Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
Fossil record shows crustaceans vulnerable as modern coral reefs decline
by Stephenie Livingston for UF news
Gainesville FL (SPX) Sep 27, 2013


Compiling information about crustaceans on this scale has historically been a challenge for researchers because most decapods possess a fragile and weakly calcified exoskeleton that does not fossilize well.

Many ancient crustaceans went extinct following a massive collapse of reefs across the planet, and new University of Florida research suggests modern species living in rapidly declining reef habitats may now be at risk.

Available online and scheduled to appear in the November issue of Geology, the study shows a direct correlation between the amount of prehistoric reefs and the number of decapod crustaceans, a group that includes shrimp, crab and lobster.

The decline of modern reefs due to natural and human-influenced changes also could be detrimental, causing a probable decrease in the biodiversity of crustaceans, which serve as a vital food source for humans and marine animals such as fish, said lead author Adiel Klompmaker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus who started the study at Kent State University.

"We estimate that earth's decapod crustacean species biodiversity plummeted by more than 50 percent during a sharp decline of reefs nearly 150 million years ago, which was marked by the extinction of 80 percent of crabs," Klompmaker said.

"If reefs continue to decline at the current rate during this century, then a few thousand species of decapods are in real danger. They may adapt to a new environment without reefs, migrate to entirely new environments or, more likely, go extinct."

Some scientists predict as much as 20 percent of the world's reefs may collapse within 40 years, with a much higher percentage affected by the end of the century due to natural and human-influenced changes such as ocean acidification, diseases and coral bleaching.

The study is the first comprehensive examination of the rise of decapod crustaceans in the fossil record. Researchers created a database of fossils from the Mesozoic Era, 252 million to 66 million years ago, from literature records based on museum specimens worldwide. The data included 110 families, 378 genera and 1,298 species.

They examined the patterns of diversity and found an increase in the number of decapod species was influenced by the abundance of reefs, largely due to the role of reefs as a provider of shelter and foraging. Researchers call this period the "Mesozoic decapod revolution" because of the 300-fold increase in species diversity compared with the previous period and the appearance and rapid evolution of crabs.

Compiling information about crustaceans on this scale has historically been a challenge for researchers because most decapods possess a fragile and weakly calcified exoskeleton that does not fossilize well.

"Only a scant fraction of decapod crustaceans is preserved in rocks, so their fossil record is limited," said study co-author Michal Kowalewski, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum. "But, thanks to efforts of paleontologists many of those rare fossils have been documented all around the world, finally giving us a chance to look at their evolutionary history in a more rigorous, quantitative way."

"This new work builds a good case for the role of reefs in promoting the evolutionary diversification of crustaceans," said David Jablonski, a paleontologist in the department of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the study.

"We have to take their argument for the flipside of that story very seriously. The positive relation between reefs and crustaceans implies that the damage caused to reefs by human activities - from overfishing to ocean acidification - is likely to have cascading consequences for associated groups, including crustaceans."

Jablonski said the study could serve as an important springboard for future research.

"It would be very interesting to extend this analysis into the Cenozoic Era, the 65 million years leading up to the present day," Jablonski said. "And it would be valuable to look at the spatial structure of the crustacean diversification, for example how closely their diversification was tied to the extensive reefs in the western Pacific and was damped in the eastern Pacific with their much sparser contingent of reefs."

Study co-authors include Carrie E. Schweitzer with Kent State University at Stark and Rodney M. Feldmann with Kent State University.

.


Related Links
University of Florida
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






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




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





WATER WORLD
Chasing the black holes of the ocean
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Sep 27, 2013
According to researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Miami, some of the largest ocean eddies on Earth are mathematically equivalent to the mysterious black holes of space. These eddies are so tightly shielded by circular water paths that nothing caught up in them escapes. The mild winters experienced in Northern Europe are thanks to the Gulf Stream, which makes up part of those o ... read more


WATER WORLD
FBI releases chilling video of navy yard shooter

Storm-stricken Acapulco hit by new floods

Twitter launches emergency alerts

NASA tests space radar for finding buried victims

WATER WORLD
NGC Completes Safety of Flight Testing on Common Infrared Countermeasure System

Green photon beams more agile than optical tweezers

Space oddity: the mystery of 2013 QW1

Domain walls as new information storage medium

WATER WORLD
Fossil record shows crustaceans vulnerable as modern coral reefs decline

A fast fish with a huge impact

Chasing the black holes of the ocean

Extinction and overfishing threats can be predicted decades before population declines

WATER WORLD
Putin: Russia committed to Arctic environmental protection

Late Cretaceous Period was likely ice-free

Putin says Arctic activists broke law but 'not pirates'

Warming ocean thawing Antarctic glacier

WATER WORLD
Economic rewards of better land management

Swedish team hope to create buzz in fight against bee deaths

Livestock is major contributor to global warming: UN

Modifying Rice Crops to Resist Herbicide Prompts Weedy Neighbors' Growth Spurt

WATER WORLD
Pakistan buries victims of new quake

Dozens missing as boats sink in South China Sea typhoon: Xinhua

Life among the ruins of Pakistan's earthquake

Pakistan quake survivors face long wait for aid

WATER WORLD
Ugandan officers court-martialed over alleged coup plot

Nigeria army says verifying credibility of new Boko Haram video

Mali rebels suspend talks with government: statement

Akgeria: Bouteflika seeks to outflank rival generals

WATER WORLD
Roma families face wholesale expulsion from France

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Your brain digitally remastered for clarity of thought

Findings in Middle East suggest early human routes into Europe




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. 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