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  1. Abstract

    Kelp forests are globally important and highly productive ecosystems, yet their persistence and protection in the face of climate change and human activity are poorly known. Here, we present a 35-year time series of high-resolution satellite imagery that maps the distribution and persistence of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests along ten degrees of latitude in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. We find that although 7.7% of giant kelp is protected by marine reserves, when accounting for persistence only 4% of kelp is present and protected. Protection of giant kelp decreases southerly from 20.9% in Central California, USA, to less than 1% in Baja California, Mexico, which likely exacerbates kelp vulnerability to marine heatwaves in Baja California. We suggest that a two-fold increase in the area of kelp protected by marine reserves is needed to fully protect persistent kelp forests and that conservation of climate-refugia in Baja California should be a priority.

  2. Abstract

    Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are projected to increase in intensity and frequency over the coming decades, and it is imperative to assess the adaptive capacity of marine organisms to these extreme temperature events. Given the nature of MHWs to last days to weeks in a region, these events may have overarching impacts on phenological events like reproduction and development. Here, the role of adult thermal history and transgenerational plasticity may be an important pathway by which MHWs are transduced to impact community structure. In this study, we sought to explore the effects of paternal thermal history in the purple urchin,Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, on a crucial aspect of reproduction, fertilization. Using ecologically relevant temperatures representative of both MHW events that occurred in 2014–2020 and non-MHW temperatures in our region of the California Large Marine Ecosystem, we conditioned maleS. purpuratusfor 28 days to either a high, MHW or a low, non-MHW temperature. Following the temperature acclimation of adults, sperm performance was tested for individual males by conducting fertilization success trials at varying temperatures and sperm concentrations. While sperm appeared robust to elevated temperature during fertilization, sperm produced by high-temperature-acclimated males had overall diminished performance as compared to those acclimated to non-MHW temperatures. These resultsmore »suggest MHW events will have a negative impact on fertilization in situ forS. purpuratuspopulations. Furthermore, these results highlight the importance of considering both male and female environmental history in projections of reproduction under climate change scenarios.

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  3. Abstract

    Biodiversity is changing at an accelerating rate at both local and regional scales. Beta diversity, which quantifies species turnover between these two scales, is emerging as a key driver of ecosystem function that can inform spatial conservation. Yet measuring biodiversity remains a major challenge, especially in aquatic ecosystems. Decoding environmental DNA (eDNA) left behind by organisms offers the possibility of detecting species sans direct observation, a Rosetta Stone for biodiversity. While eDNA has proven useful to illuminate diversity in aquatic ecosystems, its utility for measuring beta diversity over spatial scales small enough to be relevant to conservation purposes is poorly known. Here we tested how eDNA performs relative to underwater visual census (UVC) to evaluate beta diversity of marine communities. We paired UVC with 12S eDNA metabarcoding and used a spatially structured hierarchical sampling design to assess key spatial metrics of fish communities on temperate rocky reefs in southern California. eDNA provided a more-detailed picture of the main sources of spatial variation in both taxonomic richness and community turnover, which primarily arose due to strong species filtering within and among rocky reefs. As expected, eDNA detected more taxa at the regional scale (69 vs. 38) which accumulated quickly withmore »space and plateaued at only ~ 11 samples. Conversely, the discovery rate of new taxa was slower with no sign of saturation for UVC. Based on historical records in the region (2000–2018) we found that 6.9 times more UVC samples would be required to detect 50 taxa compared to eDNA. Our results show that eDNA metabarcoding can outperform diver counts to capture the spatial patterns in biodiversity at fine scales with less field effort and more power than traditional methods, supporting the notion that eDNA is a critical scientific tool for detecting biodiversity changes in aquatic ecosystems.

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  4. Abstract

    While land-based high-frequency (HF) radars are the only instruments capable of resolving both the temporal and spatial variability of surface currents in the coastal ocean, recent high-resolution views suggest that the coastal ocean is more complex than presently deployed radar systems are able to reveal. This work uses a hybrid system, having elements of both phased arrays and direction finding radars, to improve the azimuthal resolution of HF radars. Data from two radars deployed along the U.S. East Coast and configured as 8-antenna grid arrays were used to evaluate potential direction finding and signal, or emitter, detection methods. Direction finding methods such as maximum likelihood estimation generally performed better than the well-known multiple signal classification (MUSIC) method given identical emitter detection methods. However, accurately estimating the number of emitters present in HF radar observations is a challenge. As MUSIC’s direction-of-arrival (DOA) function permits simple empirical tests that dramatically aid the detection process, MUSIC was found to be the superior method in this study. The 8-antenna arrays were able to provide more accurate estimates of MUSIC’s noise subspace than typical 3-antenna systems, eliminating the need for a series of empirical parameters to control MUSIC’s performance. Code developed for this researchmore »has been made available in an online repository.

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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  7. Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution enable population persistence in response to global change. However, there are few experiments that test how these processes interact within and across generations, especially in marine species with broad distributions experiencing spatially and temporally variable temperature and p CO 2 . We employed a quantitative genetics experiment with the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus , to decompose family-level variation in transgenerational and developmental plastic responses to ecologically relevant temperature and p CO 2 . Adults were conditioned to controlled non-upwelling (high temperature, low p CO 2 ) or upwelling (low temperature, high p CO 2 ) conditions. Embryos were reared in either the same conditions as their parents or the crossed environment, and morphological aspects of larval body size were quantified. We find evidence of family-level phenotypic plasticity in response to different developmental environments. Among developmental environments, there was substantial additive genetic variance for one body size metric when larvae developed under upwelling conditions, although this differed based on parental environment. Furthermore, cross-environment correlations indicate significant variance for genotype-by-environment interactive effects. Therefore, genetic variation for plasticity is evident in early stages of S. purpuratus , emphasizing the importance of adaptive evolution and phenotypic plasticity inmore »organismal responses to global change.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 31, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 24, 2023
  10. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023