Sex or no sex, that is the question

Sex or no sex, that is the question

There are pros and cons to everything in life, and sex is no exception. From an evolutionary biology standpoint, sex is a compromise (which may explain why so many of our lawmakers seem to be against it). Reproducing asexually means you don’t have to share with anyone else: all your genes get packed into each … Continue reading

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

What’s good for the goose ain’t always good for the gander–until it is. In evolutionary biology-speak, sexual selection happens when one sex benefits from something that harms the other. For example, male seed beetles use their spiky penises to transfer as much sperm as possible during mating, but as you might imagine, those spikes aren’t … Continue reading

The pill: Not just about contraception

The pill: Not just about contraception

There’s a lot of noise going on right now about contraception. Obama wants to increase access to it by making contraceptives covered by insurance. Representatives of religious organizations believe that by paying for said insurance they are “condoning” contraceptive use, which is contrary to their beliefs. I won’t try to sound objective: I think it’s … Continue reading

Slicing up seminal proteins

Slicing up seminal proteins

While I don’t doubt that you have all been eagerly awaiting an update to my ‘Publications’ page, some of you may not have noticed that it has finally arrived. After only about 5 and half years in graduate school, I finally have my very own first-author research article. Why did it take so long? Believe … Continue reading

Double vaginas, double the trouble?

Double vaginas, double the trouble?

I just read this article on the Huffington Post website about a woman with two vaginas and two uteruses, an extremely rare condition known as uterus didelphys. The condition usually isn’t discovered until puberty, when the girl starts having what I can only imagine are the worst periods of all time. However, there have been … Continue reading

Use it or lose it

Use it or lose it

Female frogs (Xenopus laevis) release their eggs out into the water, where they wait for some lucky sperm to come along and fertilize them. But they don’t wait very long. Frog eggs are ticking time bombs that self-destruct after only a few hours if not fertilized. Previously, how this happened was a mystery. Now, new … Continue reading

Get in my spermathecae!

Get in my spermathecae!

You may notice that this paper has been out for a while already, even though I really should have been excited to blog about it right away, given its importance for my field of study. But, lately, research has kept me too busy to actually sit down and write a decent post about it. So, … Continue reading

Wolbachia gives eggs a boost

Wolbachia gives eggs a boost

Wolbachia are a type of bacteria that live inside the cells of many animals, but mostly insects. They are passed on from mother to child through the mother’s eggs. They can often be bad for the insect host: they might kill all male offspring, destroy the host’s gonads, or make it harder for the host … Continue reading

Liebster award!

Liebster award!

The blogger over at Alternative Hypothesis has nominated me for a Liebster blog award! Four other great blogs were also honored, so I recommend that you check those out. The Liebster award is a way for bloggers to help each other out by spreading the word about their blogs. The rules for this award are: … Continue reading

Diatom sperm go fishing for eggs

Diatom sperm go fishing for eggs

Did you know that diatoms have sex? I didn’t. You know diatoms, those microscopic, silicon-encased, sorta algae things that live in the ocean…and basically anywhere else there’s water. They’re single-celled organisms that hang out at the bottom of the food chain and their dead, decomposed bodies (called diatomaceous earth) are used by humans for many … Continue reading

My, what a big claw you have

My, what a big claw you have

Male fiddler crabs wave their giant claws to get the attention of females. Females prefer males that wave a lot, in line with a common theme in female choice: making the male work for it. Waving that big thing around is more than just an advertisement. The thing is heavy to lift, so the male … Continue reading

Measuring the force of a duck penis. For science!

Measuring the force of a duck penis. For science!

Scientists hope to measure the force experienced by female ducks when a drake’s penis penetrates them (can I call it ‘penile force’?). Meanwhile, the battle of the sexes rages on… Update April 2, 2013: The original video I had on here, which explained the purpose of the research, is no longer available. But here’s a … Continue reading

The NYC sex education “scandal”

The NYC sex education “scandal”

I live in New York state and, lately, the news has been all abuzz with stories about the new NYC sex education law which is, apparently, controversial. A never-ending parade of news articles with varying levels of truthiness, along with opinion pieces either for or against the measure have been popping up on my Google News … Continue reading

Chivalry is not dead, at least among crickets

Chivalry is not dead, at least among crickets

Males of many species “guard” females after they’ve mated, presumably to prevent them from mating with other males. But in the cricket Gryllus campestris, males have a more noble intent when they guard their mate: to save her from being eaten. Researchers Rolando Rodriguez-Muñoz, Amanda Bretman, and Tom Tregenza in England observed crickets in their … Continue reading