Global change in seasonally dynamic subpolar kelp forest ecosystems

Kristy Kroeker

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department Institute of Marine Science, The University of California, Santa Cruz, US.

Consumer-resource interactions structure food webs and govern ecosystem stability, yet our understanding of how these important interactions will change in future CO2 scenarios is hampered by the complexity of direct and indirect effects of multiple stressors within and between trophic levels. In marine ecosystems at high latitude, climate models predict that ocean acidification will be most pronounced during the winter months, when primary production is limited by light. I hypothesize that there could be a mismatch in the energetic demands of primary consumers caused by warming and ocean acidification and resource availability and quality during winter months, with cascading effects on trophic structure and ecosystem stability in the future. In this talk, I will address research in the Kroeker Lab investigating the ecological effects of warming and ocean acidification on sub polar kelp forest ecosystems via a comprehensive suite of studies on the interactions among primary producers and consumers across seasons and in future conditions at the northern limit of the range for giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in SE Alaska.