First report of Laternula elliptica in the Antarctic intertidal zone
Many Antarctic marine invertebrates are considered to be highly stenothermal, subjected to loss of functionality at increased temperatures and so at high risk of mortality in a rapidly warming environment. The bivalve Laternula elliptica is often used as a model taxon to test these theories. Here, we report the first instance L. elliptica from an intertidal site. Genetic analysis of the tissue confirms the species identity. A total of seven animals ranging in length from 6 to 85 mm were collected from 3 × 0.25 m2 quadrats of intertidal sediments at St Martha Cove on James Ross Island, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Ambient temperatures of 7.5 °C within the sediment and 10 °C (air) were recorded. This raises questions as to the current perception that “many Antarctic marine invertebrates cannot adapt to higher temperatures”.