Sex Changes Not Involving Surgery

As humans we think of men and women as entities with a fixed genders. Other species do not see things the same way. Fish do things a little differently from what we might think of as normal. Most of us along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have eaten grouper for dinner or in a sandwich at some point in our lives. But, did you know that most groupers change their gender as they mature. They are called protogynous hermaphrodites. Continue reading

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C.F.L.’s are great – their mercury is not

With the recent surge in compact fluorescent light bulb advertising and purchases we may be seeing the first highly obvious and nationally visible step in combating global warming. This not to say that recycling of household waste and industrial pollution controls are not important. But, rather it is something that people can easily do, see an immediate effect and know that they are helping to reduce global warming. Continue reading

Farming the sea: plants, genetics and patience

In our distant past mankind looked to farming, any type of farming, as a way to help him get past those times when there were not enough of the planet’s wild resources available to meet his needs – mammals, fish and plants. As our societies expanded these wild resources began to vanish which promoted the expansion of farming. As the trend to farming continued simple husbandry of domesticated animals and plants was not enough to meet the growing needs of our species. New areas of farming research were explored to help us with our farming, which has gone from something extra in our lives to something that is a requirement. Continue reading

It’s all in the numbers

As a society we are obsessed with numbers. There are have phone numbers, social security numbers, number for our house, license plate number and age among others. These numbers all give us a place to measure from. It is the same in the biological sciences. Biologists need to know where something is before they can tell where it is going. All science is based on having a starting point to measure from. Continue reading

No freeze zone

With the weather turning cold off and on maybe it’s time to check the antifreeze in your car. Antifreeze is used in our vehicles to keep the engine blocks from cracking when the old worn out coolant freezes. This is the same thing that happens to cells in a living organism. Freezing water in a cell expands and ruptures the cellular membrane letting everything leak out. If you don’t think this happens, put a tomato in your freezer overnight and take it out the next morning to thaw. Make sure you put it in a bowl or you will have a mess on your floor. Well, if this happens to plants how do fish survive in temperatures cold enough to freeze saltwater? Continue reading