Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolution of a Stream: Plants and sea-life claim new territory as glaciers retreat in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
Ecological Society of America
Summary:
As tidewater glaciers beat a hasty retreat up Glacier Bay in southeast Alaska, they uncover rocky, barren landscapes and feed cold lakes and streams -- new habitat for life's hardy explorers. Researchers have now described the evolution and assembly of a stream ecosystem in newly de-glaciated terrain, from early insect and crustacean invaders to the arrival of migrating salmon.

As tidewater glaciers beat a hasty retreat up Glacier Bay in southeast Alaska, they uncover rocky, barren landscapes and feed cold lakes and streams -- new habitat for life's hardy explorers. In the October issue of Ecology, researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Roehampton and Leeds describe the evolution and assembly of a stream ecosystem in newly de-glaciated terrain, from early insect and crustacean invaders to the arrival of migrating salmon.

Sampling began at Stonefly Creek in the early 1990s, after retreating ice, a remnant of the lost Plateau Glacier, began revealing the creek's lower reaches in the late 1970s. Together with work at nearby Wolf Point Creek the study is the most complete and long-running catalog of stream development.

Now originating in a clearwater lake, Stonefly Creek tumbles over falls, fills a second, murkier lake, and merges with a stream from a third pond and wetlands before emptying into Wachusett Inlet. This complex geography, the researchers found, buffers the young stream from abrupt changes in water level and provides a diversity of habitats that welcome species with different specialties. Twenty-seven species of tiny crustaceans, armored aquatic animals from the same big family as barnacles, crabs and krill, arrived without obvious means of transport. Within ten years, pink salmon and Dolly Varden char had established spawning grounds in the stream. Coho (silver) salmon, Sockeye (red) salmon, and other fish species followed.

Shrinking glaciers are changing large expanses of northern coastline. The speed and pattern of colonization across Stonefly Creek's watershed will aid our understanding of watershed restoration and conservation of biodiversity in a changing climate.

"Salmon stocks are under threat and decline in many regions of the world due to human activities," said lead author Alexander Milner. "The creation of these new runs has important potential to help balance the losses."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander M. Milner, Anne L. Robertson, Lee E. Brown, Svein Harald Sψnderland, Michael McDermott, Amanda J. Veal. Evolution of a stream ecosystem in recently deglaciated terrain. Ecology, 2011; 92 (10): 1924 DOI: 10.1890/10-2007.1

Cite This Page:

Ecological Society of America. "Evolution of a Stream: Plants and sea-life claim new territory as glaciers retreat in Glacier Bay, Alaska." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018154150.htm>.
Ecological Society of America. (2011, October 18). Evolution of a Stream: Plants and sea-life claim new territory as glaciers retreat in Glacier Bay, Alaska. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018154150.htm
Ecological Society of America. "Evolution of a Stream: Plants and sea-life claim new territory as glaciers retreat in Glacier Bay, Alaska." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018154150.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 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:
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