Navigation Links
Global warming threatens Antarctic sea life
Date:2/4/2009

MELBOURNE, FLA.Climate change is about to cause a major upheaval in the shallow marine waters of Antarctica. Predatory crabs are poised to return to warming Antarctic waters and disrupt the primeval marine communities.

"Nowhere else than in these ecosystems do giant sea spiders and marine pillbugs share the ocean bottom with fish that have antifreeze proteins in their blood," says Rich Aronson, professor of biological sciences at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. "The shell-cracking crabs, fish, sharks and rays that dominate bottom communities in temperate and tropical zones have been shut out of Antarctica for millions of years because it is simply too cold for them."

But this situation is about to change. "Populations of predatory king crabs are already living in deeper, slightly warmer water," says Aronson. "And increasing ship traffic is introducing exotic crab invaders. When ships dump their ballast water in the Antarctic seas, marine larvae from as far away as the Arctic are injected into the system."

Aronson and his colleagues published their results in the electronic journal PLoS ONE to coincide with the U.S. National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions on Feb. 5.

Fast-moving, shell-crushing predators, dominant in most places, cannot operate in the icy waters of Antarctica. The only fish therethe ones with the antifreeze proteinseat small, shrimp-like crustaceans and other soft foods. The main bottom dwelling predators are slow-moving sea stars and giant, floppy ribbon worms.

To understand their history, Aronson and a team of paleontologists collected marine fossils at Seymour Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Linda Ivany of Syracuse University reconstructed changes in the Antarctic climate from chemical signals preserved in ancient clamshells. As temperatures dropped about 41 million years ago and crabs and fish were frozen out, the slow-moving predators that remained could not keep up with their prey. Snails, once out of danger, gradually lost the spines and other shell armor they had evolved against crushing predators.

Antarctica's coastal waters are warming rapidly. Temperatures at the sea surface off the western Antarctic Peninsula went up 1C in the last 50 years, making it one of the fastest-warming regions of the World Ocean.

If the crab invasion succeeds, it will devastate Antarctica's spectacular fauna and fundamentally alter its ecological relationships. "That would be a tragic loss for biodiversity in one of the last truly wild places on earth," says Aronson. "Unless we can get control of ship traffic and greenhouse-gas emissions, climate change will ruin marine communities in Antarctica and make the world a sadder, duller place."


'/>"/>

Contact: karen rhine
krhine@fit.edu
321-674-8964
Florida Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Global Warming and the Habitability of Planet Earth, Sept. 26
2. Green skies: Engineers work may reduce jet travels role in global warming
3. Scientists in first global study of poison gas in the atmosphere
4. North Americas northernmost lake affected by global warming
5. IEEE-USA innovation forum will help prepare US tech leaders to prosper in a global marketplace
6. Majority of Americans want local action on global warming, says poll
7. International team of scientists warns of climate changes impact on global river flow
8. Changing the global dietary environment
9. Global deal fuels QUTs world-changing research
10. NIH hosts event to launch Council of Science Editors global theme issue
11. Agricultural soil erosion is not adding to global warming
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... New York will feature emerging and ... Innovation Summits. Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the ... variety of speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on ... east coast,s largest advanced design and manufacturing event will ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2017 , ... ... attracting and hiring top executive talent in the life sciences industry, today announces ... Manufacturing company. The partnership takes full advantage of Beaker’s expertise in executive ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility supports the American Medical ... new hope for prospective parents who are challenged with costs of treatment. AMA ... Health Organization’s designation in hopes of changing the way health insurers, governments and ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... RURO, Inc., a leading ... 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® framework. , LimitLIS® and other RURO ... diverse base of customers among labs and other businesses. Limfinity® 6.5 adds new ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... June 20, 2017 , ... HorizonScan is providing food and ... most likely threat to their products at the annual IFT conference in Las ... food expo attracts over 20,000 attendees representing food science professionals from over 90 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: