Vulnerability of Antarctic marine benthos to increased temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change

Metadata record for data from AAS (ASAC) project 3134.

Ocean acidification and warming are global phenomena that will impact marine biota through the 21st century. This project will provide urgently needed predictive information on the likely survivorship of benthic invertebrates in near shore Antarctic environments that is crucial for risk assessment of potential future changes to oceans. As oceans acidify carbonate saturation decreases, reducing the material required to produce marine skeletons. By examining the effects of increased ocean temperature and acidification on planktonic and benthic life stages of both calcifying and non-calcifying ecologically important organisms, predictions can be made on the potential vulnerability of marine biota to climatic change.

Project Objectives:
This project aims to deliver one of the first assessments of the impacts that ocean warming and acidification through rising CO2 levels will have on Antarctic benthic marine invertebrates and of the adaptive capacity of common Antarctic biota to climate change. The developmental success of species that have a skeleton will be compared to those that do not under controlled conditions of increased sea water temperature and CO2. A comparison of the responses and sensitivity of developmental stages of calcifiers (echinoids, bivalves) and non-calcifiers (asteroids) to elevated CO2 and temperature will generate much needed empirical data for assessment of risk and adaptive capacity of Antarctica’s marine biota and will enable predictions of how benthic invertebrates will fare with respect to climate change scenarios.

Catalogue of Australian Antarctic and Subantarctic Metadata. Web site and more information.

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