A new National Science Foundation (NSF) special report, Catch a Wave! The Science of Summer, takes you on a splash in the ocean, a trip through a red rock canyon in the U.S. West, a refreshing dip in a freshwater lake -- and beyond -- with NSF-supported scientists. Far below the shallows, these researchers are on a journey to the bottom of the sea, where the submerged continent Zealandia is hidden. NSF-funded scientists are discovering beautiful, iridescent comb jellies that flamenco dance through the ocean's depths, and coral reefs, besieged around the world, that thrive near a remote South Pacific island named Mo'orea. Fearful of a shark attack on your day at the beach? Sharks are often the good guys. They're protecting vulnerable seagrass beds, important nurseries for young fish. Where sharks rove, seagrass-feeding dugongs and other shark prey steer clear. That keeps important underwater grasses from disappearing. What about 'gators, rulers of the U.S. Southeast's salt marshes? They, too, have a beneficial role: ferrying nutrients between sea and shore. On land, it turns out that the insect- and rodent-hunting habits of American kestrels, the most common birds of prey in the U.S., are helping farmers use fewer pesticides on their crops.
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