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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: In a Scrape
25 September 2011 1:00 pm
Icebergs are scraping the sea floor of Antarctic waters more than ever, much to the detriment of bottom-dwelling creatures. The change comes because seasonal ice in the Antarctic doesn't last as long. Icebergs that break off from glaciers onshore are driven by winds and currents into shallow waters. At Rothera station on the West Antarctic Peninsula, the so-called "fast ice" that forms each winter lasts, on average, about 5 days less per year than it did a quarter-century ago, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey report online today in Nature Climate Change. Accordingly, the number of iceberg scrapes (see image) on the sea floor there has increased substantially. Only half as many colonies of Fenestrulina rugula, a filter-feeder that lives on rocks on the sea floor, survive to sexual maturity—the first demonstrable effect of climate change on the Antarctic seabed, the researchers say. Because about 80% of all marine species found around Antarctica live on or just beneath the sea floor, and because many reach sexual maturity more slowly than F. rugula does, the new finding bodes ill for ecosystems in the Antarctic shallows.
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