2023-9-30 0:0:0
USM REU: Evaluation of OA Impacts to Plankton and Fish Distributions in the Gulf of Mexico during GOMECC-4 with a focus on HAP-Interactions (BIO-GOMECC-4) Years 2 & 3
Increases in ocean acidification (OA) contribute to changing physicochemical conditions, which can affect processes that drive productivity, biodiversity, and food web dynamics. During the NOAA research cruise Gulf of Mexico via the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle 3 (GOMECC-3), the first biologically relevant sampling and rate measurements with relationship to OA were conducted, with initial data suggesting a strong link between OA, hypoxia, and eutrophication. To provide an integrated view of these conditions and their ecosystem impacts, researchers are analyzing datasets collected during GOMECC-3 and will collect and analyze marine samples on the GOMECC-4 cruise. They will characterize plankton communities and quantifying changes in carbon flow to higher trophic levels by conducting onboard microzooplankton and copepod grazing experiments using traditional and ‘omics approaches. They will also identify indicator species/assemblages that are most impacted by environmental stressors for continued tracking and collect larval fish and analyze their distribution, abundance, diet, growth, condition, and evidence of microplastic ingestion for tracking OA impacts on food web dynamics. This project includes hosting and mentoring a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) intern at the Gulf Coast Research Lab.