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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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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