Looking at first glance like something much larger, this tiny cage is designed to protect seeds from hungry mammals, while permitting easy access for insects and other invertebrates.
It is one of 7000 identical structures recently deployed around the world for a 24-hour experiment to test a key Darwinian theory – that species interact with each other more as location moves towards the equator.
The experiment was conducted by a team of researchers led by Anna Hargreaves of McGill University in Quebec, Canada.
The results, at least for invertebrates, confirmed the hypothesis. Seed consumption increased 2.6% for every 10 degrees of latitude. All up, consumption increased 17% between Alaska and the equator.
The study is published in the journal Science Advances.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.