Multiple Stressors and Grazing
A method to investigate how climate change modifies an organisms’ functional role and impacts community and ecosystem structure is to examine multiple stressor effects on species interactions. Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests within the California Current are ideal systems to address this topic due to their high biodiversity and their exposure to upwelling, which simultaneously bring in cold, acidic, hypoxic water to shallower depths. Macrocystis is a foundation species that provides important habitat, refuge, and food for hundreds of species, many of which are economically important. My research looks at the effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia on the grazing interactions between four common invertebrate species and juvenile Macrocystis. Lab experiments are complimented with field survey data of densities of my four focal grazing species. Overall, this research will allow us to better predict the impacts of climate change on key interactions between invertebrate grazers and an important foundation species.