Everything about hagfish is the best thing about hagfish, the battle for the deep-sea heats up, parasitic butt snails, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: December 17, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Fun Science FRIEDay – Drug Resistant Bacteria, The Movie

In today’s FSF we bring you both a jaw dropping, and somewhat terrifying cinematic visualization of how bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, and overtime can become super bugs immune to any antibiotic treatment.  A concise and detailed description is presented below:

This stunning video of evolution in action captures how bacteria with no resistance to an antibiotic can in a very short time become resistant to concentrations of more than a thousand times the initial concentration. Other scientists have documented this phenomenon before, but never with such vivid clarity as that provided by Michael Bay and Roy Kishony of Harvard University.

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No bones about it

Hello, dear internets! Thank you for the warm welcome. I am extremely excited to be joining Southern Fried Science—talk about being in good company! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a student at the University of Oregon, where I study marine biology and journalism. I love all things science, but I have a small (ok, not so small) love for shark biology. I look forward to promoting ocean outreach through kick-ass science communication with the rest of the team, here at SFS.

Enough about me, on to some animal insides.

In honor of #unshark week’s end, I return to the awesome that is shark science. Like skates and rays, sharks are chondrichthyans, cartilaginous fishes whose skeletons are made primarily of cartilage rather than bone. Ever wonder what a mostly-boneless skeleton looks like? Sure you have (and if not, you are now thinking about it and the suspense is killing you, I say).

Shark skeletons are complex, beautiful, and thanks to Dr. Gavin Naylor, and his team at College of Charleston Naylor Lab, they are here for you to see.

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Live from Dayton: Using twitter to shed light on the Scopes Monkey Trial, 87 years later

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve taken to twitter to “live-tweet” the Scopes Monkey Trial, as it happens, 87 years after the event. Through the news reports of H.L. Mencken and several historical documents, I attempted to capture the atmosphere of 1925 Dayton, Tennessee, the tension of the trial, the exciting, and sometimes irreverent, nature of the proceedings.

To accomplish this, I drew from several publications, most notably Mencken: The American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers and A Religious Orgy in Tennessee: A Reporter’s Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial a collection of Mencken’s Scopes Trial reports assembled by Art Winslow. The website The Evolution-Creationism Controversy: A Chronology was very helpful in establishing the dates for various events during the trial State v. Scopes: Trial Excerpts provided access to the public testimony for several key trial events.

Below the fold is the entire archive of my Scopes Trial tweets, with added resources and additional content. Enjoy!

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What hybrid sharks mean (and don’t mean) for climate change and evolution: fact-checking the media coverage

Photo credit: study author Pascal Geraghty, New South Wales Department of Primary Industry

Last week, a team of 10 Australian scientists announced that they had found the world’s first “shark hybrids”, offspring of individuals from two different shark species which had interbred. During a routine survey of Australian marine life, 57 sharks were found that physically resembled one species of shark, but had genetic markers inconsistent with that species. Subsequent genetic investigation revealed that these 57 animals were hybrids between common blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) and Australian blacktip sharks (C. tilstoni).

Some of these hybrids were “F1″, meaning that one parents was a common blacktip and one was an Australian blacktip. Others were “B+”(backcrossed), which means that one parent was a common blacktip/Australian blacktip hybrid, and the other was a “purebreed” of one of those two species. According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Jess Morgan of the University of Queensland, “our genetic marker tells us that these hybrids are ‘at least’ F1, and that these animals are reproductively viable and can produce an F2…the hybrids may be generations past F2 but the existing genetic markers can’t distinguish how many generations past the second cross have occurred.”

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A recipe for the evolution of smaller fish stocks?

fish face a tradeoff of where to use their energy, much like the polluted fish in the Lorax by Dr. Suess

Overfishing is most often implicated as the cause of decreasing fish stocks and that makes a lot of logical sense if you’ve ever seen a large commercial trawler unload its catch. But there very well might be another force at work in the precipitous decline in fish stocks worldwide: pollution. The basic premise is that it takes resources to deal with pollutants that normally would be given to growth and reproduction. Through polluting the ocean, we have selected for the fish individuals that can most effectively divert those resources, inadvertently also selecting for smaller fish that reproduce less. That has huge implications for the fish’s population dynamics and potentially total fish stock. More details below the fold…

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And sense achieved a great victory – 85 years after Scopes

85 years ago today John Scopes was indicted for violating the Butler Law – a law that made it illegal to teach evolution in Tennessee. The Scopes Trial, engineered by several parties to bring attention to both Dayton, Tennessee and the controversial anti-evolution laws, left a lasting mark on America’s legal system and the public perception of science. It was the bombastic firebrand H. L. Menken, one of the architects of the trial, that summerised best the spirit of the Monkey Trail:

The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.

Aftermath by H. L. Mencken

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The Conservation Context in Population Genetics, Part 1

This is the first entry in Crowdsourcing ConGen. This entry is meant to be half of an Introduction which lays out the framework for what conservation genetics is, its philosophical basis in population genetics, and why it’s a meaningful method of inquiry for conservation. This first section is meant to outline foundational concepts in population genetics. It is not meant to be a detailed summery of population genetics, but needs to be accurate and clear.

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