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Internal Tidepools and Oxygen Dynamics in Kelp Forests

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Paul LearyMicheli LabHopkins Marine Station

“Internal tide pools”, analogous to tide pools on rocky shores, form when nearshore upwelled waters, transported by internal waves. reach the subtidal rocky reef. As these internal waves often contain hypoxic water, internal tide pools can extend hypoxic events within pooling zones, likely impacting the distribution and behavior of organisms. Using a complex arrays of sensors, as well as mobile diver-operated measurement platform of my own design (“Divining RO2D”), I have mapped these pooling zones at high spatial resolution under a variety of conditions and begun to parse the mechanisms by which they fill and empty. I am also conducting experiments on the impact of hypoxia on the startle response behavior of juvenile rockfish. This serves as a proxy for assessing ecological impacts by understanding behavioral modification under conditions seen in the field. Together, I am building an understanding of the vulnerability of nearshore systems to hypoxia and other stressors linked directly to physical processes, given the local community, habitat and environmental variability.