Thursday, 6 June 2013

New Australian study: Marine algae species adapts to climate change, contrary to what was assumed until now

These algae have no problems adapting to possible global warming.
(image wikipedia)
A new Australian study shows that, contrary to what was assumed until now, marine organisms - in this case the algae commonly known as Neptune' s necklace - adapt well to possible climate change: 
Breakthrough research has shown a species of marine algae commonly found along Australia’s rocky shores may be able to adapt to increasing air and seawater temperatures, providing insight into the impacts of global warming on the future biodiversity of Australia’s coastline 
The ability of Hormosira banksii, commonly known as Neptune’s necklace, to tolerate higher temperatures suggests that this habitat-forming alga has an intrinsic capacity to cope with climate change. --
“Hormosira banksii makes an excellent model for examining the potential for marine organisms to adapt because it is an important intertidal species in Australia and New Zealand, providing habitat for many other species.
“These macroalgae cling to rock platforms and don’t have much ability to disperse, limiting the genetic diversity amongst populations. It was therefore assumed, until now, that they wouldn’t be able to adapt to changes in climate as they can’t move to avoid temperature changes and they are already living close to their thermal tolerances,” she said.
However, the research of Ms Clark and her C3 colleagues showed that temperature tolerance in this habitat-forming species can be passed on to the next generation, meaning they have the potential to adapt to rising temperatures. 
New plants may therefore be less sensitive to heat waves during the summer, or high temperature events during other seasons, giving the researchers some optimism that this iconic species will remain prominent on our rocky shores.
Read the entire article here

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