This video is called Scott of the Antarctic centenary: Retracing his infamous Terra Nova expedition.
Antarctic Creature’s Growth Rate Mysteriously Doubles
by Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 22 February 2011 Time: 03:58 PM ET
Small filter-feeding animals that look like branched twigs collected more than a century ago from Antarctica‘s Ross Sea reveal a mysterious increase in how fast the modern-day animals have been growing over the past two decades.
While the researchers can only speculate the cause right now, the amped-up growth makes the tiny organisms carbon collectors, potentially a positive thing for climate change.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott is best known as head of the second expedition to reach the South Pole, and who, with his team, died on the return trip in 1912. But unlike other polar explorers, he also made a variety of high-quality scientific collections, said David Barnes, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey. [Gallery: Scientists at the Ends of the Earth]
“Now that people are very interested in change in the polar regions, those specimens have become incredibly valuable as the only source of information at that time,” Barnes told LiveScience.com.
These included samples of the tiny animals, a species of bryozoan called Cellarinella nutti, collected with data on the longitude, latitude and depth, Barnes said. Like trees, these creatures produce annual growth rings, giving researchers a window into how growth rates may have changed over time.
Scott’s specimens, along with others, allowed Barnes and his collaborators to compare growth rates for the creatures living on the floor of the Ross Sea from 1890 to 2008.
Like corals, most bryozoans secrete calcium carbonate to form their hard exoskeletons as they grow. The team found that growth rates, or the calcium carbonate each specimen acquired per year, remained roughly constant from 1890 through 1970, although there was a great deal of variability in the 1950s and 1960s. The next available data, from the 1990s to 2008, showed the bryozoans’ growth rates doubled, so the animals were adding twice as much calcium carbonate per year.
The animals are most likely growing because more of their food – marine algae called phytoplankton – is available for longer periods, allowing them to consume — and grow — more, Barnes said. However, it’s not clear why phytoplankton blooms are lasting longer in the Ross Sea, he said.
Redescription of some bryozoan species described by J. Jullien from Iberian waters: here.
The Great White Silence – review of film about Scott: here.
Scott of the Antarctic anniversary to focus on science, not the sideshow: here.
Scott’s own Antarctic expedition photographs published for first time: here.
On August 9, 2011, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this view of a similar band of brown between the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland shore. Though it’s impossible to identify the species from satellite imagery, such red-brown streamers are usually trichodesmium. Sailors have long called these brown streamers “sea sawdust.” Trichodesmium, a form of cyanobacteria, are small, usually single-celled organisms that grow in the ocean and produce food through photosynthesis like plants: here.
Scientists recently announced the discovery of a missing evolutionary link — a fossil of the first known member of the modern bryozoans to grow up into a structure: here.