­

BHR Artist in Residence Has A SciArt Book! And it’s free!

Who wants to know more about fungi? Everybody. Every single person. Buzz Hoot Roar proudly announces artist-in-residence Christine Nishiyama’s sciart book, We Are Fungi

Blending her charming-yet-accurate (except the mushroom eyes) illustrations and approachable tone, Nishiyama gives you the dirt on the planet’s largest organisms.
She shares some personal favorites of the mushroom world . . .
. . . as she leads you down the path, or maybe down deep underground, to understanding more about these mysterious organisms.

 


If you’d like to know more, and to see some sciart at its funnest, you can download it for free here: http://mightcouldstudios.com/we-are-fungi/ or check it out on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Fungi-Christine-Nishiyama/dp/0999403907/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

______

Christine Nishiyama is an illustrator + writer, making books and comics about life and science. She also teaches art to help other people make more art. Follow Christine at @might_could and check out more of her work here.

By |September 20th, 2017|artist in residence|0 Comments

Are we human? Or are we microbe?

Microbes. EEK!!!

We spend a lot of time and money on antibacterial products. But despite our desperate scrubbing, we will never be free of microbes.

microbes1

In fact, our bodies’ microbial cells outnumber our human cells 10 to one! Which makes you wonder: If you have more microbial cells than human cells, are you human?

Of course! Humans play host to microscopic microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, that reside in the small and large intestine.

These microbial symbionts perform vital functions, especially during digestion.

microbes2
Many of these genes encode enzymes that digest food, such as CAZymes, which break carbohydrates into compounds that the body can absorb or excrete.
microbes3
If the composition of the gut microbiome changes, the body may lose the ability to perform certain functions, which could result in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Even from the deep regions of our intestines, our gut occupants can influence much more than our bowel health.

microbes4
Studies report colonization of certain species of bacteria is more likely to be associated with depression and anxiety. Many researchers believe adjusting the composition of the gut microbiome may be a viable treatment for these disorders.

We may be human, but we are run by microbes, no matter how many times we wash our hands.

______

Check our facts!

1. Belkaid, Y. and T.W. Hand, Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation. Cell, 2014. 157(1): p. 121-41.
2. Cecchini, D.A., et al., Functional metagenomics reveals novel pathways of prebiotic breakdown by human gut bacteria. PLoS One, 2013. 8(9): p. e72766.
3. Forsythe, P., et al., Mood and gut feelings. […]

By |November 18th, 2015|artist in residence, No Backbones, Other Science|1 Comment

Things that get under your skin: Parasitoids

Your worst enemies can really get under your skin. Insects known as parasitoids do just that, getting into other insects’ bodies and eating their hosts alive from the inside out.

More than 100,000 described parasitoid species of wasps, flies and other insects lurk the globe, hoping to turn nearly every type of insect’s life into a horror show.

The following parasitoids master the horrifying art of living inside an all-you-can-eat buffet.

1. Aphidiinae
BHR-parasitoid-illo-2Aphidiinae wasps are aphid specialists. These tiny terrors find unsuspecting aphids and jam their waspy eggs directly into the aphids’ abdomens with needle-like egg-laying devices. Our poor aphids die slowly as wasp larva slurp their nutritious aphid guts. Meanwhile, the aphids’ outsides turn into a papery, brown protective husk, from which Aphidiinae burst triumphantly as adults.

Don’t get too comfy inside that aphid husk, Aphidiinae!

2. Asaphes vulgaris
BHR-parasitoid-illo-3-v1

Hyperparasitoids, like the even smaller wasp Asaphes vulgaris, attack parasitoid wasps already infecting hosts. Hyperparasitoids of Aphidiinae, for example, will seek out parasitized aphids. The hyperparasitoid inserts an egg into the first parasitoid, and after its own gobblefest, the new larvae pupates before chewing its way out of the aphid, like the tiniest doll in a horrific babushka.

Some parasitoids don’t have an only child complex.

3. Copidasoma

BHR-parasitoid-illo-4

Copidasoma takes a “DIY, babies!” approach to child rearing by depositing a few eggs into moth eggs. The moth caterpillars hatch, unaware that they’re stuffed with flesh eating aliens. While the young caterpillars grow up, the wasp eggs rapidly divide, and the original few become up to 2000 eggs, a […]

By |May 13th, 2015|artist in residence, Bugs|5 Comments

A Good Nose Isn’t That Hard to Find

Ever since the dawn of time — give or take a few millennia — humans and dogs have been best buds. People liked dogs, with their scary barks and teeth when needed. And their great noses. Dogs thought, “Why not, as long as they feed and pet us?”
BHR-dog-sniffers-1
Ever since the dawn of technology, researchers have gazed past the dog’s eager eyes and sensitive nose and thought, “Meh. I can build something better than that!” The race was on for a “biomimetic olfactory microsystem” to replace the dog.
BHR-dog-sniffers-2
Mash-ups of mechanisms and organisms abounded. An army lab rigged a tube with a wire that blood-loving bugs would dance on and signal if they smelled the enemy.  The cone-nosed bugs lacked judgment.
BHR-dog-sniffers-3
Plants take less maintenance than dogs. What about a super fern that would turn white if it detected a bomb? Sure enough. A transgenic plant could detect TNT. It took the torpid topiary between 24 and 48 hours to turn pale.

BHR-dog-sniffers-4

The Germans figured the turkey vulture, with perhaps the most advanced smell of any raptor, could replace the earthbound dog.
BHR-dog-sniffers-5
Sherlock didn’t like to fly when he was searching. He waddled like a duck. He would bolt and hide.
BHR-dog-sniffers-6
Reconsider the humble dog. The one researchers looked at and said, “Sorry, I’m just not that into you.” More fun than a machine and usually less expensive. Check. Can signal the presence […]

By |November 12th, 2014|artist in residence, Backbones|3 Comments

Why Are We Afraid of Spiders?

ESR-arachnophobia1_01

We don’t like all those legs and their creepily erratic ways of running around2. But why? Spiders don’t try to hurt us on purpose, and almost no spiders could hurt us if they tried.3 In contrast, our fear of spiders maybe hurting us has led to everything from minor freakouts to major birth defects.4,5

It turns out that we might not be able to help ourselves. Like Lady Gaga, some of us were born this way.

ESR-arachnophobia2

Plus, people with fraidy cat family members are more likely to be fraidy cats themselves, whether or not the fraidy cats grew up together.6

ESR-arachnophobia3

But evolution and heritability aren’t the whole story.

ESR-arachnophobia4

Nature and Nurture: Still BFFs!

*Spiderzillas don’t actually exist. We made them up because spiders don’t care about us and they never want to bite us in the face unless we’re being obnoxious and bothering them with our faces, but you’d probably want to bite them in the face if they were bothering you like that, too. Well, maybe not bite them in the face. You’d probably rather take a shoe to them. But you get the idea.

By Roar and Chris Buddle. Illustrated by Christine Fleming, Buzz Hoot Roar’s Artist in Residence. Follow Christine at @might_could and check out more of her work here.

Chris Buddle is a Professor at McGill University, in Montreal Canada. Chris does research on spiders, including recent work on arachnids living in the Arctic (yup, spiders live up there, too!). He’s been working with spiders for almost two decades and has never been bitten. He […]

By |August 13th, 2014|artist in residence, Bugs|8 Comments

Pronking: The Happy Dance That Should Kill You (But Doesn’t)

Lambs do it, alpacas do it, even gazelles do it: pronking. Also known as stotting, that joyous all-four-hooves-in-the-air leap can be one of the happiest ways to signal a hoofin’ good time. Their spines are even built for it.

BHR-pronking-alpaca

But pronking’s for more than just fun and games. When danger strikes, hooved animals will do a yipes-like pronk high in the air.

Does this make sense? If you’re being chased by someone, it would seem to make more sense to put your energy into forward motion than just pogo up and down in the same spot while Mr. and Mrs. Sharpteeth come nipping at your heels. Still, pronkers get chased less often, and when they are chased, they’re captured less often than those who just turn tail and flat-out run.

BHR-pronking-gazelle-comparison

Here’s the thing: It takes a lot of energy to pronk. Get up and try it! It doesn’t take many boing boing boings to see that the best pronkers need to be in tip-top shape. Pronking is an example of honest signaling, which means good pronkers are saying, “You can try to catch me, but I’m in such good physical condition I’ll probably outrun you. See? I have all this energy that I can jump up and down here and don’t even need to run from you yet.”

BHR-pronking-gazelle

And the predators say, “Oh. Ok. Thanks for the head’s up. I won’t waste my time. I’ll eat Mr. Slowpoke over here.”And then they do. And the meanest pronkers pronk for joy.

BHR-pronking-gazelle-still

By |July 16th, 2014|artist in residence, Backbones|4 Comments

How Many Does It Take?

Here at Buzz Hoot Roar, we love how humans measure everything and hand out superlatives. Today, we see how many of the biggest, longest, or tallest animals in their class (or order or family!) it would take stacked end-to-end to reach the top of some of our favorite landmarks. (It’s probably pretty important to know how many of the largest known bacteria it would take to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower.)

How many of the tallest dinosaur versus the biggest bacteria does it take to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower?

BHR-how-many-2-eiffel-tower

 

…and how many of the longest jellyfish versus the longest tapeworm does it take to stretch to the top of the Grand Canyon?

BHR-how-many-2-grand-canyon

 

…and how many of the biggest mammal versus the tallest bird does it take to reach the top of the Statue of Liberty?

BHR-how-many-2-statue-of-liberty-v3

 

…and how many of the tallest marsupial and biggest ant does it take to reach the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

BHR-how-many-2-tower-of-pisa

 

…and how many of the tallest land mammal and longest snake does it take to stretch to the tip of the Great Sphinx?

BHR-how-many-2-tower-of-sphinx

 

Meet our Contenders!

BHR-how-many-1-dinosaur-v2 BHR-how-many-1-giraffe-v2 BHR-how-many-1-ostrich-v2 BHR-how-many-1-snake-v2 BHR-how-many-1-tapeworm-v2 BHR-how-many-1-ant

By |July 2nd, 2014|artist in residence, Backbones, Bugs, No Backbones|4 Comments

Buzz Hoot Roar Announces Its First Artist in Residence!

We’re back from summer vacation, and we brought a souvenir! Today, Buzz, Hoot, and Roar are super excited to announce the Very Talented Christine Fleming is our first ever Artist in Residence!

Yes, we’re still working with other talented artists across the globe, and we’d love you to contact us if you’re ever interested in working with us. But for the next few months, Fleming, of spider sex and what’s the difference fame, is going to share her awesomeness with us every other week. Get Ready!

Here, Fleming tells us a little about the maker behind the magic.

MC-about-me-2

Who: “I’m Christine Fleming, an illustrator currently based in Southeast Texas, slowly making my way out west. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a BFA in Graphic Design, and my illustrations have appeared in parenting magazines, literary zines, blogs, educational workbooks, and personal commissions. I’m also working hard toward my dream of writing and illustrating my own picture books. If I’m not drawing, writing, or staring at my computer screen, I can probably be found cooking way too much food, running with my dog, Oni, or reading in the sun.”

MC-about-me-1

Why: I’m thrilled to be Buzz Hoot Roar’s artist in residence! Drawing allows me to really see something, giving me a better grasp on the subject, and a greater appreciation of just how weird the world is (have you ever drawn an ostrich?! They’re weird.). Growing up, I was that kid saying “did you know…?!” all the time, and I guess I still am today. Now I get to draw those […]

By |June 19th, 2014|artist in residence|5 Comments