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Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Great Barrier Reef Snail and Its Unique Defence Mechanism

 The Great Barrier Reef Snail and Its Unique Defence MechanismIn its defence mode, The Great Barrier Reef humpbacked conch snail jumps back when it senses its predator's odour. 
A new study has found that the snails will be able to keep on jumping, even at temperatures which will kill fish.
Together with a team of researchers from the James Cook University, Dr Sjannie Lefevre and Prof Goran Nilsson at the University of Oslo in Norway looked for the first time at the effects of increased temperature on the ability of the snail to deliver oxygen to tissues during jumping provoked by the predator odour. 

The researchers analysed resting and active jumping oxygen consumption rates in snails exposed to seawater at the normal temperature of 29 C and at the increased temperature of 34 C, projected to be reached during the next 100 years due to global warming. 
"We found that the snails increased their oxygen consumption 4-5 times during jumping. They were able to maintain this strong increase in oxygen uptake even when the seawater temperature was increased to 37 C - a temperature at which coral reef fish cannot even survive for a short time," Dr Lefevre said.

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