The species is called Radiolaria, a microscopic one-celled organism covered in ornate glassy shells and graze on marine algae and bacteria. Different types of Radiolaria exist, and vary in weather locations. (Photo : Journal of Micropalaeontology)
Scientists have identified a species of marine protozoa living in the Arctic Ocean that may have traveled thousands of miles from warmer weather.
The species is called Radiolaria, a microscopic one-celled organism covered in ornate glassy shells and graze on marine algae and bacteria. Different types of Radiolaria exist, and vary based on weather locations.
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The study was in collaboration with teams in Norway, Russia, and the United States, and was published in the British Journal of Micropalaeontology.
Co-author O. Roger Anderson is a specialist in one-celled organisms at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and said when a discovery is made regarding tropical plankton, the issue of global warming always arises.
"It's important to examine critically the evidence to account for the observations," said Anderson. "All the evidence is that this isn't necessarily immediate evidence of global warming of the ocean."
Anderson added the Radiolaria, which is being referred as "invaders," came from the Caribbean before landing onto the north Atlantic by a warm Gulf Stream.
The authors mentioned the Radiolaria is closely related to well-dated fossils of foraminifera, a type of protozoa that has been found on the arctic seafloor. This aspect can suggest that warm-water plankton might have adapted themselves at least several times before, ranging between 4200 and 4100 BC, and again around 220, 370, and 1100 AD.
The discovery of the Radiolaria continues to be a topic of the change in ocean water temperatures. According to ScienceDaily, warmer-water species are being discovered cooler areas.
"A 2011 global study on the impact of climate change on fisheries says that many marine species are moving poleward or into deeper, cooler waters in response to warming--among other places, along the U.S. east coast, the Bering Sea, and off Australia," wrote ScienceDaily.com.
The University of Oslo Natural History Museum and fellow author in the published study, Kjell Bjørklund, said of the recent plankton in the Arctic, "This doesn't happen continuously -- but it happens."
Bjørklund said he and fellow researchers will be monitoring to find out if the Radiolaria will adapt or mingle with the native fauna.