C-CAN blog: Bodega ocean acidification research (BOAR)

PI: Tessa Hill, Brian Gaylord, Eric Sanford & Ann Russell


        Research Institution:            UC Bodega Marine Laboratory

        PI First name, Last name:      Tessa Hill, Brian Gaylord, Eric Sanford & Ann Russell 

        Phone:                                    (707) 875 1910

        Email:                                      tmhill@ucdavis.edu

       Project website link :



The Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR) group (Professors Hill, Gaylord, Sanford & Russell) at the University of California Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory is a major research collaboration addressing the impacts of acidification on coastal upwelling and estuarine ecosystems. Using an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the expertise of oceanographers, marine chemists, and ecologists, we combine moored, shipboard and coastal measurements of seawater chemistry with controlled laboratory and field studies of ecological responses in key species. BML is situated on Bodega Head, a rocky headland within a major upwelling center where the effects of acidification may be exacerbated.

To address changes in regional oceanography and seawater properties, we are using highly instrumented oceanographic moorings combined with broad scale coastal and intertidal measurements along the West Coast of the U.S. Our “coast wide” sampling transect includes 47 sites along the West Coast that are sampled 2x per year for a full suite of water chemistry parameters. At several individual sites along this transect, we are collecting higher resolution pH and water quality data. For example, an oceanographic mooring located offshore of BML has been continuously monitoring pH and pCO2 since November 2010.  This mooring is coupled with intertidal pH and water chemistry measurements at the shore on Bodega Head.

Nearby Tomales Bay is a 20 km long estuary that supports productive oyster aquaculture.  Like many estuaries in California, Tomales Bay receives fresh water inflow seasonally, with dramatic effects on pH. A second mooring to be deployed in Tomales Bay in 2011 will be combined with ongoing monthly oceanographic surveys (since 2009) to extend an existing historical record of water chemistry and understand the relative roles of climate and hydrology in influencing estuarine pH.

Utilizing these key oceanographic data collected along the California coast, we are addressing ongoing and future ecological impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying marine invertebrates that play critical roles in local ecosystems. Efforts to date have targeted the California mussel (Mytilus californianus), the Olympia oyster (Ostrea conchaphila), and the Purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). We are using a novel culturing facility at BML that allows us to raise larvae under elevated-CO2 conditions through the full pelagic period and into juvenile life.  We are especially interested in “carry-over” effects that originate from exposure during the larval stage, but influence subsequent growth and survival of benthic juveniles, themselves critical as population bottlenecks for adult demographics.

The BOAR group is dedicated to the training and education of future scientists in ocean acidification research. Through support of the National Science Foundation and the UC Multicampus Research Programs & Initiatives, BOAR is involved in the training of 7 graduate students and 2 postdoctoral fellows.

California Current Acidification Research web site.

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