To piggy back on Peter’s ice sheet-o-mania posts today, Marsha Walton reports at CNN.com what it means to the animal life in the Antarctic when an ice shelf collapses:
” Another warming ocean event that scientists are studying closely is the migration of king crabs. Marine remotely operated vehicles have captured photos of these giant crabs on the Antarctic Slope, where underwater land starts to rise up to the southernmost continent.
It’s the first time in tens of millions of years that these predators have appeared that close to Antarctica.
Crabs and other marine invertebrates die when the water is too cold, because they cannot flush magnesium out of their systems. But even slightly warmer seawater allows the animal to regulate that element.
McClintock says that if these new predators keep moving, they could wipe out other Antarctic species. Snails, brittle stars, sea spiders and some marine worms have evolved without armor and other protections they would need to survive alongside the king crab.”
Yay!! Crab cakes for all! I hope global warming helps out the lemon trees too…