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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: Glass Sponges Soak Up Perks of Climate Change
11 July 2013 1:45 pm
Climate change is a call to action … even for the Antarctic glass sponge. These cream-colored bulbs with intricate silica skeletons (several species within the class Hexactinellida) have been known to bide their time in the icy depths. The creatures, which can be as small as a fist or as big as a smart car, often go decades with no sign of growth or reproduction. But new research shows that their population is exploding, thanks to the collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. As temperatures climbed and the icy ceiling above them disintegrated, life got a lot more exciting for these filter feeders. Access to sunlight brought blooms of phytoplankton and new food sources. A team of scientists exploring this part of the Weddell Sea for the first time in 4 years discovered that the glass sponge population had roughly tripled since their last visit. "Glass sponges may ﬁnd themselves on the winners' side of climate change," they report today in Current Biology. The sponges may not dominate the depths forever, however; other enterprising species could soon prey on them or compete for resources. But their dramatic growth suggests that the ecological shakeup on the sea floor is moving faster than previously thought.