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The unknown freshwater inhabitants that reveal the secrets of Antarctica and Patagonia – mundoacuicola

The crustacean group lives almost every aquatic ecosystem and has attracted the attention of Chilean researchers (Mundo Acuícola).

Copepods, or so-called "super crabs", are surprised by their high resistance and adaptability to extremes. Nowadays, the white continent's terrestrial and freshwater fauna and South America are linked.

Its small dimensions do not hinder their distribution across the globe. These zooplankton are part of the marine and freshwater environment as well as the essential role in the food chain and indicate environmental changes. This is a group of crustaceans living in virtually every aquatic ecosystem and has attracted the attention of Chilean researchers.

Therefore, the Ministry of the Environment has published the record of 14 types of coffins from the Boeckella genus, which lives in Chile and Argentina on Patagonia, Antarctica and Antarctica. The work was carried out by researchers at the Ecology and Biodiversity Institute (IEB), Chilean University, Magallanes University, Costa Humboldt University and the British Antarctic Survey (UK) to facilitate research and democratize the Little Unconscious Freshwater Biodiversity.

"Antarctic ground or freshwater fauna is very rare and has been reduced compared to marine biodiversity, as there are no mammals, amphibians or reptiles, and there is only one species of birds. Moreover, many people believe that the whole continent is freezing but the widest variety of liquid water such as the fjords and lakes, where survivors live, "says Claudia Maturana, researcher at the Ecological and Biodiversity Institute. receives support from CONICYT and the Chilean Antarctic Institute for testing.

Although the Magellan and Antarctic lakes are generally oligotrophic, that is, they have little nutrients, they are different.

While Patagonia has a greater wealth of Boeckella species, only the White continent can be found Boeckella poppei. This is exactly the last race that brought up scientists to be the only invertebrate in the continental Antarctic, the Antarctic Peninsula and the ponds of the Antarctic Islands.

"Although the white continent has other freshwater copepods, Boeckella poppei This is the only type of cancer that has such a large presence in this area, "explains Maturana, who some days ago explained this work at the London Natural History Museum.

The main features of these animals include high resistance and adaptability. This arthropod has an intense red color that protects it from UV radiation and resides in extensive and deep lakes that connect with marine waters or with smaller and shallow ecosystems that feed on ice melting. Below 5 ° C and even below 0 ° C.

"This animal can remain in egg-like condition for years, as if it were hibernating to survive extreme conditions. For example, in the winter, frosty lakes in Antarctica will go to depth or reduce your metabolism in order to survive."

IEB researcher adds: "In 2012, a group of Chinese scientists analyzed the sediment from a lagoon near the Antarctic base and discovered viable eggs Boeckella poppei, who were 100 years old and could come out at any time. "

Did the whaling industry pull it?

At present one of the great questions is how Boeckella poppei some of the Antarctic ground and freshwater fauna.

"There is no certainty as to what happened when the continent passed over the last great glacier over 20,000 years ago. While some people have pointed out that everything went out, others thought some species survived through the shelter," says Maturana.

Considering that it has extensive spread across Antarctica, a Boeckella poppei this is a model for testing two earlier hypotheses.

The big question is whether your cops have installed the Earth's most southern continent on Patagonia or the Antarctic Islands or if you have survived in isolated places for the millennium ice age and climate change.

While a Boeckella poppei in the case of Antarctica and Patagonia, it would not be too fresh as it would exceed 20,000 years. In any case, it is not yet clear how these organizations are moving. Some possible explanations suggest that seagrass flying between the two continents may become vectors when these crustaceans are moved.

Another possible mechanism in the nineteenth century is the culmination of the whaling industry. The crew of the ships took fresh water from the Antarctic lagoon, which was stored for consumption and other uses. Therefore, when the tanks were transported or emptied by liquids, hunters of cetaceans were able to move the copepods to places where they had not previously been.

However, none of the theories has proven. "The populations of the Antarctic copepods were very intact and little intervened. We did not find a greater human impact," the scientist pointed out.

Despite the apparent "super sugar" properties, there is no clear idea of ​​the differentiation and adaptation mechanisms of the different ecosystems in which it lives. One example is that some have experienced a decrease in body weight and female fertility due to the lower availability of the Antarctic continent.

"Although the role of these animals has been studied as a sensor of climate change or as indicators of water quality, research on evolutionary patterns of freshwater fauna has been uncovered. It is therefore important to establish and inform Chile to learn more about freshwater biodiversity in large latitudes," Maturana.



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