Changes in pteropod distributions and shell dissolution across a frontal system in the California Current System

Scanning electronic micrographs illustrating different types of shell dissolution.
TitleChanges in pteropod distributions and shell dissolution across a frontal system in the California Current System
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBednarsek N., Ohman MD
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume523
Pagination93-103
Date Published2015/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0171-8630
Accession NumberWOS:000351452700008
Keywordsocean fronts; Pteropoda; Shell dissolution; Vertical distribution
Abstract

We tested the sensitivity of the vertical distributions and shell dissolution patterns of thecosome pteropods to spatial gradients associated with an eddy-associated front in the southern California Current System. The aragonite saturation horizon (Omega(arag) = 1.0) shoaled from > 200 to <75 m depth across the front. The vertical distribution of thecosome pteropods tracked these changes, with all 5 species showing reduced occurrence at depths below 100 m where waters were less saturated with respect to aragonite. Shell dissolution patterns of the numerically dominant thecosome Limacina helicina corresponded to the cross-frontal changes in Omega(arag) saturation state. Severe shell dissolution ( categorized here as Type II and Type III) was low in near-surface waters where Omega(arag) > 1.4, while peak dissolution occurred in depths where Omega(arag) = 1.0 to 1.4. Vertical habitat compression and increased shell dissolution may be expected to accompany future shoaling of waters that are undersaturated with respect to aragonite.

DOI10.3354/meps11199
Impact: 

While we cannot establish unequivocally that the changes in habitat were attributable to changes in geochemical variables alone, several lines of evidence suggest that carbonate chemistry is a dominant controlling factor.  A more restricted vertical habitat for pteropods in the future may have consequences for some fish species that depend on them for prey

 

Student Publication: 
No