Shell weights of marine snails are getting lighter
Tasmanian scientists are worried a microscopic marine snail species found in the Southern Ocean may soon die out due to climate change:
The scientists say it is field evidence that sea life in the Southern Ocean is being affected by warmer water, and if these snails die out it could have dire consequences on the ocean’s food chain.
They took an expedition deep into the Southern Ocean on board the Aurora Australis in February, and collected a number of microscopic marine snails.
The scientists have found the snails have dropped half their shell weight over the past decade.
Dr Donna Roberts says it is evidence that climate change is affecting sea life in the Southern Ocean.
“Many researchers have been assuming we would see this kind of result for the past 50 years and this is the first time we’ve got a measured response to the changing of the ocean chemistry,” she said.
“It’s interesting to know what’s going to happen to commercial fish that eat them because a change in their diet might mean a change in where they actually are living, so it’s not just we might loose one variety of snail it actually could change the whole eco-system of the southern ocean.
“That’s what we’re most worried about that it could completely upset our commercial fish stocks.”
UPDATE: Smoke haze from burnoffs pushed Tasmania close to breaching air safety standards last week.
In one 24-hour period, emission levels from the forestry regeneration and fuel-reduction burns “were approaching the standard”, state environmental management director Warren Jones told the Sunday Tasmanian.
Elevated particle levels had been detected in Launceston and Hobart on several days during the week.
A Sunday Tasmanian investigation into the smoke haze has revealed:
Between 5000ha and 7000ha is earmarked for forestry regeneration burns this season. About 70,000ha of the state’s forest was razed by wildfire in the past summer.
The smoke contains a mix of carbon monoxide, tar, ash, ammonia and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene.