Temperature and Evolution: Southern Ocean Cooling and the Antarctic Marine Fauna

  • A. Clarke

Summary

Temperature can influence the physiology of marine organisms on a variety of time scales ranging from short-term fluctuations (tidal, vertical migration) to long-term climatic change. During the past 60 Ma shallow water marine organisms living at high southern latitudes around the margins of the continental fragments of Gondwana have experienced a decrease in mean seawater temperature from about 15°C in the early Tertiary to the present range of roughly + 2° to − 1.8°C. The early Cretaceous fauna around Gondwana was relatively rich and diverse. Despite the influence of glaciation the present fauna is rich in biomass and can show a very high within-site diversity. Some groups, however, notably fish and groups with calcareous skeletons such as bivalves and gastropods, are low in species richness. Evidence from physiology suggests that adaptation to low temperature is not a particularly severe evolutionary problem. The concept that the tropics are more equable than the polar regions is purely anthropocentric and entirely inappropriate for marine organisms. Polar organisms generally have a low cost of maintenance allowing higher growth efficiencies and thus affording a distinct energetic advantage over warmer water forms. Relating periods of extinction to a lowering of seawater temperature leads to a paradox in that the rates of cooling are so much slower (by several orders of magnitude) than those with which living marine organisms can cope, that it is difficult to see why previous marine communities could not adapt to track the change in temperature. One explanation is that altough a long-term change in mean temperature is often slow, this may be accompanied by severe short-term changes with which the fauna cannot cope. Also, it is unlikely that temperature change alone causes widespread extinction, but temperature varying with other ecological factors. If temperature change is indeed a problem then the direction is immaterial, climatic ‘amelioration’ is just as much a problem as climatic ‘deterioration’. Clearly physiology, ecology and palaeontology have much to teach each other.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnaud PM, Bandel K (1976) Comments on six species of marine Antarctic Littorinacea (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Tethys 8:213–230Google Scholar
  2. Arnaud PM, Jazdzewski, Presler P, Sicinski J (1986) Preliminary survey of benthic invertebrates collected by Polish Antarctic expeditions in Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica). Pol Polar Res 7:7–24Google Scholar
  3. Bosch I, Beauchamp KB, Steele ME, Pearce JS (1987) Development, metamorphos, and seasonal abundance of embryos and larvae of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri. Biol Bull 173:126–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke A (1982) Temperature and embryonic development in polar marine invertebrates. Int J Invert Repr Develop 5:71–82Google Scholar
  5. Clarke A (1983) Life in cold water: the physiological ecology of polar marine ectotherms. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 21:341–453Google Scholar
  6. Clarke A (1987 a) The adaptation of aquatic animals to low temperatures. In: Grout BWW, Morris GJ (eds) The effects of low temperatures on biological systems. Edward Arnold, London, pp 315–348Google Scholar
  7. Clarke A (1987 b) Temperature, latitude and reproductive effort. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 38:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke A (1988) Seasonality in the Antarctic marine environment. Comp Biochem Physiol 90B:461–473Google Scholar
  9. Clarke A (in press) What is cold adaptation and how should we measure it? Am ZoolGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarke A, Crame JA (1989) The origin of the Southern Ocean marine fauna. In: Crame JA (ed) Origins and evolution of the Antarctic biota. Geological Society, Spec Publ 47:253–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crame JA (1986) Polar origins of marine invertebrate faunas. Palaios 1:616–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dayton PK, Oliver JS (1977) Antarctic soft-bottom benthos in oligotrophic and eutrophic environments. Science 197:55–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dell RK (1972) Antarctic benthos. In: Russell FS, Yonge M (eds) Advances in marine biology, vol 10. Academic Press, London, pp 1–216Google Scholar
  14. Dietrich HW, Prasad V, Luduena RF (1987) Cold-stable microtubules from Antarctic fishes contain unique alpha tubulins. J Biol Chem 262:8360–8366Google Scholar
  15. Eastman JT, Grande L (1989) Evolution of the Antarctic fish fauna with emphasis on the Recent notothenioids. In: Crame JA (ed) Origins and evolution of the Antarctic biota. Geological Society, Spec Publ 47:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Foster RJ (1974) Eocene echinoids and the Drake Passage. Nature 249:751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Graus RR (1974) Latitudinal trends in the shell characteristics of marine gastropods. Lethaia 7:303–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hardy P (1972) Biomass estimates for some shallow-water infaunal communities at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Surv 31:93–106Google Scholar
  19. Harrington RJ (1986) Growth patterns within the genus Protothaca (Bivalvia: Veneridae) from the Gulf of Alaska to Panama: palaeotemperatures, palaeobiogeography and palaeolatitudes. PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 235 ppGoogle Scholar
  20. Ivleva IV (1980) The dependence of crustacean respiration on body mass and habitat temperature. Int Rev Ges Hydrobiol 65:1–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jablonski D, Lutz RA (1983) Larval ecology of marine benthic invertebrates: palaeobiological implications. Biol Rev 58:21–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jazdezwski K, Jurasz W, Kittel W, Presler E, Presler P, Sicinski J (1986) Abundance and biomass estimates for benthic fauna of the Admiralty Bay, King George Island, South Shetland Islands. Polar Biol 6:5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnston IA (1985) Temperature adaptation of enzyme function in fish muscle. In: Laverack MS (ed) Physiological adaptations of marine animals. Society for Experimental Biology (The Company of Biologists), Cambridge. Symp Soc Exp Biol 34:95–122Google Scholar
  24. Kennett JP (1977) Cenozoic evolution of Antarctic glaciation, the circum-Antarctic Ocean, and their impact on global paleoceanography. J Geophys Res 82:3843–3860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lawver LA, Sclater JG, Meinke L (1985) Mesozoic and Cenozoic reconstructions of the South Atlantic. Tectonophysics 114:233–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Levinton JS (1988) Genetics, palaeontology and macroevolution. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Lipps JH, Hickman CS (1982) Origin, age and evolution of Antarctic and deep-sea faunas. In: Ernst WG, Morin JG (eds) The environment of the deep-sea (Rubey Vol II). Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, pp 325–356Google Scholar
  28. Lowry JK (1975) Soft bottom macrobenthic community of Arthur Harbour, Antarctica. Antarct Res Ser (American Geophysical Union) 23:1–19Google Scholar
  29. Nicol D (1967) Some characteristics of cold-water marine pelecypods. J Palaeontology 41:1330–1340Google Scholar
  30. Picken GB (1985) Marine habitats — benthos. In: Bonner WN, Walton DWH (eds) Antarctica. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 154–172Google Scholar
  31. Powell AWB (1960) Antarctic and Subantarctic Mollusca. Auckland Inst Mus Recs 5:117–193Google Scholar
  32. Richardson MD (1976) The classification and structure of marine macrobenthic assemblagies at Arthur Harbour, Anvers Island, Antarctica. PhD Thesis, Oregon State University, 142 ppGoogle Scholar
  33. Richardson MD, Hedgpeth JW (1977) Antarctic soft-bottom macrobenthic community adaptations to a cold, stable, highly productive, glacially affected environment. In: Llano GA (ed) Adaptations within Antarctic ecosystems. The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, pp 181–196Google Scholar
  34. Schopf TJM (1984) Climate is only half the story in the evolution of organisms through time. In: Brenchley PJ (ed) Fossils and climate. John Wiley, Chichester, pp 278–289Google Scholar
  35. Scott GK, Fletcher GL, Davies PL (1986) Fish antifreeze proteins: recent gene evolution. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 43:1028–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sidell BD, Johnston IA, Moerland TS, Goldspink G (1983) The eurythermal myofibrillar protein complex of the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus): adaptation to a fluctuating thermal environment. J Comp Physiol 153:167–173Google Scholar
  37. Stanley SM (1984) Marine mass extinctions: a dominant role for temperature. In: Nitecki MH (ed) Extinctions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 69–117Google Scholar
  38. Stehli FG (1968) Taxonomie diverstiy gradients in pole location: the recent model. In: Drake ET (ed) Evolution and environment. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 163–227Google Scholar
  39. Stehli FG, Douglas RG, Newell ND (1969) Generation and maintenance of gradients in taxonomie diversity. Science 164:947–949PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stehli FG, McAlester AL, Helsley CE (1967) Taxonomic diversity of recent bivalves and some implications for geology. Bull Geol Soc Am 78:455–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Strong AE (1989) Greater global warming revealed by satellite-derived sea-surface-temperature trends. Nature 338:642–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Taylor JD, Taylor CN (1977) Latitudinal distribution of predatory gastropods on the eastern Atlantic shelf. J Biogeogr 4:73–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Taylor PD (1988) Major radiation of cheilostome bryozoans: triggered by the evolution of a new larval type? Hist Biol 1:45–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Valentine JW (1973) Evolutionary paleoecology of the marine biosphere. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 511 ppGoogle Scholar
  45. Valentine JW (1984) Climate and evolution in the shallow sea. In: Brenchley PJ (ed) Fossils and climate. John Wiley, Chichester, pp 265–277Google Scholar
  46. Voß J (1988) Zoogeographic and Gemeinschaftsanalyse des Makrozoobenthos des Weddellmeeres (Antarktis). Berichte zur Polarforschung 45:145 ppGoogle Scholar
  47. White MG, Robins MW (1972) Biomass estimates from Borge Bay, Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Surv 31:45–50Google Scholar
  48. Yaldwyn JC (1965) Antarctic and Subantarctic decapod Crustacea. In: Van Meighem J, Van Oye P (eds) Biogeography and ecology in Antarctica. Monographiae Biologicae 15, Junk, The Hague, pp 323–332Google Scholar
  49. Zinsmeister WJ, Feldmann RM (1984) Cenozozic high latitude heterochroneity of southern hemisphere marine faunas. Science 224:281–283PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Clarke
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations