Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean temperature predicts spread of marine species

27.12.2006
Scientists can predict how the distance marine larvae travel varies with ocean temperature – a key component in conservation and management of fish, shellfish and other marine species – according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Most marine life, including commercially important species, reproduces via larvae that drift far along ocean currents before returning to join adult populations. The distance larvae travel before maturing, called dispersal, is directly linked to ocean temperature, the researchers found. For example, larvae from the same species travel far less in warmer waters than in colder waters, said lead author Mary O'Connor, a graduate student in marine ecology in UNC's curriculum in ecology and the department of marine sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Temperature can alter the number and diversity of adult species in a certain area by changing where larvae end up," O'Connor said. "It is important to understand how a fish population is replenished if we want to attempt to manage or conserve it."

Using data from 72 marine species, including cod, herring, American lobster, horseshoe crabs and clams, O'Connor and her colleagues developed a model that predicts how far larvae travel at a certain temperature. The predictions appear to hold for virtually all marine animals with a larval life cycle.

"We can apply this rule to animals without having to go out and measure every species," O'Connor said. "Our general model gives us a powerful new way to study larval movement with knowledge about ocean temperature, which is much easier to come by. With models such as this, we can see what large-scale changes in ocean temperature may mean for adult populations."

The study appeared online the week of Dec. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Knowing dispersal distance is a critical component for managing commercially important or invasive species, O'Connor said. "For many animals, the larval phase is the only chance for babies to get away from parents. Dispersal prevents inbreeding; for some species, this is a time to move from breeding ground to habitat where they'll mature," she said.

But less than 1 percent of larvae survive dispersal. They are consumed by predators, encounter harsh environments or never reach their destination and starve. For endangered species, survival of some animals may depend on whether offspring from parents in one protected area can get to another area where they are safe from harvest. "In warmer waters, marine protected areas may need to be closer together than in colder water, since in warmer water dispersal distances tend to be shorter," O'Connor said.

While a one degree increase in temperature at the ocean surface means larvae will travel a shorter distance in warm seas, the effect is more severe when temperatures are below about 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), O'Connor said. Along California's coast, sea surface temperature may warm from 53 degrees to 59 degrees Fahrenheit during an El Nino year, when a warm ocean current appears in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Larvae that travel 62 miles at 53 degrees Fahrenheit would disperse only 46 miles at 59 degrees.

"On the up side, shorter dispersal can mean greater survival because the larvae spend less time in the water, where they are at a high risk of death. On the down side, it could mean they won't travel as far and may not make it to their juvenile habitat," O'Connor said.

The researchers suspect temperature plays an important role in larval dispersal because metabolic processes in larvae are sensitive to temperature and similar among species. Consequently, larvae in cold waters develop more slowly and drift further before beginning their next development stage because colder temperatures cause sluggish metabolisms.

Becky Oskin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>