‘Cyclops’ beetles hint at solution to ‘chicken-and-egg’ problem in novel trait evolution

Cyclops beetlesOn Aug. 22, IU Communications put out a news release on two studies from the lab of IU Professor of Biology Armin Moczek.

The papers, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and the Journal of Experimental Society Psychology, concerned research on beetles in the genus Onthophagus. By examining the relationship between the head structures in larval versus adult versions of these insects, the studies provided important new insights on how “old” genes can give rise to new traits.

The research also produced beetles with a striking physical feature: an extra “cyclops” eye in the center of the head.

Coverage of the study ran in the following outlets:

The release was also submitted and accepted in Futurity, a daily news roundup of university science news.

Organizations to the share the story on social media included the National Science Foundation and Newswise.




Indiana University experts available to discuss issues surrounding 2016 Summer Olympics


On Aug. 2, Indiana University Communications published an Olympics tipsheet featuring faculty from IU Bloomington, IUPUI and IU Kokomo who are experts in economics, public health, media studies, cybersecurity, public and environmental affairs and business. As a result, professors were quoted in news coverage of the Rio Games, including:


Enormous, rare corpse flower makes pungent debut at IU Bloomington

Amorphophallus titanium photo by David Snodgress

On July 14, IU’s Jordan Hall Greenhouse director sent out a message that the Department of Biology’s rare titan arum (or “corpse flower”) was expected to bloom.

An extremely rare, large flower with a pungent odor that rarely blooms, corpse flowers often attract large crowds at major botanical gardens. This was the first bloom of the IU plant, which was acquired in 2009.

On July 19, the IU Newsroom posted a story about the flower to the Science at Work news blog, which was shared on university’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The IU Newsroom also sent out several tips to members of the media in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

IU’s flower was also mentioned in several national media reports, many of which also referenced other corpse flower blooms occurring at other sites across the country:

Social media also played a large role in driving interest in the flower. IU’s initial blog post on the bloom received over 13,000 page views from July 19 to Aug. 3, largely driven by social media. As of Aug. 2, IU’s Facebook posts about the flower (on July 20 and July 30) had reached over 150,000 unique users and had been shared over 375 times.

Other social media stats include over 5,100 “likes” on two posts to the IU Bloomington Instagram account (on July 29 and July 30) and 518 “likes” and 290 “retweets” on numerous updates (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) to the IU Bloomington and IU Science News Twitter accounts. There are also two time-lapse videos of the bloom on YouTube. The first, posted July 26, had received 4,656 views as of Aug. 4.

The IU Bloomington Department of Biology also set up a livestream on the flower from Jul 20 to Aug. 2. IU Collaborative Technologies estimates the player page was loaded 115,585 times during the bloom, with visits from 96 different countries. The IU Bloomington Department of Biology Facebook page also posted daily updates on the bloom.

A second IU story about the crowds who showed up to visit the flower during its brief bloom (estimated at over 5,000 people) is online at the Science at Work blog.

WBAA in West Lafayette, Ind. ran a segment about corpse flowers blooming in Washington, D.C; New York, NY; and Bloomington, Ind., on Aug. 5. The peice included an online video.

Survey of 31 years of video games shows a decline in sexualized female characters

Teresa Lynch

Teresa Lynch


IU Communications issued a news release about new published research by Media School Ph.D. student Teresa Lynch and three other Ph.D. candidates from The Media School.  The study analyzed 571 video games to determine the sexualization of primary female characters. It discovered that over the past eight years, there has been a significant decrease in the sexualization of primary female characters. The research also found no difference in sexualization of female characters for players ages 13-17 and mature players 18 and older.

This article produced the following media hits in the U.S. and abroad:




IU biochemist finds solution to ‘terminal acid shock’ in craft brewers’ sour beer production

On March 1, IU Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Matthew Bochman contacted the IU Newsroom about a paper accepted for publication in the journal Food Microbiology.

Cody Rogers, Matt Bochman, Caleb Staton

IU Assistant Professor Matt Bochman, center, with Caleb Staton, right, of Upland Brewery, and Cody Rogers, of Bochman’s lab.

The paper documented Bochman’s work to prevent the death of yeast microbes used to brew sour beer, a project conducted in collaboration with Upland Brewery in Bloomington, Ind. In addition, Bochman was the recipient of a $13,000 small business startup grant from the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research at IU Bloomington to establish a company to analyze and stock new breeds of yeast for local brewers.

To tell both parts of the story, the IU Newsroom produced a news release about the new study’s publication as well as a blog post on Bochman’s entrepreneurial efforts, both of which were posted on March 21, the date of the paper’s publication.

The news release, which contained a link to the blog post, was also posted to EurekAlert. The blog was also shared as a feature story in Inside IU. Photography of Bochman and his collaborators at Upland Brewery, captured by IU Communications’ Visual and Audio Services, were included in the press package.

The release resulted in strong local and regional media pickup throughout the end of March and April:


Infographic courtesy of Indianapolis Business Journal

In addition, WFIU’s Earth Eats radio program ran an interview with Bochman on May 12 to coincide with “UpCup,” a home brewing competition hosted by Upland Brewery, and Inside Indiana Business ran a television segment about the collaboration that aired July 7 on WFIU and July 8 on WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis.

Other coverage included an interview on The Sour Hour, a podcast for beer enthusiasts, on May 4 and a reference to the project in a story in the IBJ on May 20.

An interview with Bochman also aired July 24 on Through the Gates, a podcast produced by the IU Provost’s Office in collaboration with the IU Media School and IU Communications.

In related coverage, several reporters who covered the original story have reported on a new collaboration between Bochman and a brewery in Austin, Texas, to “map the sour beer microbiome.” Stories ran in NUVO on June 17 and in Indiana On Tap on June 22.

On Oct. 2, Bochman was interviewed on Inside Indiana Business in relation to his company’s work on Bicentennial-ales, a Bicentennial Legacy Project of the Brewer’s of Indiana Guild.



Small blue galaxy could shed new light on Big Bang, IU astronomers say

Professor John Salzer of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences Department of Astronomy reached out to IU Communications in March that he and several colleagues had a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.


Galaxy AGC 198691

The study found that Galaxy AGC 198691 — nicknamed “Leoncino” — contains the lowest level of heavy chemical elements, or “metals,” ever observed in a gravitationally bound system of stars, a unique quality suggesting the galaxy was largely unchanged in chemical composition from the birth of the universe during the Big Bang.

Working with Salzer and his graduate student Alec Hirschauer, IU Communications prepared a release on the research. The announcement was distributed as an IU news release and posted to EurekAlert on May 12, the date of the journal publication. Media outlets to carry the news included:

Other news sites to carry the news were EarthSky, Gizmag, International Business Times, iTech Post, Modern Readers, Nature World News, News Nation, NH Voice, PC-Tablet, Pulse Headlines, R&D Magazine, Sci-Tech Today, Science Explorer, Science News, Science World Report, Siasat Daily, The Space Reporter, Sputnik News, WCCF Tech and ZME Science.

The story was also posted to the twitter account of the SETI Institute and appeared in translation on the official websites of the Italian Space Agency and Italian National Institute for Astrophysics.

IU Libraries to preserve and share ‘lost’ Orson Welles radio recordings

Orson WellesA $25,000 grant from the National Recording Preservation Foundation to Indiana University Libraries will assist in the preservation of rare, original recordings of “The Orson Welles Show,” a live radio series which debuted Sept. 15, 1941.

While it was widely believed that only eight of the 19 “Orson Welles Show” broadcasts had survived, IU’s Lilly Library has original lacquer discs containing 14 of the broadcasts, as well as other supposedly lost recordings.

The IU-led project “Orson Welles on the Air” will preserve and digitize 324 master sound recordings and about 100 accompanying paper scripts. As part of the project librarians also will build a rich, interactive website to provide context for the collections.

IU Communications worked with IU Libraries and the the National Recording Preservation Foundation to share the news about this project within IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.

Marcela Creps’ article in the Bloomington Herald-Times was distributed by The Associated Press and appeared in many news outlets, including the Chicago Daily Herald, Journal Review (Crawfordsville, Ind.), The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), Terre Haute Tribune-Star, The Washington Times, WIBC 93.1, WIVB-TV (Buffalo, N.Y.), WJHL-TV (Tennessee), WKRG (Alabama) and WTHR-TV (Indianapolis). Other coverage included: