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Creators/Authors contains: "Jellison, Brittany"

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  1. Abstract

    Ocean acidification is expected to degrade marine ecosystems, yet most studies focus on organismal‐level impacts rather than ecological perturbations. Field studies are especially sparse, particularly ones examining shifts in direct and indirect consumer interactions. Here we address such connections within tidepool communities of rocky shores, focusing on a three‐level food web involving the keystone sea star predator,Pisaster ochraceus, a common herbivorous snail,Tegula funebralis, and a macroalgal basal resource,Macrocystis pyrifera. We demonstrate that during nighttime low tides, experimentally manipulated declines in seawater pH suppress the anti‐predator behavior of snails, bolstering their grazing, and diminishing the top‐down influence of predators on basal resources. This attenuation of top‐down control is absent in pools maintained experimentally at higher pH. These findings suggest that as ocean acidification proceeds, shifts of behaviorally mediated links in food webs could change how cascading effects of predators manifest within marine communities.

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  2. Abstract

    Marine habitat‐forming species often play critical roles on rocky shores by ameliorating stressful conditions for associated organisms. Such ecosystem engineers provide structure and shelter, for example, by creating refuges from thermal and desiccation stresses at low tide. Less explored is the potential for habitat formers to alter interstitial seawater chemistry during their submergence. Here, we quantify the capacity for dense assemblages of the California mussel,Mytilus californianus, to change seawater chemistry (dissolved O2, pH, and total alkalinity) within the interiors of mussel beds at high tide via respiration and calcification. We established a living mussel bed within a laboratory flow tank and measured vertical pH and oxygen gradients within and above the mussel bed over a range of water velocities. We documented decreases of up to 0.1 pH and 25μmol O2kg−1internal to the bed, along with declines of 100μmol kg−1in alkalinity, when external flows were < 0.05 m s−1. Although California mussels often live in habitats subjected to much faster velocities, sizeable populations also inhabit bays and estuaries where such moderate flow speeds can occur > 95% of the time. Reductions in pH and O2inside mussel beds may negatively impact resident organisms and exacerbate parallel human‐induced perturbations to ocean chemistry while potentially selecting for improved tolerance to altered chemistry conditions.

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