Ice age survival relied on volcanoes - study

  • 15/04/2014

A new study has brought scientists a step closer to understanding how life survived the ice ages.

According to the research, geothermal areas like volcanoes were havens for life and acted as refuges for plants and animals.

Australian and Kiwi researchers were involved in the study, which looked at the paradox of why we have enormous biodiversity of Earth despite ice ages, which should have wiped most of it out.

AUT Institute for Applied Ecology director Steve Pointing says the scientists used Antarctica as a model system, because it has both glaciers and volcanoes.

"By modelling contemporary biodiversity around volcanoes and away from volcanoes, they were able to conclude that actually, [volcanoes] acted as sanctuaries for life during ice ages."

When the ice melted, life was able to "radiate out again and recolonise areas that were previously frozen".

In other science news, climate change is having unpredictable effects on the ocean ecosystem and humans are on the way to causing the extinction of the Hanain gibbon.

Watch the video for the full interview.

source: newshub archive