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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: Gobies on Guard Duty
8 November 2012 2:00 pm
What do a Pacific reef-forming coral and Justin Bieber have in common? They both have bodyguards. But, in the case of the coral, the bodyguards are adorable little fish called gobies. Branching corals such as Acropora nasuta face many threats, including warming waters and ocean acidification; but with the help of the gobies, there is at least one threat they can do something about: seaweed. Seaweed can grow on coral and block out light; some types of seaweed may even wage a chemical war on the coral. Researchers suspected that coral-dwelling fish may be helping to protect their hosts from this nearby competitor—so to test this, the scientists put the coral-harassing seaweed Chlorodesmis fastigiata next to heads of A. nasuta—and they found that corals occupied by the gobies Gobiodon histrio or Paragobiodon echinocephalus stayed healthier. In fact, the corals seem to be signaling to the gobies for help: The gobies didn't respond to injections of a chemical extract from C. fastigiata in water, but when the researchers injected the seaweed extract near the coral, the guard gobies promptly rushed over, apparently looking for the offending seaweed. It's not just guard duty for the gobies; they get something out of it, too. The fish produce a frothy mucus when threatened—exposure to the mucus makes predators lose their equilibrium, tipping forward or sideways—and consuming the seaweed seems to amp up the power of that mucus, the researchers found. When the mucus came from gobies living on a coral adjacent to the nasty seaweed, the predators' dizziness came on much faster.
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