Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding global climate change through new breakthroughs in polar research

Date:
March 2, 2010
Source:
British Antarctic Survey
Summary:
Scientists have investigated the distribution and abundance of Antarctica's vast marine biodiversity with the Census of Antarctic Marine Life.

The latest findings from research on Antarctica's rich marine life are presented this week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Marine Biologist Huw Griffiths from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is involved in a major international investigation into the distribution and abundance of Antarctica's vast marine biodiversity -- the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML).

Griffiths presents results from the census -- which began in 2005 -- and describes how the investigation provides the benchmark for future studies on how the extraordinary and diverse range of sea-floor creatures living in Antarctica's chilly waters will respond to predicted environmental change.

More than 6,000 different species living on the sea-floor have been identified so far and more than half of these are unique to the icy continent. A combination of long-term monitoring studies, newly gathered information on the marine life distribution and global ocean warming models, enable the scientists to identify Antarctica's marine 'biodiversity hotspots'.

Griffiths describes how krill populations (the shrimp-like invertebrates eaten by penguins, whales and seals) are reducing as a result of a decrease in sea-ice cover. A much smaller crustacean (copepods) is dominating the area once occupied by them. This shifts the balance of the food web to favour predators, like jellyfish, that are not eaten by penguins and other Southern Ocean higher predators. Sea-ice reduction is also affecting penguins that breed on the ice.

Griffiths says, "The Polar Regions are amongst the fastest warming places on Earth and predictions suggest that in the future we'll see warming sea surface temperatures, rising ocean acidification and decreasing winter sea ice -- all of which have a direct effect on marine life.

"Marine animals spent millions of years adapting to the freezing, stable conditions of the Antarctic waters and they are highly sensitive to change. This means that from the scientist's perspective they are excellent indicators of environmental change. The polar oceans are rich in biodiversity. If species are unable to move or adapt to new conditions they could ultimately die out. The loss of any unique species is therefore a loss of global diversity."


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. "Understanding global climate change through new breakthroughs in polar research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218110933.htm>.
British Antarctic Survey. (2010, March 2). Understanding global climate change through new breakthroughs in polar research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218110933.htm
British Antarctic Survey. "Understanding global climate change through new breakthroughs in polar research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218110933.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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