Could Nereocystis adapt to rapid water temperature increase in the San Juan Islands?
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This project is an initial effort to determine the effects of increasing temperatures on photosynthesis-irradiance (P-I) relationships, respiration and the daily metabolic carbon balance of Nereocystis luetkeana at Friday Harbor Laboratories, in San Juan Island, USA. P-I Curves were performed at 11°C and 16°C. Nereocystis luetkeana in the San Juan Islands seems to be favored by higher temperatures as lower respiration rates, lower Ic, higher photosynthetic rates and significantly higher DMCB were recorded for 16°C compared to 11°C. However these results are preliminary and only analyze one factor of change: temperature. There are other abiotic stressors changing due to climate change which could have other effects on Nereocystis luetkeana ecophysiology. It is also important to consider that climate change can directly affect not only physiological stress but also indirectly via changing relationships among species. Thus, to better understand ecological change we should understand the ways in which biotic and abiotic factors interact to determine the distribution and abundance of species in space and time.