From: British Antarctic Survey
Published September 5, 2017 11:37 AM

More losers than winners for Southern Ocean marine life

A team at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) examined the potential distribution of over 900 species of shelf-dwelling marine invertebrates under a warming scenario produced by computer models. They conclude that, while some species in some areas will benefit, 79% of the species native to the region will lose out. This has important implications for future resource management in the region.

An average warming of 0.4 of a degree is predicted by 2099, and whilst this warming will not be enough to allow any species from other neighbouring continents to invade or colonise Antarctica, it will cause the unique local species to change their distribution. More animals will lose suitable habitat than will gain it, with those animals especially adapted to the coldest water on Earth (for example in the Weddell and Ross Sea) losing out the most. Areas of the West Antarctic Peninsula may become too warm for many native species.

The seafloor animals of the Southern Ocean shelf have long been isolated by the deep ocean surrounding Antarctica and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, with little scope for southward migration.

Continue reading at British Antarctic Survey

Image: Some isopod crustacean species will win and some will lose by 2099

Image Credit: British Antarctic Survey

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