Alaskan seashells reveal a changing Arctic

Read the full story from the University of Chicago.

Climate change results in warmer ocean temperatures, melting glaciers and more extreme weather patterns. Scientists have also observed its effects on the clams, snails, worms, crabs, urchins, starfish and more living on and in the deep seafloor off Alaska, as the ecosystem shifted from arctic to sub-arctic within the last few decades.

Now, scientists at the University of Chicago and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences have found that seashells from these creatures show the same major regime change in Alaskan waters, where the ecosystem has shifted from arctic to sub-arctic within the last few decades. It is the first time that anyone has tracked ecosystem changes through seashell samples alone—and scientists hope it will offer a new tool to track climate change in regions where animal populations haven’t been documented as fully.

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