Seminar – Climate change and global warming’s evil (?) cousin, ocean acidification: effects on metabolic performance in coral reef fishes

Friday 8 March 2013, 11.30am (Tas time)
CSIRO Auditorium, Hobart

Jodie Rummer
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
ARC Super Science Fellow (2011-present)
James Cook University

Climate change and global warming’s evil (?) cousin, ocean acidification: Effects on metabolic performance in coral reef fishes

Climate change models project – by the end of this century – tropical oceans will have increased in temperature by 2-3C due to global warming and become more acidic (pH decrease by >0.3) due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2. Tropical species, especially equatorial populations, are predicted to be most impacted because they may be adapted to a narrow range of temperatures in their local environment. Elevated temperatures and CO2 are suggested to impact marine ecosystems by decreasing the capacity for fish and other water-breathers to take up oxygen. Reductions in aerobic scope (the difference between resting and maximal oxygen consumption rates) result in less energy available for vital life-history processes such as growth and reproduction. In my talk, I will discuss two recently completed projects where I investigated the following:

1. The thermal optima for aerobic scope in equatorial populations of damselfishes and cardinalfishes in northern Papua New Guinea held at temperatures incorporating their existing narrow thermal range (29-31°C) as well as 33 and 34°C to include projected end-of-century conditions. Comparisons were made to high latitude populations of the same or sister species along the Great Barrier Reef.

2. The aerobic scope of one Great Barrier Reef species (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) when acutely (17d) exposed to control (451μatm CO2) or projected end-of-century CO2 conditions (946μatm CO2).

Understanding the variability among species and populations regarding the effects of temperature and CO2 on aerobic performance will be critical in predicting the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification on marine communities and ecosystems. Information derived from this research will also be imperative to identifying vulnerable geographic locations and species at risk in potential climate change “hot spots”, where extinction intensity could be the greatest.

Bio: Jodie is originally from the USA where she completed honours, BSc, and MSc degrees in Biology and Marine Biology in Illinois and Florida before moving to Vancouver, Canada to commence a PhD at the University of British Columbia. Her PhD research investigated oxygen uptake and delivery mechanisms in fish during stress, but she has also done extensive research on buoyancy, exercise, and oxygen and temperature stress. After a post-doctoral fellowship with Prof. David Randall in Hong Kong (2010-2011), she joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies at James Cook University as an ARC Super Science Fellow (2011-present) and is applying her broad research interests in conservation physiology. Jodie’s research aims to understand how evolutionary pressures have shaped physiological systems and the degree to which adaptation and acclimation to natural and environmental perturbations, such as anthropogenic climate change, can occur.

CSIRO = Marine Laboratories Auditorium, Castray Esplanade, Hobart

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. More information.

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