Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Climate Change
Madison P. Heard - California State University, Monterey Bay
Co-Author(s): Charles Boc and Jim Barry, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA
Global climate change is driving many shifts in ocean conditions, including: warming of surface waters that result in decreased mixing of the water column, and acidification of the ocean due to increased absorption of atmospheric CO2. These changes create potentially stressful conditions within marine ecosystems, and are projected to worsen throughout this century and beyond. Seasonal events known as upwelling bathe coastal regions in colder, nutrient-rich waters from deeper areas of the ocean. Due to the previously-mentioned shifts in ocean conditions, upwelling now also carries acidic and deoxygenated water to nearshore-coastal communities. To assess the impacts of current and future upwelling events, we selected the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) as a model organism. Few studies have been done to test the effects of simultaneous exposure to low pH and low dissolved oxygen (DO) on developing embryos. In this novel study, we measured the effects a multi-stressor event, such as upwelling, would have on development of CaCO3 dependent organisms, such as H. rufescens. We compared the developmental stages from fertilization until hatching for H. rufescens embryos through the exposure to two treatments (low pH/low DO and low pH/high DO) and a control of high pH/high DO. This experiment evaluates whether these potentially harmful conditions would slow and/or impede the transition from early development stages to free-swimming planktonic larvae. Findings suggests development in a low pH/low DO environment will slow hatching of H. rufescens embryos. Further NSF-funded research will analyze how settlement is impacted when continuously exposed to these detrimental environmental conditions.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to acknowledge the NSF Ocean Science's Division for providing funding to the CSUMB Ocean Sciences REU. With the support of this summer program, I was able to begin my career path as an emerging scientist.
Faculty Advisor: Jim Barry, Barry@mbari.org
Role: I was responsible for acquiring and providing care for the abalone that would be used in this experiment, preparing chemical mixtures that would induce spawning, collecting gametes during the spawning phase of our methodology, constructing and creating solutions to problems surrounding the experimental jars that would house the embryo population throughout the 24 hour developmental time period allotted, setting up a system to create 9 jars for each experimental condition (n=3), subsampling the population at each time point to quantify the percent developed in each jar, taking pictures of each of the 54 samples, counting over 5,000 embryos to gather data for statistical analysis, and typing a paper that explains all portions of my experiment for the REU program and research symposium.