Tuesday, 29 September 2015

King crabs threaten Antarctic ecosystem due to warming ocean

Predators' arrival could radically alter marine life

Date:September 28, 2015

Source:Florida Institute of Technology

King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they haven't played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study led by Florida Institute of Technology.

"No Barrier to Emergence of Bathyal King Crabs on the Antarctic Shelf," published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ties the reappearance of these crabs to global warming.

Lead author Richard Aronson, professor and head of Florida Tech's Department of Biological Sciences, said the rising temperature of the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula -- one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet -- should make it possible for king crab populations to move to the shallow continental shelf from their current deep-sea habitat within the next several decades.

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