Proposed Abstract Title

Using stress resiliency to guide the restoration of kelp beds in the Salish Sea

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Changes in Ecosystem Function and Climate Revealed by Long-term Monitoring in the Salish Sea

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Kelp beds are marine sanctuaries, providing some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet and serving as critical habitat and refuge for many integral species, including juvenile salmon. However, recent declines in kelp populations have been reported by several groups including fisherman and kelp harvesters in the Pacific Northwest. One concern is that these declines may be due to an increase in stressors such as rising ocean temperatures or acidification. Thus, if lost habitats are to be restored, populations that are resilient to these stressors are most likely to survive. We are identifying populations growing under the most stressful conditions by correlating satellite imagery with the relevant oceanographic data. Reproductive sori sampled from different populations will be tested for stress resilience in the lab. The responses of early developmental stages to temperature and pH stress will be evaluated in three ways: 1) the timing and percent of spores that form germ tubes will be determined 2) gametophyte growth will be measured 3) changes in the levels of molecular markers associated with viability and stress tolerance will be monitored in spores and during gametophyte/sporophyte development. The results from these assays should reveal which populations are the most stress-resilient, and hence more viable in the field. The latter will be tested by assessing growth and development at field sites, both in the short term (single growing season) and over multiple generations.

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Using stress resiliency to guide the restoration of kelp beds in the Salish Sea

2016SSEC

Kelp beds are marine sanctuaries, providing some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet and serving as critical habitat and refuge for many integral species, including juvenile salmon. However, recent declines in kelp populations have been reported by several groups including fisherman and kelp harvesters in the Pacific Northwest. One concern is that these declines may be due to an increase in stressors such as rising ocean temperatures or acidification. Thus, if lost habitats are to be restored, populations that are resilient to these stressors are most likely to survive. We are identifying populations growing under the most stressful conditions by correlating satellite imagery with the relevant oceanographic data. Reproductive sori sampled from different populations will be tested for stress resilience in the lab. The responses of early developmental stages to temperature and pH stress will be evaluated in three ways: 1) the timing and percent of spores that form germ tubes will be determined 2) gametophyte growth will be measured 3) changes in the levels of molecular markers associated with viability and stress tolerance will be monitored in spores and during gametophyte/sporophyte development. The results from these assays should reveal which populations are the most stress-resilient, and hence more viable in the field. The latter will be tested by assessing growth and development at field sites, both in the short term (single growing season) and over multiple generations.