Grant writing

So, what’s been happening this last month!?

This is the worst time of the year for scientists in Australia – it’s grant writing season. Spend ages writing research proposals, hoping to get funding, which you won’t find out about until October-November.

Are any of you good grant writers? The Sloth Institute Costa Rica is looking for a Grant Finder and Writer who can voluntarily search for grant opportunities and apply for them on the Institute’s behalf. Details here.

Fellowships (salary funding), Grants, Papers, Ethics Applications… it’s been a bit full-on. Luckily the end is in sight now.

Guess what else is in sight?? This bootiful lil babe!bucket

Why Everyone Should Embrace Their Inner Sloth

Sloths featured on IFL Science!

Definitions of the sin of laziness have changed notably over the centuries…In the medieval period…the concept broadened to encompass all forms of sinful inactivity and workshy idleness, from neglecting everyday chores to falling asleep in church.

Images of sloth in the modern world have precious little to do with its origins in early Christian theology…What, we may ask, would a time-travelling visitor from the medieval period make of our fondness for sloths? …We could reassure our sceptical visitor that it’s possible to learn a thing or two from sloths.

They live a low energy lifestyle; they are generally peaceable; and they understand the virtues of taking your time. Any animal that takes two weeks to digest a meal could certainly teach us a valuable lesson in the virtues of mindfulness and contemplative patience. The sloth is the perfect mascot for a culture that is looking to cure itself of addiction to a hyperactive 24/7 work ethic. Now that we have rehabilitated sloths as the slacktivists of the animal kingdom, perhaps the time has come to formulate a laziness ethic as an alternative to the work ethic that has dominated our society for so long.


Doctor Sloth

Well, this week I was awarded my doctorate. It’s a very good feeling! I’ve spent the last 3 and a half years doing this and it’s finally finished.

I won’t graduate until next year, so the celebrations get pretty stretched out!

So this is one happy sloth :)fabsloth

Temperature affects food intake in brown-throated sloths

Sloths have one of the lowest metabolic rates of any mammal, and are therefore thought to have low rates of food ingestion.

A study published by Becky Cliffe et al in April (article link here) further shows that food consumption in brown-throated sloths is significantly affected by temperature, with increased consumption at higher temperatures.

We suggest that the known fluctuation of sloth core body temperature with ambient temperature affects the rate at which gut fauna process digesta, allowing for increased rates of fermentation at higher temperatures.


First day jitters

I started my new job today!

It was a little daunting, but it went fine. Everything’s just so… different. Not bad or anything, just a lot of things to remember and learn and think about. Used to doing things a certain way and now it’s all up in the air! I guess you get pretty comfortable after almost 6 years in one place.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this next “adventure” in my life and my career!scientist

Methane production…in sloths…

I wasn’t going to write up about this Journal article published in June, as the results basically confirm what is already known/suspected about sloths:

“These results corroborate literature reports on low intake, low defecation frequency [and] low metabolic rate…in other sloth species.”

But then this caught my attention:

“In spite of the low food intake and the low-fibre diet…methane production was rather high…”

So, turns out, sloths got gas.



Out of action…

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. This last week has been thesis, thesis, thesis. As you can imagine, staring at the computer all day… you just want a rest once the day’s done.

On the plus side, I’ve finished the first full draft of my entire thesis. My second primary paper has been resubmitted with revisions. I’ve written an article for the uni science magazine. It’s been busy!

Going to try and post a little bit more over the next few days to make up for my slackness! (Hey, call it sloth-like.)slothlook

Sloths may be a reservoir for Q Fever

Q Fever is caused by a bacterial infection, and causes flu-like symptoms, which may progress to pneumonia and occasionally hepatitis.

Whilst domestic cattle, goats and sheep are the most common reservoirs for Q fever, a new study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene strengthens the hypothesis that sloths in French Guiana may be a WILD reservoir for Q fever.

Q fever often results in abortion within domestic animals, and the researchers found a 1-2 month lagged correlation between Q fever incidence and the number of three-toed sloth births. This was also associated with the rainy season.

Poor little sick sloths!