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King crabs invade antarctica

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Geplaatst op 30 april 2011 - 18:05


ScienceDaily (Apr. 26, 2011) ó It's like a scene out of a sci-fi movie -- thousands, possibly millions, of king crabs are marching through icy, deep-sea waters and up the Antarctic slope

"They are coming from the deep, somewhere between 6,000 to 9,000 feet down," said James McClintock, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham Endowed Professor of Polar and Marine Biology.

Shell-crushing crabs haven't been in Antarctica, Earth's southernmost continent, for hundreds or thousands, if not millions, of years, McClintock said. "They have trouble regulating magnesium ions in their body fluids and get kind of drunk at low temperatures."

But something has changed, and these crustaceans are poised to move by the droves up the slope and onto the shelf that surrounds Antarctica. McClintock and other marine researchers interested in the continent are sounding alarms because the vulnerable ecosystem could be wiped out, he said.

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