Rising seas threaten coastal marshes worldwide, like this marsh just outside Venice, Italy pictured in a satellite image. But a new study by Marco Marani of the Nicholas School finds marshes are more resilient than previously believed. Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 boost plant biomass production, allowing marshes to trap more sediment and generate more organic soil.
Is falling apart inevitable as we get older? Not for tiny aquatic animals called hydra, says a team led by Duke University aging researcher James Vaupel. Unlike us, hydra continue to survive and reproduce well into old age, the researchers find. The results are part of an eight-year study of more than 2,000 individuals at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.
Pundits have reminded us that “all politics is local” since American newspaper columnist Byron Price first used the phrase in 1932 to explain how hometown issues and economics shape national elections.
Old as the adage may be, it still holds true—especially, Megan Mullin’s research suggests, when it comes to the politics of climate change.
“The evidence for the effect of local weather on public opinion regarding climate change is overwhelming,” says Mullin, associate professor of environmental politics at the Nicholas School.
When the largest modern-day plant-eaters -- elephants -- are confined to too small an area, they devastate the vegetation. So 15,000 years ago, when the herbivores like the Columbian mammoth, mastodons and giant ground sloths were even larger, more numerous and more widely distributed, how did the landscape survive?
The answer was probably enormous predators, creatures called “hypercarnivores” by a team of evolutionary biologists appearing online the week of Oct. 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To thrive in the high-temperature environment of a human host, the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans depends largely on the Ras1 protein. Connie Nichols, a research scientist in the Andrew Alspaugh lab in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology fused fluorescent proteins from jellyfish to Ras1 (red) and to a protein that helps it survive on the cell membrane called Pfa4 (green). Yellow spots indicate the two proteins are joined.
DURHAM, N.C. – Scientists at Duke Medicine are using transparent fish to watch in real time as Cryptococcal meningitis takes over the brain. The resulting images are worthy of a sci-fi movie teaser, but could be valuable in disrupting the real, crippling brain infection that kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year.
DURHAM, N.C. -- Many bugs that make us sick -- bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites -- hide out in our cells in protective little bubbles called vacuoles. To clear an infection, the immune system must recognize and destroy these vacuoles while leaving the rest of the living cell intact.
Now, researchers have discovered that our bodies mark pathogen-containing vacuoles for destruction by using a molecule called ubiquitin, commonly known as the “kiss of death.”
Scott Winton organizes his life around birds.
He vacations where there are birds to see. He likes biking better than driving because it’s easier to hear and see birds. And if he does drive, he gets out of the car with his head up, listening and looking.
The dominant matriarchs of meerkat society carry a heavy burden.
Not only are these females stressed from having to constantly scold and cajole the rowdy members of the tribe to maintain their perch as the primary breeders and enforcers of the clan, they apparently host more parasites as well.
In a two-year study at the Kuruman River Reserve in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, Duke graduate student Kendra Smyth sampled the parasite diversity of 83 sexually mature meerkats living in 18 social groups.