Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saving space

16.11.2006
Latitude's not enough

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!
Further information:
http://www.esa.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>