Navigation Links
Small sea creatures may be the 'canaries in the coal mine' of climate change
Date:2/17/2008

(Boston, Mass.) As oceans warm and become more acidic, ocean creatures are undergoing severe stress and entire food webs are at risk, according to scientists at a press briefing this morning at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.

Gretchen Hofmann, associate professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has just returned from a research mission to Antarctica where she collected pteropods, tiny marine snails the size of a lentil, that she refers to as the potato chip of the oceans because they are eaten widely by so many species. The National Science Foundations Office of Polar Programs funded the expedition.

Pteropods are eaten by fish that are in turn consumed by other animals, such as penguins. As these small creatures are stressed by an increasingly acidic ocean, due to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they are less able to cope with a warmer ocean.

These animals are not charismatic but they are talking to us just as much as penguins or polar bears, said Hofmann. They are harbingers of change. Its possible by 2050 they may not be able to make a shell anymore. If we lose these organisms, the impact on the food chain will be catastrophic.

Hofmann is a molecular ecologist who studies how genes go off and on as certain marine animals work to make their calcium carbonate shells from the seawater they live in. She characterized her recent trip to Antarctica as an urgent research mission.

She has performed extensive studies of the sea urchin that lives in the kelp forests of California. Sea urchins are a vital part of the food web and play a major economic role in California fisheries, since the roe of the sea urchin is a valuable sushi called uni.

Hofmann explained that as marine invertebrates deal with increasing acidity, the larvae have to re-tune their metabolism in order to still make a shell. But this is done at a cost. The physiological changes that are a response to the acidity make the animals less able to withstand warmer waters, and they are smaller.

These observations suggest that the double jeopardy situation warming and acidifying seas will be a complex environment for future marine organisms, she said.

Hofmann is studying levels of carbon dioxide that would result from what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts would occur if humanity continues on a business as usual scenario projected out to the year 2100.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Gen-Probe to Webcast Presentation at Deutsche Bank Small- and Mid-Cap Growth Conference
2. Stereotaxis to Present at the Deutsche Bank Small- and Mid-Cap Growth Conference
3. Small Business Turns Out on Super Tuesday
4. Novel small molecule therapy shows benefit for anemic patients via hydration of red blood cells
5. Sharps Compliance Corp. to Present at the RedChip Small-Cap Investor Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona
6. Device zeroes in on small breast tumors
7. Pancreatic cancer: The smaller the tumor, the better your chances, study shows
8. Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Small Trial
9. Smallest Air Pollution Particles Hurt Heart Most
10. Small RNAs can prevent spread of breast cancer
11. Small Lifestyle Changes Can Boost Longevity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A new collaboration will give more researchers access to the ... and analytics leader SAS will provide researchers worldwide with data management and analytics tools ... System. , The DCRI and SAS share the goal of greater transparency and ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Washington Wellness Center today ... central New Jersey residents. What started out as an idea to provide a ... integrated approach to healthcare. , Developed by Dr. David Swanekamp, Chiropractic Physician , ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... ... Dr. Elyson and Dr. Assili, dentist in Northridge , announce that ... a common dental procedure, is performed for many adolescents and young adults today. While ... of complications. By providing wisdom tooth removal surgery at their office, Dr. Elyson and ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Recognizing that lifestyle medicine is essential to health ... have tapped David Katz, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, ... medicine is especially gratifying,” said Katz. “There is so much opportunity to add years ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Pharmacy ... announced that it was chosen as the Pharmaceutical News Provider of the Year ... awards acknowledge the hard work and dedication of community members who strive to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... 2016 Research and ... Acute Ischemic Stroke Market and Competitive Landscape ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ... Stroke Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, ... pipeline products, Acute Ischemic Stroke epidemiology, Acute ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 BioNovus Innovations ... Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation (IAMI) today announced ... drugs, diagnostics and medical devices. An ... with rights to license, develop and commercialize medical ... "This partnership represents a significant advance ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016   BIOTRONIK , a leader ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Iperia ... heart failure patients with access to diagnostic magnetic ... remote monitoring with daily automatic transmission and closed ... in response to physiological demands. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: