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  1. Increasingly intense and frequent ocean heatwaves are causing widespread coral mortality. These heatwaves are just one of the many stressors — among for instance ocean acidifi cation, nutrient pollution and destructive fi shing practices — that have caused widespread decline of coral reefs over the past century. This destruction of reefs threatens the remarkable biodiversity of organisms that depend upon coral reefs. However, recent research suggests that many of the fi shes and invertebrates that inhabit coral reefs may play an underappreciated role in infl uencing the resistance and recovery of corals to stressors, especially those caused by global climate change such as ocean heatwaves. Unraveling the threads that link these coral inhabitants to the corals’ response to stressors has the potential to weave a more comprehensive model of resilience that integrates the plight of coral reefs with the breathtaking diversity of life they host. Here, we aim to elucidate the critical roles that coral-associated fishes and invertebrates play in mediating coral resilience to environmental stressors. By integrating recent research findings, we aim to showcase how these often-overlooked organisms influence coral resilience in the face of climate change. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 8, 2025
  2. NA 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 8, 2025
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  4. Photogrammetry is an emerging tool that allows scientists to measure important habitat characteristics of coral reefs at multiple spatial scales. However, the ecological benefits of using photogrammetry to measure reef habitat have rarely been assessed through direct comparison to traditional methods, especially in settings where manual measurements are more feasible and affordable. Here, we applied multiple methods to measure coral colonies (Pocillopora spp.) and asked whether photogrammetric or manual observations better describe short-term colony growth and links between colony size and the biodiversity of coral-dwelling fishes and invertebrates. Using photogrammetry, we measured patterns in changes in coral volume that were otherwise obscured by high variation from manual measurements. Additionally, we found that photogrammetry-based estimates of colony skeletal volume best predicted the abundance and richness of animals living within the coral. This study highlights that photogrammetry can improve descriptions of coral colony size, growth, and associated biodiversity compared to manual measurements. 
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  5. Introduction

    Changes in temperature can fundamentally transform how species interact, causing wholesale shifts in ecosystem dynamics and stability. Yet we still have a limited understanding of how temperature-dependence in physiology drives temperature-dependence in species-interactions. For predator-prey interactions, theory predicts that increases in temperature drive increases in metabolism and that animals respond to this increased energy expenditure by ramping up their food consumption to meet their metabolic demand. However, if consumption does not increase as rapidly with temperature as metabolism, increases in temperature can ultimately cause a reduction in consumer fitness and biomass via starvation.

    Methods

    Here we test the hypothesis that increases in temperature cause more rapid increases in metabolism than increases in consumption using the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) as a model system. We acclimated individual lobsters to temperatures they experience sacross their biogeographic range (11, 16, 21, or 26°C), then measured whether lobster consumption rates are able to meet the increased metabolic demands of rising temperatures.

    Results and discussion

    We show positive effects of temperature on metabolism and predation, but in contrast to our hypothesis, rising temperature caused lobster consumption rates to increase at a faster rate than increases in metabolic demand, suggesting that for the mid-range of temperatures, lobsters are capable of ramping up consumption rates to increase their caloric demand. However, at the extreme ends of the simulated temperatures, lobster biology broke down. At the coldest temperature, lobsters had almost no metabolic activity and at the highest temperature, 33% of lobsters died. Our results suggest that temperature plays a key role in driving the geographic range of spiny lobsters and that spatial and temporal shifts in temperature can play a critical role in driving the strength of species interactions for a key predator in temperate reef ecosystems.

     
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  6. Abstract

    How strongly predators and prey interact is both notoriously context dependent and difficult to measure. Yet across taxa, interaction strength is strongly related to predator size, prey size and prey density, suggesting that general cross‐taxonomic relationships could be used to predict how strongly individual species interact.

    Here, we ask how accurately do general size‐scaling relationships predict variation in interaction strength between specific species that vary in size and density across space and time?

    To address this question, we quantified the size and density dependence of the functional response of the California spiny lobsterPanulirus interruptus, foraging on a key ecosystem engineer, the purple sea urchinStrongylocentrotus purpuratus, in experimental mesocosms. Based on these results, we then estimated variation in lobster–urchin interaction strength across five sites and 9 years of observational data. Finally, we compared our experimental estimates to predictions based on general size‐scaling relationships from the literature.

    Our results reveal that predator and prey body size has the greatest effect on interaction strength when prey abundance is high. Due to consistently high urchin densities in the field, our simulations suggest that body size—relative to density—accounted for up to 87% of the spatio‐temporal variation in interaction strength. However, general size‐scaling relationships failed to predict the magnitude of interactions between lobster and urchin; even the best prediction from the literature was, on average, an order of magnitude (+18.7×) different than our experimental predictions.

    Harvest and climate change are driving reductions in the average body size of many marine species. Anticipating how reductions in body size will alter species interactions is critical to managing marine systems in an ecosystem context. Our results highlight the extent to which differences in size‐frequency distributions can drive dramatic variation in the strength of interactions across narrow spatial and temporal scales. Furthermore, our work suggests that species‐specific estimates for the scaling of interaction strength with body size, rather than general size‐scaling relationships, are necessary to quantitatively predict how reductions in body size will alter interaction strengths.

     
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