Category Environment

Red Knot Migration

Reductions in body size in various animals are increasingly being identified as a response to climate warming. As early as the mid 19th century biologists observed that animals in warmer condition often tended to be smaller. The principle was formulated as Bergmann’s Rule. It is an ecogeographic principle that states that within a taxonomic clade, populations and [...]

Mandragora

The Incredible shrinking Man desires a more ecological human existence. We’ve outgrown our naturally given space on Earth and are starting to experience the consequences, or even consider exit strategies. But rather than fantasising about a departure from the planet that designed us, we investigate the possibilities to retrofit humanity back into Earth’s future plans. [...]

Microbial Temper Tantrums

In stressful conditions, cells must prevent the initiation of replication and shift their priorities to protective functions. In other words: they must stop division and growth. Experiments in bacteria at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have uncovered the mechanism that translates stress into blocked cell growth. According to molecular biologist Peter Chien stressful conditions causes proteins [...]

Degrowth

Degrowth is a political, economic, and social movement based on ecological economics. Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption arguing that overconsumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities. It is considered an essential economic strategy responding to the limits-to-growth dilemma and in this way a parallel to [...]

Growth Antagonists: Delta Cells

The growth of the human body is a highly complex process with many growth agonists and -antagonists taking centre stage at different times. In Growth Antagonists we each time zoom in on one of the key players as we’re trying to understand the puzzle of the endocrine system that regulates growth. Today we focus on [...]

It’s Not (All) About Genes

There is a strong correspondance between the heights of offspring and the average height of the two parents. In Western societies this amounts to height being up to 90% heritable. But although who your parents are is the predominant determination of height, it’s no excuse for it.
Heritability statistics do not reflect the relative importance of genes [...]

The Shrinking Iguana

Much to his surprise, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University has found that in times of famine, marine iguanas in the Galápagos Islands shrink in length and then regrow when food is plentiful again.
“For vertebrates, it’s sort of a dogma that they don’t shrink,” says Martin Wikelski, who believes closer observations will reveal other shrinking [...]