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.

What is life and how do biologists decide if something is living or non-living? Dr. Biology visits with physicist Paul Davies and microbiologist Ferran Garcia-Pichel. They talk about life, extreme life forms (extremophiles), and the possibility of life on other planets. Listen in as they build their own E.T. and wonder if maybe, just maybe, we might all actually be E.T.

Fruit may just be something that you like to eat. For the fig wasp, fig fruit is more than just a food--it's where life begins and ends.

Have you ever wondered how animals and plants get their
names? People give them names, lots of different names! That was how it used to be before Carl Linnaeus created the world of taxonomy.

Life on other planets. Is it possible? Are there going to be little green people, or a friendly Martian? This PLoS article is the story about how scientists are looking for life beyond our planet.

Looking into the past can be strange and exciting. To understand a past that goes back millions of years, we often depend on the stories told by fossils. Dr. Biology talks with anthropologist Donald Johanson about Lucy, a fossil of human ancestors that has taught us some interesting things about the human-like species that existed before us. 

Step-by-step tutorial for building your own Pocket Seed Viewer. You can use it to test the effects of light, dark, temperature and gravity on seed germination and plant growth.

Much like a mechanical watch, living things only work when all the gears work together. Some of the tiniest of gears are proteins. Learning about the shape and size of these proteins is the job of X-ray crystallography.

Mushrooms can be mysterious. You might know that some are poisonous while others can be tasty, but did you know that a few kinds can be used as medicine? Learn more about the new ways scientists are using mushrooms to treat cancer. 

By the time the first endangered species list was made, many species had already gone extinct.  Some species, like whooping cranes, were almost extinct at that time.  But the US government did not begin to protect animals as endangered species until they were put on the official endangered species list.

Most of us wish we could predict the future. We want to know everything from who will win the big football game to whether or not our favorite superhero will defeat the super villain. Biologists want to know the future too.

The largest biome on Earth is also one of the least explored. Come take a look in the mysterious ocean, a watery world that is home to organisms of all kinds.

Dr. Biology visits with two young mathematicians that also have a love for biology. Cassie Pawling and Genevieve Toutain talk about how their passion for numbers have blended with biology as well as how they have gotten where they are and future plans. Be sure to listen in if for no other reason than to learn some great math tricks you can use to impress friends and family including some mind boggling mind reading?

Transforming robots are favorites of television and movies, but nature has some of the best transformers. Animals that can change in ways that almost seem unbelievable.
Also in: Español

Three inquisitive young co-hosts, Stephanie Galindo, Anthony Delgado and Raenesha Willis visit with biologist and microscopist Page Baluch. Together with Dr. Biology they explore the tiny world of inner space and learn that there is more to a flower than can be seen with only the eye.

Biologists at Arizona State University hope that by learning more about animal behavior, they will also be able to understand why people act the way they do. Also in: Español

Thousands of orange and black shapes flutter through the trees. Welcome to one of the few wintering homes of the monarch butterfly.
Also in: Español

They say mother knows best; this may be especially true when it comes to moms sharing protective immune molecules with their babies.

Africanized "killer" bees have fallen prey to a deadly predator of their own- parasitic mites whose infestation has dropped their wild colony numbers by as much as 70 percent statewide.

Does being born a son or a daughter mean your reproductive success might be different? In some societies, it does. 

In the tiny world of DNA, we might call genomes monsters. These huge sets of information include all the codes for all the genes present in an organism. From genomes, we can learn about the traits, diseases, and evolution of a species, and that’s just a start. What might such a monster set of data do for us if it was about our very own North American monster – the Gila monster? Computational biologist Melissa Wilson Sayres tells Dr. Biology about the Gila monster, the life-saving venom in its saliva, and what we might learn from the monster genome.