On the coast of British Columbia, some crabs survive oddly. Usually, their diet should consist of plankton, but these crabs have also been seen munching on bacteria filled by methane. According to scientists, this might be their way of adapting to the changes in the climate. In short, these crabs adapt to climate change by feeding on methane. Sounds weird but the scientists have an explanation for that.
Researchers at Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria and Oregon State University, looked into other food sources to discover groups of snow crabs because the organisms these creatures are used to eat might migrate to other regions due to global warming.
Previously, researchers believed that crabs only eat phytoplankton, but they provide evidence that some species can survive by feeding on some more bizarre sources of nutrients.
Crabs Feed on Methane To Adapt To Climate Change
Fabio De Leo, the co-author of the study and the senior scientist at Ocean Networks Canada, says that crabs might have the ability to adapt if they will no longer be able to find their typical food. In addition to that, he also mentioned that researchers could learn, by collecting these specimens, how the ongoing changes linked to climate change are making a variety of sea-dwelling species adapt.
“There are other mobile species, not only crabs but fish species that are commercially harvested. We’re excited to start tracking other food webs to see if we find the same signature,” said De Leo.
De Leo said that crabs can now ingest methane thanks to the creative way they found to adapt to climate change. In the fissures on the ocean bed, there are methane seeps where some bacteria that process methane live. The crabs were feeding on these bacteria, and it is a fascinating fact to see what they need to do to survive climate change. Such bacteria are also the “meal” of other marine species such as mussels and clams.