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New primitive arthropod species found in cave long buried beneath ice

New primitive arthropod species found in cave long buried beneath ice

Science
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a primitive arthropod species inside a pair of limestone caves on Canada's Vancouver Island. Until deglaciation began some 18,000 years ago, the island and caves were buried beneath ice. As such, the species, Haplocampa wagnelli, presence within the caves presents two interesting possibilities. Perhaps the cave-dwelling dipluran's discovery proves terrestrial arthropods survived in deep subterranean habitats during the Last Glacial Maximum, which peaked around 26,000 years ago. It's also possible the newly discovered species diverged from its Asian relatives and migrated to Vancouver Island during deglaciation. Most cave-dwelling campodeid diplurans, a family of hexapods, featured an elongated body and appendages. But Haplocampa wagnelli isn't al...
Climate change: Warming threatens Himalayan glaciers

Climate change: Warming threatens Himalayan glaciers

Science
Climate change poses a growing threat to the glaciers found in the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges, according to a new report. The study found that if CO2 emissions are not cut rapidly, two thirds of these giant ice fields could disappear. Even if the world limits the temperature rise to 1.5C this century, at least one third of the ice would go. The glaciers are a critical water source for 250 million people living across eight different countries. The towering peaks of K2 and Mount Everest are part of the frozen Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges that contain more ice that anywhere else on Earth, apart from the polar regions. But these ice fields could turn to bare rocks in less than a century because of rising temperatures, say scientists. Over th...
Early spring rains bring rise in methane emissions across Alaska

Early spring rains bring rise in methane emissions across Alaska

Science
Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Analysis of a bog in Alaska suggests early spring rains cause permafrost to thaw and boosts methane emissions. According to observations made by researchers at the University of Washington, a 2016 spike in early spring rainfall caused permafrost to melt three weeks earlier than usual. As a result, plants began growing and methane-producing microbes proliferated. The head start resulted in a 30 percent increase in methane released by the bog during 2016. "Early rainfall sent a slog of warm water moving into our bog," Rebecca Neumann, an associate professor of environmental engineering, said in a news release. "We believe microbes in the bog got excited because they were warmed up, so they released nutrients from the soil that allowed more plant growth. Methane production an...
Solitary corals more likely survive in a warmer ocean

Solitary corals more likely survive in a warmer ocean

Science
Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Corals that prefer isolation to life on a reef are more likely to survive as oceans warm and become more acidic, according to a new study published in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. Numerous studies have documented the negative impact global warming is already having on coral around the globe. As oceans warm and marine heatwaves become more frequent and long-lasting, more and more corals are experiencing bleaching events. Both heat stress and rising ocean acidity render corals less able to defend against disease and hungry predators. But as previous studies have shown, some corals are better able to adapt than others. New research out of the University of Texas at Austin suggests more reclusive corals, which prefer to anchor themselves from their relati...