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Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Harvey (GSO). Digital enhancement by Cynthia Beth Rubin (RISD).

Scientists discover marine plants can flee to avoid predators

Scientists at the University of Rhode Islandís Graduate School of Oceanography have made the first observation of a predator avoidance behavior by a species of phytoplankton, a microscopic marine plant. Susanne Menden-Deuer, associate professor of oceanography, and doctoral student Elizabeth Harvey made the unexpected observation while studying the interactions between phytoplankton and zooplankton.

Their discovery will be published in the September 28 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

ďIt has been well observed that phytoplankton can control their movements in the water and move toward light and nutrients,Ē Menden-Deuer said. ďWhat hasnít been known is that they respond to predators by swimming away from them...

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