Based on current trends for both air and water temperatures, by 2100 the body temperatures of California mussels -- found along thousands of miles of coast in the northeast Pacific Ocean and not just in California –- could increase between about 2 degrees F and 6.5 F depending on where they live.
A "robomussel," actually an intertidal temperature data logger, can mimic the thermal characteristics of an individual mussel and record temperature data at 10-minute intervals for up to seven months. Credit: University of Washington
For areas where mussels already are living close to the edge, chances are that increases of 6.5 F will kill them, researchers say.
Unlike humans, the body temperature of marine animals such as mussels is regulated by the temperature of the air and water around them –- and it’s not the simple 1-degree warmer and 1-degree rise in body temperature that has been assumed, says Sarah Gilman, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher and lead author of a paper appearing online June 5 through June 9 in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For the first time, Gilman and her co-authors show that even if the weather warms the air and water the same amounts in one area as another, the actual effect on mussel body temperatures can vary because of local climate. For example, in Washington, air temperature appears to be more important in driving mussel temperature while in southern California, water temperature is the more important factor.
"This is an important consideration for conservation biologists trying to understand how a species might handle global warming and to those proposing reserves in marine environments," Gilman says. "Protected areas will need to be in places where marine animals can live in the face of climate change."
In work funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, data loggers –- tiny computers with thermometers -– have been used to collect information in mussel beds. The data loggers, nicknamed "robomussels," record the temperatures being experienced by the surrounding mussels every 10 minutes for months at a time.
A new computer model described in the paper relates the collected data to meterological information researched by Gilman. Using the model and applying a moderate air temperature warming of 2.25 F across the California mussels’ range resulted in mussel body temperature increases ranging from just under 2 F to just over 2 F depending on the habitat. Modeling a more extreme air warming of 7.5 F by 2100 across the mussels’ geographic range resulted in body temperature increases ranging from about 4 F to 6.5 F. "We have only contributed ’step one,’ the tie between climate and body temperature," says co-author Brian Helmuth, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina. "With our model we can predict temperatures based on satellites and computer models of climate change. The next step is to work with physiologists to see just what body temperatures California mussels can handle.
"Unfortunately, from what we can tell so far, California mussels are likely already pretty close to the edge, at least at some places along the West Coast. Our study suggests that climate change may start to kill marine animals in some unanticipated places. However, we can use modern technologies such as remote sensing to forecast some of these impacts."
Intertidal habitats, places uncovered at low tide and flooded with water at high tide, have long served as models for investigating the effects of climate on species distribution and monitoring the consequences of climate change for natural ecosystems, write Gilman, Helmuth and another co-author David Wethey, professor of biological sciences at South Carolina. In the course of some low tides, intertidal organisms such as California mussels –- or Mytilus californianus -– may already experience temperatures near the maximum they can tolerate, so they are thought to be a good organism to watch for responses to climate change.
"The bottom line is, as humans, we tend to have this very biased view of the world and we forget that changes in air temperature, which tend to have only very small direct effect on us, can have huge effects on other species," Helmuth says. "This is especially true for species that have temperatures driven by the sun, wind and air temperature, much as the way your car heats up on a sunny day."
Sandra Hines | EurekAlert!
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy