Do Rockfish Have a Rocky Future Ahead of Them?

Researchers:

Scott Hamilton
Moss Landing Marine Lab
shamilton@mlml.calstate.edu
831.771.4400

Giacomo Bernardi
Moss Landing Marine Lab
barnardi@biology.ucsc.edu
831.459.5124

Susan Sogard
NOAA/SWFSC
susan.sogard@noaa.gov
831.420.3932

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Revised:

January 23, 2013

Black Rockfish. Photo: NOAA Photographer Kip Evans, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

January 23, 2013

Contact: Nicole Lee, nicolelee@ucsd.edu

Researchers are examining the effects of ocean acidification on rockfish found in Central California’s kelp forests and rocky reefs. The goal is to predict the impact that climate change may have on these species.

The experiments will be conducted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute where the researchers will raise rockfish in manipulated pCO2 conditions to simulate the ocean acidification levels predicted for 2050 and 2100. Among the things they plan to study are swimming speeds, respiration rates and olfactory capabilities.

In order to test olfactory capabilities, the rockfish will be able to choose to swim in water either scented by predators or non-predators. The test will help show whether rockfish exposed to higher acidification will be able to detect and avoid their natural predators. This will give researchers insight into the consequences climate change may have on rockfish survival.

Results will be shared with federal and state fisheries agencies involved with managing groundfishes. To read more about this project or other California Sea Grant supported research related to climate change, visit our online program directory.