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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Just like the "life brews" that exist in the heat of the Tropics, so too does the bone chilling Arctic mud sediments provide the potential for the microbes there to become the next generation of life giving antibiotics for us human animals........."THERE IS A HIGH CORRELATION BETWEEN BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL PRODUCT DIVERSITY" ..........Aldo Leopold(our famous mid 20th century naturalist) knew what he was saying when he uttered:.......... “The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, "What good is it?" ..................."If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not"........... "If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?"......... "To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering” ― Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold

The Arctic mud sediment
with scientific collecting cannister,d.eWE

Searching the North for new sources of medication

Posted by  in The Polar Blog on Friday, April 10, 2015

As harmful bacteria increase their resistance to conventional antibiotics, the clock ticks on one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements: the ability to cure infection. Researchers around the world are searching for solutions, and one of them, biochemist Russell Kerr, is looking in an unexpected place — the muddy sediments of Arctic lakes, ponds and tidal flats.

Kerr runs the Marine Natural Products Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island. His team is seeking to discover new natural products from microbes. “Natural products are crucial to modern medicine,” he explains. “Microbes produce many of them — 75 per cent of antibiotics come from bacteria — and there’s a constant need to identify new species that might be sources.” Given the correlation between biodiversity and natural product diversity, Kerr’s group has worked to assemble a large group of microbes from very diverse habitats. Conventional wisdom says biodiversity is greatest in the tropics, but for microbes, the pristine Arctic is comparable. And given that the Arctic is much less explored than the tropics, it is an ideal place for bioprospecting. Arctic microbes, which can survive extreme conditions including severe cold and scouring from ice, could produce substances that are as out of the ordinary as the microbes themselves.

Kerr searches for new microbes in Nunavut with help from the Nunavut Research Institute and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the organization that administers the Nunavut Inuit land claim. “We’re working closely with NTI,” explains Kerr. “They became interested once they saw the potential of this research and the possible economic benefits.”
Inuit trained in sampling methods by Kerr’s microbiologists collect marine and lake sediments in Iqaluit, Resolute Bay and Cambridge Bay. “We rely on local people to decide where to collect,” says Kerr. “They’re the experts on the habitats; they know the lakes, they know when and where extreme low tides that expose more of the beach occur. The Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit takes care of the initial processing of the samples and then sends them on to our lab to be purified and analysed.”

Kerr is thrilled by the results so far. “We’ve been finding unusual microbes. One third of them are new to science. We’ve got new species and possibly new families — new bacteria, new fungi. We screen them to see whether they produce natural products that are also new to science, and we’ve had some exciting results. We’ve discovered a new microbe that makes a powerful antifungal product.”

Kerr’s search for beneficial products from Arctic microbes is still in its early stages, but it is getting attention. A major international partner is interested in the newly discovered antifungal agent, and patents are now being filed. This, says Kerr, may be just the tip of the iceberg. “We’re just beginning to grasp the significance of the Arctic in terms of the potential, not only for radically new antibiotics, but also for new cancer drugs and other medicines.”
It may well be that one day doctors will prescribe medications with origins in the astonishingly diverse microbial life of Arctic lakes, ponds and tidal flats

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