Kelp found on the coast of Ireland may have survived some 16,000 years since the last ice age, scientists have discovered — and it could be crucial to understanding how marine plants deal with climate change long-term.
According to AOL News, the team from universities in Scotland, France and Portugal studied the genetic composition of a type of kelp known as oarweed from 14 sites in the North Atlantic and found three distinct clusters — one along North America’s Eastern Seaboard, one off Ireland and Scotland, and another around Brittany.
“As the ice sheets retreated from northern European shorelines at the end of the most recent ice age, oarweed distribution followed and recolonised the higher latitudes of the Atlantic,” said marine ecologist Dr Andrew Watt from Heriot-Watt University.
As a result, the oarweed found in Ireland and Scotland today, many millennia later, is “more closely related to populations in the high Arctic than to the Brittany cluster”.
Despite their unique characteristics, it’s hoped the genetic similarity between the three clusters can help marine science experts learn how plant life can bridge such extremes of climate change.
AOL News has more on the story HERE.