Navigation Links
Age matters to Antarctic clams
Date:4/18/2013

A new study of Antarctic clams reveals that age matters when it comes to adapting to the effects of climate change. The research provides new insight and understanding of the likely impact of predicted environmental change on future ocean biodiversity.

Reporting this week in the journal Global Change Biology scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and from Germany's University of Kiel and the Alfred Wegener Institute reveal that when it comes to environmental change the reaction of Antarctic clams (laternula elliptica) a long-lived and abundant species that lives in cold, oxygen-rich Antarctic waters is different depending on how old the animal is.

The study showed that whilst young clams (average of three years old) try to move to a better area in the sea-bed sediments when they sense warmer temperature or reduced oxygen levels, the older (18 years old) more sedentary clams stay put. This has implications for future clam populations because it is the older animals that reproduce. Scientists anticipate that future oceans will be slightly warmer and contains less oxygen (a condition known as hypoxia).

Lead Author Dr Melody Clark of British Antarctic Survey said,

"Antarctic clams play a vital role in the ocean ecosystem. They draw down carbon into sea-bed sediments and circulate ocean nutrients. We know that they are extremely sensitive to their environment. Our study suggests that the numbers of clams that will survive a changing climate will reduce.

"The Polar Regions are the Earth's early warning system and Antarctica is a great natural laboratory to study to future global change. These small and rather uncharismatic animals can tell us a lot about age and survival in a changing world they are one of the 'engines of the ocean'."

Co-author, Eva Phillip, from the University of Kiel, says:

"The study shows that it is important to investigate different ages of a population to understand population wide changes and responses. In respect to Antarctic clams it has been indicated in previous studies that older individuals may suffer more severely in a changing environment and the new study corroborates this assumption. Only the investigation of population-wide effects makes it possible to draw conclusions for coastal ecosystems."

Like humans, clams' muscle mass decreases as they get older. This means they get more sedentary. So when changes are introduced into their habitat, the older clams tend to just sit it out until conditions revert back to normal.

Doris Abele of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany says:

"Our study shows that the physiological flexibility of young clams diminishes as they get older. However, the species has evolved in such a way that the fittest animals, that can tolerate life in an extreme environment, survive to reproduce into old age. Climatic change, affecting primarily the older clams, may interfere with this evolutionary strategy, with unpredictable consequences for ecosystems all around Antarctica."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Holland
pbmho@bas.ac.uk
44-012-232-21226
British Antarctic Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. How belly fat differs from thigh fat -- and why it matters
2. Probing matters of the heart
3. For the rooster, size matters
4. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
5. Antarcticas first whale skeleton found with 9 new deep-sea species
6. Antarcticas first whale skeleton found with nine new deep-sea species
7. Antarctic soil researcher awarded prestigious 2013 Tyler Environmental Prize
8. Antarctic and Arctic insects use different genetic mechanisms to cope with lack of water
9. Data paper describes Antarctic biodiversity data gathered by 90 expeditions since 1956
10. Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters
11. Antarctic ice core contains unrivaled detail of past climate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant ... company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment ... as director of public safety business development. ... law enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation ... his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... March 20, 2017 PMD Healthcare announces the ... and Wellness Management System (WMS), a remote, real-time lung ... 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical Device, Digital Health, ... dedicated to creating innovative solutions that empower people to ... intent focus, PMD developed the first ever personal spirometer, ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Germany , March 13, 2017 Future of security: ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face ... forms the basis to identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has entered ... 12,835,490 shares of its common stock to NantCell, Inc., ... with the sale of its common stock, NantCell has ... to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million in ... are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement with ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology ... therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced the discovery and ... compounds that activate interferon response factor 3 (IRF3) ... immune-mediated tumor regression in a murine colon carcinoma ... demonstrated complete tumor regression to initial drug treatment ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Colo. , March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology ... Series A financing and note conversion to commercialize its ... Planet is focused on developing products that are simultaneously ... $30 million in the last 18 months. This latest ... North Bridge Venture Partners. The company,s ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... N.Y. , March 22, 2017 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, ... the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), U.K. Biobank and GSK to ... the U.K. Biobank resource. The initiative will enable researchers to ... new medicines for a wide range of serious and life ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: