South America’s white-sand forests: poorly known and under threat

Paul Fine, a tropical biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, approached Biotropica with the idea for the special issue after helping organize a symposium at a 2013 meeting ATBC held in Costa Rica on white-sand forest ecology and evolution and coming away impressed by the breadth of the talks.

UC Awards Catalyze Interdisciplinary Research on Berkeley campus

$1.76 million over three years for a Conservation Genomics Network, led by UCLA and involving UC Berkeley’s Rasmus Nielsen as co-principal investigator and Michael Nachman, Steven Beissinger and Erica Rosenblum as co-investigators. The goal is to develop a revolutionary bioinformatics toolkit to understand changes in gene expression and how threatened populations respond to changes in their habitats and in the climate.

The Surprising Benefits of Stress

Daniela Kaufer, PhD, is an associate professor at UC Berkeley who studies the biology of stress, examining at the molecular level how the brain responds to anxiety and traumatic events. Her most recent findings show that certain kinds of stress can have surprising benefits. Dr. Kaufer explains the difference between good stress and bad stress, and gives pointers for how to respond to stressful events in a healthy way.

What the Inuit can tell us about omega-3 fats and ‘paleo’ diets

“The original focus on fish oil and omega-3s came from studies of Inuit. On their traditional diet, rich in fat from marine mammals, Inuit seemed quite healthy with a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, so fish oil must be protective,” said project leader Rasmus Nielsen, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. “We’ve now found that they have unique genetic adaptations to this diet, so you cannot extrapolate from them to other populations.