NECAN Webinar Series: Recent & Upcoming

Below are the upcoming NECAN webinars on topics related to regional coastal and ocean acidification

Will Gulf of Maine populations evolve in the next century? Estimating the evolutionary response of blue mussels to multivariate climate stress Presented by Dave Carlon and Sarah Kingston, Bowdoin College: Coastal Studies Center. July 24, 2017

As the climate warms, the coastal ocean is changing rapidly along both physical and biological environmental axes. A key question for aquaculture and natural ecosystems is whether they will adapt to new environments by either physiological acclimatization or by natural selection. In most marine populations, we have very little information on the potential for natural selection because of the difficulty of applying classical techniques of quantitative genetics in wild populations. Fortunately, next generation sequencing approaches are providing insights and estimates of key genetic parameters, including the amount of genetic variation underlying key phenotypic traits that will be the targets of natural selection in the next 100 years. In this talk, we successfully apply a genome-wide association approach (GWAS) to determine the amount of heritable variation in the calcification rates of individual blue mussels (Mytilus edulis and Mytilus trossulus) under simulated, multivariate climate stress.  We identified at least one of potentially 2-10 genomic regions responsible for 30% of the phenotypic variation in calcification rates that are potential targets of natural selection by climate change. We conclude with a practical discussion of several statistical issues in applying this approach to other traits and other species in the Gulf of Maine. 

Visual tools for communicating complex ocean environment issues to diverse audiences Presented by Simone Alin, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. June 16, 2017

As a scientist studying ocean acidification, I am aware of linkages across many processes and stressors that occur in coastal and estuarine environments and may affect marine plants or animals that have economic, cultural, recreational, health, or food security significance to regional human populations.  I have also experienced the challenges of communicating to diverse audiences about these complex and interacting issues. Many of the topics involved may be abstract or too technical for many audiences and, further, occur in environments that many may never see or experience first-hand or close-up.  To facilitate communication, I partnered with the University of Washington Center for Environmental Visualization to create graphic representations of marine ecosystems, the processes and stressors that occur in them, and some of the pathways through which these may affect human socioeconomic interests.  During this presentation, I will walk the audience through the graphics we have created for U.S. West Coast ecosystems to illustrate iconic and economically important organisms in this coastal ecosystem, ecosystem linkages to humans, interactions between ocean acidification and select other stressors on the ecosystem and humans, and Federal management handles as they pertain to some of the iconic species in this region.  I welcome feedback from the NECAN community on how these visual tools may be made more useful and/or more accessible to broader user groups and audiences.

Exploring the effects of climate change on runoff and dissolved organic carbon exported by rivers to the Gulf of Maine Presented by Thomas Huntington, U.S. Geological Survey. January 25, 2017

Climate change in the Gulf of Maine (GoM) watershed during the period of historical observations is characterized by general trends towards increasing average annual surface air temperature, precipitation, and runoff.  Changes in wintertime precipitation and earlier snowmelt have resulted in trends toward earlier high spring flow and increasing runoff in winter.  There have also been increases in interannual variability in precipitation and runoff. Trends in hydroclimatic conditions have affected the amount and seasonal timing of the delivery of freshwater and associated dissolved organic carbon to the GoM.  Despite large interannual variability, all major rivers had increasing DOC export annually, with strongest trends during winter. Recent increases in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) export may be linked to declines in phytoplankton productivity in the GoM through “yellowing” of surface waters and consequent decreasing transparency in blue wavelengths.  Projections for DOC export during the 21st century indicated likely increases in DOC export in winter and decreases during summer.  This webinar reviews these hydroclimatic trends and their significance for DOC export to the GoM.

Developing an Atlantic Sea Scallop Integrated Assessment Model Presented by Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with contributions from Jennie Rheuban. December 1, 2016

Ocean acidification, the progressive change in ocean chemistry caused by uptake of atmospheric CO2, is likely to affect some marine resources negatively, including shellfish. The Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) supports one of the most economically important single-species commercial fisheries in the United States. In this talk, we describe an integrated assessment model (IAM) that numerically simulates oceanographic, population dynamic, and socioeconomic relationships for the U.S. commercial sea scallop fishery. The model assesses the relative effects of ocean acidification, temperature rise, fishing pressure, and socioeconomic factors on the fishery using a simplified model system. Starting with relationships and data used now for sea scallop fishery management, the model adds socioeconomic decision making based on static economic theory and includes ocean biogeochemical change resulting from CO2 emissions. A suite of future scenarios have been developed independently varying four model parameters that reflect the largest potential impacts on the industry as a whole under future conditions: climate change scenario, fuel costs, ocean acidification impact, and management level. The model results have been incorporated into a web-based “dashboard” that allows users to interactively explore the model results for the full range of scenarios.


Managing coastal acidification: The challenges and opportunities of using water quality criteria Presented by Aaron Strong, University of Maine: School of Marine Sciences. November 1, 2016

As awareness of both the potential socioeconomic impacts of coastal acidification and its multiple drivers has increased, there has been increasing attention to the policy tools that are available to state environmental managers to address ocean and coastal acidification. One of those tools is the use of the Clean Water Act's provisions for setting water quality impairment criteria. This question has recently been brought to the forefront of coastal acidification management discussions as a result of a series of suits against the EPA urging the development of such criteria for coastal acidification. Conversations among scientists, agency representatives and managers on both coasts about how to do this are on going. Can water quality criteria focused on acidification be developed with our current knowledge, and, if so, what would they look like? This webinar explores these questions and discusses their potential application in the Northeast.