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Stories by Jennifer Frazer

Alpine Toads and the Chytrids that Love Them

When you read a story, you may occasionally wonder what the reporter went through to get it. About a month ago I arose at 5 a.m. to accompany two wildlife biologists and three fisheries volunteers into the high country of Colorado in order to report a story that came out in High Country News this past week.Over the course of a 12-hour day, we covered about 10 miles, climbed several thousand feet, slogged through bogs in which I sank to my calves, swatted clouds of mosquitoes, and were drenched by rain in order to get to the high ponds and puddles where boreal toads breed...

August 23, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

Just What is the Brain-Eating "Amoeba" Naegleria fowleri?

Cyst, trophozoite ("amoeba"), and flagellate forms of the protist Naegleria fowleri. Photos by CDC. In the press this week were reports (see here and here and here) that the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri has killed three people this summer, as it does in a typical year...

August 17, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

A Peek at More Ice-Age Finds from Snowmastodon Village

Woolly mammoth, resplendent. Model from the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Creative Commons Tracy O. Click image for link. As I write, the Snowmass Water and Sanitation Department District is busy digging, damming, and filling the Ziegler Reservoir on top of one of the world's only known high-altitude Ice Age fossil sites -- and "without question" the world's finest mastodon site, according to Denver Museum of Nature and Science VP Kirk Johnson -- near Snowmass Village, CO, a ski resort.Fortunately for us, the DMNS had 70 days spread over two seasons to get in, dig like hell, and get out...

August 9, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

White Worms and Pixie Cups in Colorado

A few weeks ago local lichen expert Ann Henson and I scouted out lichens on the flanks of Gray's Peak in central Colorado. Since my last post was on the awesome power of lichens, I thought I'd share a few photos of some of our amazing locals.Our very first lichen was probably the most spectacular: Thamnolia vermicularis , the whiteworm lichen...

July 31, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

Lichens vs. the Almighty Prion

And in this corner . . . the challenger, Lobaria pulmonaria. Given the common name "lungwort" thanks to its lung-like appearance, medieval herbalists invoked the Doctrine of Signatures to deduce it must be good for treating lung complaints...

July 25, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

Circus of the Spineless #63.5

One of our fascinating subjects for CotS #63.5 -- a By-the-Wind Sailor, Velella velella. Creative Commons Notafly. Click image for license and original.

July 17, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer
The Odd Allure of Rock Snot

The Odd Allure of Rock Snot

UPDATE: After being accidentally closed all launch day, comments are now open! Please feel free to introduce yourself, suggest an organism or topic for a post, or say hi below.

July 5, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

When Cells Discovered Architecture

In early 1997, while still a freshman in college pondering whether to study biology or archaeology, I opened up my copy of Discover Magazine to find an article that startled and captivated me...

June 13, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

Pimp My Virus: Ocean Edition

Image: The starfish-shaped EZ-open structure of mimivirus, above, and the gray DNA-containing nucleocapsid inside, below. The nucleocapsid has plenty of room to breathe and a concave depression, not unlike the dimple on the Death Star, that always faces the "starfish"...

December 22, 2010 — Jennifer Frazer

Excuse me, Sir. There's a moss-animal in my Lake

In the world of biology, there is plant, there is animal, and there is plant-animal. Specifically, moss–animals, the bryozoans. [Public Domain Haeckel illustration—click to see large] I mention this because someone in Virginia recently had a run-in with these creatures that was startling enough to result in a press release...

December 1, 2010 — Jennifer Frazer
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Science or SciFi?

Science or SciFi?

Vanishing Particles. Spooky Action.