Disney Effect Part 2 – Where is Nemo?


Hello! So during in VEDA I introduced the idea of the disney effect affecting the conservation of certain species. For today’s blog I thought I could take a look at the case study of clown fish. Clown fish are delightful fish that live near sea anemones hense why they can also be called anemonefish. There are 28 different species and they come in a large range of colours. Orange clownfish and the most famous kind are the species Amphiprion percula and A. ocellaris. They are really popular aquarium fish and here is kind of where our story begins.

The clownfish are obviously they key characters in finding Nemo. The film was released in 2003 and the film did incredibly well with great ratings and this led to a few different affects.

The first was that it pushed a spotlight on to the ocean and how its treated. It brought ocean protection into the media because the general public was made aware of how important and diverse the ocean is. The pressure from the public is always extremely powerful for the environment to get policies pushed forward. Although ocean protection has been important there was a notable rise in the interest to protect the oceans when the movie came out.

The other main affect was that many people wanted their very own nemo or dory. The demand for these fish went through the roof and to supply this demand many clownfish were removed from the wild. This happened to an extent where there was local extinction particularly in south east Asia. Now many of the fish you see available to purchase are bred in captivity however the damage of local extinction affected the coral habitat as a whole.

The power that disney has to affect public opinion can be massive. Luckily with the release of finding dory there was a larger affect to improve the message of conservation within the movie. Nevertheless the lessons learned from the affect that finding nemo had should be remembered with any future disney project.

Let me know what you think, is disney doing a good thing by putting these messages into their films or is it irresponsible because it can affect the population of a species on a global scale?

Til next time!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!




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Sleeping Beauty – The Pin Prick Coma


Fairyology Episode 1

hqdefaultThe story of sleeping beauty (if you didn’t already know) is about the princess aurora. A jealous fairy named Maleficent casts a sleeping curse on her if she is to ever prick her finger on the pin of a spinning wheel. Although every effort is taken to stop this from happening, she pricks her fingers and falls in to a deep sleep (1). Or a long those lines from my research fairy tales change dependant on which person you talk to.


So where’s the science behind this story. Science is everywhere so surely it’s here! I’ve come up with three scientific theories as to why a pin prick could cause you to fall in to a coma! Enjoy

DISCLAIMER: Be prepared for some silliness!

Theory 1: Poison

I’ve written a lot about poisons here on ThatBiologist before, specifically in The Poisons Collection. Nevertheless poison could be the reason for her coma. If the pin on the spinning wheel was laced with poison, Aurora pricking her finger on the pin could be enough with the right concentrations to cause a coma. Potential poisons could be developed from the plants: Oleander, Hemlock, Rhododendron and lily of the valley! Although something more direct could be cyanide poisoning. Poison could work by stopping the cells ability to use oxygen. The lack of oxygen particularly in the brain could cause the coma (2).

Theory 2: Trauma

The second theory goes like this, Aurora goes into the room with the spinning wheel, pricks her finger on the spinning wheel and through the shock falls and hits her head. Her brain from the trauma starts to swell and this causes a coma (3). Simple right! How the princes kiss wakes her well we will just ignore that bit for now.

Theory 3: Perhaps she needed a Snickers?

6216213764_707090e430_bIf the beloved princess aurora suffered with diabetes her coma could have been a diabetic one. Diabetic comas can be caused by hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is when there is a low blood sugar level which can in extreme cases cause a loss of conciousness. It can either be caused by not having enough food, an excess of insulin, vigorous exercise or excessive drinking of alcohol (4).

But how does that relate to the pin prick I hear you ask. Well if the pin on the spinning wheel had been laced with an excessive amount of insulin this could have caused her coma. Yes I know this is a really weak theory but that’s not the point!

BONUS Theory 4: Magic

Who says magic isn’t science anyway!

To conclude there may be no scientific reasoning behind this story, it is a fairy tale after all but it was fun trying! Hope you’ve enjoyed this first episode of fairyology! Got plenty more to come!


1 = http://shortstoriesshort.com/story/sleeping-beauty/

2 = http://www.nap.edu/read/4795/chapter/24

3 = http://www.webmd.com/brain/coma-types-causes-treatments-prognosis

4 = http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-coma/basics/causes/con-20025691

ThatBiologist Everywhere!



The Poisons Collection: Could Nightlock Berries Be Real?

The poisons collection

Have you ever dreamed of looking like a disney princess with your eyes all 300px-Atropa_belladonna_003big and wide and dreamy. Ever thought that you could get that by using a plant?! Well Atropa belladonna can give you those dreamy eyes! Just beware that is also highly poisonous! I joke obviously I wouldn’t encourage the use of something like deadly nightshade! Although it is an interesting plant so lets have a chat about it.

Starting with the name, the scientific name for deadly nightshade is Atropa belladonna. Belladonna literally means “beautiful lady” and Atropa can be translated to “end of life”. For me that’s plenty enough to stay away from this one (Robertson, 2014). Deadly nightshade comes from the same family of plants as that of potato and tobacco called Solanaceae (NARRATIVE CONTENT GROUP, 2015).

Atropa_belladonna_hands-010The plant has these very edible looking purple berries. They remind me a lot of the nightlock berries from the hunger games series, with quite the similar effect. The berries and the whole rest of the plant contain a cocktail of deadly tropane alkaloids with atropine being a particularly important ingredient. The effects of ingesting this particular cocktail may be slow to arrive at first but it can cause tachycardia, blurred vision, extreme dry mouth and throat. This can then lead to coma and eventual death if left untreated (Robertson, 2014).

Deadly nightshade has been used for several different things. I mentioned the cosmetic uses briefly before. It was used to create drops that dilated the pupils and made the eyes look bigger. Although apparently it had a tendency to cause partial blindness when used in excess. Its also has been used in medicine as pain relief and as a recreational drug because of the plants hallucinogenic properties (Medline Plus, 2015).

To conclude, if you do happen to pick up the wrong berry then it is treatable but get to the docs ASAP! This is one of my favourite plants in the collection due to its diverse background, look out for more of nightshade in my fairyology series.


Medline Plus. (2015). Belladonna. Available: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/531.html. Last accessed 07/12/2015.

NARRATIVE CONTENT GROUP. (2015). 13 plants that could kill you.Available: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/photos/13-plants-that-could-kill-you/deadly-nightshade. Last accessed 07/12/2015.

Robertson, J. (2014). Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade. Available: http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/atropa_belladonna.htm. Last accessed 07/12/2015.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!