facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Loss of pteropods might be catastrophic

Feb. 19, 2008 at 8:45 AM   |   Comments

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. scientist says tiny creatures called pteropods might be at risk to climate change and their demise would be "catastrophic" to the ocean food chain.

University of California-Santa Barbara scientist Gretchen Hofmann said pteropods might be the "canaries in the coal mine" of climate change.

As Earth's oceans warm and become more acidic, ocean creatures including pteropods are undergoing severe stress, said Hofmann. Pteropods are tiny marine snails the size of a lentil that are eaten widely by many species that, in turn, are consumed by other animals, such as penguins.

"These animals are not charismatic, but they are talking to us just as much as penguins or polar bears," said Hofmann. "They are harbingers of change. It's possible by 2050 they may not be able to make a shell anymore. If we lose these organisms, the impact on the food chain will be catastrophic."

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, was presented during the weekend in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Watch India insert its Mars orbiter live online Watch India insert its Mars orbiter live online
2
Antarctic fish have antifreeze in their veins Antarctic fish have antifreeze in their veins
3
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
4
SpaceX breaks ground on commercial launch site in Texas SpaceX breaks ground on commercial launch site in Texas
5
Populist science: Pluto is a planet Populist science: Pluto is a planet
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback