Evolution has provided animals with a wide variety of defence mechanisms. In this video we see one of the more remarkable systems: the bombardier beetle’s chemical cannon. When it feels threatened the creature cooks up a brew of chemicals to boiling point then shoots it out of its abdomen at its assailant. The burning mixture is powerful enough to kill some adversaries, while sending others running away in pain.
The biological realm contains a plethora of complex systems. Our biological systems board on Pinterest brings together wonderful close-up images of the cells, tissues, and microorganisms that provide the underlying reality of organisms, groups, and eco-systems. Follow it for great shots of everything from neurons and blood cells in action to viruses and bacteria.
Commercial photographer, Levon Biss, decided to apply his techniques to extreme close ups of insects and the results are stunning. The microsculptures are made from 30 different parts of the insect photographed individually through a microscope. Each part required many images to be taken just 10 microns apart then overlaid. A finished image is made up of 8000-10000 photos! Click through to the Microsculpture website to explore a collection of 22 of these amazing images and zoom in close to see the brilliant details and colour achieved. The exhibition is currently running and has been extended to 29 January 2017 at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
This short video, promoting the AMBIcon project run jointly by the University of Tuebingen and University of California at San Diego, gives an overview of the aims of systems biology and the problems it faces in terms of the immense complexity of cellular systems. Ultimately the goal is to make biological phenomena predictable and to simulate cellular systems fully.
Our second Moment In Complexity is another marine catastrophe. We see a lion’s mane and a blue jellyfish washed ashore and dying or dead but it isn’t only a catastrophe for the two jellies. Sea lice had made their home inside the jellies out in the cold North Sea. On the beach the parasitic lice are in trouble as well, emerging from the jellies, and struggling for water and ultimately new hosts.