Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing carbon dioxide

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
A research expedition to the Arctic, as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey, has revealed that tiny crustaceans, known as copepods, that live just beneath the ocean surface are likely to battle for survival if ocean acidity continues to rise. The study found that copepods that move large distances, migrating vertically across a wide range of pH conditions, have a better chance of surviving.

These are the researchers in the Arctic.
Credit: Credit: Martin Hartley-Catlin Arctic Survey

A research expedition to the Arctic, as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey, has revealed that tiny crustaceans, known as copepods, that live just beneath the ocean surface are likely to battle for survival if ocean acidity continues to rise. The study found that copepods that move large distances, migrating vertically across a wide range of pH conditions, have a better chance of surviving.

The increasing level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is changing ocean chemistry leading to seawater moving down the pH scale towards acidity. Some areas of the Arctic Ocean are already experiencing the fastest rates of acidification on the planet and, combined with sea-ice loss and warming temperatures, the impacts of climate change are likely to hit Arctic marine life first.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and was carried out by the University of Exeter and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The scientists observed that the natural range of temperature and acidity under the ice that copepods experience on a day-to-day basis corresponded to their responses to the ocean acidification conditions predicted for 100 years' time.

Dr Ceri Lewis from the University of Exeter said: "Our study found that some marine animals may not be able to survive the impact of ocean acidification, particularly the early-life stages. This unique insight into how marine life will respond to future changes in the oceans has implications that reach far beyond the Arctic regions."

Found across the globe, copepods are one of the most abundant marine animals and are a vital food source for a wide variety of other marine life. Copepods can also act as bio-indicators, providing an early warning system for the health of the environment.

Until recently, it has been difficult to document what copepods and other marine life do when the Arctic Ocean is covered by sea ice, and more specifically what conditions they experience. The researchers, working alongside polar explorers as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey, camped in winter conditions on the Arctic ice at temperatures of -40⁰C, risking frost bitten fingers, in order to collect this novel data.

Dr Helen Findlay from Plymouth Marine Laboratory said: "Our work has shown that life experience matters when it comes to surviving stressors. More studies are needed that link the natural environmental conditions to laboratory experiments. Ceri and I are planning to continue this line of work through a PhD studentship next year."

An estimated 30% of carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into oceans. With carbon emissions set to increase, the world's oceans are likely to suffer from increased acidification in the coming years. This study reveals how these changes are likely to impact globally important species like copepods.

The study demonstrates that organisms with a limited natural habitat range are likely to suffer the most under changing climatic and oceanic conditions. Organisms with a wide natural range are likely to cope better.

Future studies will consider whether the type of habitat can be used to predict the vulnerability of different species to climate change.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. N. Lewis, K. A. Brown, L. A. Edwards, G. Cooper, H. S. Findlay. Sensitivity to ocean acidification parallels natural pCO2 gradients experienced by Arctic copepods under winter sea ice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1315162110

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162125.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, December 2). Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing carbon dioxide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162125.htm
University of Exeter. "Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162125.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
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