Leslie Vegas' Media Review

Faurby, S., King, T.L., Obst, M., Hallerman, E.M., Pertoldi, C., and Funch, P. 2010. Population dynamics of American horseshoe crabs-historic climatic events and recent anthropogenic pressures. Molecular Ecology, 19: 3088-3100. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04732.x.

University of Gothenburg. "Climate Change Affects Horseshoe Crab Numbers." ScienceDaily 6 October 2010. 18 October 2010.

Horseshoe crabs are often considered to be living fossils due to the fact that they have remained unchanged for about the last 400 million years. A new scientific study tracked their population sizes in various regions over time and have come to the conclusion that there was a drop in the number of horseshoe crabs at the end of the Ice Age and that further negative changes could occur with the continuation of climate change. Horseshoe crabs are an important part of the coastal food chain and over-harvesting of them could contribute further to their population decline. They will not be able to recover from changes in the climate, especially if they are being overfished at the same time.

1) The news article claims that horseshoe crab populations are in decline. The main decline occurred right after the Ice Age, but new anthropogenic effects like overfishing are contributing to the decline. There is concern that future global warming trends will cause these horseshoe crab populations to continue to decline. Each of these claims is stated in the original paper.

2) There isn't a defined "Conclusions" section in the article, but a conclusion can be inferred from the results and discussion sections. The final results and conclusions are discussed in the article. The news article discusses the main points of the original paper - that the crab populations started declining around the time of the Ice Age, which may mean that future global warming processes may continue to cause their population to further decline.

3) The only uncertainty the scientific paper had was that their results from their site in Mexico showed a rise in population numbers. They thought that maybe this should be retested with more subjects or from more regions. The news article doesn't even mention this uncertainty, but it isn't really necessary to mention it because it didn't affect the overall conclusions of the study.

4) The broader implications of the study are that more climate change caused by humans (resulting in changes in sea level and water temperature) could cause the horseshoe crab population to continue to decrease. In addition, other populations of other organisms with similar fecundity will decrease as well. This is mentioned in BOTH the news article and the scientific article.

5) The scientific article wasn't really overturning any previous research. It did, however, add another factor to the research. It added the issue of fecundity to the analysis of the population decline. The news article didn't mention this addition, but it wasn't really an important part of the final conclusions of the article.

6) The news article does not provide any other side of the issue to argue with the conclusions and results of the scientific article.

Last modified: 18 October 2010