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Tropical plankton invade Arctic waters
Date:7/24/2012

rea measured an extraordinary 7.5 degrees C (about 45.5F). A year later, when the samples were taken, it was down to a more normal level of 3.5C (38F), and yet the radiolarians were still there. However, the fast-changing nature of the ocean makes their presence in the arctic hard to interpret, said Paul Wassman, an arctic biologist at the University of Troms in Norway. Marine creatures routinely travel vast distances on currents. Water temperatures may vary widely in the same latitude. Populations of some creatures may live for a while in a narrow tongue of temperate water, then wink out once that gets too diluted, he said. Bjrklund, Anderson and their coauthor Svetlana Kruglikova of the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanography in Moscow note that it is uncertain whether the southern invaders are still there; they have not gotten any new samples since 2010.

In any case, changes in global ocean ecology are already being detected in many places. Warmer-water species are marching poleward, much as creatures are on land, where butterflies have been shifting ranges northward about 6 kilometers per decade, and amphibians and migratory birds are breeding an average of two days earlier. A 2011 global study on the impact of climate change on fisheries says that many marine species are moving poleward or into deeper, cooler waters in response to warming--among other places, along the U.S. east coast, the Bering Sea, and off Australia. The North Sea, off Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, has warmed about 2 degrees F in the last 50 to 100 years; there, 15 of 36 fish species studied have moved northward; fish more common nearer the Mediterraneananchovy, red mullet, sea bassare being caught by commercial fishermen, while cod, which prefer colder waters, are moving out. There is also evidence that zooplankton similar to the radiolaria are shifting northward in the North Atlantic. In the Pacific, poisonous algal blooms harmful to the shellfish industry are being
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Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert  

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