March 2, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Our 2023 webinar series kicks off March 2 at 12 PM ET with: OA Research and Education Highlights Around the Region. Invited speakers Fei Da, Annie Schatz, and Abbey Sisti from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will share their research on:
  • Examining impacts of extreme discharge events and climate change on the carbonate system of the York River Estuary using a coupled physical-biogeochemical model
  • Comparing climate resilience of selectively-bred larval aquaculture broodstock to that of the wild Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica 
  • Building collaborative partnerships between scientists and educators to develop new education materials focused on the effects of ocean acidification on American lobsters

Abstracts and Speaker Information:

Impacts of Extreme River Discharge and Climate-induced Changes in the Estuarine Carbonate System
This study uses a coupled physical-biogeochemical model to examine the impacts of extreme discharge events and climate change on the carbonate system of the York River Estuary, a tidal tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The recent year-to-year variability in calcium carbonate saturation state (Ω) driven by changing river inputs is comparable to reductions due to 50 years of climate change. During recent record high river runoff events (e.g., May 2018), drastic reductions in Ω are associated with increased net community respiration and net advection of high dissolved inorganic carbon river water, with increased CO2 outgassing playing a minor counteracting role. These large disruptions have a lasting effect that can be measured up to one month after a single extreme event. Additionally, shallow shoals of the lower York River Estuary, where most oyster reefs are located, exhibit fewer days with Ω < 1 and recover faster after a high discharge event compared to other locations within the estuary.
Fei Da, Ph.D. candidate from Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). His dissertation research focuses on using numerical models and observations to examine the impact of local human activities and global climate change on the Chesapeake Bay carbonate system. He received a B.S. in oceanography from Nanjing University, China and an M.S. in marine science from VIMS, with a focus on atmospheric nitrogen deposition and hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.

Wild-n-wacky or Bred-n-butter: Are Larvae from Selectively-bred Aquaculture Broodstock More Resilient to Climate Change than those from Wild Eastern Oysters,Crassostrea virginica?

Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) provide ecosystem (e.g. 3-D reef structures) and economic (e.g. aquaculture) services to the Chesapeake Bay and other coastal areas. Oyster aquaculture is a growing industry, and the need for traits such as fast growth and disease resistance led to the development of multiple generations of selectively-bred and refined broodstock lines. Development and preservation of selected broodstock could affect various physiological processes in offspring that could potentially result in different responses to stress compared to their wild counterparts. As environmental conditions within the Chesapeake Bay continue to shift warmer and more acidic – which are individually and simultaneously known to decrease shell and tissue growth, decrease energy stores, change metabolic pathways and affect development – responses to these conditions may differ between selectively-bred and wild oysters, potentially affecting their success in the future. Because larval oysters are considered the most vulnerable and sensitive life stage and therefore are already a bottleneck to the success of wild oyster populations and aquaculture production, my study exposed larvae from wild oysters and selectively-bred broodstock to four treatments composed of two temperature and two acidic conditions that represent average ambient and current extreme states in the mesohaline region of the Chesapeake Bay. Growth, biomass, cellular stress, and survival were measured throughout showing that larvae from wild oysters may be more resilient to warming and acidifying waters than those from selectively-bred oysters.

Annie Schatz, Ph.D candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. She works with Dr. Emily Rivest to study the potential physiological impacts of climate change on the early-life stages of marine invertebrate species. Her research focuses on effects from multiple environmental stressors, ocean acidification, how environmental history may impact performance of later life stages and shellfish aquaculture. Annie received her B.S. from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA where she studied how the respiration rates of two populations of Acorn barnacles differed across a range of temperatures.

Laboratory to Classroom Translation: A Case Study of OA and American Lobsters

Building collaborative relationships between scientists and educators is an important step in improving climate change education. By providing real-world data and hands-on experiences, scientists can assist students in connecting marine processes with changes in marine and human communities. A recent project focused on understanding effects of ocean acidification on American lobsters is a strong case study for extended collaboration between scientists and educators. Three main tools were used to develop educational materials: an internship to provide hands-on research experience for science teachers, multimedia content for sharing information about the project, and the Virginia Scientist Educator Alliance (VASEA) to provide training for lesson plan design. Together, these project components can serve as a roadmap for scientists and educators looking to improve ocean acidification education.

Abbey Sisti, PhD candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Alabama. Her research focuses on understanding marine invertebrate responses to climate change conditions. Abbey is interested in translating climate change science to educational and policy contexts.

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