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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For Sea Turtles, Feeling Excluded is a Good Thing!

Life as a sea turtle can be rough.  Not only do you sometimes have to migrate hundreds to thousands of miles to reproduce, sometimes you get caught in commercial fishing nets and drown. Ungh.

Hopefully your good friend TED will help you out with that.  Not Ted Nugent.  While I am sure sea turtles like "Cat Scratch Fever" as much as the next species, when they find themselves swept up in a fishing net, they can escape through a Turtle Excluder Device. Oh, that TED!

As Lekelia Jenkins writes in today's New York Times Scientist at Work blog, a Turtle Excluder solves what would seem like an insurmountable problem: creating a hole in the net big enough for a huge turtle to pass through but that prevents the escape of smaller critters like shrimp.  The solution is actually quite simple: cover the hole with a trapdoor flap of netting that can only be opened by something heavy (like a sea turtle) but not something small (like fish or shrimp).  Check it out:

Happy World Water Day!

In other news, Knut, arguably the world's most famous polar bear, died today at the age of four.  He became famous as a cub because his mother rejected him and he was successfully hand-reared by a human.  Among his accomplishments: sharing the cover of Vanity Fair with Leo DiCaprio.  RIP Cute Knut.

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