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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • James P Barry
  • (831) 775-1726
Award Date:07/09/2014
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 466,857
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 466,857
  • FY 2014=$466,857
Start Date:07/15/2014
End Date:06/30/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Ocean Acidification: Collaborative Research: Interactive effects of acidification, low dissolved oxygen and temperature on abalone population dynamics within the California Current
Federal Award ID Number:1416877
DUNS ID:178341772
Program:CRI-Ocean Acidification

Awardee Location

Street:7700 SANDHOLDT RD
County:Moss Landing
Awardee Cong. District:20

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Street:7700 Sandholdt Road
City:Moss Landing
County:Moss Landing
Cong. District:20

Abstract at Time of Award

Ocean acidification is increasingly recognized as a significant driver of change in marine ecosystems. In particular, ecosystems in eastern boundary current systems, including the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), routinely experience upwelling driven low pH, low dissolved oxygen (DO) waters in shallow near shore habitats, and these occurrences have been increasing in magnitude and duration over the past decade. The goal of this project is to study the consequences of ocean acidification and other climate-related changes (dissolved oxygen(DO), temperature) in oceanographic conditions on near shore marine communities over a large scale oceanographic gradient in the CCLME. Understanding how the effects of ocean acidification combined with other climate-related changes on individual marine organisms or life stages will cascade to populations and the services they provide is a high priority for science, management, and policy. By integrating the results of oceanographic field measurements and laboratory experiments in a demographic and bio-economic modeling framework, the present project will advance our understanding of the role of oceanographic variability on the dynamics of marine populations and fisheries. In particular, this research will provide key insights regarding the interactive influences of simultaneous changes in pH, DO, and temperature on nearshore populations and fisheries. By investigating the effects of multiple stressors on coastal marine ecosystems, the project will allow us to better anticipate possible ecological and fishery impacts of increasing frequency and/or intensity of low pH and low DO events. A deeper understanding of the linkages among ocean acidification, coastal oceanographic processes and the health of nearshore marine ecosystems in the CCLME will inform adaptation strategies for future ocean conditions. The project will also train high-school, undergraduate and graduate students, and early-career fellows in basic and applied research on ocean acidification. The research program will implement a novel individual- to population-level approach to specifically investigate how the direct effects of ocean acidification, alone or in combination with low DO and temperature, on two model species of great ecological and commercial relevance, red and pink abalone, will manifest at the population level, and ultimately, the services these species provide to humans. Researchers will: 1) measure and characterize the temporal variability of pH, DO and temperature in nearshore abalone habitat in Monterey Bay, Central California, and Isla Natividad, Mexico, particularly in relation to the duration and intensity of extreme low pH, low DO events, under alternative scenarios of future climate change, 2) conduct laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of low pH, low DO conditions on the reproductive success, growth, calcification, and survival of juvenile red and pink abalone, and 3) develop demographic and bio-economic models to estimate the impacts of environmental and local anthropogenic stressors on the resilience of abalone populations and to assess what management and conservation strategies, including the implementation of networks of marine reserves, may contribute to buffering the negative effects of increased frequency and/or intensity of low pH and low DO events expected under near-future climate scenarios.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Barry, J., Graves, D., Kecy, C., Lovera, C. Okuda, C., Boch, C. "Chasing the future: how will ocean change affect marine life?" Oceanography, v.30, 2017, p.60. 

Lord, Joshua P. and Barry, James P. "Juvenile Mussel and Abalone Predation by the Lined Shore Crab Pachygrapsus crassipes" Journal of Shellfish Research, v.36, 2017, p.. doi:10.2983/035.036.0122 Citation details  

Boch, Charles A. and Litvin, Steven Y. and Micheli, Fiorenza and De Leo, Giulio and Aalto, Emil A. and Lovera, Christopher and Brock Woodson, C. and Monismith, Stephen and Barry, James P. "Effects of current and future coastal upwelling conditions on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)" ICES Journal of Marine Science, v., 2017, p.. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx017 Citation details  

Lord, JP and Barry, JP and Graves, D "Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.571, 2017, p.. doi:10.3354/meps12148 Citation details  

Lord, J.P., Barry, J.P., Graves, D. "Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions." Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.,, v.571, 2017, p.1. doi:10.3354/meps12148 

Boch, C.A., Litvin, S., Micheli, F., De Leo, G., Woodson, B.C., Lovera, C., Monismith, S., and Barry, J.P. "Effects of current and future coastal upwelling conditions on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)" ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Counseil, v.74, 2017, p.1125. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx017 

Lord, J.P., Barry, J.P. "Juvenile Mussel and Abalone Predation by Lined Shore Crab Pachygrapsus crassipes," J. Shellfish Res., v.36, 2017, p.209. doi:10.2983/035.036.0122 

De Leo GA and F. MIcheli "The good, the bad and the ugly of Marine Reserves for fishery yields." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B., v.370, 2016, p.. doi:370:20140276. 

Lord, J.P., Barry, J.P. "Juvenile Mussel and Abalone Predation by Lined Shore Crab Pachygrapsus crassipes" J. Shellfish Res., v.36, 2017, p.209. doi: 

Boch, C. A, S. Litvin, F. Micheli, G. De Leo, E. A. Aalto, S. Monismith, C.B. Woodson, C. Lovera, and J. Barry. 2017 "Effects of current and future coastal upwelling conditions on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)." ICES Journal of Mar. Sci., v.74, 2017, p.1125. doi:doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx017 

Hamilton, S., Logan, C., Fennie, H., Sogard, S., Barry, J.P., Makukhov, A.D., Tobas, L.R., Lovera, C.F., Bernardi, G "Species-specific responses of juvenile rockfish to elevated pCO2: from behavior to genomics." PloS one, v.12, 2017, p.e0169670.

Lord, J.P., Barry, J.P., Graves, D. "Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions" Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., v.571, 2017, p.1. doi: 

Rossetto M, Micheli F, SaenzArroyo A, Espinoza Montes JA, Giulio A. De Leo "Notake marine reserves can enhance population persistence and support the fishery of abalone." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, v.72, 2015, p.1. doi:doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas20130623?src=recsys#.Vbrc7vlVhBc 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

A major goal of this project was to learn how variation in ocean conditions due to upwelling of deep waters along the California coast affects animal populations today and how this might change in the future. Winds along the California coast cause “coastal upwelling”, a process that upwells deep waters toward the surface. These upwelled waters are rich in nutrients that fertilize surface waters promoting growth of phytoplankton, the base of the food change for the very rich coastal ecosystem along California. However, these deep waters are also colder, lower in oxygen, and somewhat more acidic than surface waters. Exposure to these upwelled waters may be stressful for a variety of nearshore animals. Climate warming is affecting coastal upwelling, causing the deeper waters that are the source of upwelling to becoming warmer, but also lower in dissolved oxygen and more acidic. Will these changes have important impacts for coastal species?  

For our studies, we focused on red and pink abalone as “model” species that have similar life cycles to many invertebrate populations along this coast. Thus, we hope that results of studies of abalone will be relevant for many coastal species. We performed a variety of measurements and modeling (from oceanographic measurements to laboratory assays and computer models of abalone population changes) to determine how the combined effects of ocean changes may affect the life cycle and population success of abalone along this coast. 

Three major research efforts were brought together to make progress in understanding how changing ocean conditions will affect abalone and similar species. First, we used oceanographic sensors to measure variation in ocean conditions over time in several locations along the coastline, so that we have an understanding of the range in temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH (ocean acidity) experienced by abalone and other coastal species. We found that temperature, oxygen, and pH levels are highly variable on time scales as short as 1 hour; it is interesting that this high variation in ocean conditions is invisible to anyone walking along the shore, but is a strong signal in our sensors nearly every day. Second, we performed laboratory experiments using sophisticated aquarium systems that can mimic the type of ocean changes that occur daily off the coast. We were able to set a schedule for changes in oxygen, temperature, and acidity that was very similar to present-day conditions, as well as progressively more extreme conditions, as are expected to occur in the future.  We examined the effects temperature (warm or cold), oxygen (low to high), and pH (normal to toward more acidic) for different life history stages of abalone – different stages of invertebrate life off this coast may be more or less sensitive to environmental change.  For example, we found that fertilization of abalone eggs (obviously essential for population success) is not affected by changes in oxygen, but is impaired by ocean acidity lower than currently found along the coast – future waters may cause a problem for abalone.  However, warming seemed to offset the negative influence of more acidic waters.  Larval development, another key phase of abalone life cycles, was not impaired by the existing range of variation in ocean conditions.  However, as exposure to deeper water increases from a few hours to over half or more of the day, survival of larvae declined. More importantly, when exposed to more intense conditions expected in the future (i.e., lower oxygen, increased acidity, and warmer), survival declined. Growth rates and shell development (calcification) were also reduced under future conditions.  Our third theme has been to develop population models that take into account all of the oceanographic and biological data to predict how abalone popuations will fare in the future under increasingly different oceanographic conditions.  These models incorporate the oceanography (e.g., variation in temperature, oxygen, pH, and currents) as well as key rates from biological studies (e.g., fertilization rates, the number of eggs for various sizes of female abalone, growth, and other factors) to predict whether the population will thrive or not. In addition, the models help identify key factors that have a disproportionate influence on population success – for example, it turns out that the survival and growth of early juvenile abalone is more important for the success of the population than how successful fertilization may be.  

Overall, we advanced the level of understanding of the range and scales of variation in ocean conditions associated with coastal upwelling, the sensitivity of key parts of abalone life cycles to the combined effects of changes in oxygen, temperature, and ocean acidity, and how these changes may lead to shifts in the successful growth and maintenance of abalone populations along this coast.  


Last Modified: 09/29/2018
Modified by: James P Barry

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