Carbon Emissions may Lead Sea Snails to Lose their Extraordinary Jumping Ability

SnailsA team of international researchers has come up with findings to suggest that rising carbon dioxide emissions are likely to make sea snails lose their brilliant ability to jump. Sea snails are known to jump to escape their predators.

Dr. Sue-Ann Watson, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) and James Cook University, drew the conclusion after conducting a study in which they observed the conch snail. Dr. Watson said that it was seen during the study that exposure to the levels of carbon dioxide projected for end of this century led conch snails either stop jumping or take longer to jump.

He added that disruption occurs in a particular neurotransmitter receptor in the snail's nervous system because of exposure to increased carbon dioxide and ocean acidification levels. As a result, delays occur in vital decision-making to escape.

This poses a threat on the population of the species because not having such jumping ability makes them vulnerable to the poisonous dart of its slow-moving nemesis which is the marbled cone shell.

Saying that the effects may be enormous, he added, "Altered behaviors between predators and prey have the potential to disrupt ocean food webs". Similar effects have been seen by scientists in fish because of increased carbon emissions.