From the Community: Atlantic garbage soup, rerouting the Red Sea and misnaming the fruit fly
Scientists develop a project to reroute water into the Dead Sea, male wasp spiders get a second chance at mating if they start with their sisters, 25% of fish in Dublin are mislabeled as completely different species and five species that cheated extinction. Here is the latest news in ecology for the third week in April.
Earth Day: Last Thursday was Earth Day—in honor of the myriad of news coverage, Mental Floss gave a rundown of the best environmental videos. The above video is part of the collection. See them all at “The Late Movies: Happy Earth Day!”
Taxonomy test: Quick, what is Drosophila melanogaster? If you guessed the common fruit fly, which you probably would have after years of research on them, you are wrong. A graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County explained in his blog last week that the common fruit fly is likely misnamed. Its new name, he claims, is probably Sophophora melanogaster. Read more at “Drosophila, we hardly knew ye.”
Rerouting the Red Sea: Geologists from the countries of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are working together to develop a project to pump billions of cubic meters of water each year from the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba into the Dead Sea. Friends of the Earth Middle East, an Israeli–Jordanian–Palestinian advocacy group, fear the project will have a significant impact on marine life and that the water shortage problem could be alleviated with water conservation. Read more at “Environmental Science: New life for the Dead Sea?”
Beat it or be eaten: Male wasp spiders have a greater chance for post-coital cannibalistic survival if they mate with their siblings—that is, the male spider splits more quickly if it has mated with its sister than when mating with an unrelated female spider. It turns out the male spider will stay longer, ensuring more sperm enters the female, if the female is unrelated. And those extra seconds almost always cost him his life. Read more at “Wasp spiders won’t let their sisters eat them after sex.”
Plastic soup: Researchers believe they have located the Atlantic garbage “patch,” but it is more akin to garbage “soup” the size of Texas. The scientists show how these bite size bits of plastic are wrecking havoc on nearby marine life (above). Read more at “Earth: What’s an Ocean Garbage Patch?”
Also, the Geological Society of America revised its climate change statement, more on underwater biodiversity released, cod and haddock mislabeled in Ireland, the aftermath of the volcano and five species that cheated extinction.