Marine Ecology

The world is changing, and these changes are impacting species’ survival and diversity. These impacts are increasingly apparent in marine ecosystems where climate change is altering peak seasonal reproduction and feeding as well as species distributions, thereby altering communities and ecological interactions. Climate change can also have evolutionary effects and is associated with heritable genetic changes that may mitigate the immediate effects of climate change. Understanding climate change’s ecological and evolutionary effects would improve our ability to forecast future global climate change effects and inform management decisions to thwart negative environmental impacts. One approach to understand the ecological and evolutionary effects of climate driven change is to take advantage of persistent oceanographic features such as coastal upwellings that generate sites that vary in temperature, nutrients, pH, and other parameters over spatial scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers and use these variable sites as a surrogate for future climate change impacted sites. Thus, understanding variable sites’ species diversity (using genomics, metagenomics, and analytical chemistry) and how this species diversity relates to upwelling or other environmental parameters will enhance our understanding of altered ecosystems. Furthermore, quantifying genomic variation among natural mussels’ (bivalve mollusks) populations within each site will provide information on a species’ capacity to adapt, its effective population sizes, and connectivity to other sites. Overall, our goals are to provide data that define species diversity and genetic variation among key ecological species inhabiting spatially variable ecological sites as a basis to predict future temporal changes associated with climate change.

*For more about this project, contact goran@bozinstitute.org

Investigator

Goran Bozinovic

Collaborators

Marjorie Oleksiak, Ph.D., and Douglas Crawford, Ph.D., Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, University of Miami

Keith Lombardo, Ph.D., National Park Service – Southern California Research Learning Center