Underwater tropical spiders and faster tsunami warnings


A tropical spider can hide underwater for 30 minutes

Jaws may have popularized the phrase “just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…”, but even worse news for swimmers, a new study has found a large tropical spider which can hide underwater for up to 30 minutes to avoid being crushed by your shoe.

While some arachnids such as the diving bell spider live underwater, in general the class avoids submersion. Now Costa Rican biologists are looking to capture the long-legged arachnid Trechalea extensa instead, he watched it sink into a pool of water, using a “film” of air to stay submerged.

Diving Bell Spider (Argyroneta aquatica). Credit: Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

They reported their findings in the journal Ethologynoting that the fuzzy hairs covering its body helped maintain this film of air, helping to prevent heat loss and water from entering the spider’s respiratory organs underwater.

Faster tsunami warning with lightspeed gravity signals

According to a new study conducted in Nature.

Current seismic-based warning systems may be too slow to accurately assess the size of large earthquakes (magnitude 8 or greater). Now geoscientists have trained an AI model to assess ‘rapid elastogravity signals’ (PEGS), which are caused by the mass movement of rocks during earthquakes, by estimating their size and location. in real time.

They trained the model using 350,000 earthquake modeling scenarios from 1,400 potential seismic sites in Japan, then tested it against actual data from the 2011 earthquake.

Although the model is specific to Japan, the authors claim that it could easily be adapted to other regions, with only small changes needed to implement the strategy in real time.

Fossil DNA shows effect of ancient climate change on eastern moa

Antique illustration of moa
Antique illustration of moa. Credit: ilbusca Getty Images (1) (1)

New Zealand’s extinct eastern moa has given scientists new insights into how species are responding to climate change, with a recent study finding that during the last Ice Age these large, flightless birds changed their distribution as the climate warmed and cooled.

Geneticists analyzed ancient DNA from moa fossils and found that while the species had spread across eastern and southern South Island during the warmer earlier Holocene period, their range contracted just to the south at the height of the last ice age (25,000 years ago). .

“The eastern moa’s response had consequences for its population size and genetic diversity – the last ice age led to a pronounced genetic bottleneck, meaning it ended up with genetic diversity lower than that of other moa living in the same areas,” says lead author Dr. Alex Verry. , a researcher at the Otago Paleogenetics Laboratory at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

The results are reported in the journal Biology Letters.

Facilitated mercury removal in toxic environments

Mercury pollution is a global problem. A result of mining, cement and metal production, and other industries using fossil fuels, it is found in the surrounding water, air, and soil.

In many developing countries its disposal may be too expensive or difficult, but a new sustainable extraction material – made entirely from low-cost waste from petroleum, citrus and agricultural production – has been developed by Australian chemists.

They showed that a free-flowing powder created by coating silica with sulfur and limonene can absorb more than 99% of mercury waste in water in just a few minutes. The research is published in a new study in Physics Chemistry Chemistry Physics (CCPP).

mercury material
Poly(Sr-Limonene) Coated Silica is a free flowing orange powder and fast acting mercury absorbent. 300 grams produced in one batch, pictured. Credit: Flinders University

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