In less than a decade, the deadly bat disease called white-nose syndrome has taken hold across the eastern half of the United States and up into Canada. With the disease confirmed in Michigan and Wisconsin in April, WNS has now been documented in 25 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Millions of hibernating bats from six species have been infected with the fungus Pseudogymnoascus...
The origin of Kawasaki disease has been linked to a fungal toxin riding the wind from farmland in northeastern China to Japan. The disease affects young children and can cause inflammation of blood vessels and, in some cases, fatal heart disease. Its origins have been unknown for more than 40 years.
New computer simulations trace the origin of the toxin to northeastern China. Candida ...
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The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the MicrobesNicholas P. MoneyOxford Univ., $24.95
Prochlorococcus is a little bacterium with a big job. Less than a micrometer in diameter, it’s the most abundant photosynthetic organism on Earth, taking up carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. If the octillion — that’s a 1 followed by 27 zeros — or more Prochlorococcus currently adrift in the world’s...
To a visitor walking down, down, down the white cinder block stairwell and through metal doors into the basement, Building 010A takes on the hushed, mile-long-beige-corridor feel of some secret government installation in a blockbuster movie.
It’s not open to sightseers, but it’s far from secret. No jut-jawed military escort leads the way; biologist Shannon Dominick wears a striped...
You wouldn’t think that huge reptiles would inspire a lot of love — except for dinosaurs, of course — but there’s something about sea turtles that’s just enchanting. Every one of the world’s seven sea turtle species is in trouble, however, considered endangered or vulnerable to extinction. These animals have declined as their habitat has been destroyed, they’ve been caught up in fishing gear,...
Battles between mushrooms don’t make a sound, but they’re violent. “Good fighters can kill the less-good ones and take over their territories,” says mycologist Lynne Boddy of Cardiff University in Wales. “There are battles royal going on all the time.”
Combat between fungal individuals is a bit like war between heaps of spaghetti. The main bodies of fungi are networks of long, thin...
A sought-after mushroom that people can’t farm might be the first fungus known to do some agriculture itself.
Human farmers have yet to reliably coax the thick-footed morel, one of several culinary morel species, into sprouting the mushrooms that chefs prize. People have gotten the Morchella crassipes fungus to form mats of fine strands but no stalked, wrinkly, spore-forming bodies to...