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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Whale Sharks Soak Up the Sun
16 October 2012 7:01 pm
Whale sharks that make lengthy dives into the cold ocean depths to forage tend to spend a lot of time at the surface warming up afterward, a new study suggests. Researchers tagged four whale sharks with devices that recorded water depth and temperature, among other factors, at least once every minute. Typically these immense creatures, the world's largest fish, traveled directly to and from the surface and spent very little time at the deepest portion of their dives. But in about one dive of every six, the animals dove deep—on average, to depths of about 340 meters—and spent about 145 minutes there, presumably foraging. Analyses of data for these lengthy dives reveal that the colder the waters were at maximum depth, the more time the whale sharks spent basking at the surface immediately afterward, the researchers report online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. This hints that the cold-blooded fish are using their postdive respites to regain body heat lost while swimming in the frigid deep. Regaining body heat may help the creatures better digest their recent meals, the researchers note, because the warmer the whale sharks are, the more quickly and efficiently their metabolic activity proceeds.
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