Lush Life, Deep Down
A new study reveals thriving communities of life in the deep biosphere (sediments buried deep beneath the seafloor). By analyzing messenger RNA (mRNA) from 16 to 522 feet deep below the seafloor, researchers found evidence of bacteria, archaea, and fungi living, moving, and reproducing. The presence of mRNA indicates that the cells that made it are still alive, providing researchers with valuable information about biochemical processes the organisms are using to function.
RoboCop? How About RoboPenguin!
Penguins can swim incredibly fast, move side to side and make sharp turns effortlessly. Until now, it was unclear just how penguins managed these swimming maneuvers. By filming and studying zoo penguins, researchers were able to describe the exact stroke of a penguin’s flipper and then developed a robotic joint mechanism that mimics the stroke. Researchers will use this model to learn exactly how penguins move, which could help future underwater vehicles.
With Fewer Hard Frosts, Tropical Mangroves Push North
A new study based on 28 years of satellite data reveals that mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida’s Atlantic coast. The reason for this expansion is a decline in ‘killing frosts’ that the cold-sensitive mangroves couldn’t survive. Between 1984 and 1011, the coast gained more than 3,000 acres of mangroves, north of Palm Beach County. This study is just one example of how climate change is affecting nature. While the expansion is great for the mangroves, it will lead to major changes in plant communities, which will in turn impact animals as well.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.