SAMS scientists Kate Willis and Shona Magill recently spent two weeks at the Kings Bay Arctic Marine Laboratory, Ny Alesund investigating the thermal tolerance of Arctic copepods. The project was funded by The European Centre for Arctic Environmental Research (ARCFAC V), and while at Ny Alesund Kate and Shona were hosted by the Norwegian Polar Institute. This was the first time SAMS scientists have used the marine laboratory facilities at Kings Bay.
The location of the marine laboratory on the shore of Kongsfjorden, and the excellent experimental facilities, which include controlled temperature rooms and tanks, provided an ideal base for the project.
Copepods belonging to the genus Calanus were collected from Kongsfjorden and exposed to a range of temperatures for varying periods of time to investigate their thermal tolerance limits. The copepods will then be analysed using real-time PCR to measure the induction of heat shock proteins.
Calanus are the dominant herbivores in Arctic seas and play a key role in marine pelagic food webs. It is hoped that this project will progress our understanding of the physiological capability of Calanus to survive temperature stress, and ultimately improve our abillity to predict the consequences of global warming on their future distributions.