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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Hitchhikers From the Deep
24 May 2012 (All day)
Are deep-sea submersibles bringing back creatures from the ocean depths? Scientists have long discounted the notion, arguing that the immense pressure differences would kill any hangers-on. But a new report suggests that some organisms retrieved from sea-floor vent systems may survive long enough at the surface to be transported to another undersea oasis. In September 2004, researchers used the deep-sea submersible Alvin to collect samples from the sea floor at a site more than 2200 meters deep off the coast of Washington. Besides retrieving a couple of wooden objects left there 2 years earlier, the researchers slurped up some of the underlying sediments to collect the creatures living there. But some of the creatures—especially limpets (shown), a type of marine snail—seemed out of place at the site, which wasn't an active hydrothermal vent. Turns out, the creatures had hitched a ride on Alvin from a hydrothermal vent about 635 kilometers away, a site they'd visited just 2 days earlier. Evidence that the limpets were stowaways, reported online today in Conservation Biology, includes the ratios of carbon and nitrogen in the creatures' tissues and shells, as well as the ratio of males and females in the sample—a characteristic that varies from one hydrothermal site to another. The new findings point out the risk of transferring organisms, along with their parasites and diseases, from one vent site to another. Scientists could help prevent stowaways by drying their equipment between deployments, the researchers say, or by rinsing their equipment with fresh water or a peroxide solution.
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