Life Sciences

What is this thing called life? Biologists are life's detectives, discovering how life works and what makes animals, plants and microbes "alive." Organisms don't remain the same forever. Without change, life on Earth would stagnate. Species are in a constant dance with their environment. When an environment changes, the species that live within must change too, evolving to better adapt in order to survive. The end result is the diversity of life we see around us.

Mahi mahi migration

In the ocean there lives a fish known as the Mahi Mahi. Very little is known to science about how they migrate. Fishermen are helping scientists study their migration by catching Mahi Mahi with fishing rods, placing fish tags in them, and releasing them back to the wild with hope that their fish will be re-caught with the tag still in them.

Episode 13: Part of the pack

In this week's episode, Jordan and Charlie chat about the importance of a pack, discover a new antibody that may combat urinary tract infections and chase down storms with Doppler on Wheels.

Gigabit-networked microscopy used to create a cross-country learning environment

The University of Southern California is partnering with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) high school in Chattanooga, Tenn., and using gigabit networks to send high-definition 4K images of microorganisms directly into a biology class. This gives students live access to researchers and microscopic images, observations and knowledge, while also enabling them to manipulate the microscope from 1,800 miles away.

Rescuing the gentle giants

Giant clams are ecologically important because they clean seawater, and their huge shells are home to other marine creatures.

Hunting for hidden ice

The search for ancient ice starts back on campus, in Boston University's Digital Image Analysis Lab, where BU geologist David Marchant and his team pour over thousands of high resolution satellite images of Antarctica. They are looking for polygons; shapes in the rock that indicate buried ice below.

DNA Scientist is honored by President for mentoring science students

DNA scientist Bruce Jackson Bruce Jackson heads the Biotechnology Programs at Massachusetts Bay Community College. His work focuses on how DNA - in conjunction with other tools - can help solve mysteries of ancestry, forensics and evolution. Through his African-American Roots Project, he helps reunite African-Americans with their ancestral roots in Africa.

Slick and slender snake beats short and stubby lizard in sand swimming

Using X-ray equipment that allowed them to watch the animals move through a bed of dry sand, Georgia Tech researchers have studied how the shovel-nosed snake and sandfish lizard use their unique body plans to swim through sand. Information provided by the research could help explain how evolutionary pressures have affected body shape in sand-dwelling animals.

New technology makes tissues, someday organs

A new device for assembling large tissues from living components could someday be used to build replacement human organs the way electronics are assembled today: with precise picking and placing of parts.

Enormous underwater fossil graveyard found

Anthropologists and paleontologists uncovered what could be the largest single collection of lemur remains ever found. The remains were hidden in a series of underwater caves in a remote desert region of Madagascar. Described as a "lemur graveyard," the discovery of hundreds of potentially 1,000-year-old skeletons make it one of the most unique animal gravesites in the world. This discovery could be important for understanding animal and human ancestry, and result in a new era for underwater paleontology.

Antarctic seals may use the Earth's magnetic field to survive while hunting

Antarctica's Weddell seals have biological adaptations that allow them to dive deep--as much as hundreds of meters--while hunting, but also an uncanny ability to find the breathing holes they need in the surface of the ice that covers the sea. Now, a team of researchers supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation, believe they have figured out that the seals navigate so well by sensing the Earth's magnetic fields.