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3Episodes
Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

October 1, 2018

Episode 294 - What is the biggest bird; Island Giants and dwarfs.

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What is the biggest bird? Why do some species in some locations end up becoming giants? What makes islands like Madagascar so special and why are so many of the species once found there so very large in size? This week we look at island gigantism and island dwarfism across the world with a focus on the giant Elephant birds of Madagascar.

References:

  1. James P. Hansford, Samuel T. Turvey. Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity for the world's largest birdRoyal Society Open Science, 2018; 5 (9): 181295 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181295
  2. James Hansford, Patricia C. Wright, Armand Rasoamiaramanana, Ventura R. Pérez, Laurie R. Godfrey, David Errickson, Tim Thompson, Samuel T. Turvey. Early Holocene human presence in Madagascar evidenced by exploitation of avian megafaunaScience Advances, 2018; 4 (9): eaat6925 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat6925
August 27, 2018

Episode 289 - Unlikely alliances, from ancient virus and Koalas to farming fruit flies and coral alliances

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How do you defend against invaders in a millenia long war? Well Koala DNA is currently using some ancient DNA weapons to fight back against a viral invader. We also find out about some unlikely alliances from different corals teaming up, to how bacteria manages to spread and colonize from place to place. All this and more this week on Lagrange Point. 

References:

  1. Ulrike Löber, Matthew Hobbs, Anisha Dayaram, Kyriakos Tsangaras, Kiersten Jones, David E. Alquezar-Planas, Yasuko Ishida, Joanne Meers, Jens Mayer, Claudia Quedenau, Wei Chen, Rebecca N. Johnson, Peter Timms, Paul R. Young, Alfred L. Roca, Alex D. Greenwood. Degradation and remobilization of endogenous retroviruses by recombination during the earliest stages of a germ-line invasion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201807598 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807598115
  2. Inês S. Pais, Rita S. Valente, Marta Sporniak, Luis Teixeira. Drosophila melanogaster establishes a species-specific mutualistic interaction with stable gut-colonizing bacteria. PLOS Biology, 2018; 16 (7): e2005710 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005710
  3. Luigi Musco, Tomás Vega Fernández, Erik Caroselli, John Murray Roberts, Fabio Badalamenti. Protocooperation among small polyps allows the coral Astroides calycularis to prey on large jellyfish. Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2413
July 2, 2018

Episode 281 - Interconnections between animals, ocean currents, climates and ecosystems

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This week we look into three stories about how oceans tie our planet together. Our ecosystems are often linked in unusual ways that are not immediately obvious. Ocean currents can tie ecosystems across the world together, impacting migratory species, local environments and ecosystems. Sometimes these impacts are short term, other times they play out over years, decades and centuries. 

References:

  1. Carl J. Reddin, Ádám T. Kocsis, Wolfgang Kiessling. Marine invertebrate migrations trace climate change over 450 million yearsGlobal Ecology and Biogeography, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/geb.12732
  2. Hector M. Guzman, Catalina G. Gomez, Alex Hearn, Scott A. Eckert. Longest recorded trans-Pacific migration of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus)Marine Biodiversity Records, 2018; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s41200-018-0143-4
  3. Jocelyn Champagnon, Jean-Dominique Lebreton, Hugh Drummond, David J. Anderson. Pacific Decadal and El Niño oscillations shape survival of a seabirdEcology, 2018; 99 (5): 1063 DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2179
May 20, 2018

Episode 275 - Protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in flux

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Protecting biodiversity is important, but how well have we protected our critical zones over the past 25 years? Are predators invading human spaces or are they just reclaiming their old territory? What about places where the predator / prey balance is out of whack? We dive into biodiverse ecosystems across the world. 

References:

  1. Kendall R. Jones, Oscar Venter, Richard A. Fuller, James R. Allan, Sean L. Maxwell, Pablo Jose Negret, James E. M. Watson. One-third of global protected land is under intense human pressure. Science, 2018; 360 (6390): 788 DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9565

  2. Brian R. Silliman, Brent B. Hughes, Lindsay C. Gaskins, Qiang He, M. Tim Tinker, Andrew Read, James Nifong and Rick Stepp. Are the Ghosts of Nature's Past Haunting Ecology Today? Current Biology, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.002

  3. Michigan Technological University. (2018, May 17). After 60 years, Isle Royale continues world's longest predator-prey study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 19, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517102304.htm

April 9, 2018

Episode 269 - Finding their way through the magnetosphere with quantum mechanics and chemistry

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How do animals from bacteria to birds manage to use the Earth's magetnic field to navigate? Do we know how or why? What potential mechanisms are out there and how does quantum mechanics get involved?

March 19, 2018

Episode 266 - Strange ways of fighting antibacterial resistance from platypus milk to cooking an egg

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This week we find out some strange and new ways scientists are hunting for a new weapons in the antimicrobial resistance arms race. Including turning to platypus milk for guidance, cooking the insides of bacteria like an egg and blocking it from even spreading. Plus we get an update on Mammal March Madness.

March 12, 2018

Episode 265 -March Mammal Madness preview, uncovering Tardigrades and the history of lungs

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It's time for March Mammal Madness 2018, where the greatest mammals from the past and the future face off against each other in performance science battles. Although this year it also features creatures from the past (Antecessors) and even some alt!mammals! This week we preview the tournament, along with checking out some latest scientific research form across the world on some of the competitors like the Tardigrades along with finding out about the development of that mammalian trait that helped us breath better.

February 19, 2018

Episode 262 -Biomaterials saving lives from spider silk cardiac tissue to sticky when wet bandages

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How can we make wounds close and heal by sticking together better? Is there some kind of super strong glues that can help stick even when wet? What can we learn from spiders to help heal a broken heart? All these bio materials and more in this week's episode.

February 5, 2018

Episode 260 - A glimpse of our future from the tropical rain forests and jungles

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Life in a tropical jungle or rain forest provide a window into the future, particularly for Climate Scientists. We look into the impact of a warming climate on biodiversity plus keeping the delicate balance between agricultural land and dangerous deforestation.

January 15, 2018

Episode 257 - Tracking creatures from the deep with social media and NASA

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Mysterious creatures roam the depths of the ocean, from turtles to whale sharks. Studying their journeys shed light on the way our oceans are interlinked and the impact of climate change on the whole ecosystem.

January 8, 2018

Episode 256 - Learning from primates about human culture

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Forget gorilla channel, Bonobos are a better mirror to human behaviour. We check out some interesting studies which reveal some of human kinds unique traits in behaviour compared to our closet primate cousins.

December 11, 2017

Episode 252 - Dinosaurs gliding and swimming like birds

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Dinosaurs take to the air or the water, much like a swan or a duck, but the feathers are quite different to what you imagine.

November 20, 2017

Episode 249 - Unexpected journeys in science from spider silk to quantum proteins

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Unexpected journeys in science from a link between quantum mechanics and proteins, to spider silk hearing aides. We hear how scientific research can start in one place and end far far away.

September 25, 2017

Episode 241 - What does climate change have in store for our oceans?

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What does climate change have in store for our oceans? What happens to fish when their reefs become full of pollution? All this and more.

January 1, 2014

Episode 14 - Fairy Penguins, Tiger troubles and regrowing teeth

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We talk about Fairies at the end of the St Kilda Pier, well fairy penguins that is. We also delve into the challenges facing Tigers in Indian as they try to find a good mate and figure out ways to use stem cells to regrow our teeth!

January 1, 2014

Episode 15 - Ant, Bee, Colony. It’s easy as 1,2,3.

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On this week's episode we dive into the hive mind of bees and try and crack open the mysteries of colony collapse. We also look at the daily lives of ants, their career dreams and ambitions, and how the anternet works!