Alcohol Study, Cephalopod Week, Coral Oasis. June 22 2018, Part 1
Last week, the National Institutes of Health cancelled a $100 million study of alcohol and health after an internal investigation found “early and frequent” engagement with none other than the alcohol industry, to an extent that would “cast doubt” on the scientific results. But prior to the cancellation, the research was setting out to answer an ongoing question about alcohol and our health: Are moderate drinkers actually better off than nondrinkers? Study after study has found that light or moderate drinkers have a slight health advantage, especially in avoiding nonfatal heart attacks, but is that because they drink, or is it due to some other factor like wealth?
Cephalopod Week 2018 has been a worldwide cephalo-bration of octopus, squid, cuttlefish, nautilus, and other undersea friends—but like a fast-jetting octopus, it goes by too quickly. As we wrap up Cephalopod Week this year, squid biologist Sarah McAnulty joins Ira to talk about her research into a symbiotic bacterial relationship in the Hawaiian bobtail squid, a lime-sized beastie that likes to bask on the Hawaiian sand. And Science Friday web producer Lauren Young joins the party to tell the story of a 19th-century self-taught French naturalist, Jeanne Villepreux-Power, who investigated the shell of the paper nautilus—and helped shape the design of early aquariums in the process.
Worldwide, corals are suffering from bleaching events due to rising ocean temperatures and human activity. The Great Barrier Reef has had bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, and the Pacific and western Atlantic ocean is currently experiencing a bleaching event that began in 2014. But in these tropical areas, there are pockets of coral that are surviving these events while neighboring coral die out. A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology described that “coral oases” provide a “glimmer of hope,” according to marine biologist Ilsa Kuffner. She talks about how these corals might be surviving and how it could be used for conservation.