The smallest computers are not the usual tools that we use in the form of desktops and laptops. What we are seeing this time is a pencil eraser-sized computer which a group of scientists used to know how a native tree snail species has survived from the predators.
The researchers discovered through the technology that a unique animal has evaded many dangers that swept the other 50 snail species living in the South Pacific region.
The Invasive Rosy Wolf
According to CNET's report on Wednesday, June 16, the predator known as the rosy wolf snail has been found out to be the animal responsible for the declining species of the snails around the region. The carnivorous animal can move faster than a regular snail and it feeds on other slugs and its co-species.
Before the rosy wolf species invaded the Society Islands, there were 61 species of native tree snail, as per World Wildlife Fund. The island serves as a sanctuary for hundreds of animals. However, the population of the snails has declined quickly, and only five species including the Partula hyalina managed to survive.
How the Scientists Gathered Data About P. hyalina's Survival?
On Tuesday, June 15, a recent study entitled "Millimeter-sized smart sensors reveal that a solar refuge protects tree snail Partula hyalina from extirpation" was published on Nature.com. The authors of the study are scientists from the University of Michigan.
According to the co-leader who is in charge of the Michigan Micro Mote creation, David Blaauw, his team has collected important data through the smallest computer. Its size suits the body of the snail that's why they have accomplished the experiment.
In 2015, the Michigan researchers proposed a hypothesis that the P.hyalina species lives through its special shell that reflects the radiation levels in the lights. In some of its counterparts, the exposure could result in the death of the species that have a darker shell.
The scientists set up the M3 computer crafted by the Michigan Micro Mote team. The study helped them to detect the level of light exposures in the snail species for a particular day. Moreover, M3 also contains a solar-powered energy battery and the team was able to estimate the light levels by calculating the speed of the battery charge.
In particular, the team has attached the set of M3 computers to the shells of the predatory rosy wolf snails. On the other hand, there are no computers glued to the P.hyalina since they are the protected species.
Instead of Micro Mote, they placed the magnets on the leaves where the tree snails sit. After that, they discovered that the non-predatory species have been exposed to high solar radiation levels.
The M3s are also used for the tracking of migration paths of monarch butterflies.
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Written by Joseph Henry