Polar Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 363–370 | Cite as

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

Original Paper


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.


Cold adaptation King crab Predators Climate change Polar ecosystems Biogeography 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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