Thermal effects on ecological processes

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Nucella ostrina near False Bay

Tank Farm

The Tank Farm at FHL

This NSF-funded project (with Sarah Gilman, Claremont Colleges) focuses on how temperature affects three key interacting species: the predatory whelk (snail) Nucella ostrina, its preferred prey species, the acorn barnacle Balanus glandula, and the rockweed Fucus distichus, which may alter the thermal and/or flow environment encountered by the two animal species. This simple rocky shore community provides an ideal model system to study the mechanisms by which temperature influences multiple, hierarchical ecological processes. Our research is centered around three major goals: to develop biophysical models to predict organismal body temperatures from local climatic conditions, to develop energetic models to link body temperature to individual performance, and to determine the effect of temperature on the interactions among the three species. One important output of this project is a continuous record of local weather conditions, which we record at our research site at FHL and publish online for public access. We also archive our data as an asset at NANOOS.