, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 363-370
Date: 15 Oct 2010

Temperature-driven biogeography of the deep-sea family Lithodidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura) in the Southern Ocean

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Abstract

Species’ distributions are dynamic and are linked to the changing physical environment. Temperature is considered to be a major factor influencing biogeography, especially in ectotherms such as the family Lithodidae. Lithodids are rare amongst decapods in their ability to inhabit the higher latitudes of the Southern Ocean; however, they are usually found in locations where water temperature is above 0.5°C. This study, for the first time, provides a baseline indication of the limits of the lithodid distribution around Antarctica, which will be instrumental in any future work on range extensions in this group. The distribution of lithodids is likely to change as temperatures along the West Antarctic Peninsula continue to rise, and range extensions by durophagous predators, such as the lithodids, are regarded as a potential threat to the unique structure of Antarctic continental-shelf ecosystems.