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News Archive

Image or reality? Leaf study needs photos and lab analysis

Every picture tells a story, but the story digital photos tell about how forests respond to climate change could be incomplete, according to new research. Xi Yang, a graduate student in Geology at Brown and MBL, and other scientists have shown that the peak in forest greenness as captured by digital pictures does not necessarily correspond to direct measures of peak chlorophyll content in leaves, which is an indicator of photosynthesis. The study, which focused on a forest on Martha’s Vineyard, has significant implications for how scientists use digital photos to study forest canopies.

Associate Dean to Advance Teacher Training

Vanessa Ryan is named Associate Dean, announced Peter M. Weber, Dean of the Graduate School. An Assistant Professor of English at Brown, Dr. Ryan began her appointment on January 1 and is focusing on graduate student teaching and pedagogy. Read more.

Cilia use different motors for different tasks

Cilia — short, hair-like fibers — are widely present in nature. Single-celled paramecia use one set of cilia for locomotion and another set to sweep nutrients into their oral grooves. Researchers at Brown, including Physics graduate student Il-yong Jung, have discovered that those two cilia sets operate at different speeds when the viscosity of the environment changes. That suggests different molecular motors driving them, which could help explain how cilia have come to be used for so many different tasks in nature.

Student Research: Pigment Found in Ancient Reptiles

An international team of researchers including biology graduate student Ryan Carney reports in Nature Jan. 8, 2014, that they have found pigmentation in the skin of three fossilized marine reptiles. Because an animal’s coloration often has an important role in how it lives, the direct chemical evidence of the pigment eumelanin that they found offers new clues about the evolution and biology of aquatic animals over a span of tens of millions of years.

Brown MFA Graduate in Wicked

Actress Jaime Rosenstein, a graduate of Brown's MFA program, is performing in the national tour of the musical "Wicked," including the Providence Performing Arts Center. Read more.

New Model of Autism Revealed

Neuroscience doctoral student Eric James (pictured) and postdoctoral research associate Arseny Khakhalin revealed the first tadpole model of autism last week at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. Previous rodent models have been more difficult to study because of complex behaviors, but the simplicity of the tadpole allows study from the network level all the way down to a single cell. James and Khakhalin conduct research in Associate Professor of Neuroscience Carlos Aizenman's lab.

Mapping Drought in Tropical Forests

Global climate change may bring more frequent episodes of the kind of extreme heat and dryness experienced during the 1997-98 El Niño. For that reason forest ecologist Jim Kellner and graduate student Carlos Silva studied the long-term impact of that weather pattern on a tropical forest in Costa Rica, using thousands of measurements of the height of the forest canopy over 12 years.