Biology

Study Shows Large Variability in Abundance of Viruses that Infect Ocean Microorganisms

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Marine microorganisms play a critical role in capturing atmospheric carbon, but a new study finds much less certainty than previously believed about the populations of the viruses that infect these important organisms.
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Viruses infect more than humans or plants. For microorganisms in the oceans – including those that capture half of the carbon taken out of the atmosphere every day – viruses are a major threat. But a paper published January 25 in the journal Nature Microbiology shows that there’s much less certainty about the size of these viral populations than scientists had long believed.

Gulf of Mexico Study Finds Microbes Thriving above Natural Oil Seeps

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In the water above natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas bubbles rise almost a mile to break at the surface, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Columbia University and Florida State University have discovered something unusual: phytoplankton, tiny microbes at the base of the marine food chain, are thriving.
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In the water above natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas bubbles rise almost a mile to break at the surface, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Columbia University and Florida State University have discovered something unusual: phytoplankton, tiny microbes at the base of the marine food chain, are thriving.

Princeton University Press publishes monograph by Joshua Weitz on Quantitative Viral Ecology

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Associate Professor Joshua Weitz has published the first comprehensive book on quantitative viral biology.
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Associate Professor Joshua Weitz has published the first comprehensive book on quantitative viral biology. Quantitative Viral Ecology: Dynamics of Viruses and Their Microbial Hosts establishes a theoretical foundation for modeling and predicting the ecological and evolutionary dynamics that result from the interaction between viruses and their microbial hosts. These go well beyond the viruses we most often think of—influenza, HIV, and Ebola—and include the diverse and abundant viruses that infect single-celled microbes found in oceans, lakes, plants, soil, and animal-associated microbiomes.

Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy

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Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
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Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.

A Hairy Situation: Hair Increases Surface Area for Animals by 100 Times

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A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology classifies the many ways animals and insects clean themselves
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Georgia Institute of Technology researchers combed through more than two dozen studies and did surface measurements for 27 mammals and insects to better understand how animals are able to clean themselves. The findings could have implications for keeping manmade structures – such as sensors, robots and unmanned aerial vehicles – free from pollutants, pollen and dirt. The review study is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Life’s Secrets Sought in a Snowflake

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Quanta magazine article on research into multicellularity features the research of Georgia Tech School of Biology's William Ratcliff
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An article in this month's Quanta magazine explores the evolutionary transition to multicellularity.Life’s Secrets Sought in a Snowflake explores how the transition to multicellularity likely occurred many times in Earth's evolutionary history. The Georgia Tech School of Biology's William Ratcliff has studied this transition in snowflake yeast, and is featured in this article.

Ants: Both Solid-like and Liquid-like

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Study finds that ants are actually liquid-like and solid-like simultaneously
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Collections of ants have a remarkable ability to change shapes and tasks based on the demands of their environment. When floodwaters hit, they self-assemble and form rafts to stay alive. They can also use their bodies to build bridges and span gaps. What are the properties of these ant aggregations that allow for this wide range of abilities? New research from the Georgia Institute of Technology says it’s because the insects are actually liquid-like and solid-like simultaneously. The study is currently published in Nature Materials.

Chemical Communication Under The Sea

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Chemical & Engineering News discusses chemical communication under the sea including research from Ga. Tech College of Sciences
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Chemical and Engineering News, discusses our current understanding of Chemical Communication Under The Sea, including a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication by University of Maine chemical ecologist Douglas Rasher in conjunction with Ga. Tech School of Biology colleagues, Professor Julia Kubanek and Professor Mark Hay.

Dr. Brian Hammer and colleagues awarded a grant to reboot the gut using bacterial dueling

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Brian Hammer and colleagues awarded grant to pursue high-risk, high reward research
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The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Research Corporation for Science Advancement awarded 5 grants totaling $731k to teams of researchers pursuing "ambitious, high-risk, highly impactful discovery research on untested ideas in physical cell biology."

Easy on the eyes: How eyelash length keeps your eyes healthy

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Study finds that animals and humans have similar lash length
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It started with a trip to the basement of the American Museum of Natural History in New York to inspect preserved animal hides. Later, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers built a wind tunnel about 2 feet tall, complete with a makeshift eye. By putting both steps together, the team discovered that 22 species of mammals – from humans, to hedgehogs, to giraffes ­– are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye.

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