Global Change Ecophysiology of egg masses and juveniles of the kelp forest fish, Scorpaenichthys marmoratus

Start/End: February, 2015 to January, 2016

Coastal regions such as the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem are predicted to be highly vulnerable to ocean acidification in the future, and the resident biota face a complex physical environment where hypoxia and low pH co-occur within kelp forests. This project examines the organism-environment interactions of early life stages of cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), a common benthic marine fish, to environmentally relevant levels of pCO2, oxygen and temperature in California kelp forests. The first stage of this project will deploy sensors to document conditions within kelp forests of the Santa Barbara Channel Region. The second stage will collect cabezon egg masses to rear in the laboratory under varied pCO2, oxygen and temperature based on sensor measurements. Eggs and larva will then be tracked their growth, metabolic rate, aerobic scope, temperature tolerance and survivorship through early life stages. The study will illuminate the physiological capacities of these early stage fish as related to the current abiotic conditions in kelp forests and how present‚Äźday genotypes might tolerate future conditions that are projected for the next decade.