Timing is Everything


A decade-long study on shrimp in the North Atlantic Ocean shows that climate change might claim yet another casualty. To survive, the shrimp evolved its mating habits so that their larvae hatch at the beginning of phytoplankton blooms during spring. The phytoplanktons are food for the shrimp. The spring bloom depends on the surface temperatures and sunlight while the hatching of shrimp larvae is dependent on the shallow bottom water temperatures. Any abrupt change in the temperature conditions would lead to disruption of the synchrony and threaten the shrimp populations. The study, published in the May 8 issue of Science, suggests that shrimp could serve as early indicators of changing climate.


Down To Earth, May 2009