Archive for the ‘Funny Links/Comics’ Category

Incredible illustration of breathing in mammals, avians, and bugs

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Thanks to Elanor Lutz of

A super cool, and scientifically accurate illustration of gas exchange in three representative organisms.

Will there ever be peace?

March 28, 2013 Leave a comment




A hydrophobic relationship

March 24, 2013 1 comment

Two quick biology comics to brighten your day

January 13, 2013 Leave a comment

It's a throw back




Funny poll on new UC logo on Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell blog

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

You might not be aware of it, but the University of California has created a new logo for itself. On the Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell blog there is a poll on how people perceive this new logo. At the time of this blog entry, the majority vote is: “Flushing Toilet”.

What do you think?

University of California new logo

Flushing Toilet on the right? (Old logo on the left)

Amazing microbial diversity uncovered in the “Jungle” of our belly buttons

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

In a bizarre, but very interesting (and potentially hilarious) bit of science, Robert Dunn’s group at UNCS started investigating the “microbiome” of the human belly button. Using 16S rDNA libraries they analyzed 60 belly buttons they isolated 2,368 bacterial species, of which 1,458 could be new to science. Most people appeared to have about 67 species inhabiting their belly buttons. While the initial sample size was quite small it was still a stunning result to find so much microbial diversity inhabiting our oft forgotten belly buttons.

From “Microbial fauna in your belly button is like a ‘tropical forest” by

The whole thing started about two years ago, when an undergrad sampled a colleague’s belly button bacteria to send it to him as a Christmas card. Biologists, the quirky people that they are, quickly picked up on this idea.

The basic idea is that the belly button is one of the least scrubbed places of the human body, making it one of the most pristine bacterial environments humans harbor – which could kind of explain why some people are totally grossed out by navels.


Not even a single strain appeared on all subjects, but 8 were found in over 70 percent of subjects; and when one of the species found often was present, others followed in great numbers.

“That makes the belly button a lot like rain forests,” Dunn said. In any given forest, he explained, the spectrum of flora might vary, but an ecologist can count on a certain few dominant tree types. “The idea that some aspects of our bodies are like a rain forest—to me it’s quite beautiful,” he added. “And it makes sense to me as an ecologist. I understand what steps to take next; I can see how that works.”

The study was published in PLOS ONE: A Jungle in There: Bacteria in Belly Buttons are Highly Diverse, but Predictable

The belly button is one of the habitats closest to us, and yet it remains relatively unexplored. We analyzed bacteria and arachaea from the belly buttons of humans from two different populations sampled within a nation-wide citizen science project. We examined bacterial and archaeal phylotypes present and their diversity using multiplex pyrosequencing of 16S rDNA libraries. We then tested the oligarchy hypothesis borrowed from tropical macroecology, namely that the frequency of phylotypes in one sample of humans predicts its frequency in another independent sample. We also tested the predictions that frequent phylotypes (the oligarchs) tend to be common when present, and tend to be more phylogenetically clustered than rare phylotypes. Once rarefied to four hundred reads per sample, bacterial communities from belly buttons proved to be at least as diverse as communities known from other skin studies (on average 67 bacterial phylotypes per belly button). However, the belly button communities were strongly dominated by a few taxa: only 6 phylotypes occurred on >80% humans. While these frequent bacterial phylotypes (the archaea were all rare) are a tiny part of the total diversity of bacteria in human navels (<0.3% of phylotypes), they constitute a major portion of individual reads (~1/3), and are predictable among independent samples of humans, in terms of both the occurrence and evolutionary relatedness (more closely related than randomly drawn equal sets of phylotypes). Thus, the hypothesis that “oligarchs” dominate diverse assemblages appears to be supported by human-associated bacteria. Although it remains difficult to predict which species of bacteria might be found on a particular human, predicting which species are most frequent (or rare) seems more straightforward, at least for those species living in belly buttons.


How to explain the Scientific Method to students these days

September 19, 2012 1 comment

Not sure who is the source of this, but I am working to find out.

Categories: Funny Links/Comics