SOCAN webinar: “Effects of Elevated CO2 on the Early Life-Stages of Marine Fishes and Potential Consequences of Ocean Acidification”, 21 April 2015

Presented by R. Christopher Chambers, Research Fishery Biologist, NOAA Fisheries, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Highlands, New Jersey

Date & time: Tuesday, 21 April 2015, 12:00pm ET

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Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the acidification of Earth’s oceans are due largely to absorption by seawater of excess, atmospheric CO2 from fossil-fuel combustion. Evidence available about CO2 effects on fish suggests that effects differ across species and perhaps populations, and may interact with other stressors. Further, these differences may also be associated with life-history strategies, habitat use, and parental exposure. Today’s webinar summarizes experimental work from the NOAA Howard Laboratory on the effects of high CO2 on two species of flatfish from the NW Atlantic, winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, and summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, that differ in life history and habitat. Overall, winter flounder displayed increased fertilization success and embryonic survival with increasing CO2 and decreasing temperature. The responses of winter flounder varied with the source of adults (Mid-Atlantic Bight, MAB vs Gulf of Maine, GOM) with offspring of GOM origin more tolerant to elevated CO2 than those from the MAB, but less tolerant to warmer water. Summer flounder exhibited reduced fertilization and embryonic survival with elevated CO2 and colder temperature. Population and species differences in early life-stage responses to elevated CO2 may influence the adaptation potential and persistence of these species at predicted levels of near-future climate change.

Chris Chambers is a Fisheries Ecologist at the NOAA Fisheries’ Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Sandy Hook, NJ, where he leads the Life History and Recruitment Group. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University (Zoology) where he worked on ecological interactions in two different temporary freshwater habitats (pond-breeding amphibians and treehole-breeding mosquitoes). His research on marine fisheries began with a post-doctoral position at McGill University where he spent summers in Newfoundland working with capelin, flounder, and cod, and continued while on staff at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre where he conducted modeling studies with colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Since joining NOAA in 1996, Chris has primarily used experimental approaches to investigate questions about the role of the environment and parentage in production, recruitment, and population dynamics of marine fishes important to the mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the USA. He is involved in multiple projects ranging from ecology to toxicology to modeling, and is currently the PI on a multi-year study on biological responses of finfish to ocean acidification funded by NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program. He has a strong commitment to education and outreach activities, and has served as a mentor to over 100 graduate, undergraduate, and high school students.

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