First-ever experimental reptile fall deployed

Two alligators were placed on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in February 2019

LUMCON scientists Craig McClain, Clifton Nunnally, and River Dixon deployed two alligators to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in February 2019 for the first-ever experiment on reptile falls. This experiment will document how materials created on land sustain and impact ocean food webs. It will also help us learn about deep-sea food webs more generally, including food webs that included now-extinct reptiles that lived in ancient oceans. Some species that eat these modern-day alligators may be new to science and their ancestors may have eaten ancient reptiles.

McClain, Nunnally, and Dixon plan to re-visit these American alligators during an upcoming research cruise in April 2019. Learn more about their research in this Atlas Obscura article.

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