I was trying really hard to read a paper – Perez-del-Olmo et al. (2011) Abundance–variance and abundance–occupancy relationships in a marine host–parasite system: The importance of taxonomy and ecology of transmission. International Journal for Parasitology 41, 1361-1370 – but I got a bit distracted by this:

It’s my own fault really, I shouldn’t go looking at Cheezburger when I have clever papers to read. I’ll blame my poor judgement and use of time on being insufficiently caffeinated.

I was quite excited by the paper because it has “ecology” AND “taxonomy” in its title and it still got published in IJP!! It doesn’t even have a molecular component either. Over the past few years, IJP has become increasingly interested in accepting papers very heavy on the molecules, which makes it difficult for other kinds of parasitological research to get published in this top-tier journal. Ahh, there’s hope for us ecologically-minded parasitologists after all. I shall present a review of the paper shortly, after I finish watching this gif and smiling at my computer screen like an idiot.


Monday Awesome: Nudibranchs!

I’m being a bit naughty, as it’s not Monday in Mexico for another three hours, but it’s mid-afternoon monday back home and as my computer’s clock is still set for Canberra time, it’s Monday enough for me.

Today, I offer you a video that I could not go past. Nudibranchs are pretty cool in their own right, but there was something about the narration that was so bad it was funny. Either way, I felt it was worthy of sharing.

Also, a not-quite-Monday bonus. I have been listening to lots of music on long flights lately so I have  to include this video, with apologies to my sister who does not like Chris Cornell:


Science round-up: stories and research….

…. that I’ve missed out on over the past week or so, due to patchy internet access.

Hello loyal followers (although I’m not sure how many of you there are – possibly one or two??). As you would have seen, I have been away from home over the past couple of weeks, first in London, then in Washington DC (with sight-seeing in New York as evidenced in Monday Awesome), and now, finally, I’m at my last stop in Mexico City.

I’m at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and I have an internet connection!! Yay! After more than a week of not much interweb, it’s great. So, let me commence my round-up of interesting things I’ve seen from the past week or two:

1) Cane toad toxin is not so bad for some blue-tongue lizards.

2) Microplastic is bad and all-pervasive.

3) Lyme disease is on the increase in the UK.

4) American politics is bizarre.

Blue-tonge lizard (photo credit NewScientist article)

Continue reading

Bird flu detected in Victoria.

Thousands of ducks are to be culled at two farms in Victoria, Australia following detection of a H5 (bird strain) influenza virus, according to the ABC News. The link also includes a snippet from the Melbourne news, with some footage of very cute ducklings that are presumably going to the big duck-pond in the sky. The head of biosecurity of the Department of Primary Industries says they are taking a very heavy-handed approach, but it’s probably not a bad thing to err on the side of caution. There have been several deaths recently in south-east Asia attributed to bird flu, including last week in China (link). While there is still no evidence for human-human transmission, the proximity of poultry to humans in many rural areas of south-east Asia means that it would be very wise to be vigilant.

By the way, I’m in Mexico now – the source location of the 2009 H1N1 swine-flu outbreak!

Monday Awesome: Snow in New York.

I know, I know, it’s barely Monday anymore. It’s lunchtime on Tuesday back home, and while it’s after 9pm Monday local time, I still do have a couple of hours left.

I was in New York over the weekend. It snowed. Quite a bit too – around 10cm of snow fell on Saturday. Waking up to freshly fallen snow may not excite people who live in snowy climates, but for an Aussie in one of the most famous cities in the world, it was awesome. Walking around in falling snow was so much fun, I didn’t care that it was -5 degrees (C) and bloody freezing.

So, today’s Awesome is a photo taken in Central Park on Saturday afternoon.

Animals of the Natural History Museum – part 2.

The animal collection (except arthropods) is kept in a new wing of the Natural History Museum, called the Darwin Centre. At the bottom of one wing is the Tank Room, part of the spirit collection. This is a very large, very cold room where everything too big to fit on a regular shelf is kept. It houses fish mainly, and there were many enormous stainless steel tanks filled with things like sharks preserved in ethanol. I couldn’t look in these, as they require pulleys and things to actually lift the enormous lids.

I did, however, have a look around and saw the following moderately exciting things. Continue reading