Are the Q10 values of more than 1,000 reported for Antarctic seabed fauna realistic?

Jaap van der Meer*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalComment / Letter to the editorAcademic


    In a recent paper in Current Biology, Ashton et al. [1] describe the results of what they call the first ever experiment in which benthic assemblages are warmed to ecologically relevant levels in situ. West of the Antarctic peninsula, the authors employed heated settlement panels and studied the settlement and growth of pioneering species over a 5-month period at ambient temperature and at 1°C and 2°C above ambient. Such ocean temperature increases are expected within the next 50–100 years. They claim that the two most dominant species doubled their growth rate already at an increase of 1°C. They further state that this implies Q10 coefficients around 1,000, which is much higher than anticipated. This unpredicted result should, according to the authors, critically change our thinking of how polar communities might respond to ocean warming. Indeed, such extreme Q10 coefficients are a surprising result, and not in accordance with more than a century of laboratory or field research in temperate zones. Here, I will show that the claim is unsubstantiated and that the observed in situ growth-rate response to temperature of these Antarctic species is much weaker than claimed, and not very different from previous work in the temperate zone. Van der Meer argues that unexpectedly high temperature response of various Antarctic species, resulting in Q10s of more than 1,000, is due to an inappropriate data analysis by Ashton et al.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R1302-R1303
    Number of pages2
    JournalCurrent Biology
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2017


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