Ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide vents provide insight into how ocean life may change in the future.

Carbon dioxide vents provide insight into how ocean life may change in the future.

We are interested in improving our understanding of the emergent effects of ocean acidification. In particular, we study the range of variability in species’ responses and what factors determine whether a species is sensitive or resilient. Furthermore, we study how species interactions can mediate these individual effects to influence communities and ecosystems. We use meta-analysis and observational studies across natural gradients of seawater pH, including shallow volcanic water CO2 vents and the coastal upwelling mosaic along the California Current System, to address how species responses to ocean acidification scale-up to affect community structure and ecosystem function.

Multiple Stressors

Most ecosystems are subjected to numerous stresses, including climate change, pollution, introductions of invasive species, and exploitation. The vast majority of research has examined the impacts of each of these stressors in isolation, but it is very likely that interactions between multiple stressors will determine the state of ecosystems in the future. Developing a framework for understanding and predicting how these effects will combine is critical to effectively adapting and responding to the rapidly changing environment and is a central theme in our research.

Science for Solutions

We also study the feedbacks between humans and the environment, especially regarding ways in which healthy ecosystems can benefit human well being and human activities can promote healthy ecosystems. We are interested in using science to examine adaptation strategies and inform more effective management decisions around global change and ocean acidification. To this end, we actively seek out opportunities to engage with industry stakeholders, resource managers, and policy makers in our research program.