Archive for September, 2006

Greenland’s Ice Melt Grew by 250 Percent, Satellites Show

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 30, 2006   View Article

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting into the sea much faster today than it was just a few years ago, according to an analysis of satellite observations reported today in the journal Nature.

The rate of ice-mass loss from the Danish-owned island increased by 250 percent during a period spanning May 2004 to April 2006 relative to the period from April 2002 to April 2004, the study concludes.

Tarantulas Spin Silk From Their Feet, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 27, 2006   View Article

Like the comic book hero Spider-Man, who shoots webs from his wrists to swing through the city, real-life tarantulas spin silk from their feet to walk on slippery surfaces, according to a new study.

“To my knowledge, no other animals are using silk for locomotion,” said Stanislav Gorb, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany.

Manatee Protections in Belize Should Be World Model, Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 27, 2006   View Article

Efforts to protect manatees in the coastal waters of Belize stand to benefit the global conservation of the huge, sluggish marine mammals, a leading expert says.

“In Belize they’ve got a strong [manatee] population, probably the densest in all of Central and South America,” said Caryn Self-Sullivan, a doctoral candidate in wildlife and fisheries at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Two New Wildlife Parks Created in Congo

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 25, 2006   View Article

The Republic of Congo will set aside up to 3,800 square miles (1 million hectares) of habitat teeming with elephants, chimpanzees, hippos, crocodiles, and some of the highest densities of gorillas on Earth for two new wildlife parks.

The new protected areas will encompass a mosaic of savannas covering ancient sand dunes, riverside forests, and swamp forests.

Chemical Cocktail Turns Argentine Ants Against Each Other

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 22, 2006   View Article

Scientists are developing a chemical potion that makes mortal enemies of members of a massive Argentine ant gang that has invaded California.

The cocktail, if successful, could pave the way for the return of native ants, which have been driven from the region by the foreign species, says Neil Tsutsui, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.

High Altitude Suits Keep Pressure on Pilots

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 19, 2006   View Article

Thank Jim Sokolik and other life-support technicians for keeping the pilots of NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft safe and under pressure as the planes head into the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

Sokolik heads the High Altitude Life Support Team at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

“Walking” Sharks Among 50 New Species Found in Indonesia Reefs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 18, 2006   View Article

More than 50 new species have been discovered off the coast of Indonesia, including small, slender-bodied sharks that “walk” with their fins along coral reefs, researchers announced today.

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