AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: sweetasglucose

It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the trees?

I would simply NEVER get involved with business in the Mafia because I am not 100% sure I could complete my side of the bargain. ( I have seen what happens in the movie ‘The Godfather‘.) It is hard to keep promise because you never know what situation can occur, and if you do fall back on your word, how will that person handle it.

In nature, there are many contracts made between animals. In biology they are known as “mutually beneficial relationship “. Animals coexist each expecting the other to hold up their side of the arrangement. However what happens when one partner does do their share? Well in the case of the Fig tree and the Fig wasp, the wasp dies. (kinda like the mafia)

Fig trees and wasps can make up a great mutualstic relationship. The fig tree’s figs are a perfect home for the wasps to lay their eggs, and in return the wasps have to spread the tree’s pollen. A study by students at Cornell University showed that the fig tree will purposely drop the fig containing the larva, letting the die as they hit the ground, if the wasp does not spread it’s pollen. dang.

Who knew trees were so tough? Maybe whoever said “the bark is worse than it’s bite”.

The study came about when graduate student Charlotte Jandér  wanted “to know what forces maintain this 80 million-year-old mutualism between figs and their wasp pollinators…What prevents the wasps from cheating and reaping the benefits of the relationship without paying the costs?” Now Charlotte knows the answer…death of their children.

Besides the 80 million-year-old relationship between fig trees and wasps, there are more than seven hundred species of fig trees and their mutullastic fig wasps. The pairings success is so remarkable it is hard to look at the fig tree’s tactic as cold or harsh, they have been together longer than humans. Maybe people will start to use more “tough love” to create a longlasting benefitial relationship.

Would you like allergies with that C section?

New born delivery baby photo

Although winter is annoyingly cold, at least there are some upsides, Christmas, hot coco, and a break from allergy season. For some people,the months from March to September can be horrible…if they have allergies. Their bodies feels sickly, their noses feel itchy, and their snot is icky. The loud sneezing can be so embarrassing, and they begin to wonder what they did to deserve this cruel and unusual punishment? NOTHING! If you are one of those people, don’t feel bad, it isn’t YOUR fault. Like most things in life, you can blame it on your parents. For keeping you too clean?

Scientist in Denmark have related the amount of allergies people have to the lifestyle they had growing up. According to studies done at Gentofte Hospital, the more babies and infants are introduced to bacteria at a young age, the more likely they won’t be as allergic to things.  “Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age..But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk.” said Gentofte Hospital consultant Professor Hans Bisgaard.

The time to being exposing babies starts right at birth and up to three months later. Wait, does this mean after birth we should make babies visit EVERY wing in the hospital.

Stranger, the fact someone has allergies could rely on how they were delievered. In the womb, the infant is protected by the mother’s immune defences. As an infant is delivered it is surrounded by new bacteria. A study showed, that those babies who were born vaginally, and were exposed to all the bactieria in the mother’s rectum,  have much less allergies than the babies from a C section who weren’t as exposed to the bacteria in their mother.

However, Professor Bisgaard isn’t stopping his research at connecting early life factors to allergies, he has also connected it to asthma and hay fever. Bisgaard’s continued research might be able to tie diseaseas such as obesity and diabetes to another early life factors as well.

Who knows what other things we’ll be able to fault are parents with in the future?

Bee-lieve it, Honey.

It bothers me, to see bees in October. Bees are allowed around for the SUMMER, not mid Autumn. Apparently, I should be appreciating the bees around me. According to an article published Oct 20,  WE NEED bees. That is why the University of B.C is are actually working on a way to keep bees alive LONGER! The bee decline is not only a problem in the United States, but it has become a phenomenon across the world. The UK, China, Japan, Egypt, and across Africa and Europe there has been a noticiable decline in the population of bees. Scientists apart of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) believe in four main reasons for the bee decline:

Honey Bee Macro, Flickr, wildxplorer, some rights reserved

  • Habitat degradation, including the loss of flowering plant species that provide food for bees;
  • Some insecticides, including the so-called “systemic” insecticides which can migrate to the entire plant as it grows and be taken in by bees in nectar and pollen;
  • Parasites and pests, such as the well-known Varroa mite;
  • Air pollution, which may be interfering with the ability of bees to find flowering plants and thus food – scents that could travel more than 800 meters in the 1800s now reach less than 200 meters from a plant.
In March 2011, Dr. Peter Neumann of the Swiss Bee Research Center said “We need to get smarter about how we manage these hives, but perhaps more importantly, we need to better manage the landscape beyond, in order to recover wild bee populations.”

Research at The University of B.C. has shown that by Beekeepers keeping a clean hive, bees will have a higher life expectancy. Considering the fact Bees declined 30% in population from 2010-2011, it is important for humans to help keep these insects alive. Bees help pollinate many plants. Out of 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. Their declining number, could be drastic to the circle of life. According to University of B.C.’s Leonard Foster, Beekeepers who keep a clean hive, not only have bees with a higher life expectancy, but also build a strong resitence to virures, pesticides, bacteria, and fungi. Foster has already been granted 1.5 million dollars to fund his project, on 4.2 million more to fulfill his full need of 5.7 million. I never knew bees were worth so much money, but you better bee-lieve it, honey. Sources:

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