Ocean Acidification

Early life stages (veliger larvae) of the native Olympia osyter ( Ostrea lurida ). Photo: Eric Sanford.

Early life stages (veliger larvae) of the native Olympia osyter (Ostrea lurida). Photo: Eric Sanford.

Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR). The chemistry of the oceans is changing, creating growing threats to a variety of ecologically and economically important coastal species. In close collaboration with the labs of Professors Tessa Hill and Brian Gaylord, we are investigating the effects of ocean acidification on diverse coastal species in California including oysters, mussels, sea urchins, abalone, and other marine invertebrates. Our interdisciplinary research program combines the use of sensors to measure seawater chemistry with laboratory and field studies of the biological effects of ocean acidification. We also maintain active partnerships with shellfish growers committed to sustainable aquaculture in California, including the Hog Island Oyster Company and The Cultured Abalone Farm.

With our collaborators, current BOAR projects include:

(1) The Geography of Stress: We are evaluating how spatial variation in ocean acidification along the U.S. West Coast intersects with regional variation in the socioeconomic vulnerabilities of human communities that use shellfish. Funded by the Lenfest Foundation, California Ocean Protection Council, and California Sea Grant.

(2) Adapting Red Abalone Aquaculture for a Changing Ocean: Using laboratory rearing experiments at Bodega Marine Laboratory, we are testing the vulnerability of abalone larvae and juveniles to ocean acidification. Questions of interest include (a) whether populations of red abalone along the coast differ in their tolerance of low pH, (b) whether there are genetic signatures of resilience to ocean acidification, and (c) what strategies are available to commerical abalone farmers for maximizing sustainable production under future ocean conditions? Funded by NOAA and California Sea Grant.

(3) Effects of Seagrass Meadows on Estuarine Acidification: We are studying where, when, and how eelgrass beds affect seawater chemistry, and whether these meadows might help buffer estuarine ecosystems against the impacts of ocean acidification Funded by the California Ocean Protection Council and California Sea Grant.

Selected Publications

Swezey, D.S., J.R. Bean, T.M. Hill, B. Gaylord, A.T. Ninokawa, and E. Sanford. 2017. Plastic responses of bryozoans to ocean acidification. Journal of Experimental Biology 220: 4399–4409.

Chan, F., J. A. Barth, C. A. Blanchette, R. H. Byrne, F. Chavez, O. Cheriton, R.A. Feely, G. Friederich, B. Gaylord, T. Gouhier, S.Hacker, T. Hill, G. Hofmann, M.A. McManus, B.A. Menge, K.J. Nielsen, A. Russell, E. Sanford, J. Sevadjian, and L. Washburn. 2017. Persistent spatial structuring of coastal ocean acidification in the California Current System. Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-02777-y

Kroeker, K.J.,  E. Sanford, J.M. Rose, C.A. Blanchette, F. Chan, F.P. Chavez, B. Gaylord, B. Helmuth, T.M. Hill, G.E. Hofmann, M.A. McManus, B.A. Menge, K.J. Nielsen, P.T. Raimondi, A.D. Russell, and L. Washburn.  2016. Interacting environmental mosaics drive geographic variation in mussel performance and predation vulnerability. Ecology Letters, doi: 10.1111/ele.12613

Sanford, E., B. Gaylord, A. Hettinger, E.A. Lenz, K. Meyer, and T.M. Hill. 2014. Ocean acidification increases the vulnerability of native oysters to predation by invasive snails. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences Series B 281: 20132681

Pespeni, M.H., E. Sanford, B. Gaylord,  T. M. Hill,  J. D. Hosfelt,  H. Jaris, M. LaVigne, E. A. Lenz,  A. D. Russell, M. K. Young,  S. R. Palumbi.  2013.  Evolutionary change during experimental ocean acidification.  Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 110(17):6937–-6942.

Hettinger, A., E. Sanford, T.M. Hill, A.D. Russell, K.N. Sato, J. Hoey, M. Forsch, H.N. Page, and B. Gaylord.  2012.  Persistent carry-over effects of planktonic exposure to ocean acidification in the Olympia oyster. Ecology 93: 2758–2768.