According to a recent study in Ecological Monographs, predicting the impact of climate change on organisms is much more complicated than simply looking at species northern and southern range limits. Studying the ecologically important California Sea Mussel (Mytilus californianus), Brian Helmuth (University of South Carolina) and colleagues from the University of California - Santa Barbara, the University of British Columbia – Vancouver, and Oregon State University measured body temperatures of this mussel along most of its range, from Washington to Southern California.
"Mosaic patterns of thermal stress in the rocky intertidal zone: Implications for climate change," suggests that conserving areas based on a few similarities including location, may not be enough, as variations in temperature and other variables can turn what would seem like an ideal and "typical" environment into one that's decidedly different from nearby sites.
As global climate changes occur, "the role of organism temperature in driving species distribution patterns has assumed a further sense of urgency," say the authors.
Like terrestrial ectotherms (organisms that can not regulate their body temperature only through outside sources such as the sun), the body temperatures of intertidal invertebrates are driven by multiple factors in their environment. Solar radiation, wind speed, humidity, air and ground temperatures, along with the organisms' own shape, color and mass affect its body temperature.
"In many cases, science has a poor understanding of how physiologically relevant environmental factors vary in space and time. We know little of how 'climate' is translated into patterns of body temperature, especially at scales important to organisms," says Helmuth.
Mussel distribution and physiology is known to be negatively affected by high-temperature stress.
"The thermal environment must be considered from the perspective of the organism's interaction with the physical environment, as well as the physiological response of that organism to the environment," according to the study.
Spanning five years and almost 1000 miles (2000 km) the scientists explored how body temperatures change across latitudes, and the role of splashing waves on the mussels. Using sensors placed in several mussel-strong regions throughout the organisms' territory, the scientists were able to study the temperature changes the mussels experienced on a day to day basis, as well as on a yearly basis. They found that tides as well as wave action impact the temperature ranges the species experience, with varying tolerances depending on where the mussels live.
Helumth and his colleagues found several "hot spots," - areas warmer than expected - and "cold spots" - sites where daily minimal temperatures ran lower than other sites around the same latitude, creating a picture of complex thermal mosaics rather than simple latitudinal gradients.
Importantly, they found that animal temperatures were as hot at sites well within the species range as they were at sites far to the south, suggesting climate change may cause damage not just at range edges, where scientists usually look for such effects, but also at other "hot spots" well within species ranges.
"Our results stress the importance of examining patterns of environmental variables at levels relevant to the organisms, and in forecasting the impacts of climate changes across the species' range," state the researchers.
Annie Drinkard | EurekAlert!
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences