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NEWS
October 6, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Here's a posting from the "ick" files. Scientsts are now delving into an uncharted environment to study human and other viruses: raw sewage. In a study published Tuesday in the online journal mBio, researchers from the U.S. and Spainfound that untreated human wastewater -- "the effluence of society," they wrote -- contains an incredible diversity of viruses ... and that the vast majority are viruses we hadn't known of before. Click for the abstract . At this point, biologists know of about 3,000 different viruses, representing 84 different viral families -- but they suspect that those known bugs are just the tip of the iceberg.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Ever since Charles Darwin made his way to the Galapagos, we've heard a lot about that fateful moment when some previously water-bound creature pulled itself up from the slowly receding seas, took a breath and began the eons-long march to humanity. What we didn't know was what that creature looked like and how, specifically, it relates to us. Based on the bestselling book of the same name, "Your Inner Fish" is a six-hour, three-part documentary determined to do just that. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, who wrote the book and hosts the series, is infectiously enthusiastic as he takes viewers on a tour of the human anatomy, its unexpected roots (subsequent episodes cover our inner reptile and our inner monkey)
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SCIENCE
June 1, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Harvard biologists have brought new meaning to the term "fine print" by devising microscopic tiles made of DNA that self-assemble into letters, Chinese characters, emoticons and other shapes. More than mere doodling , their advance, detailed this week in the journal Nature, could make it easier and cheaper to build tiny DNA devices capable of delivering drugs or aiding the study of biochemistry, scientists said. "This technique will accelerate the research field of DNA nanotechnology," said Ebbe Sloth Andersen, a researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark who collaborated on an editorial that accompanied the report.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
Federal biologists clad in waders and armed with long-handled nets this week moved hundreds of red-legged frog eggs from a San Fernando Valley stream to carefully selected wetlands 10 miles away in the first attempt to expand the threatened species' range in Southern California. Five hundred eggs transported from the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve to the Santa Monica Mountains are expected to hatch any day. When they do, they will reintroduce red-legged frog tadpoles to historic haunts that are free of predatory fish, snails and crayfish that could tear them apart.
SCIENCE
April 13, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Using space technology to sniff out a telltale trail of penguin poop strewn about the edges of Antarctica, scientists have completed the first-ever census of an animal population taken with satellite imagery. The collaboration of British and American researchers was able to identify 44 emperor penguin colonies, including seven that were previously unknown. They counted 595,000 birds - twice as many as they expected to see. "Now that we have this baseline information, we can start asking new questions" about the Antarctic ecosystem, said Michelle LaRue, a doctoral student in conservation biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and coauthor of a paper about the discovery, published Friday in the journal PLoS One. As depicted in the 2005 film "March of the Penguins," emperor penguin pairs battle temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to nest at their breeding sites each year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 9, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
More than 100 biologists and contract workers fanned out across a nearly pristine stretch of the eastern Mojave Desert on Friday to start rounding up tortoises blocking construction of the first major solar energy plant to be built on public land in Southern California. On a sunny morning in the height of tortoise courting season, the biologists methodically peered under every bush and into every hole on both sides of a two-mile lane traversing the project site. Following close behind, workers bladed century-old creosote bushes and erected fencing in areas that will soon be declared a "tortoise-free zones.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Biologists are hopeful that 30 pregnant butterflies released into a San Francisco Bay area wildlife preserve will help bring the species back from the brink of extinction. The Lange's metalmark butterflies were set free in the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Preserve last week after being bred in captivity. The orange, brown and white species lives only in the 55-acre preserve, a rare remnant of sweeping sand dunes once common in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched the captive breeding program after the adult Lange's metalmark population dropped from 2,300 in 1999 to 45 in 2006.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
Federal biologists clad in waders and armed with long-handled nets this week moved hundreds of red-legged frog eggs from a San Fernando Valley stream to carefully selected wetlands 10 miles away in the first attempt to expand the threatened species' range in Southern California. Five hundred eggs transported from the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve to the Santa Monica Mountains are expected to hatch any day. When they do, they will reintroduce red-legged frog tadpoles to historic haunts that are free of predatory fish, snails and crayfish that could tear them apart.
NATIONAL
June 22, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
The dozen biologists on Point Au Fer Island were on an 11th-hour mission to count what was there before it was gone. Nearly two months into the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which has dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, they were counting birds guarding chicks and eggs. Trying to ignore the sweltering heat and stinging deer flies, the biologists strode across the island's remote beaches and sandbars for two days last week to take stock of avian life before oil comes ashore.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 1992 | AMY PYLE and CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, TIMES TRAVEL WRITER
The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning announced Tuesday that it has hired its first staff biologist, a position created largely to analyze projects in some of the county's most environmentally sensitive areas. Daryl Koutnik, who holds a doctorate in botany from UC Davis and bachelor's degree in biology from Cal State Northridge, will begin work June 1, Planning Administrator John Schwarze said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Jason Wells
A prominent marine biologist who was fined $12,500 for feeding killer whales in an effort to lure them closer to her video cameras says the yearslong case was the " worst nightmare I could ever imagine. " In addition to the fine, Nancy Black -- whose work has appeared on PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet -- was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. In exchange, she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act by  offering food to the orcas, "specifically chunks of gray whale blubber,"  according to  her plea agreement . Black, a researcher and co-owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, and her supporters have argued a ttaching a rope to a piece of blubber from a gray whale that had already been killed by orcas  did not rise to the level of illegal feeding cited in federal law. But the biologist  had faced a 27-year prison term and $700,000 fine after she was initially charged with multiple felony and  misdemeanor counts in 2012.
SCIENCE
August 15, 2013 | By Monte Morin
They're the tiny recyclers of the ocean floor -- voracious, pink-plumed worms that devour entire whale skeletons, then scatter their eggs to the current in hopes that offspring will find new bones. The creatures, which were first discovered off California in 2002, in waters more than 1.5 miles deep, are so alien that biologists weren't sure initially that they were worms. They lack mouths and stomachs and the male worms are so tiny they spend their lives living inside the larger females.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 13, 2013 | By Tony Perry
  A well-known wildlife biologist was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and a $7,500 fine for not following federal and state laws about catching and banding golden eagles. John David Bittner, 68, of Julian captured and banded birds without federal or state permits and failed to send carcasses to the National Eagle Repository as required by law. Bittner had pleaded guilty to one count of the unlawful taking of a golden eagle in violation of federal law. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick, in San Diego federal court, said Bittner seemed to put his financial interests ahead of rules meant to help the survival of the eagles.
SCIENCE
July 18, 2013 | By Melissa Pandika
Say you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back to when life on Earth began.  Would fish migrate from water to land? Would the dinosaurs go extinct? At the end of our trip, would we still encounter life as we now know it? Some scientists don't think so.  They argue that any number of chance events - storms and earthquakes, for example - would steer evolution down another course, making it impossible to predict. But a study published Tuesday in Science has found that if we know the ecology of an area, we can predict the traits a species will evolve millions of years from now, despite all the chance events that could influence the outcome.
SCIENCE
June 17, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
Southern California's mountain yellow-legged frog has made a remarkable leap toward recovery for an endangered species, rebounding in just two years from near-extinction brought on by development, fires, fungal infections and predatory trout, federal biologists said on Monday. In 2010, only 200 remained in isolated wild populations, prompting federal wildlife authorities and zoos in Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego to launch an ambitious recovery program that included captive breeding facilities, trout removal programs and barring public access to areas where frogs were clinging to existence.
NATIONAL
May 16, 2013 | By John M. Glionna
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. -- Eric York was obsessed with the big cats -- their health, temperaments and survival rates amid the park's annual tourist invasion. For years, he wandered the area's crags, gullies and woods, tracking and tagging the region's last remaining mountain lions as a biologist for the Grand Canyon National Park. In 2007, tragedy struck. At age 37, the Massachusetts native was killed doing the job he loved, but not in the way people might guess. He wasn't mauled by a lion, but fell victim to a case of pneumonic plague he contracted doing a necropsy on a dead female cat. Because the park lacked a forensic lab, York did his postmortem for the mountain lion research program in the garage of his home in the village of about 2,000 park employees.
NEWS
February 12, 1990 | Associated Press
A baby humpback whale that became caught in fishing nets was rescued Sunday after an American marine biologist dived into the sea and cut the mammal loose. Fisherman Abdullah Khadouri spotted the 21-foot dark gray whale trapped and dying in about 130 feet of water at the mouth of Shutaifi Bay, close to Muscat harbor. Fishermen alerted the coast guard, which called in scientists from the Oman Marine Science Center.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 1985 | JENIFER WARREN, Times Staff Writer
It was a cool, blustery day on the shore of Carlsbad's Agua Hedionda Lagoon, and biologist Jack Bradshaw was kneeling reverently in the mud beside a scruffy plant the color of rusting Brillo pads. Sunglasses resting on the tip of his nose, Bradshaw plucked a sprig laden with cylindrical, orange and green nodules from the plant and solemnly declared: "This is Salicornia, better known as pickleweed, and it is the very precious foundation of the entire coastal food chain."
SCIENCE
May 8, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Marine biologist Dan Madigan stood on a dock in San Diego and considered some freshly caught Pacific bluefin tuna. The fish had managed to swim 5,000 miles from their spawning grounds near Japan to California's shores, only to end up the catch of local fishermen. It was August 2011, five months since a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami had struck in Japan, crippling the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Madigan couldn't stop thinking about pictures he'd seen on TV of Japanese emergency crews dumping radioactive water from the failing reactors into the Pacific Ocean.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2013 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When James Watson and Francis Crick deciphered the structure of DNA in 1953, their discovery answered a crucial question in biology: How is genetic information passed down from parent to child? Their work also created conundrums, however. They and others showed that every cell of an organism contains all of its genetic material. How, then, does an individual cell know which genes to use and when? And how does information from DNA get to the cell's protein-making machinery? The seminal insight into those questions came from three biologists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris - Dr. Francois Jacob, Jacques Monod and Andre Lwoff.
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