Biology Stories

Explore the world of biology and meet some of our biologists. Here you can learn about the living world and find out what is so cool about biology that someone would do it for a living. Pick a story to read or listen to one of our podcast shows filled with guest scientists who share their experiences and passion for discovery.

Little water, sweaty, hot summer days and frigid winter nights make the desert an uninviting place for most animals and plants. But hiding just below the surface, the desert is alive with microbes—tiny, living things too small to see without magnification.
Also in: Français | Español

Extreme environments can be found on Earth, in space, and in the depths of the ocean. Dr. Biology and physiologist, astronaut, and mountain climber Scott Parazynski sit down and talk about what life is like to explore these environments. So hold on to your seat as we blast off for a fun trip. Did we mention the Vomit Comet?

Being an astronaut is a cool job, but before you sign up you should know life in space isn’t all fun and games.  The lack of gravity can make our bodies act in strange ways.Also in: Shqipe | Italiano

The human brain works quickly and handles difficult tasks. Is it just the size of our brains that allows us to do these things? As it turns out, it may also have a lot to do with how well our brain cells can send multiple messages to other cells.

Tree shrews eat plants that are extremely spicy, while most other animals avoid these plants. What makes them able to stand this spiciness?

An interview with arachnologist Norman Platnick. Learn about the animal that has become famous through his Marvel Comics and movie action hero.

An interview with arachnologists Eileen Hebets and Lisa Taylor. Two women that defy the convention that women are all afraid of spiders. Listen in as Dr. Biology learns there are no Miss Muffets in this show.

As most spies know, the best way to infiltrate a group is to look and act like the members of that group. But what does it take to be a spy among ants? One beetle may have figured out the ultimate ant imitation strategy.

Some people on the internet want to trick you when it comes to science. Here are some tools you can use to arm yourself with the truth.
Also in: Español

Watching the news is a daily part of life for some people. What effect does that action have on the rest of your life? Scientists studied whether news reports can influence what you search for or communicate through your network when online.  

It's a mystery, at least until you try to guess what animal children book author Conrad Storad is describing at the beginning of this episode. Joining Conrad is physiologist Michael Quinlan. Together they give us all the gory details behind this desert dwelling animal.

Love them or hate them, something is going on with male crickets on the island of Kauai. Once evenings filled with a chorus of these tiny singers has become strangely silent. Dr. Biology talks with biologist Marlene Zuk about how things are changing fast – maybe the fastest observed evolutionary change in an animal in the wild.

Feeling stressed out? Wonder what stress is or how to best to deal with stress? Then you might like to listen in as Dr. Biology talks with Miles Orchinik, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, about his work on stress.

Many people know that the brain is important. But what does it really do, and who has a brain? In this article, scientists investigated what students think about these questions to try to understand how much they know about the brain. 

Melissa Wilson Sayres never expected that her love for both math and biology would lead her to studying genetics and sex chromosomes. But the newest surprise in her work comes from finding out about some very colorful monsters.

RNA is an important molecule that often helps your body make proteins. But RNAs aren’t all the same—some may help your immune cells fight off infections by providing them with extra sugar.

Our biological sex affects the way we look in some obvious ways, like deciding what body parts we are born with. But, it also has effects on a range of other sexual traits that you might not expect.

Diving deep into the ocean is likely the most extreme place someone can set out to collect data, but sometimes that is what scientists need to do. In this show, Dr. Biology finds himself on board the research ship Atlantis in the floating laboratory of Colleen Hansel who is teaming up with the deep sea submarine called Alvin to track down and capture an elusive molecule that might help us understand how corals are, or are not adjusting to the rising ocean temperature.

In 1962 there was a popular Broadway musical called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. What does this have to do with a science podcast? The thought came up because of what happened at the conference today. And what was it? It was a dance performance. In fact, there were several performances. This episode is about the unexpected, the creative, the fun, and the science that are part of the lives of more than just scientists and artists. Dr. Biology catches up with performers Aidan Feldman and Shawn Brush to talk about art and science and how they are more similar than we might think. This episode is part of a series of podcasts recorded at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology conference– also called SICB.

During a plague year, locusts can swarm over 20 percent of the world’s landmass, affecting one out of every 10 people on the planet. Sounds bad – right? Enter biologist Arianne Cease who has been studying why these insects swarm and how to control them. Dr. Biology learns about her work and an interesting research area called telecoupling.