Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Limpets Reveal Possible Fate Of Cold-blooded Antarctic Animals

Date:
July 24, 2007
Source:
British Antarctic Survey
Summary:
A limpet no bigger than a coin could reveal the possible fate of cold-blooded Antarctic marine animals according to new research. Compared to their temperate and tropical cousins, cold-blooded polar marine animals are incapable of fast growth. Until now scientists assumed that a lack of food in winter was the major limiting factor.

Limpet on seaweed - Nacella concinna.
Credit: Image courtesy of British Antarctic Survey

A limpet no bigger than a coin could reveal the possible fate of cold-blooded Antarctic marine animals according to new research published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.

Compared to their temperate and tropical cousins, cold-blooded polar marine animals are incapable of fast growth. Until now scientists assumed that a lack of food in winter was the major limiting factor. Studies of the protein-making abilities of limpets in both the sea around the British Antarctic Survey's (BAS) Rothera Research Station and in the laboratory aquarium reveal that these animals cannot make proteins -- the building blocks of growth - efficiently.

Lead author Dr Keiron Fraser from BAS says, "This is an important step forward in our understanding of the complex biodiversity of Antarctica's unique ecosystem. Sea temperature is predicted to increase by around 2C in the next 100 years. If cold-blooded Antarctic animals can't grow efficiently, or increase their growth rates, they are unlikely to be able to cope in warmer water, or compete with species that will inevitably move into the region as temperatures rise."

Growth in animals occurs primarily by making and retaining proteins. While tropical water limpets typically retain 70% of the proteins they make, those in the Antarctic appear only to retain about 20%.

About Limpets

The Antarctic limpet (Nacella concinna) used in this study, is an extremely common shallow water species. In some areas hundreds of individuals can be found per square metre of seabed. This limpet forms an important part of the diets of many seabirds, fish and starfish.

To test if limpets could grow faster in warmer water BAS biologists compared the protein-making abilities of limpets in both the sea around the BAS Rothera Research Station, and in the laboratory aquarium. In the Antarctic summer of 1999 BAS SCUBA divers collected around 100 free-ranging limpets, numbered them with paint for identification, then weighed them before they were returned to the sea. Two months later the limpets were recovered and weighed, before their ability to make proteins was measured. In the following Antarctic winter the experimental work was repeated.

The ability of the limpets to make proteins at a range of water temperatures was also investigated also in the aquarium. The researchers found that even at artificially elevated water temperatures, the Antarctic limpet cannot increase the rate at which it makes proteins. In fact the synthesis rate decreases. Also, the proportion of newly made protein that the limpets manage to retain for growth is much less than in warmer water animals.

Reference: "Growth in the slow lane: protein metabolism in the Antarctic limpet Nacella concinna" (Strebel 1908) by Keiron Fraser, Andrew Clarke, and Lloyd Peck, is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, 2691-2699


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Antarctic Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Antarctic Survey. "Limpets Reveal Possible Fate Of Cold-blooded Antarctic Animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723111553.htm>.
British Antarctic Survey. (2007, July 24). Limpets Reveal Possible Fate Of Cold-blooded Antarctic Animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723111553.htm
British Antarctic Survey. "Limpets Reveal Possible Fate Of Cold-blooded Antarctic Animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723111553.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins