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Solving the Mystery of Sleep

Lots of questions (and some answers) about a basic yet important part of life

Joy Y. WanHeadshot of Joy Y. Wan
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Although we need sleep to survive and spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping, we actually know very little about why sleep is important or how it is regulated in the brain. Scientists use the humble fruit fly to answer some of these questions, in the hopes of eventually understanding human sleep and even treating human sleep disorders.

Glowing in the Deep

How and why marine organisms create bioluminescence, living light

Julia MasonHeadshot of Julia Mason
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Deep beneath the ocean, far beyond the reach of the sun’s rays, the waters pulsate and twinkle with electric blue light. Not distant stars, but marine organisms create this otherworldly glow, an enchanting adaptation called bioluminescence.

Once Upon a Time in Science: Imagination’s role in science

How should we view nature and plan to protect it?

Charli DavisHeadshot of Charli Davis
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The biological sciences and education often highlight a dichotomy between addressing conservation biology scientifically and addressing it creatively. However, this is unnecessary and hinders efforts in conservation biology. Through the means of a “romantic teaching” education, both science and imagination can be employed so that efforts in conservation biology are understood and appreciated by scientists, politicians and the general public.

Riboswitches: A clever way to regulate mRNA

mRNAs are regulated in many ways, but riboswitches are one of the craftier methods.

Jeremy WorkHeadshot of Jeremy Work
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Messenger RNA (mRNA) is more than just a carrier of information from the genome to the ribosome. Some mRNAs include additional sequences that regulate their message by sensing molecules in the cell. These “riboswitch” sequences are an interesting and unique form of biosensor and cellular regulator.

Back To The Future

To understand the past and future of our oceans, marine biologists explore some unconventional sources of data.

Natalie LowHeadshot of Natalie Low
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What do you think of when you picture a marine biologist at work? Perhaps a SCUBA diver counting animals underwater, or people leaning over the side of a boat to put tags on whales, or exploring the deep ocean using submarines. Or even a person bending over a microscope, trying to identify tiny plankton. Few people would picture someone sorting through the contents of ancient trash heaps, or comparing Roman mosaic artworks, or poring over old colonial maps. After all, those are jobs for archaeologists and historians. Marine biologists study ocean life, not human history, right?