Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since I last posted a blog, but I’ve got plenty of interesting stuff to tell y’all. I’ve been turtley busy, dudes. What can I say?

First of all, I was held up eating, I mean, ‘working’ during the Red Nose Day cake sale. Yum! Thank you to everyone who got involved in both baking AND buying. Judging took place and two tasty cakes won prizes. In the end we earned £177.15 for Comic Relief!

Gulliver Red Nose Day

And I’ve been stuck visiting my cousin the painted turtle. He’s like a super mutant (but not a ninja) turtle, and it shows in his DNA. You can freeze him solid or lower the oxygen levels, but he’ll keep coming back. Unstoppable. If you wanna learn more then check out the blog and get reading! I’m not jealous, but I wish someone would paint me…

 My last portrait’s looking a little dated (although, I’m thinking of growing back my hair like that. What d’ya think, guys?)

My last portrait’s looking a little dated (although, I’m thinking of growing back my hair like that. What d’ya think, guys?)

The RCUK policy on open access will be taking effect on 1st April. This policy supports free access to articles and encourages open access research that can be used by anyone all over the world. In my view shouldn’t be restricted from those who need it most.  I’m not just talking about students. I’m talking about people in developing countries in need of information! Who’s with me? How about you watch the video to learn loads more about this sweet new policy.

A heap of articles have popped up on the Biomed Central website that are worth a read. You may want to pay a quick visit to the blog on tuberculosis and diabetes to learn about their effects in developing countries.. Diabetes leaves people vulnerable to all sorts of infection, especially in developing countries, and tuberculosis doesn’t hold back.

Check out the pine beetle too. This bug is a real pest in forests and can even kill whole trees, but its genes are super crazy and worth reading about. The pine beetle even has a bacterial gene that helps in its pesky activities. Researchers sequenced the pine beetle’s genome, which may even help in stopping them from wreaking yet more havoc. Don’t want them eating up the forests, that would really bug me!

Pine Beetle

Credit: Ward Strong, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

Speaking of creepy crawlies, I learned about the weeeirdest new technique: Squishomics! Scientists are busy making crushed bug DNA soup to study different species and biodiversity. Not only does it sound tasty, but this goo contains the relevant genetic information to identify unknown creatures!

Plus, better looking birds are better moms and raises healthier chicks even if they’re adopted babies. Nature really is crazy, man.

See you later, peeps.


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The festive season has been and gone and now it’s time to take down the decorations and get on with some science!  I hope everyone had a good time, 2011 was certainly a year to remember but man have I got plans for number 12!  What did everyone do for New Year’s Eve?  I went to a fancy dress party in my best Hoff costume, but it seems I wasn’t the only one to have that idea.  My crab homies have finally decided to come out of their shells and introduce themselves to the world, and boy do they love Baywatch.

You might think that a crustacean with a chest wig is pretty wacky, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Check out this list of the craziest critters of 2011 including the terrifying zombie ants which my buddies at BioMed Central risked their brains to warn the world about!  In all seriousness though I’m kinda disappointed not to feature in that list myself.  A turtle that can write – and do science – surely that’s wackier than a one eyed shark!

So I mentioned in my last post that I was interviewed by AnimalGarden for a Panton Discussion.  If you don’t know what a Panton Discussion is then check out December’s entry.   Before Christmas there was only a sneak peak, but now you can see the full video and learn about the turtley awesome things that I do.  Here’s a big shout to Peter and the AnimalGarden crew for giving me my big break.  Finally the recognition I deserve!

AnimalGarden interviews Gulliver, the Open Access turtle from Peter Murray-Rust on Vimeo.

Inspired by my new celebrity status I’m almost ready to grace the world with my first ever YouTube video on my brand new channel.  There’s a hint in my interview as to what’s coming – see if you can guess what it is.

Right I’m off to chat to my agent and fraternize with the stars, peace out!

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Howdy from sunny Anaheim, USA! I’m recovering from the Experimental Biology meeting where I’ve been promoting the relaunch of BMC Biology with my BioMed Central peeps, Kiran, Deborah, Miranda, Ciaran and Mike. I was so busy I didn’t even manage to squeeze in a visit to Disneyland despite it being next door!

Working hard/drinking champagne

Sorry for the poor picture quality. You can see me in the background, working hard as usual.

To celebrate the new improved BMC Biology incorporating Journal of Biology, Editor, Miranda Robertson and I hosted a little party at our stand on Monday night. Lots of people turned up to help us celebrate including several Editors-in-Chief from our journals. We had cake, champagne and gave away our new BMC Biology t-shirts – check out the scrum below!

T-shirt scrum

FASEB has to be one of my favourite conferences – there were over 10,000 scientists from a wide range of disciplines. It was turtley cool to meet so many people – lots of them are already open access fans.

Speaking of open access – earlier this week a coalition of President, Provosts, and research Vice Presidents of 27 of the United State’s leading research universities and colleges issued an open letter calling for greatly increased public access to the results of research funded by major federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation

Last week it was announced that the Berlin 8 Open Access Conference, jointly hosted by Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, and Max Planck Society, Germany, will be held in October 25-27, 2010, in Beijing, China. October’s a busy month for me but I hope to make it there!

In science news, research from one of my favourite journals, BMC Evolutionary Biology, found that an increased proportion of male African buffalo are born during the rainy season. I bet there’s a lot of happy female buffalo out there with so many males to choose from!

Meanwhile, a BMC Research Notes study suggested that martial arts could be the key to helping osteoporosis sufferers fall more safely. Be careful near your grandparents!

A travelling science lab for kids

Finally, as you may recall a couple of weeks ago I held a competition for you to win one of my clones – the winners have now been decided. I’m lovin’ Carole’s suggestion for me to visit the BioBus – a travelling science lab for underprivileged kids. I can’t wait to teach them some turtley cool science experiments.  For those of you who missed out, don’t worry, there’s gonna be loads of other chances to win me throughout the year – just keep your eyes peeled!


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Yo peeps, welcome to my blog. Here you will find the latest open access and science news.

But first, some news about me. As you might’ve heard, I got myself a makeover – I’m now leaner and greener with an ace new shell. I’m Gulliver 2.0! But the good news doesn’t stop there – I’ve also managed to clone myself – not once, not twice, but several thousand times. Right now, there are 1000s of Gullivers swimming over to BioMed Central’s HQ in London. Next stop, world domination! If you become a friend of mine on Facebook you might win one of my clones throughout the year.

Become my friend on Facebook for a chance to win a clone

There’s been some major progress in the world of open access in the past week. Stateside, Congress takes another stride toward public access to research. Yesterday the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010 (FRPAA) was introduced to the House of Representatives. The proposed bill would build on the success of the first U.S. mandate for public access to the published results of publicly funded research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and require federal agencies with annual research budgets of over $100 million to provide the public with online access to research articles originating from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

A report in Nature noted that the US government’s push to open up scientific knowledge to all looks set to go into overdrive. Nice to see the US government bringing research out of its shell!

Still in the Americas, Cuba has announced its first forum for Open Access Information as part of the International Information Technology Congress (INFO 2010), April 19 to 23. Turtley cool to see Cuba keepin’ it real.

Some of my colleagues at BioMed Central have published a report entitled which provides some useful case studies for societies wishing to move to the OA model.

Save the date! Open Access Week is 18-24 October, put it in your diaries and let me know how you plan to celebrate. – sign up and you’ll get all the latest updates.

Moving on to science news, here at BioMed Central we’ve been publishing some mad research. First off, a UK study published in found that urine sprays during courtship send mixed messages…in crayfish (Haha, I had you worried there for a minute, right?) Then some researchers in the US and France writing in managed to decode the hyena’s laughter. Check out the study for some crazy soundbytes of hyenas’ giggles.

Walking through urine drives crayfish into an aggressive sexual frenzy apparently! The same can not be said for Turtles!

Finally, last week a report in revealed the first animal living without oxygen – is that cool or what? It also caused a bit of a media frenzy with articles in Popular Science, Wired and the BBC.

Well, that’s it for now folks. I’ll leave you with some photos of me in the lab. Do you like my lab coat? I had it specially made!

Gulliver Turtle's experiments

developing a product to make humans green like me!

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