Science Caturday: Tourists Bring Unwanted Gifts

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Oh noooo, a new article in The Atlantic says that the huge increase in the numbers of visitors to Antarctica in recent years may be making the penguins sick.

A team led by Wray Grimaldi of the University of Otago in New Zealand found multiple infectious agents, including Salmonella and E. coli bacteria and West Nile virus in captive penguins dating back to 1947. A paper based on the team’s work published this month in the journal Polar Biology (paywall) reports that outbreaks of disease from those pathogens have killed thousands of penguins over the years.

I sure hope our intrepid polar explorer kitteh didn’t bring along any toxoplasmosis from home.

Science Caturday: Antarcticat

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Bad news kept coming for US scientists this week, as the National Science Foundation announced that they would cancel the U.S. Antarctic research program for this year because of the ongoing government shutdown.  The cancellation will directly affect over 50 scientists, grad students and support staff, and Stanley, a cat conducting important research on Antarctica’s penguins.  Sorry, buddy.