Ecological communities suffer dramatic changes when non-native species are introduced by humans. Such introductions have been documented in hundreds of locations and appear to be common in marine and island habitats. One of the best-studied cases of a species that suddenly appeared in the New England intertidal, and subsequently spread rapidly southward accompanied by significant changes in the intertidal community, is the "European periwinkle" Littorina littorea.
In the July issue of Ecology Letters, a team lead by a scientist from the University of New Mexico used detailed genetic analysis to show that this snail could not have been introduced by European colonists, as is often suggested. Instead, populations of L. littorea appear to have survived in the Canadian Maritimes for well over 10,000 years. The sudden increase in population size and geographic range of L. littorea is still likely to have been induced by anthropogenic change, but only further investigation of the history of ecological interactions among New England intertidal species will illuminate these indirect effects and their general importance in habitat conservation.
Lynne Miller | AlphaGalileo
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DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
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MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
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