An ecophysiological framework to assess hypoxia driven habitat loss in the California Current ecosystem

Project Number
Project Date Range
Funding Agency
California Ocean Protection Council (OPC)
Focus Area(s)
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

The California Current Ecosystem (CCE), extending from British Columbia to Baja California, Mexico, is one of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world. It’s also extremely variable, and subject to periods of upwelling that cause low oxygen conditions (hypoxia). Future climate change is projected to cause rapid declines in oxygen concentration, and there has already been a decline in oxygen concentrations in the ecosystem in recent years.  

This project focuses on assessing present and future species vulnerability to hypoxia in the California Current Ecosystem. The goal of this project is to apply a modeling framework, integrated with earth system models, to project species responses to temperature-dependent hypoxic habitat compression in the California Current Ecosystem. This project addresses priority topic areas related to fisheries, ecosystem, and management responses to changing climate.

This project builds upon a broader project recently funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to evaluate vulnerability of the California Current Ecosystem to multiple stressors of temperature and oxygen loss driven by climate change. The work advances the scientific understanding in new ways by addressing a group of species – anchovy, sardine, and squid. This project will allow for assessment of present and future species vulnerability to hypoxia in the California Current Ecosystem, as well as provide support for management and regulatory processes through updated habitat assessment tools.

Principal Investigators
Curtis Deutsch
University of Washington (UW)
Co-principal Investigators
Brad Seibel
University of South Florida (USF)
Martha Sutula
Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)