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Webinar: Climate Change May Alter Predator-Prey Arms Races

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Tuesday, 08 August 2017, 12:00

Tuesday, August 8, 2017. 12:00PM. Webinar: Climate Change May Alter Predator-Prey Arms Races. Joshua Lord, Moravian College. Sponsored by Center for Satellite Applications and Research. More information here.

Abstract: Predator-prey interactions often drive ecological patterns and are influenced by the evolutionary “arms race” between predators and prey. Invasive species can also play a large ecological role by disrupting food webs, driving species to extinction, and influencing evolutionary changes in prey defense mechanisms. Our research described a substantial reduction in the behavioral and morphological responses of several gastropod species to an invasive predatory crab under ocean acidification conditions. There were also drastic differences in crab survival and prey response in experiments comparing native and invasive crabs. While snails with varying shell mineralogies were similarly successful at deterring predation, those with primarily aragonitic shells were more susceptible to dissolution and erosion under high CO2 conditions. Although aragonite may be structurally superior to calcite for defense against predators, its greater solubility suggests that prior evolution favoring aragonite for shell strength in some taxa may be an evolutionary ‘dead end’ with escalating ocean acidification.

About the Speaker: Josh is starting as an Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at Moravian College after spending nearly two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the MontereyBay Aquarium Research Institute studying the ecological effects of climate change on intertidal organisms. He got his BA at Colby College, his MS at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and his PhD at the University of Connecticut, where he studied oysters and biofouling. Three years ago he taught and conducted research as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bates College in Maine, where he studied the effects of climate change on crabs and other invasive species. His current research targets species interactions, testing how global warming and ocean acidification will affect competition and predation in a variety of marine communities.

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