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News Picks : Icebergs are destroying Antarctic sea-floor ecosystems

By: Physics Today
Wed Jun 18 14:57:00 UTC 2014

Science: Icebergs off the coast of the west Antarctic Peninsula have been scraping the sea floor more than in the past, and that scraping has significantly disrupted local ecosystems. Global warming has reduced the amount of sea surface ice that forms each year, which in turn has allowed the icebergs into shallower areas nearer the shore. The damage was revealed by comparisons of the spatial distribution, diversity, and interactions between species for 1997–2013 and the mapping of sea-floor scourings caused by icebergs. The increasing frequency of icebergs scraping the bottom prevented many species from recovering from the habitat damage. A single species of a moss-like animal now dominates the area, which could make the region vulnerable to invasive species.

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