Climate Change

Climate-driven changes in upwelling, ocean mixing, oxygen minimum zones, and nutrient cycling are likely to affect the year-to-year variation in ocean ecosystem processes. These changes will potentially impact marine life and the fundamental underpinnings of fisheries from shallow to deep-sea habitats. MBARI’s technical achievements and knowledge are transforming climate change research with novel methods and technologies.

Rockfish tolerance of CO2 levels vary between species

A study conducted in MBARI’s state-of-the-art seawater laboratory determined that some species of juvenile rockfish find it harder to exert themselves in acidified seawater, but other species are more adaptable. Researchers found that copper rockfish raised in water with high concentrations of carbon dioxide swam slower and had a harder time exerting themselves than those raised in “normal” seawater. Blue rockfish, however, showed no significant behavioral or physiological effects under the same conditions.

“There is not a one-size-fits-all response among this closely related group of fishes. There will be winners and losers,” said Cheryl Logan, assistant professor at California State University, Monterey Bay. If some types of rockfish become more numerous and others disappear, this is likely to have ripple effects on other animals in Monterey Bay, as well as potentially negative effects on coastal fisheries and communities.

Related

Climate Change Projects

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Canadian Arctic 2016 Expedition

A group of MBARI scientists and engineers, led by geologist Charlie Paull, returned to the Beaufort Sea on a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker to study the Arctic seafloor.
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Respiration studies

The oxygen content of the entire world ocean is falling. To investigate the consequences of this largescale change, MBARI scientists are exploring a characteristic attribute of the oceanic water column in Monterey Bay called the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ).
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Sargasso Sea research

Sargassum macroalgal rafts in the Sargasso Sea are vital feeding and spawning grounds for pelagic fishes, seabirds, sea turtles and whales. How might changes in ocean conditions and Sargassum habitat impact rafting animals?
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Antarctic research

Global climate change is causing Antarctic ice shelves to shrink and split apart, yielding thousands of free-drifting icebergs in the nearby Weddell Sea. These floating islands of ice are having a major impact on the ecology and chemistry of the ocean around them, serving as “hotspots” for ocean life.
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Station M long-term time series

The Station M study is one of the most detailed investigations of any abyssal area in the world ocean. Over this 25-year study, we have continuously monitored the amount of sinking particulate matter through the benthic boundary layer.

Making an impact

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Climate Change

Climate-driven changes in upwelling, ocean mixing, oxygen minimum zones, and nutrient cycling are likely to affect the year-to-year variation in ocean ecosystem processes. These changes will potentially impact marine life and the fundamental underpinnings of fisheries from shallow to deep-sea habitats.
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Ocean Health

One of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s long-term goals it to restore the health and productivity of the world ocean, on which all live depends. MBARI research results have contributed to raising public awareness about the health and future of the ocean.
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Exploration and Discovery

Exploration inevitably leads to discovery. MBARI is uniquely positioned to explore the deep-sea realm and its connections with the ocean surface. Easy access to Monterey Bay’s deep submarine canyon provides a natural laboratory for scientific research and engineering innovation.