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Showing posts with the label University of Pittsburgh

RotM: Interview with Dr. Daniel Zurek

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For this month's Researcher of the Month (RotM) interview, we spoke to Dr. Daniel B Zurek, Neuroethologist and Sensory Ecologist and also the Post Doctoral Associate, studying tiger beetles in the Morehouse Lab.   at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Daniel recently published his findings about how tiger beetles pursue their prey in the journal Biology Letters  and frankly spoke about his study and his interests with us.  CTS:  Why should we study hunting in tiger beetles?  DZ: I am interested in the question of how visual systems of animals are adapted to their ecological needs. Tiger beetles are extremely fast running predators, which is a challenge for visual perception. Animals that are extremes in some way can make good study systems. Finding out where their limits are, and what ways nature has found to cope with these limits, can teach us a lot about general principles that might be common in other systems. It can also reveal interesting candidates for applications

Is Sci-Fi turning into reality? The Story of Suspended Animation

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From sleeping beauty to dragons; grizzly bears and squirrels to viruses and bacteria, hibernation seems like nature’s best way to keep tough times at bay. Come to think of it, the idea of putting the protagonist in sci-fi movies, in a state of suspended animation in order to transport him to far off planets or reemerge when the time is right is not something unimaginable. This hyper sleep that the characters are put through is something that happens quite a lot in nature! If you are getting a little confused with the whole concept, let me put it simply- hibernation (or hyper sleep) is when an organism’s metabolic activity is reduced to the minimum (almost zero), where by it enters a state of suspended animation. In mammals there is a drop in temperature (almost 2-4 degree C), oxygen consumption drops down to 2% and there is a serious fall in the heart rate as well. And how does it help, you may ask, well imagine you are waiting your turn to get a table in a fancy restaurant on a