Firey-Red Coral Species Discovered in the Peruvian Pacific, Smithsonian Reports
Researchers have discovered a new coral species (Psammogorgia hookeri) that may be endemic — found no where else in the world. This fiery-red coral species was collected by scuba divers at depths of up to 25 meters in Peru’s Paracas National Reserve. According to the researchers, “coral communities in Peru have never been systematically studied.” With support from the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service, researchers are learning much more about the biodiversity of corals and other marine invertebrates in Peru’s waters.
Scientists discover key hormone that makes it possible for female crabs to mate and care for their young
Scientists recently discovered an interesting hormone in the eyestalks of blue crabs (Calinectes sapidus). The crustacean female sex hormone (CSFH) is required for maternal care, regulating the development of structures that make it possible for female crabs to mate and care for their eggs. Female blue crabs mate only once in their lives, making this hormone critical. It triggers the development of spermathecae, a pair of receptacles that store sperm from the male crab. The sperm lives in those sacs for up to two years and can be used several times to produce more fertilized eggs.
“Severe reduction” in killer whale numbers during last Ice Age
By studying the DNA sequences of killer whale communities around the word, researchers found that the number of killer whales severely declined around 40,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. The decline in whale numbers, which could have been due to a reduced food supply, resulted in a loss of genetic diversity. The only exception was found in a killer whale population off the coast of South Africa that maintained variations in genetic diversity. The researchers suggest that further research looking at the genetic diversity of other top predators such as sharks might suggest a negative impact on their numbers too. These findings could support concerns about the impact of climate change.
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