AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: celine2

Another reason to not cut down old trees

Imagine if human growth accelerates, instead of slowing down after adolescence. This way, humans would weigh less than half as much at their middle age than at when they are at their old age.

In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists found out that the growth of the tree accelerates with the tree size. This means that the bigger the tree, the faster it will grow to become even larger.

This discovery is important, as it tells us another reason to save old trees to help protect our planet. The bigger the tree size, the higher the rate of carbon accumulation of the tree. Therefore, one old tree helps lessen the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere much more than a tree that is much younger. Bigger and older trees are important carbon sinks to our environment.

Photo by Author

Photo by Author

Here is a link to a video which showcases a giant tree — the extreme end of the spectrum.

Original article:

Understanding Communication between Dogs

If you like dogs or happen to be a dog owner, you may have heard that when a dog wags its tail, it’s showing signs of happiness and friendliness. Well, a research on the communication between dogs in 2007 indicates that the direction to which the dog wags its tail is also significant in indicating a dog’s mood. The Italian researchers discovered that a wag of the tail to the left demonstrates negative emotions, while a wag to the right conveys more positive emotions.


Photo taken by author

Photo taken by author

Recently, another study published by Current Biology furthered this case. It is reported that when dogs watch videos or other dogs wagging its tails, when the video shows a wag tail to the left, the dog reacts with anxiety with a higher heartbeat; when the video shows a wag to the right, however, the dog reacts more calmly.

This is because emotions are related to either the left or right side of the brain, and a left-brain activation leads to a wag to the right, while a right-brain activation leads to a wag to the left.

This is significant because it is one way that dogs may communicate to one another. So next time when you see a dog wagging its tails, you know that it’s showing more emotion than just happiness.

Original Article: A Dog’s Tail Wag Says a Lot, to Other Dogs

Bringing Aesthetics to Biology

Let’s face it—biology can be a little bit dull sometimes.

Thankfully, a Brown University scientist, Dr. Casey Dunn, created a way to bring flavor back to the study of biology. In a clever way, Dr. Dunn created CreatureCast, short animations based on biology concepts that is so full of color drama that reminds us of how interesting and fascinating this study really is. By bringing the aesthetics back into the study, Dr. Dunn believes that he maintaining that sense of fascinating beauty that science withholds.

In a brand new episode from CreatureCast, a senior undergraduate student at Brown University explains the lifecycle of the green spoonworm. With drawings out of pencils, crayons, and paper cutouts, the seemingly peculiar and obscure life of spoonworm is lucidly demonstrated and easily understood.

Here, you can watch this episode about spoonworms.Sex in Spoonworms

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