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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
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...
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...
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Video: If You've Never Ridden an Alligator, Here's What You're Missing
15 January 2014 5:00 pm
Until now, if you wanted to figure out how a crocodile or alligator hunted, you had to get up close and personal with the dangerous reptiles. But thanks to a bit of technology, researchers can now keep a safe distance. A team of scientists captured 15 alligators on an island off the coast of Florida and strapped a large-shoebox-sized package containing a waterproof camera and other data sensors to each animal's back. The cameras were programmed to take video documenting the reptiles’ attempts to catch prey (as seen in video), and then the strap would detach after 1 to 2 days. Researchers had known that alligators are active at night, but they assumed that hunting occurred most often in the morning. This study showed that while morning hunting attempts were more likely to be successful, alligators actually do most of their hunting at night, the researchers report today in PLOS ONE. The reptiles also made many of their successful kills while completely underwater, a fact that had been missed by observational studies. Although alligators are the top predator in their environments, how much they eat and when they hunt has been poorly understood until now. The results change the picture of known alligator behavior in ways that could affect conservation: For example, the researchers' data show that alligator counts, done at night by shining a light and looking for the telltale red reflections from their eyes, occur during a time when half the alligators may be below the surface, unseen.