Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Antarctic microbes demonstrate high tolerance

Antarctic microbes demonstrate high tolerance

Microbes have a high tolerance to environmental stress, research from Victoria University of Wellington has found, which is good news for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.


Dr Andrew Martin, from the School of Biological Sciences, has spent over a decade investigating microalgae and bacteria that live in the bottom layers of sea ice in Antarctica to understand how microbes might be affected by climate change.

Dr Martin and Dr Ken Ryan, also from the School of Biological Sciences, have set up incubation experiments that model future climate conditions, to explore how the bottom of the food chain will fare as sea ice continues to melt. Initial findings show that microbes are relatively robust to environmental change.

In one experiment, light-dependant microalgae that normally grow at minus two degrees Celsius, were incubated in the dark at four degrees. “They were completely fine. It was only when we got to unrealistic temperatures of 10 degrees that we saw a decline in performance.”

Microbes are crucial to the survival of many species, says Dr Martin, because they provide the start to the food chain in the ocean.

“Penguins, whales and seals make up very little of the overall organic matter in the ocean,” says Dr Martin. “If you took everything out of the Southern Ocean and put it on scales, 95 percent would be microbes.”

Although algae are extremely tolerant of various stressors, Dr Martin says human impact on the environment and increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make these conditions more challenging.

“We know there will be less sea ice in the future, and that may actually lead to more microbes in the open water. Although there’ll potentially be a larger food resource, it won’t be concentrated. In Antarctica it’s all about aggregations—if a food resource isn’t easily accessible, an ecosystem can become unbalanced.”

Dr Martin says that microbial tolerance to environmental stress is impressive. Exactly how that’s going to affect the future for Antarctic wildlife is a far greater mystery.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Statistics: Dairy And Travel Still Our Largest Export Earners

New Zealand earned $2.3 billion more from exports than we spent on imports during the year ended June 2015... total exports of goods and services were $67.5 billion, while total imports were $65.1 billion. More>>

ALSO:

Approval: Air New Zealand And Air China Launch New Alliance Route

Air New Zealand and Air China have today launched joint sales for a new daily direct service between Auckland and Beijing after receiving approval from New Zealand Minister of Transport Hon Simon Bridges to form a strategic alliance. More>>

ALSO:

Money Trading: FX Trader Jin Yuan Finance Warned Over Lack Of Monitoring

Jin Yuan Finance, an Auckland-based foreign exchange trader, has been warned over its lack of anti-money laundering processes in place in the first public notification by the Department of Internal Affairs. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Surge, Possible Peak: House Values Accelerate At Fastest Annual Pace In 8 Years

New Zealand residential property values rose at their fastest annual pace in eight years in August, pushed higher by overflowing demand in Auckland, which is showing signs speculators think it has reached its peak, according to Quotable Value. More>>

ALSO:

Cash Money: Reserve Bank Launches New $5 And $10 Banknotes

The $5 and $10 final banknotes were revealed at an event at the Bank in Wellington, and will start to be released from mid-October 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Truck Sales Booted: Commerce Commission Files Charges Against Mobile Trader

The Commerce Commission has filed charges against a mobile trader, or truck shop operator, claiming he obtained money from customers by deception and never intended to supply them with the goods they paid for. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news