VIDEO In hot and cold water: Life-history biology of the Antarctic Kiwaidae

In 2010, a UK-led expedition to the Southern Ocean revealed a community of deep-sea animals thriving around volcanic vents on the ocean floor near Antarctica. Among the many new species discovered, was the visually abundant yeti crab, Kiwa tyleri. As a result of local thermal conditions at the vents, these crabs are not restricted by the physiological limits that otherwise exclude reptant decapods from the cold stenothermal waters south of the polar front. Using a deep-sea remotely operated vehicle (ROV), research led by the University of Southampton reveals the adult life-history of this species by piecing together variation in microdistribution, body size-frequency, sex ratio, and ovarian and embryonic development, which indicates a pattern in the distribution of female Kiwaidae in relation to their reproductive development. These findings are published in the Journal of Animal Ecology (Marsh et al., 2015, In hot and cold water: differential life-history traits are key to success in contrasting thermal deep-sea environments).

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Leigh Marsh
University of Southampton
(twitter: @Leigh_Marsh)

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