King crabs dive deep to avoid hot water | india | Hindustan Times
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King crabs dive deep to avoid hot water

Higher temperatures near the ocean's surface propel king crabs to deeper waters, with the result that they are found near the surface only off the coasts of Japan, Alaska, and western Canada, scientists have found. Around 100 species live in the deep.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2009 17:22 IST

Higher temperatures near the ocean's surface propel king crabs to deeper waters, with the result that they are found near the surface only off the coasts of Japan, Alaska, and western Canada, scientists have found. Around 100 species live in the deep.

Sally Hall and Sven Thatje from the University of Southampton discovered that at temperatures of around one to four degrees Celsius, these crabs thrive, living and growing very slowly, probably to very old ages.

Only in the cooler water of the north Pacific are king crabs found near the surface. Temperatures found around some parts of the Antarctic (below one degree Celsius) are too extreme for their survival.

Elsewhere, they have to dive deep to get to the water between one and four degrees Celsius, which explains their scattered distribution.

"It seems that most shallow-water representatives of this family are trapped in the coastal regions of the North Pacific because the higher sea surface temperatures further south prevent them from reproducing successfully and spreading," said Thatje.

"Understanding their evolutionary history and ecology is key to supporting sustainable fisheries of these creatures," said research student Sally Hall.

These findings were published in the Journal of Biogeography.