Methane-snacking crabs suggest they are adapting to climate change: report

Crabs that have a normal diet of a type of plankton have been seen munching on methane-filled bacteria off British Columbia’s coast in what experts say could be their way of adapting to climate change.

VICTORIA — Crabs that have a normal diet of a type of plankton have been seen munching on methane-filled bacteria off the B.C. coast in what experts say could be their way of adapting to climate change.

Researchers with Oceans Networks Canada, a program of the University of Victoria and Oregon State University, discovered the snow crabs using other food sources because their main meal may be disappearing with a warmer climate.

A Tanner crab is seen at 1,250 metres below the surface at Barkley Canyon in the northeast Pacific Ocean in a June 2016 handout photo. A new study from the University of Victoria shows tanner crabs feasting and snacking on methane-filled bacteria in the deep seafloor bed, which scientists say may be an adaptation to climate change. Ocean Networks Canada / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The crabs were previously thought to exclusively eat phytoplankton and researchers say this is the first evidence that a commercial species is finding some of its nutrition from other food sources.

Senior scientist at Oceans Networks Canada and the study’s co-author Fabio De Leo says by collecting these specimens, researchers can learn how a variety of sea-dwelling species are adapting to ongoing changes linked to climate change.

He says this shows the crabs’ diet is diverse and includes bacteria that processes methane and they may be able to adapt if their common food source becomes scarce.

Methane seeps are found on the ocean bed and support a variety of species including clams and mussels that rely directly on the energy provided by the seep bacteria.

Hundreds of crabs crawl over the seabed in strong currents, at 1,250 metres below the surface at Barkley Canyon in the northeast Pacific Ocean in a January 2015 handout photo. Ocean Networks Canada / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Источник: Vancouversun.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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