Giant lobsters from rising greenhouse gases?

New research shows that if carbon emissions soar, we could end up with super-sized lobsters. But you’ll have to strap that bib on fast; the jumbo lobsters probably wouldn’t last for long.

A new study published in the journal Geology shows that if carbon dioxide emissions reach extreme levels, the changes in the world’s oceans might result in lobsters 50 percent bigger than normal.

Lobsters can take carbon from the water and use it to build their exoskeletons, says marine geologist Justin Ries, who oversaw the study. The theory, he tells NPR’s Guy Raz, is that lobsters are able to convert the extra carbon into material for building up their shells.

Ries is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. To conduct the study, his team built several tanks to hold marine life, and simulated high-CO2 environments at the rates predicted for 100 years from now, 200 years from now and beyond.

12 December 2009, Article and audio.

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