Biology

Researchers set out four microphones like this one in the foothills of Alaska's Brooks Range to record songbird calls over five breeding seasons. In a new study, they describe an automated tool for sifting through thousands of hours of recordings to estimate when migratory birds arrive en masse in the Arctic. (Photo credit: Heather Greaves)

In a new study, scientists describe a way to quickly sift through thousands of hours of field recordings to estimate when songbirds arrive at their Arctic breeding grounds. Their research could be applied to any dataset of animal vocalizations to understand how migratory animals are responding to climate change.
hydra image with neurons labeled with a green fluorescence indicator

Researchers show how an algorithm for filtering spam can learn to pick out, from hours of video footage, the full behavioral repertoire of tiny, pond-dwelling Hydra. In the above image, hydra's neurons are labeled with a green fluorescence indicator. (Yuste Lab, Columbia University)

Researchers show how an algorithm for filtering spam can learn to pick out, from hours of video footage, the full behavioral repertoire of tiny, pond-dwelling Hydra. By comparing Hydra’s behaviors to the firing of its neurons, the researchers hope to eventually understand how its nervous system, and that of more complex animals, works.

Saturated fatty acids build lipids that form ‘frozen islands’ (blue) in cell membrane (green).

Columbia researchers developed a new microscopy technique that allows for the direct tracking of fatty acids after they’ve been absorbed into living cells. What the researchers found could have significant impact on both the understanding and treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Biofilms are multicellular communities formed by densely-packed microbes that are often associated with persistent infections. Steep gradients of nutrients and oxygen form in these crowded structures. The human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces molecules called phenazines that help it to cope with the oxygen-limited conditions within biofilms. Columbia researchers have uncovered new roles for proteins of the electron transport chain that implicate them in utilization of phenazines. Illustration by Nicoletta Barolini.

Columbia University biologists have revealed a mechanism by which bacterial cells in crowded, oxygen-deprived environments access oxygen for energy production, ensuring survival of the cell. The finding could explain how some bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.

Energy harvested from evaporation can cut by half the amount of water lost to natural evaporation, researchers say.  Water-strapped cities with growing populations and energy needs could benefit most, including greater Phoenix, served by the above reservoir and irrigation system fed by the Colorado River. (Central Arizona Project)

In the first evaluation of evaporation as a renewable energy source, researchers at Columbia University find that U.S. lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of power, nearly 70 percent of what the United States currently produces.

Ivaylo Ivanov is studying how commensal bacteria (green) interact with intestinal tissues (pink) to activate immune cells in the gut to fight infection. Image courtesy of Ivanov.

Ivaylo Ivanov, an immunologist at Columbia who studies the role of intestinal bacteria in the body’s immune response, in collaboration with Caltech researcher Pamela Bjorkman, has received a two-year, $200,000 Innovation Fund award from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The grant will fund Ivanov’s ongoing research with Bjorkman.
In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States and Britain, Columbia researchers find that the genetic variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy smoking are less frequent in people with longer lifespans, suggesting that natural selection is weeding out these unfavorable variants in both populations.
Ken Shepard
Ken Shepard is part of a growing push to develop brain-computer interfaces to repair senses and skills lost to injury or disease.
Stavros Lomvardas
Stavros Lomvardas has studied smell to the molecular level, uncovering how the nose knows different scents.
Amelia Wolf walking through a field of flowers and a mountain scenery behind her.

Amelia Wolf in the California field she used to study what effect diversity loss would have on the remaining plants.

Gardeners and nature lovers have noticed that plants are flowering earlier every year—a phenomenon generally attributed to climate change.

Pages