Snails in the Great Barrier Reef literally jump for their life to avoid predators. But will they be able to maintain these life-saving jumps, with rising sea temperatures? A new study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Valencia on July 5, shows that the snails will indeed be able to keep on jumping, even at temperatures which will kill fish.
The researchers analysed resting and active jumping oxygen consumption rates in snails exposed to seawater at the normal temperature of 29 °C and at the increased temperature of 34 °C, projected to be reached during the next 100 years due to global warming.
Dr Sjannie Lefevre said: “We found that the snails increased their oxygen consumption 4-5 times during jumping. They were able to maintain this strong increase in oxygen uptake even when the seawater temperature was increased to 37 °C – a temperature at which coral reef fish cannot even survive for a short time.”
Authors and title of poster: Sjannie Lefevre, Sue-Ann Watson, Philip L. Munday and Göran E. Nilsson. Global warming: Will Jumping Snails Prevail?
Contact: Clara Howcroft Ferreira
Society for Experimental Biology