Gibson Lab

Botany / Evolution / Education

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Unprecedented 006

One of the things that you hear a lot lately is that things are unprecedented. To evaluate whether that is true or not, we need to compare the present to what has happened in the past. In this episode, we look at the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and what we can learn from it to determine what is and perhaps what isn’t unprecedented with COVID-19.

The Botany of Halloween 005

The Halloween that many people think of with candy and trick-or-treating is dramatically different from the ancient traditions of Samhain. This episode of BioTA explores the origins of Halloween and its botanical iconography. So, pull up a seat, get a little closer to the fire, and bundle up against the October wind as we celebrate Halloween on Biota.

Bloodsucking Vectors 004

Ticks are not just parasites that like to attach to animals for a blood meal, they can also be incredibly important vectors for spreading viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens to their hosts. In this episode, I interview Dr. Heather Ketchum, a medical, veterinary, forensic entomologist to learn what ticks do, how they transmit diseases, and what you can learn from a maggot. [note: Like many things now, this interview was conducted via video conference, so please excuse a few sound glitches.]

Mutation, Selection, & Coronavirus 002

This episode explores mutation, compare two types of selection, and looks at the differences between evolution and herd immunity. By exploring these topics, we can not only understand the source of the different traits we see in species, lineages, and populations, but also how different organisms ranging from dogs to viruses change in response to their environment. How they adapt. How they evolve.

Is Novel Coronavirus Alive? 001

In late 2019, reports came out of Wuhan, China that there was an outbreak of a new respiratory disease that was spreading rapidly and having serious, often lethal consequences for some of its victims. Scientists identified the virus causing the disease as a new strain of coronavirus, a large group of viruses that contains at least eight viruses known to affect humans. In this episode, we explore three basic questions. Is the coronavirus alive? Where did it come from? And will it go away?

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