Synergistic Negative Effects of Thermal Stress and Altered Food Resources on Echinoid Larvae

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Multiple changes to the marine environment under climate change can have additive or interactive (antagonistic or synergistic) effects on marine organisms. Prompted by observations of anomalously warm sea temperatures and low chlorophyll concentrations during the 2013–2016 warm “Blob” event in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, we examined the combined effects of thermal stress and a shift in food resources on the development of a larval echinoid (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) in the laboratory. A high concentration of phytoplankton yielded faster echinus rudiment development at warm versus historical temperature, indicating a mitigating effect of abundant food on thermal stress; however, low phytoplankton concentration or a shift in diet to suspended kelp detritus, yielded slow development and high mortality at warm temperature. The results indicate a synergistic negative effect of thermal stress and altered food resources on larvae of a keystone marine species.


10.1038/s41598-018-30572-wFinal published version Open

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