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Webinar: Depth-dependent Temperature Variability in the Southern California Bight with Implications for Cold-water Octocorals

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Thursday, 27 September 2018, 12:00

Thursday, September 27, 2018. 12:00PM. Webinar: Depth-dependent Temperature Variability in the Southern California Bight with Implications for Cold-water Octocorals. Elizabeth F. Gugliotti, University of Charleston. Sponsored by NOAA. More information here.

 

Water temperature is an important determinant of cold-water coral distribution. In recent years, several marine heatwave events have impacted marine ecosystems, including in the northeast Pacific Ocean. However, little is known about how these extreme ocean temperatures might impact cold-water corals. Determining the upper thermal limits of cold-water octocorals is an important first step in identifying if these warm-water events pose a potential threat. Live colonies of the common gorgonian octocoral, Adelogorgia phyllosclera, were collected from the CINMS using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). A laboratory study investigated the health, polyp activity, and estimated survival of A. phyllosclera through a series of thermal exposure assays. Results of the temperature analysis indicated that warm-water anomalies occurred frequently at 50 and 100 m, with most of these falling during strong ENSO months. The experimental results suggest that the upper thermal limit of A. phyllosclera could lie near 20?. Though this upper thermal limit was not exceeded frequently during the 2015-2016 ENSO event, the anomalously warm conditions could have elicited physiological and cellular effects. Understanding the thermal stress responses of cold-water corals enables prediction of their resilience to predicted ocean warming.

 

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