Patrick’s paper from his MS is now online early at Ecography! He studied temporal change in community composition across the Northeast US continental shelf and found that changes through time could be explained by species associations with bottom temperature. Measured as the Community Temperature Index (CTI), composition changed by about one third of a degree (°C) for every 1 °C increase in bottom temperature on average. Species have non-linear responses to changes in temperature, however, and these nonlinearities scaled up to a nonlinear relationship between composition and temperature.
Jennifer and Malin’s paper, Genomic signatures of environmental selection despite near‐panmixia in summer flounder, was released for early-view in Evolutionary Applications. The paper describes how summer flounder are a single population based on many genetic markers, yet the frequency of some genetic markers are associated with their environment, particularly bottom temperature. This suggests that although summer flounder are capable of high dispersal and lots of genetic mixing, spatially variable environmental selection is likely resulting in adaptation to local environmental conditions.
Nice interview with Becca on her research showing that warming is transforming predator-prey interactions in the Northeast US:
Lots of great presentations this month:
- Jennifer presented 25 years of changes in population genetic patterns of summer flounder at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Portland, OR
- Sarah presented on genomic evidence for evolutionary rescue in little brown bats hit by white nose syndrome, also at ESA
- Malin gave three talks: how ecology can help meet the UN sustainable development goals, how to teach about climate change (with Rebecca Jordan), and how climate change impacts in the ocean are different than those on land (all at ESA)
- Becca talked about changing predator-prey interactions as a result of warming in the Northeast US at the American Fisheries Society (AFS) meeting in Tampa, FL
- Jim presented a detailed projection of marine animal distributions in North America over the coming century (AFS)
- Allison presented some of her Ph.D. work on eco-evolutionary dynamics in salmon (AFS)
New paper just out online in Global Change Biology, led by postdoc Becca Selden: functional diversity among predatory fish helps protect ecosystems from the impacts of warming. Becca showed that warming has helped make Atlantic cod a much less important predator in the Northeast U.S., but other predators (spiny dogfish, hakes) have expanded to fill its role.
On a geeky note, what’s especially interesting is that these changes in predator-prey interactions with warming are occurring even though both predators and prey are shifting their distributions as the environment changes.
Ryan just published a paper in Ecology Letters showing that the number of species in many parts of the coastal ocean is going up, not down as many would expect. He spent the past few years trying to understand how marine biodiversity is changing, but his findings were initially so surprising that he doubted them.
Globally, biodiversity is going down. But because some species have started to live in more places, and different places, what happens globally isn’t what we see locally.
He studied decades of patterns in biodiversity around the North American coastline, and surprisingly, most of these regions show *increases* in the number of species present. At the same time, He found that organisms that were previously rare in these areas are becoming increasingly common.
The natural world is full of surprises.
Allison Dedrick and Joyce Ong have just joined the lab as postdocs, and we’re excited to have them here! Allison is coming from a Ph.D. with Marissa Baskett and Loo Botsford at UC Davis, and Joyce just finished her Ph.D. with Mark Meekan at U. Western Australia. They will be working on reef fish metapopulation dynamics (Allison) and synchrony in marine population dynamics (Joyce).
Exciting news on the publication front:
- Jim’s paper on rapid responses of marine animals to winter temperature variability is now out in Global Change Biology. He found strong variation in how animals responded to a warm winter (higher or lower abundance; or shift north vs. south), but the rate and direction of response was predictable from thermal affinity.
- Ryan has been hard at work to understand long-term trends in species richness in marine ecosystems all around North America. The paper was just accepted in Ecology Letters! More on this later.
- Jordan Holtswarth was an REU student in our lab last summer, and her paper on reproduction in clownfish is now in press at Bulletin of Marine Science!
Becca is in Busan, South Korea this week at the ICES/PICES Early Career Scientist Conference on “Climate, Oceans, and Society.” She’s presenting her talk titled, “The role of warming in current and future piscivore dominance on the Northeast U.S. shelf.”