This Why Files informative page is part of a series that features the narrative of Bob, the bobtail squid. Bob describes the symbiotic relationship formed between his ancestors and the bioluminescent bacteria that offer him protection from predators. The next page in this series describes the relationship from the enslaved bacteria's perspective and features scientist Margaret McFall-Ngai. Links are provided to glossary terms and a bibliography.
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As disease-infected mosquitoes expand their range, these bugs rise higher on the "menace to human health" list. What makes mosquitoes so perfect for disease transfer? Is global warming a factor? How is modern technology being harnessed to combat skeeters? National standards included for grades 5-12. Teacher resource page at http://whyfiles.org/teachers/016skeeter/.
The poles are fascinating, partly because they are such difficult places to visit, work and live. They still guard many mysteries that we'd like to unravel, including the survival of polar animals, the history of ancient peoples, and the understanding of Earth's climate.
Embryonic stem cells can transform themselves into every cell in your body. Does researching these stem cells violate human sanctity, or is it medicine's brightest frontier? What are the prospects for adult stem cells?
Tsunamis harbor an element of surprise: In the deep ocean, tsunami waves pass unnoticed beneath boats, yet they rise to dangerous heights near shore. How do tsunamis work? What was the worst tsunami in recorded history? How does a tsunami warning system work?
Volcanoes are big movers and shakers in the business of continually redesigning the Earth's landscape. With no concern for nearby people or ecosystems, volcanoes release toxic gases, climate-altering ash, lava and rock. How does this work? Are scientists getting better at predicting volcanic eruptions? How do areas recover after destruction?