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Creators/Authors contains: "Bell, Lauren E."

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  1. Abstract

    Variability in primary producers' responses to environmental change may buffer higher trophic levels against shifts in basal resource composition. Then again, in instances where there is a lack of functional redundancy because consumers rely on a few species to meet their energetic requirements at specific times of the year, altered community production dynamics may significantly impact food web resilience. In high‐latitude kelp forests, a complementary annual phenology of seaweed production supports coastal marine consumers' metabolic needs across large seasonal variations in their environment. Yet, marine consumers in these systems may face significant metabolic stress under the pronounced low pH conditions expected in future winters, particularly if they lack the resources to support their increased energetic demands. In this study, we investigate how the growth and nutritional value of three dominant, coexisting macroalgal species found in subpolar kelp forests will respond to ocean acidification and warming in future winter and summer seasons. We find that the three kelpsMacrocystis pyrifera,Hedophyllum nigripes, andNeoagarum fimbriatumdiffer in their vulnerability to future environmental conditions, and that the seasonal environmental context of nutrient and light availability shapes these responses. Our results suggest that poleward fringe populations ofM. pyriferamay be relatively resilient to anticipated ocean warming and acidification. In contrast, ocean warming conditions caused a decrease in the biomass and nutritional quality of both understory kelps. Considering the unique production phenology ofH. nigripes, we emphasize that negative impacts on this species in future winters may be of consequence to consumer energetics in this system. This work highlights how interspecific variation in autotrophs' responses to global change can disrupt the diversity and phenological structure of energy supply available to higher trophic levels.

     
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  2. Production rates reported for canopy‐forming kelps have highlighted the potential contributions of these foundational macroalgal species to carbon cycling and sequestration on a globally relevant scale. Yet, the production dynamics of many kelp species remain poorly resolved. For example, productivity estimates for the widely distributed giant kelpMacrocystis pyriferaare based on a few studies from the center of this species' range. To address this geospatial bias, we surveyed giant kelp beds in their high latitude fringe habitat in southeast Alaska to quantify foliar standing crop, growth and loss rates, and productivity ofM. pyriferaand co‐occurring understory kelpsHedophyllum nigripesandNeoagarum fimbriatum. We found that giant kelp beds at the poleward edge of their range produce ~150 g C · m−2· year−1from a standing biomass that turns over an estimated 2.1 times per year, substantially lower rates than have been observed at lower latitudes. Although the productivity of high latitudeM. pyriferadwarfs production by associated understory kelps in both winter and summer seasons, phenological differences in growth and relative carbon and nitrogen content among the three kelp species suggests their complementary value as nutritional resources to consumers. This work represents the highest latitude consideration ofM. pyriferaforest production to date, providing a valuable quantification of kelp carbon cycling in this highly seasonal environment.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The environmental conditions in the ocean have long been considered relatively more stable through time compared to the conditions on land. Advances in sensing technologies, however, are increasingly revealing substantial fluctuations in abiotic factors over ecologically and evolutionarily relevant timescales in the ocean, leading to a growing recognition of the dynamism of the marine environment as well as new questions about how this dynamism may influence species' vulnerability to global environmental change. In some instances, the diurnal or seasonal variability in major environmental change drivers, such as temperature, pH and seawater carbonate chemistry, and dissolved oxygen, can exceed the changes expected with continued anthropogenic global change. While ocean global change biologists have begun to experimentally test how variability in environmental conditions mediates species' responses to changes in the mean, the extensive literature on species' adaptations to temporal variability in their environment and the implications of this variability for their evolutionary responses has not been well integrated into the field. Here, we review the physiological mechanisms underlying species' responses to changes in temperature,pCO2/pH (and other carbonate parameters), and dissolved oxygen, and discuss what is known about behavioral, plastic, and evolutionary strategies for dealing with variable environments. In addition, we discuss how exposure to variability may influence species' responses to changes in the mean conditions and highlight key research needs for ocean global change biology.

     
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