Antarctic Lithodids (King Crabs): Climate Change and Threats to Antarctic Marine Ecosystems
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Anthropogenic climate change resulting in warming of global oceanic temperatures will likely allowthe entry of previously temperature-limited taxa onto the Antarctic shelf. Indigenous Antarctic shelfbenthos have evolved in isolation for millennia with the absence of durophagous (shell crushing)predators a significant factor in their 'archaic' Paleozoic character. The potential consequences of aninvasion by lithodids could have a devastating effect on the Antarctic shelf benthos, homogenisingthe ecosystem, contributing to the diminished global diversity of marine ecosystems. 14 species ofinvasive crab have already been recorded in Antarctic waters in previously unknown locations. Polarregions are considered particularly vulnerable in a changing climate and at risk from potentialinvasive species.
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