Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Online Discovery Lecture Series

Friday, October 2, 2020
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The Risks of Climate Change on the Most Vulnerable Species and Ecosystems

By Dr. Nina Bednarsek, SCCWRP

The negative effects of climate change on the global oceans are rapidly intensifying with respect to ocean acidification, oxygen decline and warming, and are resulting in decline in suitable habitats for the vulnerable species. These effects are taking place from the coasts to the open ocean across the tropics to the poles, with California coast being one of the most susceptible regions for future climate change, which is disconcerting given its richest fisheries and most diverse marine ecosystems. In fact, the effects on marine organisms are already observed in the California waters, impacting ecologically and economically important marine calcifiers, such as sea butterfly, Dungeness crabs, sea urchins. This talk will take the audience to explore the drivers and mechanisms that make marine species vulnerable to climate change and provide insights on how we are able to detect such changes and link it directly to human-made climate change. By integrating observations, modelling and experimental work, we will show which habitats and when the climate change effects on marine biota will be most intense, or alternatively where are the marine refugia that needs to be protected. Understanding the overall risks on the fisheries and ecosystem services allows for better management and adaptation in the face of climate change, and we will show how marine vegetation can offer some mitigation potential against ocean acidification.

Dr. Nina Bednarsek currently leads the research at the Southern California Coastal Water Research (SCCWRP) related to the understanding of biological effects and the risks of climate change in marine organisms. She specializes in determining the tipping points related to ocean acidification in combination with other stressors on most vulnerable calcifying species that are of ecological and economic importance. Her work integrates observations, modelling and experimental work across various spatial scales from the open oceans and coastal and estuarine habitats. Dr. Bednarsek started her research work a decade ago in Antarctica as part of her PhD, and the polar regions have remained the passion of her research ever since. She is committed to communicating research to various different audiences, from schools, NGOs to governments and international policy makers, and find ultimate satisfaction when science is used for the greater benefit of the oceans.

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