Hydrodynamic capabilities of Pisaster ochraceus larvae raised low salinity
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Environmental variations act as stressors on organisms, and can strongly influence the geographic ranges of species. A source of environmental variation in the marine environments of the San Juan Islands is salinity concentrations. Echinoderms, namely Pisaster ochraceus, are heavily impacted by these fluctuations, and past experiments have shown that they can directly influence larval morphology and distribution within a vertical water column. We investigated whether the differences in vertical distributions were due to salinity’s impacts on their hydrodynamic capabilities by tracking their instantaneous swimming patterns in a vertical water column and in a halocline. The analysis is still in progress, but the results could lend insight into the effects a less saline environment might have on an echinoderm’s capabilities of distribution.