What are amphibians, why are they important, and how could a fungus be threatening their existence? Is there anything we can do to help them? We asked Dr. Cameron Siler and Jessa Watters from the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to answer these questions and more to help us learn if there is an amphibian extinction apocalypse , its causes, and potential solutions.
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Bees are important pollinators, and people often talk about saving them. But what does that mean? Which bees do we need to save? And how can we do that ? We explore these questions and more with Dr. James Hung a pollination biologist and bee expert from the Oklahoma Biological Survey.
Conservation often brings to mind protecting particular species, but we also need to protect the species they depend on to survive. In this episode, we talk with two biologists who are working to protect bears, martens, other mammals, and their habitats by studying the microbes that live in their gut.
There are trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms living in your intestines and other places, but don’t be alarmed. These microbes form your microbiome and they are supposed to be there. In this episode, we talk to Dr. Erin McKinney and Dr. Diana Lafferty about what the gut microbiome is, how it varies among animals, and what we can learn about an animal’s ecology and the environment they live in by using metagenomics to study the gut microbiome.
Some researchers may not have the most glamorous samples to study, but the information scientists can gather from them can be extremely useful in detecting and monitoring diseases in large populations in a non-invasive manner. In this episode, we chat with Dr. Kara De León and Dr. Amy Kirby to learn about the samples they study, how they study them, and what they can tell us about diseases.
Metagenomics is an approach that is opening new frontiers for biological researchers. This episode is part two of an interview with Dr. Andrew Hasley. In this episode he expands on his description of metagenomics from the previous episode and explains how samples are collected, prepared, sequenced, and the resulting data analyzed.
Metagenomics is a new approach being used to sample environmental DNA to better understand populations and communities of organisms, especially bacterial microbiomes. But what is metagenonimcs, how is it different from other genomic analyses, and how is it done? In part one of a two part episode we interview Dr. Andrew Hasley to learn what metagenomics is and the kind of research questions it can investigate. This episode also welcomes co-host Sarah Sanders to the BioTA podcast.
Where did domesticated dogs come from? In 1959, Dr. Dimitry Belyaev began an experiment to answer that question. Although the experiment was illegal in the U.S.S.R. and could have cost him his life, through hard work and a little luck, he not only conducted the experiment, but he also began unlocking some of the mysteries of dog and animal domestication. In this episode we explore the famous Farm Fox experiment, its risks, its controversies, and what we have learned from this research.
Many holiday traditions trace their origins to ancient beliefs and rituals that indicate awareness of the importance of the sun and seasonal changes. In this BioTA episode we explore why we have these botanical traditions. Why do we deck the halls and why is holly a preferred plant for that task? In this episode we explore the botanical symbols in celebrations at the winter solstice.
Chocolate is one of the most popular food items in the world. How did cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, go from small tropical tree to the foundation of a multi-billion dollar industry? How will changing climate affect cacao’s future? To answer these questions, I am joined by gourmet chocolatier Robert Bowden, President of Vivere Chocolates, to talk about the past, present, and future of chocolate.