Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘ocean’

Live fast, die young

Researchers have long known that smaller animals have higher metabolisms and tend to die younger than larger animals. Think about it – a mouse typically only lives about 2 years whereas an elephant in the wild may live 50-70 years, depending on the species. After studying over 700 species of birds and 540 species of mammals, scientists discovered that migratory animals also live faster (mature and reproduce earlier) and die […]

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Extreme flight

May I have a drumroll please? The winner is…..the bar-tailed godwit!! *round of applause!!!!* The winner of what you may ask? This bird broke the world record for the longest non-stop flight – 7,500 miles – without the luxury of in-flight service. I bet it was hungry when it landed…

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Getting away from salt – the transition to life on land

The transition of vertebrates from the salty ocean to life on land required the ability for these animals to change how they dealt with salt. While salt is essential for many cellular functions, salt balance must be tightly regulated to prevent illness or even death. Animals that live in a salty environment have evolved the ability to get rid of excess salt from their bodies whereas land-dwelling animals evolved the […]

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The Effects of Ocean Acidification on California Sea Hare

Today’s guest blog entry comes from Rebecca Zlatkin. Rebecca ‘Becky’ Zlatkin was born and raised in Miami, FL and recently graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology and a minor in Biology. Previously a student at Miami Dade College’s Honor College, Becky came to the lab of Martin Grosell at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science through the Bridge to Baccalaureate Program, a collaboration […]

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First ever recording of heart rate in free swimming blue whales

While we are on the topic of whales, I found additional research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA on these animals and how their hearts function that I find fascinating. Talk about extreme physiology! Researchers from Stanford University were able to attach surface electrodes to blue whales using suction cups. This allowed them to measure – for the first time – how heart rate changes during […]

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Antarctic icefish do not tolerate rising temperatures

Antarctic finfishes may be facing rising ocean temperatures. This is of particular concern to icefishes, as they are not very tolerant of increasing temperatures. Prior studies have shown that this lack of tolerance may be due to an inability for their hearts to beat normally and actually collapse at higher temperatures. In a study presented at the 34th annual Ohio Physiological meeting at Wright State University today, researchers Evans et al., (working […]

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Seals have anti-inflammatory blood

Dr. Allyson Hindle from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, presented some interesting research on seals at the Experimental Biology conference this week in San Diego. Seals are known for being rather plump, which for humans often leads to inflammation and cardiovascular disease. In addition, seals undergo repeated bouts of hypoxia and reoxygenation during their dives, which is also known to promote inflammation and cardiovascular disease in humans. Her research team […]

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Environmental impact on physiology

Several of the comparative physiology posters and talks presented at the Experimental Biology conference today focused on the impact of environmental changes on the physiology of animals. Here are some highlights: Rachel Heuer, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami working with Dr. Martin Grosell, examined the effects of crude oil on heart function in mahi-mahi. As the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred when these fish were spawning, it is […]

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Fin whales have coiled nerves

Fin whales have big mouths, really big mouths. When your meals consist of tiny krill, it is understandable why you would evolve the ability to stretch your mouth super-wide. With each meal comes a lot of water, which expands a pouch in the bottom of their mouths. As the pouch expands, all of the tissues in the pouch expand as well including blood vessels and nerves.  Stretchy nerves caught the interest of of Dr. […]

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