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Reduced oxygen at high altitude limits maximum size

Peck, L.S.; Chapelle, G.. 2003 Reduced oxygen at high altitude limits maximum size. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 270 (Supplement). S166-S167. 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0054

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Abstract/Summary

The trend towards large size in marine animals with latitude, and the existence of giant marine species in polar regions have long been recognized, but remained enigmatic until a recent study showed it to be an effect of increased oxygen availability in sea water of a low temperature. The effect was apparent in data from 12 sites worldwide because of variations in water oxygen content controlled by differences in temperature and salinity. Another major physical factor affecting oxygen content in aquatic environments is reduced pressure at high altitude. Suitable data from high-altitude sites are very scarce. However, an exceptionally rich crustacean collection, which remains largely undescribed, was obtained by the British 1937 expedition from Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes at an altitude of 3809 in. We show that in Lake Titicaca the maximum length of amphipods is 2-4 times smaller than other low-salinity sites (Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0054
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Life at the Edge - Stresses and Thresholds
ISSN: 0962-8452
Additional Keywords: size limits, oxygen availability, gigantism, temperature, amphipod
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 22 Feb 2012 11:16
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12920

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