WASHINGTON: The West Antarctic Ice Sheet -- one of the world’s major ice sheets, could collapse if global warming continues, scientists have warned after analysing the genetic evidence from an Antarctic octopus.
An international team, led by Dr Jan Strugnell from La Trobe University, has analysed genes of the Turquet''s octopus, which lives in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, the ''Molecular Ecology'' journal reported.
Dr Strugnell said: "We’re able to take advantage of much larger sample sizes than had been collected from Antarctica before. This presented us with a unique opportunity."
She said that adult Turquet''s octopuses don’t travel very much. They only move to escape from predators.
However, the scientists found that the genes from octopuses from the Weddell and Ross Seas, 10,000 kilometres apart and on opposite sides of Antarctica, are startlingly similar.
"Those two seas are completely separate, so we expected the genetics of these octopuses to be quite different," said Dr Strugnell.