Unfussy bottom feeders show resilience to climate change | News

Unfussy bottom feeders show resilience to climate change

A study by scientists at the University of Aberdeen has found that invertebrate life in the deep Arctic Ocean is more resilient to the effects of climate change than previously thought.

The shrinking sea ice cover in the Arctic has led to fears that the associated loss of ice algae - tiny algae growing in large numbers in and under the ice - would pose a serious risk to deep sea invertebrates such as clams, crustaceans and polychaete worms, that rely on them as an important food source.

However, research carried out in the Canadian Arctic has found that the creatures will happily feed on phytoplankton as an alternative food source, despite previous research suggesting a preference for ice algae.

The study, which has been published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS) journal, was co-authored by Anni Mäkelä and Professor Ursula Witte from the University’s School of Biological Sciences, and Professor Philippe Archambault from Laval University in Quebec.

Professor Witte said: “Arctic deep sea seafloor communities rely on ice algae and phytoplankton sinking from the surface waters for food.

“Summer sea ice loss is predicted to increase phytoplankton but reduce ice algal production, but ice algae are a higher quality food source and reach the seafloor communities earlier in the year when other food is scarce.

“Previous research has indicated that the animals preferentially eat the high quality ice algae, which would make them very vulnerable if this main food source was lost.

“However, by feeding the deep-sea fauna of the Canadian Arctic with both ice algae and phytoplankton, we have been able to show that they will happily feed on both, with no group exclusively preferring ice algae.

“Our research shows that Arctic deep sea animals are more resilient to changes in their food supply than previously thought – an unexpected finding that suggests they are adaptable to the challenges imposed by climate change.”

Author: Robert Turbyne

Search News

Browse by Month

2017

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2017
  3. Mar
  4. Apr There are no items for April 2017
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul There are no items for July 2017
  8. Aug There are no items for August 2017
  9. Sep There are no items for September 2017
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2017
  11. Nov There are no items for November 2017
  12. Dec There are no items for December 2017

2016

  1. Jan There are no items for January 2016
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2016
  3. Mar There are no items for March 2016
  4. Apr There are no items for April 2016
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items for June 2016
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2016
  11. Nov There are no items for November 2016
  12. Dec

2015

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2015
  3. Mar There are no items for March 2015
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2014

  1. Jan There are no items for January 2014
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2014
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May There are no items for May 2014
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2014
  11. Nov There are no items for November 2014
  12. Dec

2013

  1. Jan There are no items for January 2013
  2. Feb
  3. Mar There are no items for March 2013
  4. Apr There are no items for April 2013
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items for June 2013
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep There are no items for September 2013
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2013
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items for December 2013

2011

  1. Jan There are no items for January 2011
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2011
  3. Mar
  4. Apr There are no items for April 2011
  5. May There are no items for May 2011
  6. Jun There are no items for June 2011
  7. Jul There are no items for July 2011
  8. Aug There are no items for August 2011
  9. Sep There are no items for September 2011
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2011
  11. Nov There are no items for November 2011
  12. Dec There are no items for December 2011

2010

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items for February 2010
  3. Mar There are no items for March 2010
  4. Apr There are no items for April 2010
  5. May There are no items for May 2010
  6. Jun There are no items for June 2010
  7. Jul There are no items for July 2010
  8. Aug There are no items for August 2010
  9. Sep There are no items for September 2010
  10. Oct There are no items for October 2010
  11. Nov There are no items for November 2010
  12. Dec There are no items for December 2010