Type of Presentation

Poster

Session Title

The Role of Eelgrass Ecosystems in the Salish Sea

Description

Zostera marina, or eelgrass, is a marine flowering plant species native to the estuarine coastlines of North America and Eurasia. The plants thrive in the cool, saline waters of Possession Sound and provide critical habitat for numerous species. Global declines in eelgrass populations and rising water temperatures threaten a crucial building block of a healthy marine environment. The decline in eelgrass abundance has been linked to anthropogenic influences and global climate change. The reproduction of eelgrass is sensitive to surrounding conditions; it is able to reproduce sexually and asexually. Students in the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), a dual credit program though Everett Community College, collect eelgrass samples from three locations in Possession Sound. Temperature data collected by a CTD deployed near one location demonstrates an increasing temperature average over the last five years. In 2010, the average yearly temperature was 10.32˚C, while 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 measured 9.88˚C, 9.89˚C, 10.41˚C, and 10.52˚C, respectively. In 2015, the average temperature increased by 1.12˚C, averaging 11.64˚C. It is hypothesized that higher temperatures in the water column will increase the occurrence of sexual reproduction, increasing the genetic diversity of the population. To determine if temperature changes have an effect on genetic diversity, eelgrass DNA samples will be extracted using methods from Integrated DNA Technologies and amplified through PCR. Nucleic Acid separation will be done by agarose gel electrophoresis and then analyzed.

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Temperature Trends and the Genetic Diversity of Eelgrass

2016SSEC

Zostera marina, or eelgrass, is a marine flowering plant species native to the estuarine coastlines of North America and Eurasia. The plants thrive in the cool, saline waters of Possession Sound and provide critical habitat for numerous species. Global declines in eelgrass populations and rising water temperatures threaten a crucial building block of a healthy marine environment. The decline in eelgrass abundance has been linked to anthropogenic influences and global climate change. The reproduction of eelgrass is sensitive to surrounding conditions; it is able to reproduce sexually and asexually. Students in the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), a dual credit program though Everett Community College, collect eelgrass samples from three locations in Possession Sound. Temperature data collected by a CTD deployed near one location demonstrates an increasing temperature average over the last five years. In 2010, the average yearly temperature was 10.32˚C, while 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 measured 9.88˚C, 9.89˚C, 10.41˚C, and 10.52˚C, respectively. In 2015, the average temperature increased by 1.12˚C, averaging 11.64˚C. It is hypothesized that higher temperatures in the water column will increase the occurrence of sexual reproduction, increasing the genetic diversity of the population. To determine if temperature changes have an effect on genetic diversity, eelgrass DNA samples will be extracted using methods from Integrated DNA Technologies and amplified through PCR. Nucleic Acid separation will be done by agarose gel electrophoresis and then analyzed.