Microbes in Dental Plaque are More Like Relatives in Soil than on the Tongue

Contact: Diana Kenney dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-605-3525 By Alison Caldwell University of Chicago Medicine Study suggests plaque may have been a “stepping stone” for microbes into the body CHICAGO and WOODS HOLE, Mass. — From the perspective of A. Murat Eren, the mouth is the perfect place to study microbial communities. “Not only is it the beginning […]

How the Insect Got its Wings: Scientists (At Last!) Tell the Tale

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. – It sounds like a “Just So Story” – “How the Insect Got its Wings” – but it’s really a mystery that has puzzled biologists for over a century. Intriguing and competing theories of insect wing evolution have emerged in recent years, but none were entirely satisfactory. Finally, a team […]

The Wily Octopus: King of Flexibility

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Octopuses have the most flexible appendages known in nature, according to a new study in Scientific Reports. In addition to being soft and strong, each of the animal’s eight arms can bend, twist, elongate and shorten in many combinations to produce diverse movements. But to what extent can […]

To Push or to Pull? How Many-Limbed Marine Organisms Swim

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — When you think of swimming, you probably imagine pushing through the water—creating backwards thrust that pushes you forward. New research at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) suggests instead that many marine animals actually pull themselves through the water, a phenomenon dubbed “suction thrust.” The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that […]

Tone of Voice Matters in Neural Communication! Study from MBL Neurobiology Shows How

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — The dialogue between neurons is of critical importance for all nervous system activities, from breathing to sensing, thinking to running. Yet neuronal communication is so fast, and at such small scale, that it is exceedingly difficult to explain precisely how it occurs. A preliminary observation in the Neurobiology […]

The Acrobatic Hydra Shows Off:  How Environmental Cues Can Affect Behavior

By Raleigh McElvery WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Although it may seem counterintuitive, researchers are turning to an animal without a brain to crack the neural code underlying behavior. Hydra vulgaris, a tiny, tentacled, freshwater organism, uses “nets” of neurons dispersed throughout its tube-like body to coordinate stretching, contracting, somersaulting, and feeding movements. This simple nervous […]

This Cuttlefish is Flamboyant on Special Occasions Only!

Media Contacts: Diana Kenney; dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 Emily Greenhalgh; egreenhalgh@mbl.edu; 508-289-7119 WOODS HOLE, Mass. – The flashy Flamboyant Cuttlefish is among the most famous of the cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) – but it is widely misunderstood by its legions of fans. A new paper from the Roger Hanlon laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods […]

First Gene Knockout in a Cephalopod is Achieved at MBL

Media Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. —A team at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has achieved the first gene knockout in a cephalopod using the squid Doryteuthis pealeii, an exceptionally important research organism in biology for nearly a century. The milestone study, led by MBL scientists Joshua Rosenthal and Karen Crawford, is reported in […]

Desert Algae Shed Light on Desiccation Tolerance in Green Plants

For a copy of the paper, contact: Diana Kenney, MBL dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Deserts of the U.S. Southwest are extreme habitats for most plants, but, remarkably, microscopic green algae live there that are extraordinarily tolerant of dehydration. These tiny green algae (many just a few microns in size) live embedded in microbiotic […]

Why Are Offspring of Older Mothers Less Fit to Live Long and Prosper?

Media Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. – The offspring of older mothers don’t fare as well as those of younger mothers, in humans and many other species. They aren’t as healthy, or they don’t live as long, or they have fewer offspring themselves. A longstanding puzzle is why evolution would maintain this maternal effect […]