Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans

Date:
January 7, 2014
Source:
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Summary:
Sea snails that leap to escape their predators may lose their extraordinary jumping ability because of rising carbon dioxide emissions, scientists have discovered. Researchers observed that the conch snail, which uses a strong foot to leap away from approaching predators, either stops jumping, or takes longer to jump, when exposed to carbon dioxide levels projected for the end of this century.

Sea snails that leap to escape their predators may soon lose their extraordinary jumping ability because of rising human carbon dioxide emissions, a team of international scientists has discovered.

Lead author of the study published today, Dr Sue-Ann Watson from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) and James Cook University observed that the conch snail, which uses a strong foot to leap away from approaching predators, either stops jumping, or takes longer to jump, when exposed to the levels of carbon dioxide projected for the end of this century.

Dr Watson explains that increased carbon dioxide and ocean acidification levels disrupt a particular neurotransmitter receptor in the snail's nervous system, delaying vital decision-making on escape. This leaves the snail more vulnerable to the poisonous dart of its slow-moving nemesis, the marbled cone shell.

The effects may be quite profound. "Altered behaviours between predators and prey have the potential to disrupt ocean food webs," Dr Watson said.

While this study shows that disrupted decision-making with elevated carbon dioxide levels can occur in marine invertebrates, scientists have also observed similar effects before, in fish.

Co-author Professor Gφran Nilsson, from the University of Oslo, explains, "this neurotransmitter receptor is common in many animals and evolved quite early in the animal kingdom. So what this study suggests is that human carbon dioxide emissions directly alter the behaviour of many marine animals, including much of the seafood that is part of the human diet."

Professor Philip Munday, from the Coral CoE, says past studies on the effects of ocean acidification on animals mostly focused on what would happen to the shells of marine snails and other calcifying animals -- how could shells be built and maintained in a more acidic environment? This study shows that they actually face the dual threat of both weaker shells and impaired behaviour.

Professor Munday says it is critical to study and understand more about the extent of these behavioural disturbances. The big question now, he adds, is whether sea creatures can adapt fast enough to keep up with the rapid pace of rising carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidification.

The article 'Marine mollusc predator-escape behaviour altered by near-future carbon dioxide levels' by Sue-Ann Watson, Sjannie Lefevre, Mark I. McCormick, Paolo Domenici, Gφran E. Nilsson and Philip L. Munday appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S.-A. Watson, S. Lefevre, M. I. McCormick, P. Domenici, G. E. Nilsson, P. L. Munday. Marine mollusc predator-escape behaviour altered by near-future carbon dioxide levels. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 281 (1774): 20132377 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2377

Cite This Page:

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093355.htm>.
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. (2014, January 7). Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093355.htm
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093355.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) — Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) 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