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

 

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Payout As Global Supply Shrinks

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the dairy processor which will announce annual earnings tomorrow, hiked its forecast payout to farmers by 50 cents per kilogram of milk solids as global supply continues to decline, helping prop up dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Results:

Meat Trade: Silver Fern Farms Gets Green Light For Shanghai Maling Deal

The government has given the green light for China's Shanghai Maling Aquarius to acquire half of Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's biggest meat company, with ministers satisfied it will deliver "substantial and identifiable benefit". More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news