Best of the Network

My extended tenure as bosun of the Gam (promoter of the Southern Fried Science Network) comes to an end today. Due to some technical difficulties at the Gam blog, I’ll be doing the best of the network post right here for now. What follows is the very best posts from the members of the Southern Fried Science Network (SFSN) from when I took over as bosun, mid-September, until now.

Last month saw the launch of Journeys, a blog where anyone can contribute writing about field work and other scientific adventures. Click here to read about the idea behind Journeys, or here to learn how to contribute your own writing.

The Skeptical Moth
The newest member of our network expressed his skepticism about a bug-repellent bulb of water, and pointed out a bizarre, taxonomy fail-inducing critter. Chris is currently on the road across the western US; collecting moths and visiting friends and family. I’m excited the see the photos and field work blogging that he plans to share when he gets back to California.

Sleeping With the Fishes
Hannah also joined our network in the last month. Since then, she has published a pair of tremendous marine ecology posts: One is about the use of seabirds as marine health indicator animals, and the second is about amazing research and technology that uses satellite readings to identify and characterize marine phytoplankton in incredible detail.

Danielle launched this blog for the SFSN back in September. The theme is a seemingly-outlandish synthesis of evolutionary biology and hip-hop music. The results, however, are spectacular and engaging, making this one of the most unique science blogs I have ever seen. You should check out all of Danielle’s posts, but my favorites are Sexual Cannibalism, and How some females respond to Nuptial Gifts.

Bomai Cruz
William is finally settling down after a month of traveling from Duke Marine Lab, to his home in Papua New Guinea, and finally to Goa, India. In Goa, William is participating in a marine research fellowship program, and will be writing about his work on his blog and Journeys in the coming weeks.

That other Mike over at Cephalove has been busy lately. In addition to an enlightening series of interviews with neurobiologists about the nature of consciousness (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), he has also written several of the massively informative and interesting cephalopod review articles that he specializes in. My favorites are about the bacteria dwelling in the bioluminescent organs of bobtail squid, and the need for mental stimulation in captive cephalopods. On top of all this he has also resurrected the neuro-carnival, Encephalon.

Mammoth Tales
John takes a break from biology and treats us to two great historical posts. One is a detailed analysis about his attempt to unravel a strange mystery map from the 1700s, and the other is about the Soviet’s never-used lunar lander. I minored in history during undergrad just because I enjoy it so much, so I am thrilled whenever a blogger steps back from the science and drops an H-bomb on us.

Spawning is Imminent
Dustin wrote a great post about the current state of fish-farming, including the use of genetically engineered, growth hormone super-secreting salmon. Find out what the aquaculture buzz-words actually mean, an what we should be doing to create sustainable aquatic livestock. Also, Dustin’s post includes a photo of the most bizarre chordate specimen I have ever seen.

Ya Like Dags?
Chuck gives us two posts about the sometimes surprising stomach contents of dogfish sharks: Clash of the Titans, and a shark puke-bag photo-shoot. Why is Chuck making sharks puke up their lunch? For SCIENCE!

Southern Fried Science
The three headed monster that spawned our network has contributed a lot of great science blogging over the last month and a half. In the interest of brevity and for the sake of getting to bed at some point, here are my three favorites; one for each editor of Southern Fried Science. Andrew introduces us to the hagfish; our jawless cousin living in quiet, mucous-excreting, isolation at the base of the vertebrate family tree. Amy discusses the impacts and ecological concerns of pharmaceutical runoff in our marine ecosystems. Finally, David persuades us to save the krill. These tiny crustaceans are the backbone of the marine ecosystem, and if they die out what will people have to misidentify as shrimp? …Oh yeah, every other crustacean on the planet with a segmented back and swimming legs.

Last but but least: Me!
I’ve been pretty busy with work and rugby this fall so my hard science blogging has been minimal aside from this post about the bio-armor adaptations of the mantis shrimp. I’ve also been brushing up on my macro photography and I recently took some video of truly entrancing squid chromatophores:


Since I took over as bosun The Southern Fried Science Network has grown to include 11 blogs from 12 writers, and there is more to come. I am going to tag Danielle of SouthernPlayalisticEvolutionMusic to be the bosun for the month of November. Nice work everyone!

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