Back to the Antarctic: Has Climate Change Pushed King Crabs into Warmer Waters?

The National Science Foundation research vessel and icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer will serve as home to two UAB scientists, CJ Brothers and Margaret Amsler, for more than 20 days while they survey the floor of the ocean surrounding the South Pole. (Eli Duke/Wikipedia)University of Alabama at Birmingham PhD student CJ Brothers and UAB research associate Margaret Amsler are on their way to Antarctica, hoping to track the population status of king crabs.

It is believed that the crabs are moving up the Antarctic slope towards the Antarctic shelf as the waters around the southernmost content warm due to climate change.

"The concern is that king crabs don't like cold water, so we're a little bit worried that they have the potential to move up the slope, towards the shelf," and into a new ecosystem, Brothers told  "These crabs, they're like skeleton-breaking crabs, they feed on sea stars and things like that, so they have the potential to really change the ecosystem at the bottom of the ocean. . . . We're worried that as they move towards a new spot, they're going to be eating basically everything in their path."

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