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New Zealand scientists record «biodiversity breakdown»

By Neil Bowdler

Scientists in New Zealand say they have linked the modern-day decline of a common forest shrub with the local extinction of two pollinating birds over a century ago. They say the disappearance of two birds – the bellbird and stitch bird – from the upper North Island of the country has lead to a slow decline in common plants, including the forest shrub New Zealand gloxinia.

Ship rats and stoats imported into the country around the year 1870 are blamed for the birds' demise.

The researchers claim the study, published in the journal Science, offers rare experimental proof of a breakdown in a local ecosystem.

New Zealand gloxinia or Rhabdothamnus solandri is a gangly forest shrub, which grows in the shade to about 2m high and produces an orange tubular flower. It depends on three birds for pollination – the bellbird, stitch bird and the tui.

While the latter now seems only to feed higher up in the forest canopy, the former two vanished from upper North Island in the late 19th century. It is thought they were killed off by rats brought in by ships or by stoats introduced to control the local rabbit population.

The researchers wanted to observe the impact on New Zealand gloxinia of these disappearing bird populations and so compared the situation on the mainland with that of three nearby island bird sanctuaries where the birds remain abundant.

What they found was that pollination rates were vastly reduced on the mainland with seed production per flower 84 % lower compared with the islands.

While this has yet to fully manifest itself in the density of adult gloxinia populations on the mainland, the researchers found 55 % fewer juvenile plants per adult plant on the mainland vis-à-vis the islands.

The researchers could also quantify how often – or how little – birds visited the plant, as birds make distinct markings on the flower as they feed on the nectar.

«This plant is in trouble but it's a slow motion disaster», said Professor Dave Kelly of New Zealand's University of Canterbury, who led the research. «It hasn't been well pollinated for about the last 140 years – that's about when these birds disappeared off the North Island».

«In that time there haven't been enough seedlings coming through and so the plant is quietly crumbling away, fading away».

(«Science report», BBC News)

III. Перепишите предложения, заполнив пропуски подходящим по смыслу словом:

1. A Nobel never … any reward for what he had done.

a) expected; b) refused; c) noticed; d) avoided.

2. In Sweden A. Nobel began his own study of … .

a) weapon; b) explosives; c) substances; d) literature.

3. They found … old books in the library.

a) so; b) peace; c) plenty of; d) never.

4. I usually get up early in the morning go to the bathroom and … have breakfast.

a) then; b) too; c) yet; d) however.

5. It was an ordinary day but … an explosion occurred in the old mine.

a) few; b) really; c) nobody; d) suddenly.

6. He looked … and saw the dog running after him.

a) back; b) for; c) seldom; d) really.

7. He refused to give his … explanation.

a) meaning; b) own; c) opportunity; d) justice.

8. The explosion … in the old mine.

a) make; b) were; c) occurred; d) brought.

9. The students worked hard during the term and achieved … results.

a) excellent; b) bad; c) terrible; d) few.

10. When I have holidays I have … free time and can do anything.

a) little; b) a few; c) plenty of; d) huge.

11. His invention was used for war to kill and … people.

a) justify; b) avoid; c) injure; d) care for.

12. He realized that without the experiment his work would be ... .

a) useful; b) successful; c) necessary; d) useless.

13. It is important to take measures to … the risk of fire.

a) avoid; b) choose; c) need; d) win.

14. I … a good mark for the answer.

a) mastered; b) invented; c) deserved; d) passed.

15. When she was abroad she … her furniture in a warehouse.

a) left; b) sold; c) stored; d) gave.

16. That’s not the … way to stop the machine.

a) proper; b) necessary; c) reasonable; d) essential.

17. I couldn’t find a parking … .

a) territory; b) space; c) field; d) site.

18. The bag was covered with a sticky … .

a) substance; b) matter; c) component; d) mixture.

19. Have you anything … to this material but cheaper?

a) familiar; b) known; c) similar; d) same.

20. … nations sometimes try to control weaker countries.

a) Powerful; b) Advanced; c) Effective; d) Efficient.

21. The wire had … in half.

a) unite; b) divide; c) split; d) separate.

22. She gave us a short … of the rules before we started.

a) definition; b) explanation; c) annotation; d) description.

23. Many plants have medicinal … .

a) characteristics; b) qualities; c) features; d) properties.

24. The main … of the country’s industry is ship building.

a) branch; b) department; c) space; d) seat.

25. Scientists believe that ghosts do not … .

a) look; b) exist; c) believe; d) stay.

26. The company … twice last year.

a) doubled; b) established; c) founded; d) expanded.

27. The experiment gave us … data on this problem.

a) considerable; b) long; c) strong; d) huge;

28. The main … of the plane crash was bad weather.

a) question; b) substance; c) reason; d) problem.

29. The … of this system was held last year.

a) quality; b) improvement; c) quantity; d) problem.

30. The article was about how the scientists … the distance to the moon.

a) counted; b) enumerated; c) calculated; d) computed.

31. There are many cities with a … of over 2 million people.

a) people; b) inhabitants; c) population; d) residents.

32. Great spending on education is expected to lead to a large … in the number of students.

a) growth; b) rise; c) increase; d) escalation.

33. Our university has excellent sporting … .

a) facilities; b) equipment; c) conditions; d) resources.

34. I regret that a … meeting prevents me from accepting your invitation.

a) antecedent; b) future; c) early; d) previous.

35. It would … matters if you were more cooperative.

a) ease; b) help; c) facilitate; d) lighten.

36. Having read the message I came to a … decision.

a) brisk; b) hurried; c) prompt; d) rapid.

37. The house has many interesting … including a large Victorian fireplace.

a) feature; b) characteristic; c) property; d) peculiarity.

38. Is the story a complete invention, or is it … on fact?

a) written; b) told; c) founded; d) established.

39. A paint that gives woodwork … protection against the weather.

a) permanent; b) lasting; c) unending; d) stable.

40. A … of well-qualified people have recently left the company.

a) amount; b) digit; c) numeral; d) number.

IV. Вопросы для самопроверки:

1. Каковы основные способы достижения лаконичности при составлении реферата?

2. Можно ли давать субъективную оценку содержанию первичного текста при составлении реферата?

3. Можно ли пересказывать содержание документа (выводы, рекомендации, фактический материал) при составлении аннотации?

4. Какие аспекты содержания исходного документа вы включили в реферат?

5. Какие аспекты содержания включаются в аннотацию?

6. Чем отличается аннотация от реферата?

Вариант 3

I. Составьте аннотацию к статье на английском языке:

Harvard's Nano Sized «Lab in a Pocket» Could Speed Discovery of New Biofuels

By Tina Casey

Leave it to Harvard University to invent an entire laboratory the size of an iPod nano. The device, which actually is slightly smaller than an iPod nano, makes it possible to sort enzymes and compounds 1,000 times faster than the much larger equipment in use today, making it not only small but energy efficient, too.

The new device could precipitate a sea change in the way that new biofuels are developed. In particular, new biofuels based on microbes could be developed in a relatively short time, compared to a years-long sorting process with conventional equipment. And of course, that’s just a taste of things to come.

The invention, called a micro fluidic sorting device, is part of a trend toward finding more energy efficient, low cost, and sustainable methods of scientific investigation. Conventional sorting equipment is essentially a robotic process that requires energy and reagents. Harvard’s new device uses 10 million-fold less reagent and presumably far less energy; its inventors anticipate that it will reduce screening costs by one million-fold. The project was a team effort that also involved MIT, the Universite de Strasbourg, YNano LLc, the National Science Foundation, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and the Agence National de la Recherche. It takes a village, right?

Basically the name «microfluidic sorting device» says it all. In this process, microscopic drops of liquid pass through a sequence of nanotubes that fork in two directions. The drops are treated with a surfactant to prevent sticking and clumping, so they act more like marbles in a chute than normal drops of liquid. Trapped within each drop is an individual cell. When a drop reaches the fork, a laser measures the level of fluorescence in the cell. The higher the fluorescence, the higher the cell’s activity level, and the more desirable it is. The active cells are pulled into the «keep» fork by an electrical force called dielectrophoresis. The other cells drop off into the «discard» fork. In one demonstration, the device sorted 100 million (yes million) variants of a high-efficiency enzyme, evolving it into an enzyme that was even more efficient – so efficient that it practically reached its theoretical maximum (that would be an enzyme that has a production capacity equal to the number of substrates that it encounters).

The device could lead to a far more rapid means of identifying biofuel-producing organisms and improving their efficiency, possibly in a matter of months rather than years. Even with conventional lab technology, microorganisms are already elbowing crop-based biofuels aside. Just a couple of recent examples are MIT’s biofuel producing bacteria, and the glycerin-gobbling biofuel microorganisms developed by Rice University. The device also plays right into the EPA’s push for low cost, energy efficient ways to clean up contaminated sites – which in turn plays into the EPA’s newly, launched programs for reclaiming brown fields for renewable energy installations. Instead of digging up contaminated soil and dumping it elsewhere (which creates a huge carbon footprint), the new approach calls for using low cost, energy efficient on site solutions. This might include using vitamin B-12 or potassium lactate to stimulate the growth of soil dwelling microbes that «eat» pollutants. For that matter, specially engineered microbes can even be used to convert wastewater to bioplastics.

(«Scientific American»,March, 2010)

II. Составьте реферат статьи на русском языке:

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