Collaborative Research: Synergistic effects of Elevated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Temperature on the Metabolism, Growth, and Reproduction of Antarctic Krill (Euphausia Superba)
Climate change projections for this century suggest that the Southern Ocean will be the first region to be affected by seawater chemistry changes associated with enhanced carbon dioxide (CO2). Additionally, regions of the Southern Ocean are warming faster than any other locations on the planet. Ocean acidification and warming may act synergistically to impair the performance of different organisms by simultaneously increasing metabolic needs and reducing oxygen transport. However, no studies have measured krill acid-base regulation, metabolism, growth, or reproduction in the context of ocean acidification or synergistic 'greenhouse' conditions of elevated CO2 and temperature. In the present project, the investigators will conduct both short and prolonged exposure experiments at Palmer Station, Antarctica to determine the responses of Euphausia superba to elevated CO2 and temperature. The investigators will test hypotheses related to acid-base compensation and acclimation of various life stages of krill to elevated CO2 and temperature. Furthermore, they will determine these impacts on feeding, respiration, metabolism, growth, and reproduction.
The Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, is a key component of Antarctic food webs as they are a primary food source for many of the top predators in the Southern Ocean including baleen whales, seals, penguins, and other sea birds. This project will determine the responses of Antarctic krill exposed to elevated CO2 and temperature and whether or not krill have the capacity to fully compensate under future ocean conditions. The proposed field effort will be complemented by an extensive broader impact effort focused on bringing marine science to both rural and urban high school students in the Midwest (Kansas). The core educational objectives of this proposal are to 1) instruct students about potential careers in marine science, 2) engage students and promote their interest in the scientific process, critical thinking, and applications of science, mathematics, and technology, and 3) and increase student and teacher awareness and understanding of the oceans and global climate change, with special focus on the Western Antarctic Peninsula region. Finally, this project will engage undergraduate and graduate students in the production, analysis, presentation and publication of datasets.
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