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.

Podcasting is new to both Ask A Biologist and an exciting new science program called Science Studio. The host of this new show, Peggy Coulombe, talks with Dr. Biology about what it has been like to start podcasting.

Imagine a David and Goliath battle between a tiny desert dwelling ant and a monster robot. What can we learn from these two unlikely characters? Dr. Biology gets the chance to talk with biologist Rüdiger Wehner about his amazing study subject Cataglyphis fortis and his robot incarnation. Did we mention these ants do geometry - maybe you could use one as a tutor?

Dr. Biology travels to the National Center for X-ray Tomography in Berkeley California to learn about a new microscope being built by cell biologist Carolyn Larabell and a team of scientists that provides a new way to look inside cells. Using a building sized instrument called a synchrotron for its light source the XM2, as it is called, uses X-rays to look inside cells - in fact it is so new it is the only one of its kind in the world!

Everything that is alive is made of cells, but there are really only two main types of cells. Learn how these cell types became different and why they are so important to life.
Also in: Italiano

Did you ever think the search for the “fountain of youth” would end up inside of our very own cells? There are some scientists that have found that parts of our cells might hold the answer to aging and diseases like cancer.

David Pearson is a research professor in Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences. A speaker of five languages and capable of getting into trouble in maybe three or four other languages, he's traveled the world studying tiger beetles and recently published the book, A Field Guide to Tiger Beetles in the United States and Canada.

How careful are you with your words? Scientists are figuring out how to choose words more wisely to have a better chance to stop certain diseases.

What is cloning and do we have clones living among us today? The answers might surprise you or maybe we should say ewe.

Imagine you want to pull a long cylinder-shaped piece of soil (called a core) out of the ground in your backyard. What kind of tools would you need? Find out how researchers collect cores in the Frozen Arctic.

Peruvian poison frogs mimic, or look like, other poison frogs that live in the same area. But they don't just look like one other species. Depending on the location, frogs of this species may mimic one of many other species of poison frog.  

The career path for biologist Kevin McGraw was set by a chance sighting through a window of a Costa Rican coffee shop.

Our daily life depends on the ability to see, hear, feel, and smell at the same time, a skill that develops during childhood. In this article scientists studied how the brain develops the ability to combine sensory information. 

The majority of life in the ocean is found near the shore, in the coastal biome.
Also in: Français | Español

Almost all of our cells contain identical copies of DNA. But wait...with the same instructions, shouldn't all cells look and function the same? Learn how our bodies use the same instructions to make all kinds of different cells.
Also in: Español

We study cooperation in humans a lot, but what about cooperation in... cancer? Learn how researchers are applying the same behavioral dilemmas experienced by people to the outcomes of cell cooperation.

Humans have evolved to work together, but it isn't always straightforward. Some people try to bend the rules, or cheat. Athena Aktipis studies what makes cooperation work, and why cheating sometimes backfires.

How do wild animals defend themselves against infections? Biologists studied a wild population of sheep to work out whether being tolerant of infections could be as good a strategy as killing infections.

Look closely at John Alcock's critter littered yard and you'll be bug-eyed. He decorates the front with cow patties, spends hours watching sleeping bees and occasionally wolfs down a cricket or mealworm to amuse or horrify his guests. "I'm just considered a mildly eccentric person," admits the Arizona State University biology professor.

Climate is a hot topic in the news and on internet websites and blogs. But what exactly is climate? And how do we know it is changing? 

Professor Ferran Garcia-Pichel sweats the small stuff. The really, really small stuff to be exact. The easygoing Arizona State University-based microbiologist loves to look beyond the surface to explain what is happening in the tiny world of microbes.
Also in: Español

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