Effects of upwelling on red abalone

abalone_experiment

Acidification, hypoxia, and ocean warming are escalating threats in the world’s coastal waters, with potentially severe isolated and or chronic consequences for marine life and ocean-based economies. In particular, eastern boundary current ecosystems, including the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), are experiencing large-scale declines in pH and dissolved oxygen (DO)—with the latter linked to changes in thermal stratification and shoaling of the oxygen minimum zone. To examine the consequences of ocean acidification and other climate-related changes in oceanographic conditions on nearshore marine communities within the CCLME, we are exploring the potential effects of current and future upwelling-type conditions on the population dynamics of abalone populations, with a focus on sensitive early life history phases (e.g., fertilization, larval development, and juvenile growth and survival) expected to be important determinants of abalone population dynamics.

Our approach focuses on three objectives, including: 1) measure and characterize the temporal variability of pH, DO and temperature in nearshore abalone habitat in Baja California and in the Monterey Bay, 2) experimentally measure the effects of low pH, low DO conditions on the reproductive success, growth, calcification, and survival of juvenile abalone, and 3) estimate the impacts of environmental and local anthropogenic stressors on the resilience of abalone dynamics using demographic and bio-economic modeling by scaling up from individual to population level effects.

This NSF Ocean Acidification and Multiple Stressors project is an interdisciplinary partnership between Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, and University of Georgia.

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