Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

An idea that not altogether weird. The question should be considered.

February 8, 2012

We tend to see extinction as a bad thing, particularly a native species in its native habitat. If you don’t think human caused extinction is a bad thing – perhaps you should reconsider.

So what if the species going extinct is ‘not a nice’ species, and what if we are making it extinct deliberately? The question has been asked regarding smallpox virus which now exists only in the preservation freezers one or two highly secure labs. People who understand the complexity of the web of life and the importance of complex ecosystems as critical to human survival  do see this as a serious question.

One website – considered satirical by some – is dedicated  to saving the Guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis a human parasite that to the uninitiated seems a bit unpleasant. Should we deliberately make extinct species such as this? Is there a difference between genocide of a virus and a multicellular organism? Who should be considering the question? Should we call it gene-icide, nucleotide-icide or just speciecide? Or should the decision just be left in the hands of the missionaries, healthcare workers and locals who suffer the consequences of the particular parasite or pest or inconvenience?

Fluorescence in Psedoscorpions?

January 5, 2012

I noticed the pseudoscorpion was glowing fluorescent under uv light. I was sure fluorescence had never been recorded in pseudoscorpions before, unlike real scorpions which are widely known to fluoresce. Although as yet there is little supporting evidence for any of the postulated evolutionary reasons for the fluorescence, which is widely believed to be due to the molecule 4-methyl-7-hydroxycoumarin (Frost et al) as the cross linkages in the hardening exoskeleton form.

Initially I was excited by the prospect of describing something new to science in this domain but a couple of things got me wondering. Why did it fluoresce only on the underside, why was it motionless and why didn’t I notice this earlier – was this because I had failed to notice the underside?

The following day the pseudoscorpion was still motionless, I was now inclined to think it was dead. It was, but sure enough it still fluoresced on the underside. I was determined to find out why, but these little pseudoscorpions were not that easy to find. I had only ever found one group of this particular species in the past in Eucalyptus leaf litter.

I crushed the dead pseudoscorpion in sterile water and did a streak on nutrient agar plates. Sure enough, over night bacterial colonies appeared that exhibit strong fluorescence in the same colour as observed in the pseudoscorpion. Presumably a Pseudomonas of some sort as it had the distinctive Pseudomonas odor.

So it seems I had not recorded the first observation of fluorescence in Pseudoscorpions, just a death by a fluorescent pathogen.

The Tiny Frog

March 30, 2011

Its been a great season for frogs this 10/11 spring and summer. The creeks are up, insects everywhere and spawning as if there is no tomorrow. Guess they are making up for the years of drought we have had to wait out.

This little fellow was in a creek which was running much higher than usual. In among the sharp grasses.

Day One

Day 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before metamorphosis the tadpoles were un remarkable.

Before and after

Fluorescence in Psedoscorpions?

October 30, 2010

I noticed the pseudoscorpion was glowing fluorescent under uv light.

Pseudoscorpion fluorescing

Pseudoscorpion fluorescing

I was sure fluorescence had never been recorded in pseudoscorpions before, unlike real scorpions which are widely known to fluoresce. Although as yet there is little supporting evidence for any of the postulated evolutionary reasons for the fluorescence, which is widely believed to be due to the molecule 4-methyl-7-hydroxycoumarin (Frost et al) as the cross linkages in the hardening exoskeleton form.

Initially I was excited by the prospect of describing something new to science in this domain but a couple of things got me wondering. Why did it fluoresce only on the underside, why was it motionless and why didn’t I notice this earlier – was this because I had failed to notice the underside?

Pseudoscorpions

Pseudoscorpions

The following day the pseudoscorpion was still motionless, I was now inclined to think it was dead. It was, but sure enough it still fluoresced on the underside. I was determined to find out why, but these little pseudoscorpions were not that easy to find. I had only ever found one group of this particular species in the past in Eucalyptus leaf litter.

I crushed the dead pseudoscorpion in sterile water and did a streak on nutrient agar plates. Sure enough, over night bacterial colonies appeared that exhibit strong fluorescence in the same colour as observed in the pseudoscorpion. Presumably a Pseudomonas of some sort as it had the distinctive Pseudomonas odor.

fluorescent bacteria

Strong fluorescence on nutrient agar.

 

Updates to follow as I identify the organism.

 

fluorescent bacteria

fluorescent bacteria plated on nutrient agar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frost, L.M., D.R. Butler, D. O’Dell & V. Fet. 2001.  A coumarin as a fluorescent compound in scorpion cuticle. Pp. 365–368. In Scorpions 2001: in Memoriam, Gary A. Polis. (V. Fet & P.A.Seldon, eds.).  British Arachnological Society, Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, UK.