. Earth Science News .

Climate change could turn oxygen-free seas from a blessing to a curse for zooplankton
by Staff Writers
London RI (SPX) Jul 06, 2011

The zooplankton (Phronima sedentaria) uses two specialized processes, metabolic suppression and anaerobic glycolysis, which allows it to survive in the Oxygen Minimum Zone. Credit: Leanne Elder

Zooplankton can use specialised adaptations that allow them to hide from predators in areas of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low almost nothing can survive - but they may run into trouble as these areas expand under climate change.

"OMZs are very difficult places to survive," says PhD researcher Leanne Elder from the University of Rhode Island. "But we have discovered that Phronima sedentaria have adapted in two specialised ways.

Firstly they suppress their metabolism, which is very like hibernation in other animals. Secondly, while converting food into energy normally requires large amounts of oxygen, these zooplankton use a different process - anaerobic glycolysis - which allows them to use only small amounts."

These marine animals use the OMZs as refuges from predators, migrating vertically down into the OMZ during the day and returning at night to feed in the oxygen and food rich areas closer to the surface.

However OMZs are predicted to expand into shallower waters as global warming continues which will force the zooplankton into a narrow band of water during the night making them susceptible to their main predators, fish. If this caused a population crash in these animals it would have impacts all the way up the food chain.

The researchers will present their results at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow on the 1st of July 2011.

Although it provides a refuge, spending time in the OMZ does have a cost to the animals; anaerobic glycolysis results in a build up of acid which they can only dispose of when they return to surface waters.

Future research needs to be done on how the reduction in oxygen rich habitat will affect these animals and hence the whole ocean ecosystem.

Related Links
Society for Experimental Biology
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Scripps Study Finds Plastic in Nine Percent of 'Garbage Patch' Fishes
San Diego CA (SPX) Jul 04, 2011
The first scientific results from an ambitious voyage led by a group of graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego offer a stark view of human pollution and its infiltration of an area of the ocean that has been labeled as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Two graduate students with the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition, or SEAPLEX, f ... read more

Japan groups alarmed by radioactive soil

Japan minister quits over gaffe in fresh blow to PM

Passer-by saves China toddler in 10-storey fall

Japan names more Fukushima evacuation areas

Important step in the next generation of computing

Ocean floor muddies China's grip on '21st-century gold'

Recycling: A new source of indispensible 'rare earth' materials

Australian radar 'failing to detect boatpeople'

Climate change could turn oxygen-free seas from a blessing to a curse for zooplankton

Bahamas bans shark fishing

Mysterious seaweed dump chokes S.Leone's coastline

Scripps Study Finds Plastic in Nine Percent of 'Garbage Patch' Fishes

Russia to claim Arctic border expansion

Ocean currents speed melting of Antarctic ice

Greenland ice melts most in half-century: US

NASA to embark on last leg of Arctic sea study

Down-under digestive microbes could help lower methane gas from livestock

EU bans imports of Egyptian seeds

Farm animal disease to increase with climate change

Global warming could alter the US premium wine industry in 30 years, says Stanford study

Study: Australian volcanoes 'overdue'

Iceland's Hekla volcano 'ready to erupt': experts

Huge quake sparks tsunami scare in N.Z., Tonga

Argentina unveils economic plans against volcano

Violence, drought spark 'human tragedy' in Somalia: UN

Somali insurgents seek help for drought victims

DR Congo villagers spurn raped wives

Chad ready to discuss French troop presence

Australia moves on head-covering laws

Clues to why 'they' all look alike

Finding showing human ancestor older than previously thought offers new insights into evolution

Fertility rates affected by global economic crisis

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement