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Stories by Jennifer Frazer

In Honor of Linnaeus, a Rogue’s Gallery of New Species

Today is the birthday of one of my science heroes: Carl Linnaeus. Born on May 23, 1707, the Swede turned natural history from a hobby into a science with his masterful systemization and documentation of what had until then been haphazard classification of plants, animals and fungi...

May 23, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer

Everyone Poops, Even Paramecium

Perhaps you’ve heard of — or even read — the children’s book “Everyone Poops“. This illustrative tome explains that because everyone eats, everyone poops...

May 8, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer

Ferns Stole Rare Gene From Unlikely Source

Scientists knew neochrome was odd before they started rooting around in its family tree. A union of independent proteins — red-sensing phytochrome and blue-sensing phototropin — the super-protein combines two already-great pieces into one fantastic whole that helps plants grow toward dim, filtered light...

May 6, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer

Frog-Killing Fungus Meets Its Match in Tiny Predators

As I reported in a feature story in Scientific American last December , some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink...

April 28, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer
Defrosted Moss Sprouts Anew After 1,500 years in Antarctic Permafrost

Defrosted Moss Sprouts Anew After 1,500 years in Antarctic Permafrost

Last year I blogged about the surprising discovery that mosses released after 400 years of frozen glacial ensquashment had managed to survive and sprout new growth, a finding that radically altered our ideas about regrowth during the retreat of ice ages...

March 17, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer
Solving a Winemaker’s Dilemma With Wild Yeast

Solving a Winemaker’s Dilemma With Wild Yeast

Have you noticed that wine seems to be packing more punch? Well, it’s not your imagination. Over the past 20 years, wine really has been getting stronger for some reasons that may surprise you...

February 28, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer

Flying for Free the Horsetail Spore Way

In spite of their sedentary reputations (putting down roots being, perhaps, the ultimate symbol of stability), plants are capable of a surprising range of movements, and not just the Venus flytraps of the world...

February 21, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer
A Closer Look at a Tiny, Floating Horde

A Closer Look at a Tiny, Floating Horde

It’s a strange but true fact that the young of many familiar sea creatures look nothing like them. Drifting on currents to distribute their kind, they are an unsung part of the plankton, itself an unsung part of the sea...

February 2, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer

My Favorite Biology Finds in London’s Natural History Museum

  This past year, I made a pilgrimage that every natural history lover should, if possible, make. I visited the Natural History Museum in London, the house that Richard Owen built, the home of the first dinosaur bones ever discovered, the first Archaeopteryx fossil, and a first-edition copy of “On the Origin of Species”...

January 21, 2014 — Jennifer Frazer
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