Testing multiple climate stressors at the cold range limit of a marine calcifier

Coastal marine ecosystems have been identified as a particularly high risk from global climate change. Laboratory mesocosm experiments with model organisms can be useful in elucidating the effects of multiple climate change stressors on marine species. Here I examine the combined effects of marine heatwaves (MHWs) and ocean acidification (OA) on early embryonic development of the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata taken from its cold (northern) range limit in the Northwest Atlantic. I observed additive effects of MHWs and OA on developmental rates, with rates enhanced by MHWs and hindered by OA as compared to ambient conditions. Hence, MHWs mitigated a negative effect of OA on development of the species at its cold range limit. My results provide an improved understanding of how MHWs and OA can combine to affect the sensitive early life-history stages of calcifying marine invertebrates and may be useful in predicting future shifts in species distributions.

Bojorquez C. R., 2020. Testing multiple climate stressors at the cold range limit of a marine calcifier. MSc thesis. Montclair State University. p34. Article.

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