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:8/23/2017)... 23, 2017  The general public,s help is being enlisted in what,s ... live in and on the human body –and are believed to affect ... The Microbiome Immunity Project is ... starting with the gut. The project's goal is to help advance scientific ... ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead ... National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in ... the boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... leader in dairy research, today announced a new collaboration ... reduce the chances that the global milk supply is ... dairy project, Cornell University has become the newest academic ... Supply Chain, a food safety initiative that includes IBM ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American Farmer ... first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With ... with the challenge of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At the ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center ... the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and ... , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical ... broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize in ... Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and ... cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to broaden ... biology community. The winners worked with systems manufactured ... produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein structures ...
Breaking Biology Technology: