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.

The math of shark skin

The rough surface of shark skin helps sharks move faster through the water. Mathematicians have developed an equation for how this roughness translates into less viscosity for a swimming shark.

The age of fish

Scripps Oceanography graduate student Elizabeth Sibert describes how a mass extinction event helped launch the modern "age of fish."

Scientists uncover how caterpillars created condiments

An international team of researchers led by the University of Missouri and Stockholm University has used cutting-edge genomics to analyze the co-evolution theory and identified the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. Scientists believe that understanding how co-evolution works could help provide genetic clues for producing heartier plants and food for a growing global population.

Researcher shines light on origin of bioluminescence

A scientist has discovered that bioluminescence may not have originated as a means to ward off predators, but instead evolved as a way to survive in harsh climates--at least in one millipede. The finding, based on the discovery of a millipede that hadn't been seen in 50 years, shows that even the seemingly most complex and intricate of traits can be traced in evolution as small steps leading to a complex feature we see today.

Episode 19: woolly mammoth

In this episode, Charlie and Jordan delve into a study of mammoth proportions, chat about a new 3-D printed soft robot and an advance in breast cancer research.

Wiring an underwater volcano

How a continuous stream of data from underwater volcanoes can help create a shared consciousness about the oceans.

Do social insects share brain power?

The society you live in can shape the complexity of your brain. For vertebrate animals like humans, and even birds and fish, there is a lot of support for the idea that our complex brains developed along with complex societies.

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.