Life as We Know It
Vanishing dinosaurs, breeding birds, redback spiders and more
- By Amanda Bensen, Abby Callard, T.A. Frail and Laura Helmuth
- Smithsonian magazine, January 2010
Sea stars stranded at low tide (Michael Melford / NGS Image Collection)
Sea stars stranded at low tide can be exposed to brutal sunlight for hours. How do they beat the heat? Pisaster ochraceus regulates its body temperature by sucking up water during high tide, say scientists led by the University of South Carolina. And after a hot day, the sea stars take in even more water at the next opportunity. The cooling system lets sea stars stay closer to their preferred prey—mussels—which live higher on shore.
Learn more about the sea star Pisaster ochraceus at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“Restoring Superhydrophobicity of Lotus Leaves with Vibration-Induced Dewetting,” Jonathan B. Boreyko and Chuan-Hua Chen, Physical Review Letters, October 23, 2009.
“Extreme Cranial Ontogeny in the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Pachycephalosaurus,” John R. Horner and Mark B. Goodwin, PLoS ONE, October 2009.
“Female's courtship threshold allows intruding males to mate with reduced effort,” J. A. Stoltz and M. C. B. Andrade, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, October 28, 2009.
“An Intertidal Sea Star Adjusts Thermal Inertia to Avoid Extreme Body Temperatures,” Sylvain Pincebourde et al., The American Naturalist, December 2009.
“Migratory double breeding in Neotropical migrant birds,” Sievert Rohwer et al., PNAS, November 10, 2009.