Climate Change

Genome Study Shows Recent Spread of Eelgrass

Beds of eelgrass (Zostera marina) form an important habitat in coastal regions throughout the northern hemisphere, crucial to many fish and other species and storing vast amounts of carbon. A new study published July 20 in Nature Plants shows that eelgrass spread around the world much more recently than previously thought, just under a quarter-million years ago. The results have implications for how eelgrass could be affected by a changing climate.

All West Coast Abalones at Risk of Extinction on the IUCN Red List

All seven of the United States’ abalone species that live on the West Coast are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, Red List of Threatened Species. This is the first global Red List assessment of the species. The West Coast listings were based on an abalones assessment led by Laura-Rogers Bennett of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, and University of California, Davis.

Hibernating Corals and the Microbiomes That Sustain Them

As winter approaches, many species of animals — from bears and squirrels to parasitic wasps and a few lucky humans — hunker down for some needed rest. The northern star coral (Astrangia poculata) also enters a hibernating state of dormancy, or quiescence, during this time. But what happens to its microbiome while it’s sleeping?

Confronting Climate Anxiety

Climate anxiety is a valid, natural response to a changing, warming world. In 2020, more than half of Americans reported feeling anxious about climate change’s impact on their mental health, and most of us (67%) are anxious about its impact on the planet.

So what do you do when it’s your job to witness and document climate change?

Invasive Species and Climate Change Impact Coastal Estuaries

Native species in California’s estuaries are expected to experience greater declines as invasive species interact with climate change, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

The study, published in the Ecological Society of America’s journal, Ecology, said these declines are expected not only because of climate-related stressors, but also because of the expanding influence of new invasive predators whose impacts are occurring much farther up the estuary.

Survivors of Climate Driven Abalone Mass Mortality Exhibit Declines in Health and Reproduction Following Kelp Forest Collapse

Marine ecosystems are vulnerable to climate driven events such as marine heatwaves yet we have a poor understanding of whether they will collapse or recover. Kelp forests are known to be susceptible, and there has been a rise in sea urchin barrens around the world. When temperatures increase so do physiological demands while food resources decline, tightening metabolic constraints. In this case study, we examine red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) looking at sublethal impacts and their prospects for recovery within kelp forests that have shifted to sea urchin barrens.

Geographical and environmental impacts on symbiotic relationships between anemone and algae

Corals and anemones form a symbiotic partnership with photosynthetic algae based on an exchange of nutrients: the host receives sugar from the algae, the algae receives nutrients and consistent exposure to sunlight from the host. This relationship can break down under stressful conditions, a phenomenon known as 'bleaching,' which, in the case of tropical corals, can quickly lead to the death of the host. Bleaching resistance can arise if a local population consistently encounters and adapts to warmer conditions.