Presentation Abstract

Quantifying large-scale climate impacts, ecosystem responses, and human pressures requires sustained ecosystem monitoring and data integration. The Salish Sea is influenced by oceanic processes and hydrological cycles on land. The interplay of processes across the land-ocean continuum benefits the Puget Sound ecosystem by extending the productive cold-water food web of the upwelling system off Washington’s coast into Puget Sound during summer while buffering water temperatures in winter. Circulation patterns that drive water exchange between Puget Sound and the ocean are responding to climate and the timing of river flows. Historically the freshet and coastal upwelling coincide in summer and allow the productive foodweb to thrive in Puget Sound. Recent years have seen warmer winters causing both earlier snowmelt and therefore reduced summer flows. This temporal separation of upwelling and the freshet results in reduced ocean water renewal, increased water residence time, warmer water, and amplified human impacts during summer. In winter, however, water exchange is increased and keeps Puget Sound water warmer by importing heat from the ocean. These effects combine and have potential ecosystem-wide implications. Coastal eutrophication indicators (large algae blooms, red tides, macro-algae, and jellyfish) are already common place in Puget Sound. These changes in the timing of circulation patterns and nutrient characteristics alter the base of the marine food web while expanding the winter range of cold sensitive species into Puget Sound. In this presentation we conceptually lay out mechanisms, spatial connectivity, observations and hypotheses connecting the dots of climate impacts across the land-ocean continuum and the combined effects on ecosystem processes.

Session Title

Transcending the Land-Ocean Boundary. Responses of Ecosystem Process to Climate and Human Impacts Across a Wide Spectrum of Processes, Habitats and Space

Keywords

Monitoring Salish Sea, Marine food webs, Puget Sound

Conference Track

SSE16: Long-Term Monitoring of Salish Sea Ecosystems

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE16-364

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS
 
Apr 5th, 1:30 PM Apr 5th, 1:45 PM

Recent and projected seasonal changes to river flows combine with human pressures to restructure the base of the marine food web in Puget Sound

Quantifying large-scale climate impacts, ecosystem responses, and human pressures requires sustained ecosystem monitoring and data integration. The Salish Sea is influenced by oceanic processes and hydrological cycles on land. The interplay of processes across the land-ocean continuum benefits the Puget Sound ecosystem by extending the productive cold-water food web of the upwelling system off Washington’s coast into Puget Sound during summer while buffering water temperatures in winter. Circulation patterns that drive water exchange between Puget Sound and the ocean are responding to climate and the timing of river flows. Historically the freshet and coastal upwelling coincide in summer and allow the productive foodweb to thrive in Puget Sound. Recent years have seen warmer winters causing both earlier snowmelt and therefore reduced summer flows. This temporal separation of upwelling and the freshet results in reduced ocean water renewal, increased water residence time, warmer water, and amplified human impacts during summer. In winter, however, water exchange is increased and keeps Puget Sound water warmer by importing heat from the ocean. These effects combine and have potential ecosystem-wide implications. Coastal eutrophication indicators (large algae blooms, red tides, macro-algae, and jellyfish) are already common place in Puget Sound. These changes in the timing of circulation patterns and nutrient characteristics alter the base of the marine food web while expanding the winter range of cold sensitive species into Puget Sound. In this presentation we conceptually lay out mechanisms, spatial connectivity, observations and hypotheses connecting the dots of climate impacts across the land-ocean continuum and the combined effects on ecosystem processes.