Health Editor’s Note: We have talked about the water bears, before in the Invincible Tardigrades. These remarkable and resilient creatures which can withstand extreme cold (minus 328 degrees F.) and highs of more than 300 degrees F., boiling, radiation, pressures of up to six times the pressure at the deepest section of the ocean, and space travel. They can live in such a state of dehydration that they can appear to be dead. Experiments on one of the several species of tardigrades has found that it does not survive well in its active state if the environment is in the high 90s over a period of time. Global warming will extend periods of heat and this appears to be injurious to the moss pigglet, at least to one of the 1,000 species of tardigrades….Carol
High Temperatures Might Be Water Bears’ Achilles Heel
by Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
Scientists have calculated that water bears could survive the water pressure at the ocean floor, the coldest corners of space, and the aftermath of an asteroid impact. A study in 2017 in Scientific Reports suggested that the only way to wipe out the eight-legged, microscopic might would be to boil away Earth’s oceans. But now, researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have identified a more immediate threat to tardigrades: a warming climate.
In a new study published this week in Scientific Reports, the researchers used a species of tardigrades found in their local gutters called Ramazzottius varieornatus and exposed them to high temperatures for up to 24 hours. The team was trying to find the creatures lethal temperature, or the point at which half of the tardigrades in the sample died.
So they turned up the heat and found that active tardigrades perished at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest temperature recorded in Denmark so far is about 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
“We had found their Achilles’ heel,” Ricardo Neves, lead author on the study and biologist at the University of Copenhagen, told Newsweek’s Hannah Osborne. “Tardigrades are definitely not the almost indestructible organism.”