Series of tools being built to study how warming waters, hypoxia will limit where species can live

Posted October 29, 2021

SCCWRP and its partners have begun working to build a series of species-specific tools for predicting how reductions in dissolved oxygen levels due to warming California coastal waters and changing seawater chemistry will limit where key species can live.

The study, launched in August, involves developing metabolic index tools that can calculate the temperature-dependent “breathability” of coastal waters for specific species – including pteropods, kelp bass, rock fish, Dungeness crab and krill – in the California Current System.

The work builds on a proof-of-concept effort last year to develop a West Coast metabolic index for Northern Anchovy fish. Eventually, researchers anticipate building about a dozen of these species-specific tools for estimating how population abundances will change over time in the California Current System.

Warming waters and changes in seawater chemistry due to ocean acidification and hypoxia are expected to increasingly constrain where along the West Coast that key marine species can survive.

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