirds

In a new study published in The Auk, scientists report that well-fueled older tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) might be capable of non-stop flights of over 4,000 kilometers, wind conditions permitting. They made this remarkable observation while studying birds from 2010-2014 as the animals made stopovers at a wildlife refuge during their annual migration to South America. In general, older birds not only showed up at the wildlife refuge in Alabama earlier than younger birds, they also tended […]

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The amazing cockroach

Testing the bite force of American cockroaches. Image from: Tom Weihmann | University of Cambridge I’ll admit I get a bit squeamish when I see a cockroach. However, after reading new research about the “ew” inspiring creatures, I have a bit more respect for them. Not only can these bugs run vertically up walls, survive nuclear war and live without their head for weeks (thus I suggest squishing the whole body), new […]

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The seal of enigma!

I am excited to present this guest blog from Bridget Martinez, graduate student from the University of California, Merced. She has been studying elephant seals in the laboratory of Dr. Rudy Ortiz. She had presented her research at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston, MA which was mentioned in a prior blog . Here is her description of her research: Bridget Martinez, Graduate Student, University of California – Merced […]

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I never knew otters were THAT tough…

A river otter was captured on camera taking on an juvenile alligator…and winning. The battle took place at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida in 2011. More images can be seen on their Facebook page where the images were recently posted, impressive! According to National Geographic, the normal diet of a river otter consists of birds, small rodents, frogs, turtles, crabs, and fish. Let’s just add juvenile alligators to the […]

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Ever wonder why bats sleep upside down?

Just in time for Halloween: Besides being an excellent way to avoid predators, roosting or hanging upside down is optimal for taking off into flight. Bats are not able to launch into flight from an upright position because their wings do not generate sufficient lift while at a dead stop. Additionally, their hindlegs are rather underdeveloped, so they are not able to run to generate lift for take-off. Instead, bats […]

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