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Start Date

8-5-2020 12:20 PM

End Date

8-5-2020 12:40 PM

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Terry Shehata, PhD

Keywords

zooplankton, climate change, ocean acidification, eDNA, Gulf of Maine, biodiversity, aquaculture, grant writing

Abstract

Coastal Maine's marine ecosystems face rapid changes associated with ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and rising water temperature. Primary consumers such as zooplankton drive energy transfer up marine food webs to secondary and tertiary consumers, including many species of commercial value. Further, zooplankton are often used as an indicator of aquatic system health due to their sensitivity to environmental stressors. Despite their importance in nearshore systems, a comprehensive understanding of how zooplankton communities vary across Maine’s estuaries is lacking. We identified and categorized zooplankton from four Maine estuaries collected between 2016 and 2017 to assess the zooplankton community structure, abundance, and diversity. Preliminary results indicate that zooplankton communities show marked differences in both abundance and species composition across different estuaries. This research contributes to our understanding of how basal trophic levels are affected by conditions such as existing aquaculture activity and provides essential baseline information on nearshore prey. Our work presents a geospatially and temporally referenced visualization of heterotrophic plankton biodiversity as a benchmark for changing conditions in the Gulf of Maine.

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May 8th, 12:20 PM May 8th, 12:40 PM

Counting Copepods: Evaluating estuarine zooplankton community structure through eDNA metabarcoding

Coastal Maine's marine ecosystems face rapid changes associated with ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and rising water temperature. Primary consumers such as zooplankton drive energy transfer up marine food webs to secondary and tertiary consumers, including many species of commercial value. Further, zooplankton are often used as an indicator of aquatic system health due to their sensitivity to environmental stressors. Despite their importance in nearshore systems, a comprehensive understanding of how zooplankton communities vary across Maine’s estuaries is lacking. We identified and categorized zooplankton from four Maine estuaries collected between 2016 and 2017 to assess the zooplankton community structure, abundance, and diversity. Preliminary results indicate that zooplankton communities show marked differences in both abundance and species composition across different estuaries. This research contributes to our understanding of how basal trophic levels are affected by conditions such as existing aquaculture activity and provides essential baseline information on nearshore prey. Our work presents a geospatially and temporally referenced visualization of heterotrophic plankton biodiversity as a benchmark for changing conditions in the Gulf of Maine.

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