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  1. Upwelling provides high amounts of nutrients that support primary production in coastal habitats, including giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera forests. Growth and recruitment of kelp forests are controlled by environmental conditions, including temperature, nutrient availability, and storms, as well as biotic interactions. However, our understanding of juvenile persistence in the field is extremely limited, particularly the effects of grazing on the survival of early kelp stages and how environmental variability associated with upwelling dynamics may modulate grazing effects. We quantified herbivore impacts on juvenile M. pyrifera by deploying thirteen 24 h caging experiments approximately every 2 wk throughout the upwelling season in a giant kelp forest in Monterey Bay, CA, USA. Experiments spanned a range of natural environmental variation in oxygen, pH, and temperature, conditions known to affect grazer physiology and that are projected to become more extreme under global climate change. Overall, the herbivore community had a large effect on kelp survival, with 68.5% of juvenile kelp removed on average across experiments. Grazing increased throughout the season, which was most strongly correlated with decreasing monthly oxygen variance and weakly correlated with decreasing monthly pH variance and increasing temperature. This suggests that large swings in oxygen during peak kelp recruitment inmore »spring may provide a temporal refuge from grazing, allowing kelp to reach larger sizes by late summer and fall when upwelling has relaxed. This study highlights the potential of current environmental variability, and its predicted increase under future scenarios, to mediate species interactions and habitat persistence.« less
  2. Marine organisms are exposed to stressors associated with climate change throughout their life cycle, but a majority of studies focus on responses in single life stages, typically early ones. Here, we examined how negative impacts from stressors associated with climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution can act across multiple life stages to influence long-term population dynamics and decrease resilience to mass mortality events. We used a continuous-size-structured density-dependent model for abalone ( Haliotis spp.), calcifying mollusks that support valuable fisheries, to explore the sensitivity of stock abundance and annual catch to potential changes in growth, survival, and fecundity across the organism’s lifespan. Our model predicts that decreased recruitment from lowered fertilization success or larval survival has small negative impacts on the population, and that stock size and fishery performance are much more sensitive to changes in parameters that affect the size or survival of adults. Sensitivity to impacts on subadults and juveniles is also important for the population, though less so than for adults. Importantly, likelihood of recovery following mortality events showed more pronounced sensitivity to most possible parameter impacts, greater than the effects on equilibrium density or catch. Our results suggest that future experiments on environmental stressors should focusmore »on multiple life stages to capture effects on population structure and dynamics, particularly for species with size-dependent fecundity.« less