April 22 2015

12:00 LSB 2320

This seminar is sponsored by the departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Robert Eagle
European Institute of Marine Sciences

Cross-disciplinary approaches to understand the response of marine organisms to changing oceanic conditions in a high CO2 world Cross-disciplinary approaches to understand the response of marine organisms to changing oceanic conditions in a high CO2 world


Whilst much of the focus on the impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is on climate change, it is becoming widely recognized that CO2 uptake by the oceans has the potential to have major impacts on marine life and global biogeochemical cycles. CO2 uptake perturbs the oceanic carbonate system, resulting in a lowering of seawater pH and impacting calcification in organisms that precipitate calcium carbonate shells or skeletons such as corals, coccolithophorids, and mollusks. Impacts are not limited to calcium-carbonate producing organisms, with changes in the behavior and activity of many taxa reported, ranging from cyanobacteria to fish. In addition to pressures on individual species and associated ecosystems, the impacts of ocean acidification on global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen may be significant, as might effects on the production of compounds relevant to cloud nucleation in the atmosphere such as phytoplankton-derived dimethyl sulfide. It has become clear, however, that the responses of marine organisms to high CO2 conditions are complex, with negative, threshold, and positive growth responses to ocean acidification observed during short-term experiments. Here I describe a series of projects my research group is undertaking that utilize elements of geochemistry, cellular biology, and functional genomics to try to understand these diverse responses. This work includes experiments aimed at better understanding the role internal regulation of pH in marine calcifying organisms plays in determining their responses to acidified seawater, understanding potential adaptive responses to high CO2 in long-term multi-generational culture experiments, and developing new imaging techniques to detect subtle and contemporary effects of ocean acidification. Designing experiments to better simulate the response of organisms to changing ocean environments will aid in the development of more accurate projections of impacts on individual species, ecosystems, ocean-related industries, biogeochemical cycles, and the earth system.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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