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Seismic surveys responsible for high zooplankton mortality rates

Seismic surveys responsible for high zooplankton mortality rates

Science
June 23 (UPI) -- Seismic surveys carried out by the oil and gas industry are causing high mortality rates among zooplankton, according to new research out of Australia.Seismic air guns are frequently used on marine petroleum expeditions. New research found the air blasts dramatically increase mortality rates among target zooplankton species. Testing also showed the air gun's negative impact extends well beyond previous range estimates.Testing revealed air gun pulses yielded between an 18 and 60 percent increase in zooplankton mortality rates. The seismic blasts also killed al zooplankton larva. These effects extended across nearly 4,000 feet. It was previously believed the negative impact of seismic air guns was limited to roughly 30 feet.The findings -- detailed in a study published Thurs...
Pandas in Berlin: Meng Meng and Jiao Qing arrive in new home

Pandas in Berlin: Meng Meng and Jiao Qing arrive in new home

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceTwo giant pandas have landed safely in Berlin accompanied by Chinese panda specialists and a ton of bamboo.Meng Meng and Jiao Qing were welcomed at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport by Berlin's mayor, China's ambassador to Germany and crowds of reporters.The pair, flown in from China on a Lufthansa cargo plane, were immediately driven to Berlin zoo.They will be introduced to the public next week by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping."They slept a bit, munched on their bamboo and nibbled on some cookies," veterinarian Andreas Ochs told reporters at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport shortly after their eagerly anticipated arrival.The bears will be officially presented to the public at Berlin zoo on 6 July.Clingy panda racks up 163m hit...
Whale body size warning for species collapses

Whale body size warning for species collapses

Science
The shrinking size of whales over the 20th Century could help scientists detect when wildlife populations are in trouble, a study suggests.The analysis shows that the average body size of four whale species declined rapidly during the second half of the 20th Century in response to hunting.But warning signals were visible up to 40 years before whale stocks collapsed.The work appears in Nature Ecology and Evolution journal.Christopher Clements, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and his colleagues looked at records on the abundance and body size of whales caught by commercial whaling vessels between 1900 and 1985, after which a global whaling moratorium took effect."We looked at data on blue, fin, sei and sperm whales and found significant declines in body size, with sperm whales ...
Watched chimps change their hunting habits

Watched chimps change their hunting habits

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceChimpanzees in Uganda may have changed their hunting strategy in response to being watched by scientists.While studying the animals, researchers documented very different hunting habits of two closely neighbouring chimp "tribes"."Sonso" chimps hunt in small groups for colobus monkeys, while those from the "Waibira" troop hunt solo and catch "whatever they can get their hands on".The findings show how sensitive chimp society is to human presence. They are published in the journal PLoS One, Biologists who have followed and studied these animals for years think that work may have disturbed the group hunting that seems key to chasing and catching colobus monkeys. Lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter, from the University of St Andrews, said the Waibi...
Spinal disk cells in zebrafish can self-repair

Spinal disk cells in zebrafish can self-repair

Science
June 22 (UPI) -- The cells that make up the developing backbone of zebrafish can self-repair, new research shows. Unfortunately these cells disappear as the backbone matures.Before developing a backbone, embryonic and newly hatched zebrafish are supported by a notochord -- a proto-spine. The soft spine structure is similar to a water-filled garden hose. A shell of epithelial cells protects fluid-filled cells called vacuolated cells.Previous studies suggest tiny sacs in the membranes of vacuolated cells, called caveolae, prevent the fluid cells from popping as the young fish begin swimming.Researchers engineered zebrafish to be without caveolae, to see whether the tiny sacs are essential to spinal chord health and development."In the caveolar mutants, you see these serial lesions up and dow...