PLOS Biology launches a special collection of peer-reviewed "stories behind the research" from conservation scientists working to protect biodiversity around the globe.
This Essay explores the extent to which the new field of microbiome research challenges the three classical biological explanations of the individual self: the immune system, the brain, and the genome.
Elizabeth Hadly recalls how lessons learned from a popular story about the degradation of Earth's ozone layer by chlorofluorocarbons led her to study biodiversity and global change.
This Conservation Story is about the restoration of a rare butterfly, and about the author's life. An epiphany resolved a paradox that severe disturbances that harm populations in the short term are required to sustain them.
This article describes the events behind two decades of research on disease-driven amphibian population declines in the cloud forests of Central America.
As a kid Sergio Avila-Villegas dreamed of studying big cats. In this Conservation Story he describes his early involvement in jaguar and puma research in northwest Mexico, and how the death of a jaguar changed his professional and personal life.
Mutualistic reproductive interactions among freshwater fishes explain species' rarity and commonness; this Conservation Story makes a case for the importance of common species for conserving rare species and ecological processes.
Simulations based on real data reveal that single-laboratory studies fail to predict treatment effects accurately, while even simple multi-laboratory designs improve the accuracy and reproducibility of treatment effects substantially, without a need for larger sample sizes.
Single-cell transcriptomic reconstruction of gene expression dynamics reveals that the transcription factor Olig2 promotes the differentiation of motor neurons by directly repressing the Notch effectors Hes1 and Hes5.
Cortical architecture varies systematically between primate species, and in parallel with connections in the underlying white matter, establishing a template that can inform studies of human and non-human brain networks and their disruption in disease.
Neutrophils are early-responding host immune cells that actively attack and kill invading extracellular pathogens. This study describes trogocytosis ' a previously unknown mechanism by which neutrophils kill a large, motile pathogen.
A Daphnia-microsporidian host-parasite model system provides experimental evidence that the metabolic theory of ecology can be used to predict the temperature dependence of within-host parasite traits and dynamics.
A human electrophysiology study reveals how catecholamines alter the variability of cortical population activity and perceptual dynamics; computational analysis can explain these changes through an increase in cortical excitation-inhibition ratio.
How do simpler animals, such as fruit flies, interpret ambiguous visual stimuli? This study of Drosophila melanogaster reveals multi-stability in its visual control of straight flight when presented with transparent motion stimuli in a flight simulator.
A combination of genetic, biochemical and behavioral approaches identifies the hitherto uncharacterized FAM173B protein as a lysine methyltransferase that resides in mitochondria and contributes to the neurobiology of pathological pain.
Oscillatory patterning dynamics in the posterior of early Drosophila embryos indicates that their segmentation mode is much more similar to the ancestral mechanism of segmentation than previously thought.
A developmental study in marmosets by Yisi S. Zhang & Asif A. Ghazanfar reveals that the decline in the production of context-inappropriate vocalizations is the result of lung growth rather than changes in central nervous system structure.
Designing bacterial communities with predictable effects on the host is a major challenge of microbiome research. This study uses a generalizable experimental framework to rationally design bacterial consortia that impact plant performance in a predictable manner.
A combination of recombineering experiments and computer simulations shows that after a bacterial cell mutates, it takes several generations before the mutation actually becomes effective.
Microbiota associated with roots of field-grown rice show dynamic changes in their composition that are correlated with the life cycle of the host plant.
The use of wearable devices in biomedical applications beyond fitness tracking is relatively unexplored due to a lack of complementary data. A study that integrated wearable data with multi-dimensional volunteer profiling demonstrates that wearables can not only stratify cohorts into distinct clusters, but also provide insights into cardiovascular and lipidomics research.
Bonobos and chimpanzees are closely related members of the great ape family and both use gestures to communicate. A cross-species comparative analysis of the outcomes of gesturing reveals that the two species share not only the physical form of the gestures, but also many gesture meanings.