Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8527
Title: New ocean, new needs: application of pteropod shell dissolution as a biological indicator for marine resource management
Author: Nina Bednarsek, T. Klinger, C. J. Harvey, S. Weisberg, Ryan M. McCabe, R. A. Feely, Jan Newton, N. Tolimieri
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Ecological Indicators
Volume: 76
Pages: 240-244
DOI: 10.1016/jecolind.2017.01.025
Keywords: pteropods,ocean acidification program,indicators,ecosystem based management,California Current,monitoring

Pteropods, planktonic marine snails with a cosmopolitan distribution, are highly sensitive to changing ocean chemistry. Yet the practical utility of these species as indicators of the status and trends of marine ecosystems has been overlooked. Here, we set out the scientific and policy rationales for the use of pteropods as a biological indicator appropriate for low-cost assessment of the effect of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems. While no single species or group of species can adequately capture all aspects of ecosystem change, pteropods are sensitive, specific, quantifiable indicators of ocean acidification’s effects on marine biota. As the socio-economic challenges of changing ocean chemistry continue to grow in coming decades, the availability of such straightforward and sensitive metrics of impact will become indispensable. Pteropods can be used to support OA water quality assessment and ecosystem-based management and to support policy development and regulatory applications.

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Assess ecosystem status and trends.
Understand how climate influences ecosystem variability.