Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4218
Title: Potential impacts of ocean acidification on the Puget Sound food web
Author: D. S. Busch, C. J. Harvey, Paul McElhany
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume: 70
Issue: 4
Pages: 823-833
DOI: doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fst061
Keywords: copepods, Ecopath with Ecosim, ecosystem services, fisheries management, food webs, ocean acidification, trophic cascades,

The ecosystem impacts of ocean acidification (OA) were explored by imposing scenarios designed to mimic OA on a food web model of Puget Sound, a large estuary in the northwestern USA.  Productivity of functional groups that contain mostly calcifiers was decreased while still allowing other species groups to respond to the scenarios in a dynamic way through indirect effects. Results focus on changes in ecosystem services and structure. Sometimes, the direct and indirect effects of OA countered each other due to interactions between predators and prey within the food web, leading to little change in the food web.  In other cases, direct and indirect effects caused greater change in the food web than anticipated from direct effects alone.  Results were strongly affected by the group on which OA was directly imposed, with changes in copepod productivity being the most influential. While there is much uncertainty in our predictions, focusing on the complex interactions among species and between species and their environment will yield better understanding of how ecosystems may respond to OA.