Honey as medicine

This video is called Honey bees – Natural History 1.

This video is the sequel.

From Student Science in the USA:

Sweet: Is honey the key to the next-generation of antimicrobials?

11:41AM, November 18, 2016

As resistance to existing antibiotics — including so-called treatments of last resort — continues to rise, scientists are looking to other sources to develop next-generation antimicrobials. One of the most promising potential candidates is also one of the sweetest: honey.

But can it really work to ward off infection and speed healing? The results of a small study by 2015 Broadcom MASTERS second place winner Hannah Cevasco say yes, at least for Manuka honey, a honey found in Australia and New Zealand that is purported to have healing properties.

She used diluted solutions of Manuka honey on human dermal fibroblasts she cultured in a lab at Stanford University. (Dermal fibrobasts are cells in skin tissue. They migrate to the site of an injury because they generate the connective tissue that helps skin heal).

Hannah flooded her cell cultures with diluted solutions of Manuka honey at 0.5, 1, and 2 percent concentrations. She also used a culture dish with a 1 percent honey solution that she replaced multiple times, in order to mimic the way someone would change a wound dressing.

Results showed that Manuka honey at 1 percent concentration had a significant effect on cell migration, while the 0.5 percent and 2 percent concentrations had a minimal effect.

Hannah, who hopes one day to be a pediatric oncologist, is interested in exploring other claims about the healing properties of Manuka honey — especially with regards to its abilities to fight cancer. She’ll be continuing her work with HeLa cervical cancer cells in a lab at Stanford University.

Malaysian coral reefs need more protection

This 2009 video says about itself:

In a vast, turquoise-blue corner of this Earth, the forces of nature have crafted a truly amazing underwater tapestry of corals. This is the Coral Triangle – ‘nursery of the seas’.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Most species-rich coral reefs are not necessarily protected

Published on 22 November 2016

Coral reefs throughout the world are under threat. After studying the reefs in Malaysia, Zarinah Waheed concluded that there is room for improvement in coral reef conservation. PhD defence 22 November.

One-third of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef are dead. This was the sombre conclusion drawn by Australian scientists six months ago. Pollution, shipping and climate change are destroying the world’s largest continuous reef, and other coral reefs seem to be facing the same fate.

Home country

PhD candidate Zarinah Waheed studied coral reefs in her home country Malaysia over recent years. She looked specifically at the coral diversity of these reefs and also at the connectivity between the reef locations. She found that the areas with the highest numbers of coral species are not necessarily protected.

94 species

During her research, Waheed examined how many species of three coral families – Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae – occur in different reefs spread throughout Malaysia. She made a number of diving trips in the region, together with her co-supervisor and coral expert Dr Bert W. Hoeksema of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. Before the diving trips, she first examined all specimens of the target species in the extensive coral collection held by Naturalis.

Coral Triangle

‘The eastern part of Malaysian Borneo is part of the so-called Coral Triangle,’ Waheed explained. ‘This is a vast area that is home to the highest diversity of corals in the world. Scientists have long suggested that diversity diminishes the further away you get from this Coral Triangle. This hypothesis had never been thoroughly examined as far as Malaysia is concerned. My research shows that this holds true based on the coral species we examined.’

Paradise for divers

Waheed discovered, for example, that Semporma, a paradise for divers in the eastern part of the country, has a total of 89 species of coral of the three families she studied. If you go further west – that is, further away from the Coral Triangle – the number of species drops to only 33 in Payar on the west coast of the Malaysian mainland.


Finally, Waheed investigated how the different Malaysian reefs are connected to one another. She did this by establishing how one species of mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis), the blue starfish (Linckia laevigata) and the boring giant clam that goes by the name of Tridacna crocea are genetically related within each of their populations.

Water circulation pattern

The three model species Waheed studied exhibit different levels of connectivity among the coral reefs. She suspects that this may well be due to the effect of water circulation patterns in the research area. ‘The larvae of the coral, the starfish and the clam can survive for a while before they have to settle on the reef. In the meantime they are carried by the currents and may settle in other coral reefs from where the originate.’

Coral reef conservation

Surprisingly enough, reef areas that have the greatest diversity are not necessarily the best protected. For example, only a limited part of the coral reefs in Semporna are protected under a marine park. ‘Reefs outside the park boundary are not protected. During our diving trips we regularly heard dynamite explosions. Blast fishing is an illegal practice and it causes enormous damage to the coral reef but it is nonetheless a way of catching fish.’ Blast fishing occurs not only in Semporna, but also in other coral reef areas of Sabah, Malaysia, and the Coral Triangle.

Butterfly leaves cocoon, video

This video says about itself:

11 November 2016

The transition from caterpillar to butterfly is a process that consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Observe one caterpillar as it develops into a gorgeous winged insect.


New mosquito species discovery in the Netherlands

Culiseta bergrothi

From Nature Today, 14 November 2016 (translated):

During a European study on diversity and dynamics of mosquitoes, a mosquito species new for the Netherlands was found. The discovery of the mosquito Culiseta bergrothi brings the total number of mosquito species known in the Netherlands to 40. Whether the new species is actually established in the Netherlands should be examined further.

From July 2014 to July 2015 monthly mosquitoes were caught near Wageningen for a European study. The aim of the study was the identification of insect diversity on farms, wetlands and urban fringe in three European countries (Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy). In total, in the Netherlands were caught 14 types of mosquito species, amongst whom Culex pipiens and Culiseta annulata were the most common.

Unknown species

In June 2015 on the organic farm Veld en Beek in Doorwerth were found some mosquitoes that did not look immediately like a well-known species. After identification and verification in collaboration with the Centre for Monitoring of vectors (CMV) of the NVWA, they turned out to be a new mosquito species for the Netherlands: Culiseta bergrothi (Edwards, 1921). In the same study, this species was also found on farms in Sweden. It is a relatively unknown species which has been found so far mainly in northern parts of Japan, Russia and Europe such as Norway and Sweden. The catch in the Netherlands is remarkable, as with increasing temperatures more southern species are expected.

As far as is known, Culiseta bergrothi does not transmit diseases.

Gulf fritillary butterfly video

This video from the USA says about itself:

1 November 2016

Beautiful Gulf Fritillary or “Passion” Butterfly – bright orange catches your eye and the 3 little white dots on each fore-wing are the clincher. Watch for a guest appearance by a spider!

The Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus), is a brightly colored butterfly common across extreme southern portions of the United States. At home in most open, sunny habitats, it frequents roadsides, disturbed sites, fields, open woodlands, pastures, yards, and parks. It is a regular in most butterfly gardens, including those in more urban settings.

Jellyfish in Iraq for first time

Catostylus perezi

From BirdLife:

Jellyfish species sighted for first time in Iraq

By Laith Ali Al-Obeidi and Majd Abu Zaghlan, 15 Nov 2016

Life continues to return to Iraq’s historic marshlands – and in some cases, species that have never been recorded before in the country. In July, a species of jellyfish Catostylus perezi was discovered at the Main Outfall Drain (MOD) channel and in southern part of Hammar Marshes of southern Iraq. This is the first Iraqi record for this species.

The discovery came to the attention of Nature Iraq (BirdLife in Iraq) when they were informed by a fisherman that he saw a jellyfish in the MOD channel. Nature Iraq then began a field survey, monitoring the MOD and Southern side of East Hammar and West Hammar Marshes searching for the jellyfish and in August recovered a specimen for relevant scientific studies.

After few months’ collaboration with a jellyfish expert from Brazil to develop this finding, it seems that the jellyfish species is a Scyphomedusae and identified as Catostylus perezi, which belongs to the Family Catostylidae and to Order Rhizostomeae. This would be the first record of Catostylus perezi for Iraq.

Of note, both the East Hammar Marshes and West Hammar Marshes are connected to the MOD canal from the south side and then to the port of Khor Al-Zubair and then to the Arabian Gulf. These parts of marshes are influenced by the tidal effect of the sea through the connection and this leads to the upward movement of such species to the marshes. The occurrence of this species is an evidence of the change in the water salinity of the area.

The distribution of this species indicates that it occurs in the southern coast of the Peninsula and the Gulf as it was recorded in the Iranian coast in 1956 near Kharj and in Pakistan.

The Iraqi Marshlands, also known as the Al-Ahwar Marshlands is a group of water surfaces, which cover the low lands situated in the south of the Iraqi plain. As part of Iraq’s efforts since 2003 to put Al-Ahwar on the World Heritage List, UNESCO has approved the inscription of the marshes and to add it to the list on July 2016.

With UNESCO’s “world heritage site” title, the marshlands are now secured from further damage and it will help the government in establishing plans to protect and enhance the site.

“The Iraqi marshlands – are unique, as one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, in an extremely hot and arid environment,” UNESCO said. They describes the site as a “refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities.”

The marshlands are home to many bird species and are a spawning ground for fish of the Gulf.

Wasp makes nest, video

This 2016 video from the Netherlands shows an Odynerus spinipes wasp making its nest.