Sunday, April 17, 2016

Research @ Otago - Kate Sparks

Kate is studying Antarctic starfish - What can they tell us about how polar marine life may adapt to a warmer world?

The Antarctic seas are among the fastest warming and acidifying waters on the planet, and the animals living there need to adapt - or face becoming vulnerable to extinction. Antarctic sea stars, which are important 'keystone' species in their ecosystems, can tell us a lot about the responses of polar marine species to ocean warming and acidification.

Kate checking out the seastar specimens in the lab at Scott Base

Kate Sparks has been working with the Antarctic cushion star to characterise the adaptive capacity and genetic variation within the wild population in response to warmer and acidified conditions. This is an important step in understanding the potential consequences of global ocean change on marine life in Antarctica.

Penguins - although not the species studied by Kate, they are very photogenic!

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