Archive for December 15th, 2011

Effects of climate change on fish reproduction and early life history stages

Seasonal change in temperature has a profound effect on reproduction in fish. Increasing temperatures cue reproductive development in spring-spawning species, and falling temperatures stimulate reproduction in autumn-spawners. Elevated temperatures truncate spring spawning, and delay autumn spawning. Temperature increases will affect reproduction, but the nature of these effects will depend on the period and amplitude of the increase and range from phase-shifting of spawning to complete inhibition of reproduction. This latter effect will be most marked in species that are constrained in their capacity to shift geographic range. Studies from a range of taxa, habitats and temperature ranges all show inhibitory effects of elevated temperature albeit about different environmental set points. The effects are generated through the endocrine system, particularly through the inhibition of ovarian oestrogen production. Larval fishes are usually more sensitive than adults to environmental fluctuations, and might be especially vulnerable to climate change. In addition to direct effects on embryonic duration and egg survival, temperature also influences size at hatching, developmental rate, pelagic larval duration and survival. A companion effect of marine climate change is ocean acidification, which may pose a significant threat through its capacity to alter larval behaviour and impair sensory capabilities. This in turn impacts on population replenishment and connectivity patterns of marine fishes.

Continue reading ‘Effects of climate change on fish reproduction and early life history stages’

Washington putting shellfish to work

Gov. Chris Gregoire has announced the Washington State Shellfish Initiative, which is intended to promote shellfish farming as a way to improve water quality.

As filter-feeders that sift contaminants and nutrients out of the water, shellfish are the perfect all-natural environmental clean up crew. Washington’s governor wants to put them to work.

“They help us make the water quality better so it’s a hand in hand operation,” she said at Taylor Shellfish. Gregoire was joined in making the announcement by Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Washington leads the nation in shellfish production but right now there are currently about 7,000 acres of tidal flats where shellfish harvest is prohibited because of contamination.

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Ocean Acidification: Corrosive waters arrive in the Bering Sea

You’ve probably read it before, some aspect of global warming is happening much faster, or sooner than anticipated by the scientific community. Well, this is one of three blog posts that continue in that vein. This time the bad news is corrosive seawater brought about by global warming’s evil twin – ocean acidification. Something once considered to be some decades away is already here, and may be killing marine life.

A number of recently published scientific papers (Feeley [2010], Pfister [2011], Mathis [2011a], and Mathis [2011b]) have revealed that, rather than being some far-off future threat, corrosive seawater (from ocean acidification) is making its presence felt, both in the coastal waters of the US/Canadian North Pacific, and the eastern Bering Sea. As well as putting the finishing touches on the struggling oyster farming industry in the US states of Oregon and Washington, ocean acidification is likely to seriously impact the valuable US fishing catch, almost 50% of which (by weight) comes from the Bering Sea.

Continue reading ‘Ocean Acidification: Corrosive waters arrive in the Bering Sea’

Faculty position in the UW School of Oceanography

The School of Oceanography at the University of Washington announces two full-time tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level with an anticipated start date of Fall 2012.  One of the areas of interest is:

Ocean Acidification: Applicants should have demonstrated expertise in ocean acidification and its consequences to marine organisms, ecosystems and/or biogeochemical cycles.
Continue reading ‘Faculty position in the UW School of Oceanography’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book