The coast is not clear

Sed­i­men­ta­tion is shrink­ing the di­ver­sity of species, im­pact­ing seafloor ecosys­tems

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE BYTES -

TEM­PER­A­TURES HAVE risen nearly five times as rapidly on the western Antarc­tic Penin­sula than the global av­er­age over the past five decades. Re­searchers have now found that melt­ing glaciers are caus­ing a loss of species di­ver­sity among ben­thos in the coastal wa­ters off the Antarc­tic Penin­sula, im­pact­ing an en­tire seafloor ecosys­tem. They be­lieve in­creased lev­els of sus­pended sed­i­ment in wa­ter to be the cause of the dwin­dling bio­di­ver­sity in the coastal re­gion. This oc­curs when the ef­fects of global warm­ing lead glaciers near the coast to be­gin melt­ing, as a re­sult of which large quan­ti­ties of sed­i­ment are car­ried into the sea­wa­ter. Sci­en­tists say some species are ex­tremely sen­si­tive to higher sed­i­men­ta­tion rates. Science Ad­vances, Novem­ber 13


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