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Theses Doctoral

Interactive effects of ocean acidification with other environmental drivers on marine plankton

Bausch, Alexandra Renee

Planktonic organisms form the base of the marine food web and may be impacted by environmental change in many ways. The interactive effects of multiple, simultaneous climate-driven changes on these organisms are not well understood. This dissertation examined the impacts of ocean acidification in combination with other environmental stressors on marine plankton and determined spatial patterns of one of these potential interactive drivers. Chapter 2 investigated the synergistic effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia on the harmful dinoflagellate Amphidinium carterae. Findings indicated that empirical studies may be crucial to accurately predict organismal responses to multi-stressors. Results also suggested that photorespiration may serve a previously unrecognized role in dinoflagellate metabolism. Chapter 3 examined the combined effects of ocean acidification and lithogenic trace metals on the growth of another harmful dinoflagellate, Cochlodinium polykrikoides. Results indicated that high suspended sediment loads may deliver toxic concentrations of trace elements to marine phytoplankton in acidified coastal ecosystems. Chapter 4 examined the interactive effects of ocean acidification and bacteria on the severity and extent of dissolution in the shells of larval gastropods and the adult pteropod Limacina helicina. Research findings indicated that microbial communities on the shell surfaces of some planktonic molluscs may mediate certain types of shell dissolution in acidified, upwelled waters. Chapter 5 explored the use of thorium isotope fluxes as a proxy for dust and lithogenic iron in the Indian Ocean. Results suggested that the gradient of dust fluxes in the region could impose thresholds for biological productivity. Together, these interdisciplinary studies demonstrate coupled biological and chemical changes in marine ecosystems as a result of increased anthropogenic environmental change.

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Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Juhl, Andrew R.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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