Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Ocean Acidification in the Salish Sea

Description

Pteropods are pelagic marine zooplankton with seasonally high abundances in the Salish Sea, representing an important prey item for variety of economically, ecologically, and culturally important fish species. The thin aragonitic shells of pteropods begin to dissolve when exposed to corrosive undersaturated waters, making them extremely sensitive to ocean acidification conditions. Recently developed methods and interdisciplinary approaches have made it possible to quantify pteropod responses in the natural environment. Because pteropod shell dissolution is both rapid and specific with respect to ocean acidification conditions, measurement of shell dissolution provides a sensitive early warning signal and robust indicator for ocean acidification. We have developed an easy-to-use, cost-effective and rapid technique offering great potential for ocean acidification monitoring that the Washington Ocean Acidification Center is employing in Washington waters.

The ecological, cultural, and economic assets of the Salish Sea are highly vulnerable to the effects of OA. Monitoring biological effects can help us understand and respond to likely impacts. Results of our monitoring reveal severe cases of shell dissolution across multiple locations in Puget Sound that strongly correspond with the intensity of OA conditions in the natural environment. Shell dissolution varies temporally and spatially, but patterns of dissolution are comparable in space and time and can be used to identify seasonally important drivers of OA and vulnerable hot spots. Long-term monitoring of shell dissolution can provide insights into how changes at the individual lead to population level effects. We conclude with a discussion of the use of shell dissolution as biological criterion for water quality assessment to support management actions.

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Pteropod shell dissolution as an indicator for ocean acidification monitoring in the Salish Sea

2016SSEC

Pteropods are pelagic marine zooplankton with seasonally high abundances in the Salish Sea, representing an important prey item for variety of economically, ecologically, and culturally important fish species. The thin aragonitic shells of pteropods begin to dissolve when exposed to corrosive undersaturated waters, making them extremely sensitive to ocean acidification conditions. Recently developed methods and interdisciplinary approaches have made it possible to quantify pteropod responses in the natural environment. Because pteropod shell dissolution is both rapid and specific with respect to ocean acidification conditions, measurement of shell dissolution provides a sensitive early warning signal and robust indicator for ocean acidification. We have developed an easy-to-use, cost-effective and rapid technique offering great potential for ocean acidification monitoring that the Washington Ocean Acidification Center is employing in Washington waters.

The ecological, cultural, and economic assets of the Salish Sea are highly vulnerable to the effects of OA. Monitoring biological effects can help us understand and respond to likely impacts. Results of our monitoring reveal severe cases of shell dissolution across multiple locations in Puget Sound that strongly correspond with the intensity of OA conditions in the natural environment. Shell dissolution varies temporally and spatially, but patterns of dissolution are comparable in space and time and can be used to identify seasonally important drivers of OA and vulnerable hot spots. Long-term monitoring of shell dissolution can provide insights into how changes at the individual lead to population level effects. We conclude with a discussion of the use of shell dissolution as biological criterion for water quality assessment to support management actions.