Quick Science News - grunting cod, the bacterial war of the vagina and violently birthing dinosaurs

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Who could possibly think scientists are weird or dull when they are eavesdropping on cod having sex? Scientists have been listening in on marine animals such as whales and dolphins for decades but have only recently turned their attention to frisky fish. Both male and female cod emit a ‘grunting’ sound in everyday life, during spawning only the males make ‘grunting’ sounds (how do you tell the difference between a male grunt and a femal grunt). Also note, not all cod species grunt. Armed with this knowledge a group of scientists went about recording a spawning season. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) are known to practice spawning site fidelity - they return to the same site to spawn year after year - so researchers were able to predict the spawning location. They recorded male grunting over this period and found it was most common during May and June and during daylight hours. They are now trying to determine whether the grunt data could be translated into population abundance data - sounds fancier than ‘listening to fish have sex’.

There is a bacterial war raging in your vagina and it’s as icky as it sounds. It is well known the vagina is the stage in which different colonies of bacteria wage war against each other for precious space. An article published in Applied Environmental Microbiology has found that certain Steptococci bacteria can cause toxic shock syndrome toxin, which can be deadly (yes your vagina can kill you), but it can also be neutralised depending on the other bacteria in the vagina. Researchers compared swabs from vaginas with a healthy status, intermediate status (what makes for a vagina of intermediate health?) and those with bacterial vaginosis. They found that the presence Lactobacillus bacterial species (like those in yoghurt, cheese and probiotics) actually reduced toxin production. And so the battle rages on….

American Society for Microbiology

This post has absolutely no common thread….

The dinosaurs were ushered into the Jurassic period with a bang, well actually many many volcanic bangs that wiped out most of the other animals but such is Mother Nature. After dating basaltic lava across the United States and Morocco (which were once a part of Pangaea) scientists have confirmed (in Science) what scientist already guessed, that the cause of the end-Triassic period and subsequent mass extinction was caused by massive volcanic eruptions along the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). The volcanic eruptions would have released large amounts of CO2, sulfur and methane into the atmosphere causing an impressive global warming event that killed off 76% of the animals. On the upside, we got dinosaurs! DINOSAURS!

Sowerby’s Beaked Whale | Mesoplodon bidens

"Knowledge of the diet of Sowerby’s beaked whale is limited, but studies have suggested that it may consist primarily of deep sea fish, including Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), as well as squid. To reach the habitat of its prey, Sowerby’s beaked whale must make deep dives, and its dive time has been observed to be between 12 and 28 minutes long. Like other beaked whales, Sowerby’s beaked whale has a pair of external grooves on the throat which allow the mouth floor to be distended, creating a vacuum that sucks prey into the mouth. The prey is then swallowed whole."

(by pierre_et_nelly)