Dissolving Seas: The effects of ocean acidification and warming on temperate, coastal ecosystemsMay 23 2017
Collaborating with citizen scientists to monitor intertidal and subtidal communities in Acadia National Park for shifts in species composition, along with changes in ocean pH and temperature, to determine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on temperate, coastal ecosystems.
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We are just about to end two weeks of sampling and monitoring the rocky intertidal zone of the Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park. Eight citizen scientists from Los Angeles County high schools helped us sample quadrats and transects at 13 sites around the peninsula.
We are still working on the Robomussels, aka Shellborgs, and hope to have them in place soon.
In less than a month, I head to the beautiful Schoodic Peninsula for my 4th field season with citizen scientists from Los Angeles County (USA) high schools. We will continue our intertidal monitoring to track any change in community structure due to ocean acidification and warming.
This year we also hope to place "robomussels" at our field sites. These are are automatic temperature loggers placed inside real mussels shells to measure temperature the way critters experience warming at the scale they experience it. This will give us a more accurate and biologically-relevant indication of how intertidal critters experience ocean warming.
We will also be looking for sites for the OpenROV Trident, so we can be prepared if we are granted one (fingers crossed!)
The seas are dissolving. Thirty percent of CO2 emissions end up in the ocean causing ocean pH to drop. This is known as ocean acidification. And, of course, the oceans are also warming. Together, ocean acidification and warming, or OAW, is expected to have profound effects on marine life and ecosystems, including causing predators to lose their ability to find their prey to fundamental changes in ecosystem structure. The aim of this project is determine the effects of OAW on temperate, coastal ecosystems. In collaboration with citizen scientists, we monitor rocky intertidal communities in the Gulf of Maine at Acadia National Park for changes in species composition. We are also monitoring the pH, temperature, and salinity of the coastal ocean to determine if changes in community structure correlates with changes in ocean chemistry. Monitoring the intertidal zone, though, only tells part of the story. We also need to monitor subtidal communities. This would be done using the OpenROV Trident.
Another goal of this project is to engage the public, especially local communities and school children. Currently, we collaborate with citizen scientists on our intertidal sampling. With the OpenROV Trident, we will work with local schools to develop programming around this project and on marine conservation in general. Allowing students to see what’s underwater (and to help collect data), right of their coast, is a great way to excite them about the oceans, conservation, and science.