Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them

Date:
October 18, 2013
Source:
Deakin University
Summary:
A species of cold water plankton in the North Atlantic, that is a vital food source for fish such as cod and hake, is in decline as the oceans warm. This will put pressure on the fisheries that rely on abundant supplies of these fish.

Calanoid copepods are a plankton species that are a vital food source for fish larvae and therefore important for all commercial fisheries.
Credit: Paul Jones, Deakin University

A species of one of the world's tiniest creatures, ocean plankton, is heading for extinction as it struggles to adapt to changes in sea temperature. And it may take local fisheries with it.

Research led by Deakin University (Warrnambool, Australia) and Swansea University (UK) has found that a species of cold water plankton in the North Atlantic, that is a vital food source for fish such as cod and hake, is in decline as the oceans warm. This will put pressure on the fisheries that rely on abundant supplies of these fish.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the oceans are warming and it will be the response of animals and plants to this warming that will shape how the oceans look in future years and the nature of global fisheries," explained Deakin's professor of marine science, Graeme Hays.

"We know that warm water species are expanding their ranges as warming occurs, and vice versa. What is not known is whether species are able to adapt to new temperatures. Will, for example, cold water species gradually adapt so they can withstand warming seas and not continually contract their ranges. From the results of our study, it is looking like the answer is no."

Answering the question of adaptation is not easy as it requires long-term observations spanning multiple generations. For this study, the research team examined a 50-year time series from the North Atlantic on the distribution and abundance of two very common but contrasting species of ocean plankton, Calanus helgolandicus that lives in warmer water and Calanus finmarchicus that lives in cold water. These crustaceans are vital food for fish and underpin many commercial fisheries in the North Atlantic region.

The researchers were surprised to find that the cold water C. finmarchicus has continued to contract its range over 50 years of warming.

"In other words, even over 50 generations (each plankton lives for one year or less) there is no evidence of adaptation to the warmer water," Professor Hays said.

"The consequences of this study are profound. It suggests that cold water plankton will continue to become scarcer as their ranges contract to the poles, and ultimately disappear. So certainly for these animals, thermal adaptation appears unlikely to limit the impact of climate change.

"C. finmarchicus is a key food source for fish such as cod and hake. So continued declines in abundance will have a negative impact on the long-term viability of cold water fisheries in the North Sea and other areas in the southern part of their range. At the same time the continued increase in abundance of the warm water plankton, C. helgolandicus, will likely play a role in the emergence of new fisheries for warm water species."

Professor Hays said that the impact of ocean warming was not confined to the North Atlantic region.

"Ocean warming is occurring globally and so these findings are likely to apply to other areas around the world including southern hemisphere locations such as Australia, South Africa and South America that support important fisheries dependant on plankton," Professor Hays said.

"Plankton recorders deployed in the southern hemisphere, for example as part of the Australian Continuous Plankton Recorder Project (a joint project of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and the Australian Antarctic Division), will continue to document these changes."

The results of the study will be published in the journal Global Change Biology.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephanie L. Hinder, Mike B. Gravenor, Martin Edwards, Clare Ostle, Owen G. Bodger, Patricia L. M. Lee, Antony W. Walne, Graeme C. Hays. Multi-decadal range changes vs. thermal adaptation for north east Atlantic oceanic copepods in the face of climate change. Global Change Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12387

Cite This Page:

Deakin University. "Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131018132159.htm>.
Deakin University. (2013, October 18). Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131018132159.htm
Deakin University. "Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131018132159.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
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