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Award Abstract #0824903

The effects of temperature on ecological processes in a rocky intertidal community: a mechanistic approach

Division Of Ocean Sciences
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Initial Amendment Date: September 11, 2008
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Latest Amendment Date: September 11, 2008
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Award Number: 0824903
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: David L. Garrison
OCE Division Of Ocean Sciences
GEO Directorate For Geosciences
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Start Date: September 15, 2008
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End Date: August 31, 2013 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $542,658.00
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Investigator(s): Emily Carrington ecarring@u.washington.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Washington
4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98195-0001 (206)543-4043
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Program Reference Code(s): 0000, 4444, OTHR
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Program Element Code(s): 1620, 1650


Temperature influences organismal physiology, behavior, community interactions, and ecosystem function; yet rarely are the mechanisms understood. Accurately predicting the consequences of temperature for a species requires knowledge of: local climatic conditions, the relationship between climate and organismal body temperature, and the physiological and ecological consequences of body temperature. Few studies to date have explored all three areas concurrently. This project will examine in detail the biophysical, physiological, and ecological effects of temperature on a rocky intertidal community, a marine ecosystem that has emerged as a model system for studying the ecological consequences of temperature. It will focus on three major species, representative of rocky marine shore species worldwide: the barnacle, Balanus glandula, its predator Nucella ostrina, and the rockweed Fucus gardneri, which provides shelter for both species. The research is centered around three major goals: to develop biophysical models to explicitly link local climate to organismal body temperatures; to develop energy budget models to relate organismal body temperature to individual performance; and to identify the effect of temperature on interactions among the three species through a series of laboratory and field experiments. This research will provide a model system for understanding the effects of temperature on both individual performance and species interactions. It represents a significant contribution to understanding basic ecological questions, such as the role of temperature in structuring communities, and will also contribute to a more mechanistic understanding of the ecological consequences of future climate changes.

This research will promote a broader understanding of how temperature affects organisms and communities among scientists, students, and the general public in at least four ways. First, the research themes address a basic, yet poorly resolved, question in ecology: the influence of temperature on organismal performance and species interactions. This multiscale, integrated approach has the potential to transform current paradigms of how environmental change affects species and communities. Understanding the role of temperature in structuring communities is directly relevant to Biological Oceanography's special emphasis on biological diversity in marine systems. Second, the project is highly interdisciplinary by nature, and will forge new research partnerships among three female scientists (the PI, a postdoc, and a collaborator at an RUI institution) and will provide new educational opportunities for several graduate and undergraduate students. The investigators will offer undergraduate research opportunities to underrepresented groups with their continued participation in the FHL Blinks Program to Enhance Diversity each summer, and expect to provide several REU experiences as well (separate NSF proposal resubmission pending). Third, The PI will incorporate research results and techniques into her undergraduate and graduate courses at FHL and the UW Seattle campus. The FHL undergraduate course integrates public outreach into the curriculum; these activities are part of FHL's broader Science Outreach Program that promotes science education and environmental stewardship. Finally, the results of this project will be incorporated into ongoing conservation and monitoring efforts conducted in the upper Puget Sound region by the University of Washington and the Friday Harbor Laboratories. The project will also enhance understanding of the ecological consequences of climate change, a significant societal problem.


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Vaughn, D, O. Turnross and E. Carrington. "Sex-specific temperature dependence of foraging and growth of intertidal snails," Marine Biology, 2013. 

Yamane, L; Gilman, SE. "Opposite responses by an intertidal predator to increasing aquatic and aerial temperatures," MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, v.393, 2009, p. 27.   

Helmuth, B; Broitman, BR; Yamane, L; Gilman, SE; Mach, K; Mislan, KAS; Denny, MW. "Organismal climatology: analyzing environmental variability at scales relevant to physiological stress," JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.213, 2010, p. 995.   

Gilman, SE; Urban, MC; Tewksbury, J; Gilchrist, GW; Holt, RD. "A framework for community interactions under climate change," TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, v.25, 2010, p. 325.   

Urban, MC; Holt, RD; Gilman, SE; Tewksbury, J. "Heating up relations between cold fish: competition modifies responses to climate change," JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, v.80, 2011, p. 505.   


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