Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Animals can be cute, cuddly, weird-looking and even scary. To a comparative physiologist—someone who studies the physiological function of different species—animals can also be the key to understanding human health. Animals can provide clues about the world’s larger ecological systems. This is becoming more and more important as climate change and pollution become two of … Continue reading Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Firefly “Magic”

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can't sustain the part. –Robert Frost, “Fireflies in the Garden” The warm … Continue reading Firefly “Magic”

How Do Frogs Survive the Cold? By Freezing

They aren’t moving. They’re not responding to touch or light. Their hearts aren’t beating. They’re no longer breathing. Their skin is ice-cold and hard to the touch. By that description, you probably don’t think I’m describing living things. However, there are some animals that survive like this because of a process called freeze tolerance. Unlike … Continue reading How Do Frogs Survive the Cold? By Freezing

What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

We all know the saying “use it or lose it.” Your muscles and nerves are no exception. When people are not active, whether it’s because of bed rest, spinal cord and nerve injury, or other reasons, two big problems arise. First, the muscles shrink by losing protein (a state called atrophy). Second, nerve cells have … Continue reading What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

Walking and the Brain, Aromatherapy for Horses and a Whole Lot More!

Physiology, the study of function from microscopic cells to complete organ systems, encompasses a wide range of fascinating topics. The annual Experimental Biology (EB) meeting is a showcase for thousands of researchers studying humans and animals alike. Check out some of the research presented at last month’s meeting in Chicago: Most people know that walking … Continue reading Walking and the Brain, Aromatherapy for Horses and a Whole Lot More!

Bring on Winter! (But Stay Safe and Healthy)

  Winter officially begins next week with the winter solstice—the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight—on Dec. 21. With the cold weather and shorter days, you might be tempted to curl up under a blanket until the spring thaw. Whether you plan to hibernate or get outside to enjoy the chill, … Continue reading Bring on Winter! (But Stay Safe and Healthy)

Physiology for the Armchair Scientist

  Want to learn more about physiology without going back to school for a PhD? Check out http://www.physiologyinfo.org. The website, hosted by the American Physiological Society, goes in-depth to explain the multi-faceted field of physiology to nonscientists. In addition to examining hot and emerging areas of research such as brain physiology, obesity and exercise, we … Continue reading Physiology for the Armchair Scientist

If Only Birds Could Compete in the Summer Games

Endurance is a hard-won characteristic of many elite athletes and is vital to winning most sporting competitions. If great frigatebirds could compete this summer, they would certainly take home a medal for endurance flight. Frigatebirds are large sea birds with wingspans of more than six feet across. They are really good at gliding and can … Continue reading If Only Birds Could Compete in the Summer Games

Physiology as Haiku for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, APS members and staff wrote physiology-themed haikus—because science is art, too!                                                               - Stacy Brooks