May 26, 2009 | 7
Increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the world’s oceans may actually speed the growth of starfish, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results contrast with previous findings of global warming’s negative effects on the five-armed fish’s relatives.
“Mollusks, bivalves, clams and mussels respond negatively to increased carbon dioxide,” says Rebecca Gooding, a doctoral student in zoology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the paper. On the other hand, she says, compared to their invertebrate cousins, “starfish are growing faster, getting bigger faster, and they’re eating more.”
Nov 10, 2008
There are some unusual things living in the world’s oceans: A "city" made up of tens of millions of brittle stars (relatives of starfish) living on the peak of a seamount (see photo to the left), or underwater summit north of the Antarctic Circle; a huge, 16-inch (407 millimeter) long by quarter-inch (10 millimeter) wide mollusk, Chaetoderma felderi, discovered deep in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana; and enormous bacteria in the eastern South Pacific that may help clean polluted ocean floors, a concept known as bioremediation.
Those are just some of the 5,300 potentially new ocean species that scientists working on the Census of Marine Life have identified so far. The findings, released ahead of the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity that begins tomorrow in Valencia, Spain, are a preview of this upcoming census of aquatic life. Scientists estimate that the final tally of sea creatures will come in around 230,000.
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