Greetings everybody,

We introduce to you guys a new Sunday post where we look through the TV guides of the top three channels (as thought by us) and highlighting the shows to watch this week!

So lets get on with it then shall we.

Nat Geo Wild: Wild Nile- Thursday 28th August 10:00PM

Have a closer look at the Nile and become more inter mate with the life and biodiversity that this river is able to support, including some awesome rare birds Scarlet-tufted Sunbird. 

Nat Geo Wild: Wild Thailand- Sunday 31st August at 5:00PM 

Well excited for this show! We at Biobunch tend to forget that Thailand contain some amazing wildlife. Be sure to check it out. Did you guys know that Thailand has 50 national parks AND that they are home to 10% of Earths  species! If you didn't you sure will after this awesome series. 
No worries if you miss the one at 5:00PM there is another showing at 7:00. 

Animal Planet: Big Cat Diary: 7-8 AM every morning of next week!

Well we sure are happy here at Biobunch to see these three faces grace our screen again with so much Big Cat drama it could rival 'Eastenders'. Thank you to Animal planet you are LEGENDARY for putting this beautiful series back on again. Thing is guys this is on at the above times but if you are like us the day does not start until gone 9 so there is only one solution. Series Link!!! or just go forwards and record each one (trust us it is worth it). 

Animal planet: Dirty Jobs- 9-5 on Monday 25th August.

Call us behind if you will, but we had no idea that this was even a show! The moment we realised however we said that we must draw others to this show. Now we know what you guys are thinking 9-5?? is that not a working day but guess what it is Bank Holiday Monday so just sit in your living room and watch some dirty jobs!
PS we are particularly  interested in the ones including being a cricket farmer and performing tests on the endangered Alligator snapping turtles. Apart from Monday they are all pretty much dotted around everywhere so... Series Link it if you have tivo or have a look on the animal planet website and see which ones you really want to watch!

Animal Planet: Monsters inside me- all through the week!!

Now if your up for something truly weird and sometimes border line disgusting then we advise you watch this show! Through this show you will learn more about the parasitic and micro world than any A level student and sometimes any degree level student! 
We highlight these episodes in particular: 
Tuesday August 26th-  Sex Maniacs: Have a closer look into parasite reproduction. And have a look at how parasites are breeding in a women's lung!!
Wednesday August 27th- Living With the Enemy: In this episode we are presented with a young women attacked by an invincible brain eating monster. And a New Yorker has been infected with deadliest parasite on the planet. 

Eden: Africa- Starting from 1:00 on Monday 25th August!

Described as one of the worlds wildest continents  Africa's wildlife is very widely known... or is it? 
When we was watching this breathtaking series we were amazed at just how little we actually knew about this continents diversity and landscapes. In this series you will be presented with draw dropping panoramic shots and so much more. It is a real treat for the eyes and it is all available to you through Eden. 
P.S there will be repeats of the show through the day so you have no excuse not to watch all the shows! Enjoy

Eden: Wild Canada- Friday 29th August 12:00- 16:00

Join Eden as they take us on a journey though a truly wild and dynamic landscape. They will shows us some of the most natural secrets that Canada has to offer us such as the worlds biggest intact forest. Make sure to watch it we will!!

What an amazing line up on TV this week! Never thought shortlisting would be so difficult. We hope that you enjoy our recommendations or if you know that there is another show that we left out please tell us by leaving a comment!
over and out.

Minor note: we got the TV guide based primarily on UK TV listings, for your local shows please look at the three channels mentioned above in case there is a change of timing or programming.

Greetings everybody, 

We bet your sitting there on this nice Friday evening, thinking why has Biobunch not covered the Bubonic plague, especially as there have been some recordered outbreaks in Madagascar and one case in China. Well have no fear, because we decided to tell you great people about one of the most historic diseases! Enjoy!

First of all lets have a look at the bacterium that causes the plague, we introduce to you Yersinia pestis: 

The plague already comes with a pretty bad wrap. It is noticed as an ancient disease that had the most effect on the course of human history, as it was involved in three great pandemics and still remains to be an international health concern to this very day. 
Yersinia pestis is a gram negative (has three cell layers) and rod shaped bacterium, and problems wight the plague have been heightened in modern day, due to the ever mounting mutlidrug resistant strains and the use of the plague as a bioweapon. 

Why is the plague so lethal, when it is only caused by bacterium and not a virus? 

This question popped in our heads instantly after we read that the plague was indeed caused by a bacterium. However the question as always lies in the bacterias genetic make up, in other words, Y. pestis owns its success to its DNA. 
It was found that it is all down to a combination of plasmid (referring to small circular DNA) and genome (entire makeup of an organism) encoded virulence factors (the ability to successfully invade a host). However, the most important factor that adds to the virulence is a factor called T3S. This cocktail of factors allows the bacteria to evade out immune system! Cheeky! 

So we have been introduced, you know what it is that makes this a tricky bacteria to pin down, but now onto the fun part...

How does it work?

The mechanism of how a disease affects the body is referred to as its pathogenesis, and the plague has a relatively simple (as simple as you can get with a disease) pathogenesis. 

Firstly, it is not all down to rodents as to why we acquire the plague, it is a multitude of organisms that can give it to us. If you are to blame anybody its fleas! Granted the fleas acquire the pathogen from an infected rodent of some kind, and similar to malaria the bacteria replicates in the midgut of the animal. This eventually migrates into the fleas proventriculus and oesophagus, and from there towards its mouthparts. 

In this case the flea is often referred to as a vector (carrier) of a disease. 

During a fleas blood meal, it regurgitates the bacterium Y.pestis into there dermis of its host. This is then taken up by our bodies macrophages, it uses our own cells as protection from any other cells. When inside this macrophage it proceeds with replicating and produces antiphagocytic factors (anti death factors). Once replicated the bacteria are released from the now dying macrophage and spreads straight into our lymph node, where they subsequently replicate again. 
They manage to avoid phagocytosis via some specialised neutrophils (polymorphonuclear) and resist a number of toxic effectors released by lysing (similar to exploding) neutrophils. These combined actions leads to a hemorrhagic, oedematous (a swelling due to excessive accumulation of watery fluids in cells and tissues), swollen and painful lymph node that then forms the defining  characteristic of the bubonic plague. 
Otherwise known as the bubo!

This accumulation of watery fluids, blood and swelling causes the lymph node to become overwhelmed, and then allows the bacteria to disseminate into the blood stream; this produces a sudden onset of a systemic infection and fatal septicaemia (Septicaemia is blood poisoning, primarily caused by bacteria and toxins). 
In a low proportion of these infections, septicaemia can cause pneumonia. Once this has occurred Y.pestis is able to be transmitted from person to person via contaminated aerosols (sneezing). 

The need for more research, and possible cures: 

It has been shown that there is a lack of data on the pathogenesis of this disease, however there is a body of evidence that suggests the flea vector somehow enhances the bacterias ability to resist phagocytosis by our bodies macrophages. There has been little progress in the field of how the pathways that aid the resistance of the innate immune system work. Lastly, how Y. pestis uses its pathways in order to replicate is poorly understood. 
Interestingly, studies have indicated that the skin and lymph node are two very important areas in which the Y. pestis must root its arsenal in order to have a successful infection. 

Now for some good news in a way. To this date there have actually been a number of vaccines for plague and have been used on humans, however due to its sporadic nature it has been pretty tricky to gain an overall objective view of their clinical efficacy. 
Have no fear! there is a prospect on the horizon of a recombinant safe, subunit vaccine which for the first time is expected to put up a good defence against all forms of plague including the pneumonic plague. 

Thats Biobunch, 
over and out

Greetings everybody, 

In the year of 2011, a single male wolf entered one of the most amazing ‘lone wolf’ migrations. Covering a distance of 2000km, Slavc left the homelands of Slovenia to Italy via the Austrian Alps. Hubert Potočnik a biologist managed to track Slavcs perilous journey fraught with unfavourable weather conditions, very wide rivers and human settlements via a tracking device that gave Slavcs coordinates.
Meet Slavc!

The beginning:

Not one estranged from travelling alone, Slavc spent his early years navigating his home territory, exploring what the forests of the furthest part of his territory offered him, even going as far as Croatia. Then, 19th December 2011, Slavc went further than Humbert had seen before. Slavc had crossed two major motorways far outside his home territory, he crossed using an oviduct of the first one and the second via a 150 metre long viaduct.
Clever wolfy!

As Slavc continued on his journey, Hubert became distressed as Slavcs most recent GPS co-ordinates showed that Slavc was in someones back yard. A backyard that was in the middle of a small town called Vipava. With every passing minute, tensions rose as they began to think that Slavcs journey had come to a premature end. However, Hubert’s wory was misplaced as Slavcs co-ordinates showed that he was on the move again, moving further and further from the small town of Vipava.
It was clear that Slavc was engaged to his journey no matter where it led him. From one close human encounter to the next Slavc found himself in the forests that bordered the Ljubljana International Airport. He had resided there for three days and then moved through an open area and up into the Alps.
Such an amazing journey attracted the attention of Huberts colleagues in Austria and Italy. All were concerned with Slavcs path through human environments and together attmepted to reduce the risks of Slavc being poached. They began spreading the word of Slavc and his perilous journey with what seemed to have no apparent destination.

Ain’t no mountain high enough… Ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you.

Obstacles for Slavc did not solely arise from our human world, but also from that of the natural world. During his journey, Slavc was faced with the widest part of the
Drava river, spanning 280 metres wide. Slavcs co-ordinates
revealed that Slav crossed it and made it safely to the opposite side. It was now February, the weather was not on Slavcs side, he was facing snow that was an estimated 6 metres deep and passed through a valley that had its lowest passing point at a staggering 2,600 metres high. Yet he continued on and passed through the valley and into the borders of Italy.

Starcrossed lovers:

Slavc’s tracker Hubert may not have known it, but Slavc’s journey was coming towards its end. Slavc was finally in Italy, he made his way past the Lessinia National Regional Park, and towards the north of Verona. His coordinates suggested that Slavc initially  sought out three wolves that were kept in a private animal park, upon failure of entry, Slavc U turned. Jokes were made about Slavc having travelled all this way to find a girl as a wolf sighting had been reported in the Lessinia National Regional Park.

It was April. when what was previously joked about became reality. Slavc had met a female, the female wolf that was spotted before in the Lessinia National Regional Park. The sighting of the two together were confirmed by the Park Manager. When recalling all of the obstacles that Slavc had faced in his harrowing journey in search for what was ultimately his life partner, the female was named Juliette.

As not to forget about Juliette, she also must have travelled a fair distance to the Lessinia National Regional Park  as a wolf had not been spotted there for 100 years. Both Slavc and Juliette went searching for a new place, and in a cute way, were searching for the other.

For the first time in recorded history a wolf from the Balkans had partnered with a wolf from the Alpines.  Slavcs journey offered Hubert and his colleagues a unique insight into the lives of wolves.
Slavc and Juliette have offered a massive win for the conservation of Europes large predators!
For the full interview click here

Conservation of Europe’s Big Three:

Slavc is one of 4,000 wolves occupying the Balkan peninsula, a statement that would  thought to be false 20 years ago. But no longer! despite Europe being one of the most urbanised and farmed continent it is now the proud home of Europe's big three: 

12,000 Wolves

17,000 Brown bears

9,000 Eurasian Lynx

The 1970’s marked a big step forwards in the conservation of our large predators. Environmental movements, raised the public's awareness on how our predators were in trouble, the response triggered the enforcement of protection laws for Europe's big three. Interestingly, the second world war gave the predators an additional spark of hope, a change in land use for reforestation projects gave rise to a ‘prey boom’.  

Suddenly the additional protection, the sympathy and understanding of the public along side the injection of prey sources led to our big three being able to establish populations.

The restoration of our Big Three Predators has been a largely uncelebrated victory for European conservation. But a conflict that runs throughout our history is beginning to resurface. Can we live in harmony with predators?

Rising tensions:

Wolves have the biggest impact on a farmers livelihood, compared to its Lynx and Bear counterpart. Estimates have suggested that between 50,000 and 100,000 domestic livestock (particularly sheep) are killed each year by the presence of these predators. The economics of this situation quickly builds, governments pay out millions of euros in compensation each year in order to counteract the adverse effects of predators.
In a bid to reduce these costs they have encouraged farmers to take up novel methods of protection namely fences and guard dogs. However, farmers are not keen on the labour costs of guard dogs or the upkeep of such fences, and for those that own farms in mountainous regions fences are largely unpractical.
Growing tensions, agitated farmers and impatient hunters led to the creation of the EU ‘Platform on the Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores’ in order to promote dialogue between the major stakeholders of Europes predators futures.

“The trick is to bring together the environmentalists, the biologists, the hunters and the farmers and get them to talk.”
-Garry Marvin, University of Roehampton.

We have throughly enjoyed telling you about Slavc's journey into finding his Juliette and happy to inform all of you guys on the state of Europe's big three! Though there is still work to be done we remain optimistic!
over and out!

Greetings everybody, 

How would you feel if you went into your kitchen, to run some water from your tap and instead of a nice clear glass of water you are greeted with this. 

Well this is what the people in Toledo, Ohio have been faced with, but what has caused their drinking water to turn such a toxic green colour? Believe it or not the culprit is microscopic! We know what your saying isn't it always, they always do the cool stuff. Biobunch introduces to you Microcystis aeruginosa

This bacteria belongs to family called Microcystis, one of the most common bloom forming cyanobacteria in temperate freshwater ecosystems. Microcystis aeruginosa produces a hepatotoxin called microcystin, this toxin is harmful to animals and humans. This toxin bloom built up at the western end of the lake; the main source of drinking water for Toledo Ohio. This left them without a water source for several days but has now cleared. Very unfortunate. 

But why now? 

In a paper published in the database PLOS ONE reports that blooms such as those experienced in the Lake Erie are often associated with high temperatures and the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus. Interestingly, freshwater ecosystems have low concentration of phosphorus, but the lake was shown to have unusually high levels of phosphorus. But why? 
The western end of Lake Erie is neighbour to agricultural land, the lands are so well fertilised that they have excess soil, this excess leaked into the water system. And this was the beginning of the problem. 
This influx of phosphorus in the water triggered the bacterium to bloom. Experiments investigating the effect of Phosphorus loading on the bacteria showed significant enhancement on growth rates of Microcystis. Elevated nitrogen levels also play a role on increasing the growth and toxicity of the bacteria. Microcystis is thought to primarily use inorganic compounds as a source of nutrients, however in the summer months these levels drop due to cellular uptake of the bacteria peaking, this causes the bacteria to exploit the excess nitrogen and phosphorus run off. 
This may be set to continue as a cause of continued phosphorus run off from neighbouring farmed lands. 
For information as to how they gathered this information on the cyanobacteria and how they carried out even further research on to how gene expression changes both before and after algal bloom then please have a read, click here

Its a big lake, whats to stop the bloom from spreading further down the Lake and into other areas? 

An aquatic biologist put many minds at rest when he stated that this bloom of hepatotoxins was unlikely to spread further that the western part of the Lake, thereby leaving states such as Pennsylvania unaffected by the bacteria. The western part of the lake has shallow waters, meaning that the western waters are kept warm, and as previously mentioned they have a source of nitrogen and phosphorus courtesy of farming techniques. In comparison, it was shown the Central and Eastern basins are unlikely to experience such blooms. The Central basin has a depth of 60 ft, and the Eastern basin has a maximum depth of 210 ft, these high volumes of water make it harder for these waters to be heated by the sun. 
It was highlighted that any blooms to occur in any of the two regions will be less frequent, less severe, shorter lived and have a smaller bloom size overall. For the full article click here.  

The future for Lake Erie: 

As in most cases, one prime issue is Climate Change, with warmer waters set to occur on a global scale habitat availability for the Microcystis. Just one problem, but other than trying to reduce the adverse impact of climate change what else can be done? 
If you answered shift agricultural practices, thereby reducing surface run off. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you are correct. Researchers are going into how they can work with farmers in order to reduce this problem without necessarily blaming them. 

That marks the end of the post be sure to keep up to date with the feature in the news, and have a read into the links we provided up top they are pretty  awesome and we only managed to give you a snapshot of the story!
over and out

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