The perils of ocean acidification….

It’s making some fish make rash decisions, story here, original report in Nature Climate Change here. While this report may seem humorous to some readers, what’s going on with acidification of the oceans is deadly serious. It’s a result of increased carbon dioxide in sea water as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. We’re preparing a virtual symposium issue of The Biological Bulletin on the follow-on effects of acidification–they are incredibly complex and of potentially huge significance for the biosphere. Stay tuned…

At Cru Cafe in Charleston SC

The annual Biological Bulletin Editorial Board dinner. Hosted by the Journal and SICB Secretary Lou Burnett. At the terrific Cru Cafe in balmy Charleston. Around the table from the left going counterclockwise: Managing editor Carol Schachinger, editor emeritus, Michael Greenberg, Charles Derby, Karen Burnett, Bill Kier, Lou Burnett and yours truly.

The editorial board meeting earlier in the afternoon was a great success. And I enjoyed viewing some excellent posters at SICB itself.

But above and beyond, I learned a new skill: manning the exhibition booth! In all honesty, it was a blast. The line of graduate students to take advantage of our swag and subscription promotions was incredible. And it was a real delight to confess, as folks perused the gorgeous hard copy issues of the Journal that I was actually the editor.

In the meantime, I’m back in DC and the nice weather followed me north. The leaves may be off the trees here at Krasnow, but it feels like the Spring weather is just around the corner.

Summer at the MBL

Here is the quad at the MBL yesterday afternoon. I had the good fortune to, on arrival, immediately run into many close colleagues and even one of our own Mason doctoral students along with her mother!

When I’m in Woods Hole I never miss getting up very early before the tourists get here for the Martha’s Vineyard ferry, to enjoy the spectacular views and to get some quiet work in before the rest of the day gears up.

The campus seems in great shape under President Gary Borisy. The annual Corporation meeting is Friday and I’m sure I’ll learn more.

I’m spending time now thinking about the subject for our 2013 virtual symposium issue for The Biological Bulletin. What can possibly top regeneration (2011) and symbiosis (2012)? I suppose this counts as a bleg….

To Woods Hole…

Tomorrow, I’m off for my annual visit to the Marine Biological Laboratory at the south western tip of Cape Cod on a narrow peninsula between Buzzard’s Bay and Vineyard Sound. It’s a place I’ve been visiting for more than thirty years and is the publisher of the 100+ year old journal I edit, The Biological Bulletin.

Our August issue, this year will be a “virtual” symposium with articles focused on the fascinating biological phenomenon of regeneration, the process by which animals recover form and function after either injury or some normal physiological process.

In the meantime, it will nice to see old colleagues and even, as has become more common, one of our current doctoral students here in Mason’s neuroscience PhD program. MBL’s summer courses are the very best in the world–they are life changing for young scientists–and in an extraordinarily positive way.

When I return to Mason, next Monday, it will mark pretty much the end of summer–another two weeks and the Fall semester will begin, with all the excitement and increased activity that goes with the beginning of the academic year.

Regeneration as a biological phenomenon

I’m busy co-editing a virtual symposium issue of our journal, The Biological Bulletin on regeneration with my MBL colleague Joel Smith. For loyal readers unfamiliar with regeneration in the biological context, we are referring to the phenomenon whereby certain animals regenerate tissue (limbs and sometimes even brains) either in the natural course of their life cycle or in response to injury.

Regeneration was one of the main concentration areas of Bernie Agranoff’s laboratory at Michigan at the time when I was doing my thesis work under him. The lab model was the goldfish optic nerve, which in response to injury, can completely repair itself.

But that was a long time ago. What has been wonderful about the present virtual symposium as been re-familiarizing myself with a field, that is, if anything, more exciting and relevant today, that it was in the last century, when it was part of my daily science diet.

In particular, I’ve been enjoying reading the work of HHMI scientist Alejandro Alvarado. His work in the area is seminal and he has brought the full power of molecular and cellular biology to the question.

Junuary–when June meets Cape Cod weather

That’s what they call June in Woods Hole because it’s usually pretty rainy and chilly. The ideal weather really starts in July but carries through late October.

Tomorrow I’m off to Woods Hole for a short trip. This summer I’m proud to report that the Krasnow Institute, young as it is, has its third generation in residence. One of our neuroscience Ph.D. Students is taking the MBL’s Neural Systems and Behavior Course.
I’m going to be meeting tomorrow with MBL’s Chief Academic and Science Officer, Josh Hamilton, about our century-plus year old journal, The Biological Bulletin, which just reported it’s fourth straight year of increased impact factor.

Last day of vacation

I am back in Washington. Tomorrow I’ll return to Krasnow for what will turn out to be quite a busy rest of the summer. There are real challenges ahead–the new construction as we continue to expand, the acquisition of a cellular imaging facility that I believe will complement our MRI and the now accelerating momentum of the Decade of the Mind project as we approach the US general election.

My own take on Science 2.0 has been accepted for publication at The Biological Bulletin. It will be in the August issue.

Jim