A salty situation.
Zooplankton may be the smallest species in the freshwater food chain, but they play a big role in preserving our lakes, streams and wetlands. That’s one of the reasons why IBM joined forces with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The FUND for Lake George to create the Jefferson Project at Lake George to understand and protect freshwater ecosystems. Recently they studied the effects road salt has on a species of zooplankton. Road salt usage has increased 50-fold since 1940, and bodies of freshwater are increasing in salinity because of it. Using IBM technology, the researchers monitored zooplankton in varying levels of salinity and found that the organisms were capable of evolving a higher tolerance to the salt. This is good news for the ecosystem since the loss of plankton could have cascading effects throughout the food chain. See, small can be mighty too.