What can we learn from the world's oldest animal about our Oceans?
Researches from Cardiff University, UK conducted a study of the longest-living animal on Earth, the quahog clam. Researchers are gaining insights from the study into the history of our oceans.
Quahogs can live for over 500 years and researchers can learn a lot about the history of their native habitat in the North Atlantic Ocean by studying the chemistry of the growth rings of these particular animals. This is an amazing method, because Instrumental records of the oceans only span about 100 years.
“The results show that solar variability and volcanic eruptions play a significant role in driving variability in the oceans over the past 1000 years or so. Results also show that marine variability has played an active role in driving changes to Northern Hemisphere air temperatures in the pre-industrial era,” explained lead author Dr David Reynolds, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University.
These data therefore provides an invaluable archive of the natural state of the ocean system and the expression of anthropogenic change over the last 1000 years.
“If we continue to develop the most robust near-term predictions of future climate change we must continue to develop robust reconstructions of past ocean variability.” says Co-author of the study Professor Ian Hall, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
To learn more:
Read the Cardiff news release: Longest-living animal gives up ocean secrets