Microbe

Parasite Makes Ants Resemble Berries

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 16, 2008   View Article

Fruit pickers beware. That red berry might actually be an infested ant’s rear end.

Scientists have discovered a parasite in the tropical forests of Central and South America that makes its ant hosts look like juicy, red berries ripe for the picking.

“Encyclopedia of Life” to Catalog All Species of Life on Earth

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 9, 2007   View Article

Scientists announced plans today to put descriptions, pictures, video, and sounds of the world’s estimated 1.8 million named species on the Internet for free.

The effort, called the Encyclopedia of Life, will standardize the presentation of “information about the plants and animals and microorganisms that share this planet with us,” said James Edwards, the project’s executive director.

Warming Oceans Put Kink in Food Chain, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 30, 2007   View Article

The growth of tiny plants at the base of the ocean food chain is tightly linked to changes in the climate, according to a recent study.

The finding shows that as temperatures warm, the growth of single-celled ocean plants called phytoplankton slows at Earth’s mid and low latitudes. The plants’ growth increases when the climate cools.

Oil Platforms, Deep Seas, Mined for New Drugs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 25, 2006   View Article

The thousands of oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico may soon become a source for blockbuster drugs, researchers say.

“They are all very, very rich in organisms” that could provide ingredients for powerful pharmaceuticals, said Lawrence Rouse, the director of the Coastal Marine Institute at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Weird Australia Rocks Are Earliest Signs of Life, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 7, 2006   View Article

Weird cone- and egg-carton-shaped formations in Western Australia are almost certainly among the earliest evidence of life on Earth, according to a new study.

The 3.43-billion-year-old Strelley Pool Chert formations, called stromatolites, are sediment structures, not fossilized life forms. But their unusual features have inspired scientists to debate their origin.

Termite Power: Can Pests’ Guts Create New Fuel

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 14, 2006   View Article

Tiny microbes that live inside termites may one day help cure the world’s energy woes, according to scientists.

The researchers are trying to understand how bacteria that help termites digest wood and other plants release the hydrogen that’s trapped in the material.

Army of Tiny Fungi Keeps Forests Healthy, Study Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 21, 2005   View Article

Communities of microscopic fungi that live inside trees might help protect their hosts from disease and predators, new research suggests.

These fungi, called endophytes, are found throughout various types of plants from the roots to the leaves. Many different endophyte species can live together in a single plant.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach