Shutdown Winners: Invasive Bugs

Losers: Antarctic penguins, as US scientists suspend research

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 9, 2013 3:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – It isn't just skateboarders benefiting unexpectedly from the government shutdown: the brown marmorated stink bug and the emerald ash borer beetle are also potential winners, reports LiveScience. The former causes millions of dollars of crop damage every year, while the latter destroys US ash trees. But scientists studying both species have had to suspend their tests while Congress sorts itself out. "Because of the shutdown, my colleagues and I are prevented from studying a possible management tool that could greatly benefit American forests," says a researcher studying (or perhaps more accurately, not studying) emerald ash borers.

US scientists in Antarctica also have had to suspend their research, reports the AP. The National Science Foundation announced yesterday that "all field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended," as it will run out of money next week. Some research projects may be able to resume if funding is reinstated soon, but others may be ruined. One penguin study, which has been running since 1990, will be useless if the research is broken. "If we miss a year, we'll never get it back again," says the study coordinator. "It's pretty devastating for our project."

This brown marmorated stink bug doesn't want to raise the debt ceiling.
This brown marmorated stink bug doesn't want to raise the debt ceiling.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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