Slimy brown algae not only survived a wild ride into the stratosphere via a volcanic ash cloud, they landed on distant islands looking flawless, a new study finds.
"There’s a crazy contrast between these delicate, glass-shelled organisms and one of the most powerful eruptions in Earth’s history," said lead study author Alexa Van Eaton, a postdoctoral scholar at both the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington and Arizona State University.
The diatoms were launched by the Taupo super-eruption on New Zealand’s North Island 25,000 years ago. More than 600 million cubic meters (20 billion cubic feet) of diatoms from a lake flew into the air, Van Eaton reported Sept. 6 in the journal Geology. Lumped together, the microscopic cells speckled throughout Taupo’s ash layers would make a pile as big as Hawaii’s famed Diamond Head volcanic cone.
10 Wild Facts About Chameleons
- 1 — Changes in light, temperature or emotion can prompt Chameleons to change color - they do not change color to camouflage themselves.
- 2 — Their tongues moves faster than human eyes can follow, hitting their prey in about 30 thousandths of a second. They have ballistic tongues that are 1.5 - 2 times the length of their body.
- 3 — The word ‘chameleon’ is a combination of two Greek words, “Chamai”, meaning ‘on the ground’ and “Leon” meaning ‘lion’.
- 4 — Chameleons do not have any ears.
- 5 — Almost half of the world’s species live on the island of Madagascar with 59 different species there. There are approximately 160 species of chameleon worldwide.
- 6 — Chameleon eyes have a 360-degree arc of vision and can see two directions at once. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously, which lets their eyes move independently of each other.
- 7 — Their feet resemble tongs with five toes that are fused into one group of two and another group of three.
- 8 — A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping especially by wrapping around an object.
- 9 — Males are typically much more ornamented. Many have head or facial ornamentation such as horn-like projections while others have large crests on top of their heads.
- 10 — Chameleons vary greatly in size and structure. Their lengths can vary from 15 millimeters (0.6 in) in the male Brookesia micra (one of the world’s smallest reptiles) to 68.5 centimeters (30 in) in the male Furcifer oustaleti.
The 10 Enzymes of Glycolysis
We’re the ten best friends that anyone could have, and we’ll never ever ever ever ever leave each other (
unless something bad like denaturation happens).
Glucose, C6H12O6, can be considered as “fuel” for cells, serving as an energy (ATP) source, as seen in the equation down below. The energy from glucose can be obtained either by burning it (e.g. burning icing sugar), or through controlled oxidation reactions (glycolysis, the Krebs/TCA/citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation).
C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy
The (beautifully coloured) images shown above are the majestic 10 enzymes used in glycolysis, a metabolic pathway that breaks down 1 molecule of glucose into 2 molecules of pyruvate, yielding a net production of 2 molecules of ATP (as well as 2NADH, 2H+, and 2H2O). The above photos are from the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB).
From left to right, and in the order they are seen in the 10 steps of glycolysis, the enzymes are:
- Phosphohexose isomerase
- Triose phosphate isomerase
- Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase
- Phosphoglycerate kinase
- Phosphoglycerate mutase
- Pyruvate kinase
Head on over to the RCSB PDB to read more about the structure and function of each enzyme!
Source Used: RCSB PDB. Glycolytic Enzymes. http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/101/motm.do?momID=50 (accessed June 13, 2013)
Indian Roller, Coracias benghalensis. If I could see this bird just once I think I could die happy. Another example of why I love the Coraciiformes.
(thanks google for the pictures)
For such tiny animals, Syllidae really get around.
These polychaete worms, most only a few millimeters long, are found from the intertidal to the deep sea. The over 200 species of Syllids, and potentially many more not yet recognized, are keeping some molecular biologists very busy. 133 species from 5 continents have DNA barcodes already, and our colleagues at the Moorea Biocode project just keep finding more, just waiting to be identified, or classified as new species.
More Syllids from Moorea here.
(via: Encyclopedia of Life)
At a time when life as we know it was just getting its start on Earth, Martian clay may have harbored a key component for one of life’s molecular building blocks, researchers say.
Boron found in a Martian meteorite suggests the Red Planet may once have had the right chemistry to give rise to RNA, according to a new study.
“In early life RNA is thought to have been the informational precursor to DNA,” study researcher James Stephenson, an evolutionary biologist, said in a statement.
Billions of years ago, RNA may have been the first molecule to program information and pass it on to the next generation. Today, that task is DNA’s domain. RNA, meanwhile, is responsible for carrying genetic information from DNA to proteins. Researchers believe the RNA sugar component, ribose, relies on borates (the oxidized form of boron) to form spontaneously.
“Borates may have been important for the origin of life on Earth because they can stabilize ribose, a crucial component of RNA,” added Stephenson, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hawaii at Manoa NASA Astrobiology Institute (UHNAI).
Read more: [x]
Image: Electron microscope image showing the 700-million-year-old Martian clay veins containing boron. CREDIT: UHNAI
Confocal micrograph showing the expression of different fluorescent proteins in the stem of a thale cress seedling (Arabidopsis thaliana). Arabidopsis was the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced and is an important model for studying plant biology. The middle of the image shows a region of high cell proliferation, which drives the growth and branching of the seedling.
Stunning shots from the 2013 ATCC Photo Contest:
1. Mouse muscle cell (myoblast) 8 days after differentiation - The University of Iowa
2. Human cervix epithelial cells under multiphoton fluorescence - National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research @ UCSD