Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Colette J. Feehan

Committee Member

Paul Bologna

Committee Member

Matthew Schuler


Coastal marine ecosystems have been identified as at particularly high risk from global climate change. Laboratory mesocosm experiments with model organisms can be useful in elucidating the effects of multiple climate change stressors on marine species. Here I examine the combined effects of marine heatwaves (MHWs) and ocean acidification (OA) on early embryonic development of the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata taken from its cold (northern) range limit in the Northwest Atlantic. I observed additive effects of MHWs and OA on developmental rates, with rates enhanced by MHWs and hindered by OA as compared to ambient conditions. Hence, MHWs mitigated a negative effect of OA on development of the species at its cold range limit. My results provide an improved understanding of how MHWs and OA can combine to affect the sensitive early life-history stages of calcifying marine invertebrates and may be useful in predicting future shifts in species distributions.

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