Behind the image: King penguin-an endangered species??


A love of photography was passed down from one generation to another. Phd student, Laetitia Kernaleguen, became hooked on the pastime after she and her father studied his old film camera together. Since then she’s sought to capture the feeling and majesty of stunning scenery. This photo of king penguins is the Editor’s pick for this year’s BMC Ecology Image Competition.


Laetitia Kernaleguen is an ecologist with an interest in animal behaviour. Although currently working on a PhD studying the reproductive success in fur seals at Deakin University in Australia, this Q&A takes us back to her research on king penguins, at a time when she was collecting some data and samples to send back to the lab.



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BMC Geriatrics at the 10th International Congress of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS).


BMC Geriatrics is pleased to announce its presence at the 10th Congress of the EUGMS in Rotterdam this week (17th-19th September).

With the theme “Geriatric Medicine Crossing Borders”, this meeting will focus on the interplay between clinical research and everyday practice, with special attention to topics such as dementia, frailty, end-of-life care, nutrition, education, mobility disorders, rehabilitation, acute and long term care, pain, and delirium.

The Executive Editor, Giulia Mangiameli, is very interested in meeting researchers to discuss advances in the field and possible involvement in the Editorial Board of the journal.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Rotterdam!

Patterning of the urinary collecting duct tree

BMP7 beads

Glandular organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidney, contain systems of branched epithelial tubes that resemble trees. The development of these tree structures has been the subject of much previous research and is known to be regulated by factors including signalling molecules and extracellular matrix molecules.

In the kidney the urinary collecting duct tree is involved in the movement of urine through the kidneys to the ureter. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, in new research published in BMC Developmental Biology, explored the development of the urinary collecting duct tree to further analyse how these branches form.

Using cultured kidney rudiments the researchers initially discovered that the position of new branches appeared linked to the …

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Slothful trends in evolution; from walking giants to tiny tree-dwellers

Christian Mehlführer, CC2.5

Today, sloths are all small tree-climbing animals. However new research, published today in BMC Evolutionary Biology, suggests this makes them the black sheep of the sloth family; instead most species in this group have been more like the giant ground sloths, now long extinct.


Tiny tree climbers

Is there a stranger mammal than the sloth? It is not just their bizarre appearance that makes them one of the odder animals in existence. The slow movement which gives them their name reflects their very low metabolic rate (half that expected for a mammal of their size) and the lowest body temperature of any mammal; both unusual adaptations to the low nutritional value of their diet of leaves.


Even stranger, a unique …

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Behind the image: a tender moment


Parental care is at the heart of this wonderful portrait of an adult black-browed albatross feeding its chick, photographed by Italian born researcher Letizia Campioni, a biologist specializing in the migratory ecology in birds. Spending many hours in the field, Letizia had the chance to combine her love for photography with her research, using her skill as a means to share her observations with others and this year’s runner up in the BMC Ecology image competition. Exploring isolated islands and inaccessible regions, she shares her intimate encounters with nature.

Where were you when you took this picture?

I was on New Island in the far South-western Atlantic, with my research team, to monitor a large colony of black-browed albatross. Every day we visited the …

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine at European Respiratory Society conference 2014

munich cc, by John-Morgan on Flickr CC

BMC Pulmonary Medicine is really excited to be attending again the  European Respiratory Society (ERS) annual congress, held in Munich, from 6-10 September 2014.

The ERS congress is the largest annual scientific gathering in respiratory medicine worldwide and the primary forum in Europe for presenting research and exchanging knowledge.

The Executive Editor Catia Cornacchia is very interested in meeting with researchers to discuss their work and interests. Please feel free to approach her if you are interested in getting involved with the journal and joining our Editorial Board.

We look forward to meeting you in Munich!

Brocante and Biotech – BMC Biotechnology at the ESBES-IFIBiop Lille 14

Jérémy Jännick, CC3.0

On the first weekend of September, the city of Lille in northern France hosts the largest flea market in Europe, the “Braderie de Lille”. Starting on the same weekend this year, the city will also host the ESBES-IFIBiop congress (September 7-10).

The congress takes place at the Lille Grand Palais and is a joint event combining the 10th European Symposium on Biochemical Engineering Sciences and the 6th International Forum on Industrial Bioprocesses. The program is extensive and broad and promises to be at least as interesting as the giant flea market, covering biochemical, marine and food bioengineering, process engineering, and regenerative medicine, just to name a few topics. I will have the pleasure to attend the congress to represent

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Canine infectious cancer has spread to all corners of the world


Research published today in BMC Veterinary Research could assist veterinarians and policy-makers in the future. In this guest post, Andrea Strakova describes the history and distribution of canine cancer, an infectious disease that not only infects ‘man’s best friend’ but threatens the existence of the Tasmanian devil. In ‘Fighting a contagious cancer’, fellow researcher, Elizabeth Murchison, speaks about the fight to save the Taz.

Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor (CTVT) is a canine infectious disease that results in the appearance of tumors, usually associated with the external genitalia, in both male and female dogs. It is one of only two known naturally occurring clonally transmissible cancers, which are spread by the transfer of living cancer cells between individuals. CTVT is …

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Highlights of the BMC-series: August 2014

highlights word map

Eating Disorders and Breastfeeding• Infection in Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome • Mind control in zombie ants • Climate change and dengue fever risk in Europe •Contaminated feed spreading a virus through US pigs •Dietary acid load and risk of chronic kidney disease • Bovine TB trace back surveillance


Pregnancy and childcare: Eating Disorders and Breastfeeding

Perinatal eating disorders affect 5 to 7% of mothers and this number may be an under-evaluation of the cohort. A number of studies have identified links between reproductive mothers with current or past issues of eating disorder and infant feeding problems. The determinants of these links include genetic influences, children’s temperament and appetite, parental eating psychopathology, affective psychopathology and learnt behaviors. By observing the interaction of mothers …

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Behind the image: A sticky snack for mice

Petra Wester

Petra Wester’s charming shot of a Namaqua rock mouse (Aethomys namaquensis) lapping the nectar of the Pagoda Lily (Whiteheadia bifolia), wowed the judging panel for this year’s BMC Ecology image competition. In this Q&A we find out more about the woman behind the lens and her winning entry.   

Fascinated by nature as a child, Petra Wester went on to study biology, interested in the interactions between plants and animals. She spent many nights on the South African Sevilla rock art trail to study the Namaqua Rock mouse, hoping to capture a rare phenomenon, mouse pollination of the Pagoda Lily.

“Nectar is a snack (sticky in this case) for the mice, such as chocolate for us.” Petra’s live-action shot of …

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