NECAN Sea Grant Webinar Series

The purpose of this webinar series is to highlight four projects funded through NOAA Sea Grant following the release of the NECAN paper published in Oceanography Magazine in 2015, "Ocean and Coastal Acidification off New England and Nova Scotia." The ocean and coastal acidification research and monitoring priorities which were defined in this paper were used by Sea Grant in a 2016 request for proposals and submissions from the University of Connecticut, University of Maine, and two from Stony Brook University were chosen and funded. These webinars will highlight each of these projects, their successes, challenges, and results. 

Gene Regulatory Response to End-Century Temperature and pCO2 in Post-Larval American Lobster

Wednesday October 9, 2019 at 1:00 PM ET
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Maura Niemisto, University of Maine

Anthropogenic carbon released into the atmosphere is driving rapid, concurrent increases in temperature and acidity across the world's oceans, most prominently in northern latitudes. The geographic range of the iconic American lobster (Homarus americanus) spans a steep thermal gradient and one of the most rapidly warming ocean environments. Understanding the interactive effects of ocean warming and acidification on this species' vulnerable early life stages is important to predict its response to climate change on a life stage-specific and population level. This study investigated the interactive effects of ocean warming and acidification on the gene expression response of the planktonic post-larval lobster from southern New England. Using a full factorial experimental design, lobsters were raised in ambient and elevated pCO2 concentrations (400 ppm, 1200 ppm) and temperatures (16°C and 19°C). Overall, we identified 1,108 transcripts that were differentially expressed across treatments, several of which were related to stress response and shell formation. When temperature alone was elevated (19°C), larvae downregulated genes related to cuticle development; when pCO2 alone was elevated (1200 ppm), larvae upregulated chitinase as well as genes related to stress response and immune function. The joint effects of end-century stressors (19°C, 1200 ppm) resulted in the upregulation of those same genes, as well as cellulase, and the downregulation of calcified cuticle proteins, and a greater upregulation in genes tied to immune response and functioning. These first results of the impact of varying conditions on larval lobster gene expression suggest the existence of mechanisms to respond to stressors resulting from a rapidly changing environment. 

Resilience to Ocean Acidification in Commercially Important Bivalves: Physiological Costs and Underlying Molecular Processes

Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 1:00 PM ET
Michelle Barbosa and Caroline Schwaner, Stony Brook University

Abstract coming soon!

Adaptation of Blue Mussels to Changes in Ocean Chemistry

Thursday December 12, 2019 at 1:00 PM ET
Dianna Padilla, PhD., Stony Brook University

Abstract coming soon!

The Unusual Sensitivity of Northern Sand Lance, a Keystone Forage Fish, to Acidification and Warming

Tuesday September 10, 2019
Hannes Baumann, PhD., University of Connecticut

Sand lance species play a key ecological role in most temperate to polar shelf ecosystems of the northern hemisphere, where they channel planktonic productivity upwards to higher trophic piscivores such as whales, seabirds, cod, and tuna. However, they have remained unstudied with respect to their sensitivity to predicted future CO2 levels in the ocean. For the past three years (2016 - 2018), we have sampled and spawned with northern sand lance (Ammodytes dubius) from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and subsequently reared their embryos under factorial CO2 x temperature conditions to hatch and early larval stages. Our results were striking, in all years, high CO2 conditions severely reduced embryo survival up to 20-fold over controls, with strong synergistic reductions under combined high CO2 and temperature conditions. High CO2 also delayed hatching, reduced remaining endogenous energy reserves at hatch, and in combination with higher temperatures, reduced embryonic growth. Indeed, given the observed effect sizes, northern sand lance might be the most CO2 sensitive fish species tested to date. This webinar will give a first-hand account of our work on sand lance, its results and implications for temperate to polar ecosystems, which may be among the most vulnerable to marine climate change.