A Hoverfly taking off.

In the blink of an eye – biology through the lens of a high-speed camera

A Hoverfly taking off.

A Hoverfly taking off. Image via Dr. Ulrike Muller

Have you ever wondered what all can happen in a blink of an eye? At Fresno State, Dr. Ulrike Müller and her research team study how small organisms move and feed. Small organisms are not only hard to see because they are small but also because they often move very fast. Using high-speed cameras that can record at 50,000 images per second and more, the team is studying how insects fly, how fish swim and how carnivorous plants catch their prey. They found that plants might just be the fastest predators, ingesting their prey in less than 1 millisecond, and that fish larvae can swim at more than 60 body lengths per second – for comparison, Michael Phelps reaches around 1 body length per second. High-speed recordings are helping us to understand how animals generate large forces to move fast, and how they control their movements. High-speed cameras help us discover new ways to swim and to fly to inspire new designs for small flying and swimming robots.
Dr. Ulrike Müller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at California State University, Fresno. To get a preview of Dr. Müller’s talk, tune in to KFCF 88.1FM (or stream online) at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, 28 April 2015, for the next episode of our radio show Science: A Candle In The Dark, where she will be the featured guest. Then join us at Peeve’s Pub the following week for a presentation by Dr. Müller about life in motion, as seen through the lens of high speed cameras. Dr. Müller will share some astonishing videos and images recorded in her laboratory showing some of the extraordinary ways in which different small organisms move. Check out this Snakefly take off, for example.

When: Monday, 4 May 2015, 7:00 PM

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family:

Science: A Candle In The Dark – episode 2

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Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 2
Airdate: 
24 February 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guest: Dr. Mara Brady
Commentary: Dr. Paul Crosbie

Topic: Earth sciences and the insights we have gained into the history of our planet including the evolution of life leading up to our own species. In a wide ranging discussion, Dr. Brady talks about the tools used to study the age of rocks and of the earth itself, about the history of the earth sciences, especially over the past century, and how we geology can provide a broader perspective on larger scales of space and time to help us understand our current challenges such as climate change. She then discusses the challenges of conducting research and teaching about the earth in a political climate where even presidential candidates and elected representatives in government deny the value of science and dismiss earth sciences as not a hard science. The interview with Dr, Brady is followed by a commentary by Dr. Crosbie on a rediscovered fossil of a beaked whale that got stranded in East Africa and how it now helps us reconstruct our own evolutionary story.

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More Gaps Than Record: Challenges and Opportunities in Reconstructing Earth’s History

Photo by Dr. Mara Brady

Looking into our deep past. Grand Canyon. Photo by Dr. Mara Brady

Sedimentary layers
Sedimentary rocks provide one of the best archives of Earth’s history through time. However, the sedimentary and fossil records are not complete – not all time is recorded by the deposition of sediments in the geologic record. As far back as Darwin, earth scientists have recognized the variable completeness of the sedimentary record of Earth’s history. Join us for this April’s Café when Dr. Mara Brady will explore the historical development of our understanding of how time is recorded in sedimentary rocks and the ways in which we reconstruct Earth’s history and construct explanations, based on evidence, of what happened and why.
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Dr. Mara Brady is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at California State University, Fresno. To get a preview of Dr. Brady’s talk, tune in to KFCF 88.1FM (or stream online) at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, 24 March 2015, for the next episode of our radio show Science: A Candle In The Dark, where she will be the featured guest.

When: Monday, 6 April 2015, 7:00 PM

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family: