Monday, 01 Oct, 2007 Environment

Antarctic Microbes to Tell about Past and Future of Climate Change


A new research, which was published in the Journal Science, states that the mystery of glacial history of Antarctica may be solved with the help of plants, mites, springtails and worms.

A team of scientists from Britain and New Zealand, outline that the history of the terrestrial plants and animal species living in Antarctica may not have links to current reconstructions of the former glacial ice extent, the roots of which go back more than 23 million years.

The Antarctica of today, due to global warming, is less than 1 percent ice-free. Scientists believe that throughout ice ages there was not enough ice-free land required for the continent's plants and animal species. In such conditions both plants and animal life were not able to survive and thus successfully evolve.

Despite this fact researchers state that a special long-term isolation, as well as evolutionary persistence along with an incredible ability to survive the changes of the global climate are rather a 'norm' than exclusion from the rules for the terrestrial world.

Pete Convey, who works for the British Antarctic Survey, outlined the fact that because groups of invertebrates, as well as plants and microbes inhabit only a small portion of a huge continent, most scientists did not take them into consideration seriously.

However recent discoveries and technical advances in the field of molecular biology and biogeography help scientists find that these plants and microbes are indeed very important for understanding the glacial history of our planet.

Pete Convey mentioned that the new study may contribute to answering the big global questions regarding the past and future climate change.

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