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.

Are there really flesh-eating scarab beetles, or is it a movie myth? Dr. Biology and biologist Mary Liz Jameson talk about scarab beetles, dung, and even some insect recipes, minus the dung, for humans to try out for their next dinner or pot-luck.

No, this episode is not about the rock band or the cute German car that people love. This show is about some curious insects that have very different relationships with ants. To be exact, this is about three species of beetles that either battle ants, live close by an ant colony, or in one case inside the ant colony. How and why these species have evolved into these different relationships with ants is part of the research of neurobiologist Jess Kanwal. In this show, Dr. Biology gets the prequel for this story. The two also talk about a familiar insect that communicates by dance. This episode is part of a series of podcasts recorded at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology conference– also called SICB.

Being able to choose which people we interact with seems to affect how happy we are and how well we do our jobs. Is this true in other species? Learn how choosing a mate affects the success of zebra finches in making and raising young.
Also in: Français

Bats are very social, and by reading their brains we can see them reacting in real time to the calls of other bats. When you have thousands of bats calling at the same time, how easily can they know who is who, or separate a friend from a stranger?

A story of blood, love, and family… Learn about one of the biggest and fanciest blister beetles anywhere. This species goes by the scientific name of Lytta magister but has also been called the “master blister beetle,” most likely in honor of its large size.

These enormous insects depicted in bad B movies exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. However, insects of giant proportions really did exist 300 million years ago.
Also in: Español

Biologist Bruce Hammock talks about life as a biologist, being a businessman and mountain climbing. How do these all fit together? Listen in as Dr. Biology learns how these pieces all work together in an interesting career.

Beyond viral cat videos and the millions of cute pictures of our feline friends found on various social media channels, these four-legged animals might help us to better understand science. At least my guest thinks they can give us some insights into the world of bile acids, digestion, cholesterol, and drug therapies. Listen in as Dr. Biology learns how computational biochemist Fiona Naughton's artistic side has introduced some fun and instructive insights using cute cat illustrations.

Well known animal behavior biologist and author John Alcock takes time out from his busy schedule to talk with Dr. Biology about his work and his writing.

The study of biology is such a part of our lives today, it's hard to think that there may have been a time when that wasn't the case. Take a trip back through time to see when the study of biology began.
Also in: Español | Français

Test drive our Bird Finder tool based on our virtual bird aviary of the southwest. A great way to learn about birds in your own backyard. Image of Northern Cardinal above by Robert Shantz.

An interview with biologist Dave Pearson research professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and Audubon environmental educator Cathy Wise. Dr. Biology learns from his two guests that bird watching is pretty cool and fun.

The climate on our planet is changing, but what does this mean for living things, like plants and animals? Scientists investigated how birds respond to the changing climate.

Part of what makes science fun and challenging is solving puzzles and investigating mysteries. For this episode, Dr. Biology sits down with ecologist Charles Brown and the two talk about his 40-year journey of discovery and rediscovery. This is a curious story that involves an acrobatic animal and how it is evolving to battle a six-legged villain. Like a good mystery, this one has yet to be fully solved.

Imagine designing an organism that is part plant and part animal... you might be picturing some pretty funny combinations. Could designed plant-imals ever be a reality?

People come in all shapes and sizes… but could storing more body fat affect your sense of taste? Scientists try to answer this question by looking at how well taste buds work in lean and obese mice.

No two environments on Earth are the same. But with so many places to learn about, we often need to talk about some environments as a similar group rather than individually. For that, we have the brilliance of biomes.
Also in: Français | Español

Your mom tells you to eat all your vegetables for a reason, because she wants you to grow big and strong. She doesn't just want your body to grow strong. She wants your brain to grow strong too.

Reading minds may no longer be science fiction. Brain waves can be sent through the Internet to create an instant message in another person's mind.