Thursday, August 25, 2016

Love your park. NPS turns 100 today!

The National Park Service has been celebrating its centennial all year - today is the day of the NPS founding, August 25, 1916.  Thank you to the NPS founders: Theodore Roosevelt, Horace M. Albright, Stephen Mather, and Woodrow Wilson.  NPS is offering free admission to any of its 412 parks this weekend - so get out there!  The beginning of a new semester isn't the best timing for a park visit, of course.  Enjoy them virtually with Ken Burns The National Parks : America's Best Idea (a Kanopy streaming video).

www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/birthday-invitation.htm

Friday, August 05, 2016

Citizen Science Projects Celebrate National Park Service Centennial

Five National Park Citizen Science Projects Anyone Can Join: Celebrate the NPS centennial by lending a hand. -- Sierra Club

It's unlikely that anyone on campus will be participating in NPS citizen science projects on the actual centennial date, August 25 - we will be in the midst of new student orientation that day.  But the opportunities for citizen science projects throughout the year are numerous and varied.  Check it out!

Citizen science projects are ongoing worldwide, investigating many different subjects under a whole host of sponsors; see Discover magazine's Top Ten citizen science projects of 2015 for a hint at the diversity of options.  Find more at SciStarter.

Back to the National Park Service centennial - you can visit a lovely National Park within a one hour drive of Oberlin.  It doesn't have the awesome peaks of Glacier or the wildlife of Yellowstone or wild ocean shores of Acadia, but it offers excellent hiking trails and hundreds of acres of beautiful Ohio forest, fields, meadows, wetlands and streams.  Plus the old Ohio-Erie canal towpath for biking and Blossom Music Center, summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra.  Visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in every season to appreciate all there it has.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What is a genome? - a review from Aaron Goldman

Just published in the open access journal PLOS Genetics, with 3816 views in its first week on the site (open access truly does have a far reach!):

Goldman, Aaron David, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Laura F. Landweber. 2016. "What is a Genome?" PLOS Genetics 12 (7): e1006181.

Partial Abstract:
The genome is often described as the information repository of an organism... Several emerging areas of research demonstrate that this definition is an oversimplification. Here, we explore ways in which a deeper understanding of genomic diversity and cell physiology is challenging the concepts of physical permanence attached to the genome as well as its role as the sole information source for an organism.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Genotype-environment interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana - new publication from A. Roles

Roles, Angela J., Assistant Professor of Biology; Rutter, M.T., Dworkin, I., Fenster, C.B., and Conner, J.K. (2016). Field measurements of genotype by environment interaction for fitness caused by spontaneous mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana. Evolution 70, 1039-1050.

Journal banner @ Wiley Online
Partial abstract: As the ultimate source of genetic diversity, spontaneous mutation is critical to the evolutionary process. The fitness effects of spontaneous mutations are almost always studied under controlled laboratory conditions rather than under the evolutionarily relevant conditions of the field. We studied the fitness effects of 25 generations of accumulated spontaneous mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana in two geographically widely separated field environments, in Michigan and Virginia. We observed genotype-environment interactions in the fitness effects of new mutations, such that the effects of mutations in Michigan were a poor predictor of their effects in Virginia and vice versa. In particular, mutational variance for fitness was much larger in Virginia compared to Michigan. This strong genotype-environment interaction would increase the amount of genetic variation maintained by mutation-selection balance.
Full text online @OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center

Evolution - journal home page @Wiley Online Library

Learn more about the use of A. thaliana (a small flowering weed) as a model organism for genetic studies at The Ohio State University Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center.

Arabidopsis Protocols, 2nd ed., is online @Springer ebooks [access through OBIS]

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wildlife corridors - update from Sierra Club

If You Build It, They Will Come: Our highways and interstates present one of the greatest threats to wildlife—that's where critter corridors come in. --Sierra Club

Read more about wildlife management with these recent titles:


Handbook of road ecology / edited by Rodney van der Ree, Daniel J. Smith, and Clara Grilo [online at Wiley, access through OBIS]

The carnivore way : coexisting with and conserving North America's predators / by Cristina Eisenberg
[OBIS record] also online at Springer ebooks

The spine of the continent : the most ambitious wildlife conservation project ever undertaken / Mary Ellen Hannibal [OBIS record]

Friday, July 22, 2016

Publications from I. Rew (Class of 2017) and M. Moore (Biology)

Billups, K., C. Hudson, H. Kunz, and Isabelle Rew (class of 2017). 2016. "Exploring Globorotalia truncatulinoides Coiling Ratios as a Proxy for Subtropical Gyre Dynamics in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean during Late Pleistocene Ice Ages." Paleoceanography 31 (5): 553-563.

From the abstract: Our results support that the coiling direction of this species is sensitive to variations in hydrography of the western boundary of the subtropical gyre. Because of the association between G. truncatulinoides (s) and precession maxima in both hemispheres, results support the importance of oceanic heat transport in half-precession climate variability in the North Atlantic.
[full-text online @ Wiley]

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Lewis, Emily M., Jeremie B. Fant, Michael J. Moore, Associate Professor of Biology, Amy P. Hastings, Erica L. Larson, Anurag A. Agrawal, and Krissa A. Skogen. 2016. "Microsatellites for Oenothera gayleana and O. hartwegii filifolia (Onagraceae), and their Utility in Section Calylophus." Applications in Plant Sciences 4 (2): 1500107.

Conclusions: The microsatellite loci characterized here are the first developed and tested in Oenothera sect. Calylophus. These markers will be used to assess whether pollinator foraging distance influences population genetic parameters in predictable ways.
[full-text online @ BioOne]

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Citral shown to decrease cancer cell proliferation (new publication from R.J. Whelan)

New article from Rebecca Whelan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Modulation of oxidative stress and subsequent induction of apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum stress allows citral to decrease cancer cell proliferation.

Kapur, Arvinder; Felder, Mildred; Fass, Lucas; Kaur, Justanjot; Czarnecki, Austin; Rathi, Kavya; Zeng, San; Osowski, Kathryn Kalady; Howell, Colin; Xiong, May P.; Whelan, Rebecca J.; Patankar, Manish S.

Scientific Reports, published online June 8 2016,  Article number 27530.  Open access at PubMedCentral.

Partial abstract:
"The monoterpenoid, citral, when delivered through PEG-b-PCL nanoparticles inhibits in vivo growth of 4T1 breast tumors. Here, we show that citral inhibits proliferation of multiple human cancer cell lines. ...This study indicates that citral in PEG-b-PCL nanoparticle formulation should be considered for treatment of breast and other tumors."

More about Scientific Reports, a NatureResearch Journal.