Meeting Abstract

P2-31  Tuesday, Jan. 5 15:30  Physiological Responses of Phyllaplysia taylori to Future Climate Change Scenarios FAYE, LE; San Francisco State University

As climate change continues to impact marine organisms, it is essential to understand the effects of temperature and salinity increases in San Francisco Bay on the ecologically important marine mollusk Phyllaplysia taylori. P. taylori is sea hare that lives on the eelgrass beds of the Pacific coast, composed of eelgrass species Zostera marina, and is an integral part of eelgrass bed ecology, consuming epiphytes from eelgrass blades and allowing Z. marina leaves to photosynthesize successfully. It is hypothesized that P. taylori individuals exposed over multiple weeks to predicted future average temperatures will have lower respiration rates, indicating lower metabolic stress, when exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, such as those seen during low tide, than individuals exposed to mean current temperatures. This phenotypic plasticity was observed in P. taylori after a two-week exposure to future average temperature scenarios, with lower respiration rates when exposed to extreme temperatures than individuals exposed to current average temperatures. An affect of handling was observed which increased respiration rates regardless of temperature, with rates returning to normal over the course of 4 hours post-handling. The combined effects of exposure to both current and future average temperature and salinity will be assessed by examining more respiration rates, epiphyte consumption, and reproductive output. With a full picture of the affects on physiological performance, it will be possible to understand how climate change might impact the overall fitness of P. taylori, which plays a large role in determining the resilience of eelgrass restoration in San Francisco Bay.