07 May '12, 7pm

Antarctic Octopus Genes Contain Clues About Ancient Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse

Antarctic Octopus Genes Contain Clues About Ancient Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse

Adult Turquet's octopuses only move to escape from predators. This means they tend to stay put and don't travel very much at all. So the researchers expected octopuses from different regions of Antarctica to be genetically quite dissimilar. But to their surprise, they found that the genes from octopuses taken from the Weddell and Ross Seas, on the opposite sides of Antarctica, were startlingly similar. 'The Ross and Weddell Seas are completely separate: they're about 10,000 kilometres apart,' says Strugnell. 'So we expected the genetics of these octopuses to be quite different.' When the climate was much warmer, sea levels would have been substantially higher, because less water would've been locked up as ice. In this situation, the Ross and Weddell Seas could have been connected. 'Ocean currents would have both facilitated and hindered the flow of genes. But the Antarctic...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/antarctic-octopu...

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