Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘birds’

Adapting (or not) to increasing temperatures

Birds are not the only animals experiencing massive declines in populations. Rising temperatures and heat waves, in particular, have been blamed for killing humans and animals. In fact, a new review article published in Physiology mentioned that globally, heat is “a significant natural killer of humans, with the first decade of the 21st Century seeing a 23-fold increase in human casualties from heat waves compared with the 1990s.” If current predictions hold true, […]

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Comparative Physiologist: Berry Pinshow, PhD

I came across a really interesting interview of Dr. Barry Pinshow, a comparative physiologist and member of the American Physiological Society. In this Living History of Physiology video, Dr. Pinshow talks about growing up in South Africa and his decision to move to Israel as a teen. He also discusses how he became interested in science, his research in desert biology and the influential people in his career. Very inspiring!

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#3: Zebra Finches Reward Themselves for singing well

The #3 post so far this year explored how zebra finches reward themselves for singing well:   Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons in the brain of zebra finches do in fact decrease dopamine signals when the birds hear an […]

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Avian vascular anatomy revealed

This is such a beautiful award-winning image of the complex vascular networks in a pigeon. The image was captured using  CT scan technology and a novel contrasting agent called BriteVu that allows visualization of even tiny capillaries. This image was captured by Scott Echols who is a member of the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project, whose goals are to create technologies to study animal anatomy. The complex capillary network located in […]

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Experimental Biology – Day 3

I LOVE THIS MEETING! DAY 3 included several very interesting comparative physiology sessions. Eldon Braun (University of Arizona) spoke about how birds have a unique way to prevent water loss and thereby dehydration. In mammals, the kidneys are responsible for recovering water from the urine. However when birds are well-hydrated, the urine enters the colon and moves backwards up the gastrointestinal tract to facilitate water reabsorption prior to voiding the […]

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