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Type: Thesis
Title: Ecological responses to ocean acidification and warming: scaling up from individuals to communities
Author: Goldenberg, Silvan Urs
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Biological Sciences
Abstract: Impacts of human CO2 emissions on ecosystems and their services are inherently difficult to predict, as ecosystem responses emerge from complex and dynamic networks of organisms and their interactions. Yet, our understanding of the ecological imprint of future climate remains largely based on tests of single species in the laboratory. Here I show how the responses of individual organisms to ocean acidification and ocean warming scale-up to species communities and reveal the underlying ecological dynamics. This was accomplished through the study of behaviour, bottom-up and top-down forcing, food web architecture, and functional composition in 1,800 L mesocosms that harboured a temperate near-shore community including various species of algae, invertebrates and fishes. The negative effects of ocean acidification were buffered effectively through stabilizing processes at both simple and complex levels of biological organisation. Consequently, acidification primarily acted as a resource (via CO2-enrichment) that increased productivity throughout the food web. In contrast, ocean warming shifted the balance in key ecological processes leading to a novel community structure that would likely undermine ecosystem services. Dynamics with the potential to compensate for the uneven sensitivities between functions failed to engage – given the fundamental influence of temperature on physiology – which allowed impacts to cascade through the community. This stress through warming also negated any positive effects of acidification. My findings bridge the gap between the simplicity of the laboratory and species communities in nature, by revealing how impacts of future climate can be countered or accelerated through ecological processes. A predictive understanding of stability or change in ecosystems is key to the management of natural resources in a future ocean.
Advisor: Nagelkerken, Ivan
Connell, Sean
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Biological Sciences, 2018
Keywords: Ocean acidification
climate change
food webs
species interactions
animal behaviour
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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