Monday, April 7, 2014

Marine Science @ Otago - Esther Stuck

Is this Antarctic echinoderm going to have a harder time than its tropical relative as Ocean Acidification increases?

It is known that cold polar waters are becoming less carbon-saturated more quickly than warmer waters, possibly becoming undersaturated by the year 2050. This means animals that build their skeletons from calcium carbonate (starfish and sea urchins) may be at risk of not being able to build a skeleton. Polar species are also more vulnerable than their tropical counterparts due to their extremely slow growth rate and metabolism (the polar sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri grows 80mm in 80 years!).

Esther Stuck's research, involves comparing how species from different latitudes respond to lowered pH and if polar species react differently to their tropical and temperate species.

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