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Spatial Variation and Antecedent Sea Surface Temperature Conditions Influence Hawaiian Intertidal Community Structure

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Title:Spatial Variation and Antecedent Sea Surface Temperature Conditions Influence Hawaiian Intertidal Community Structure
Authors:Ward, Rebecca Jane
Contributors:Knope, Matthew (advisor)
Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science (department)
Keywords:Environmental science
Conservation biology
Antecedent Climate
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Sea Surface Temperature
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Date Issued:May 2022
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Hilo
Abstract:Global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are increasing, resulting in a variety of consequences for marine ecosystems. In Hawaiʻi, rates of ocean warming are projected to double by the end of the 21st century. Therefore, it is critical to understand how SST change may affect Hawaiʻi’s intertidal ecosystems. This study represents the first investigation into the effects of changing SST on intertidal algal and invertebrate communities across the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). By utilizing citizen-science data and high-resolution, daily SST satellite measurements from twelve intertidal sites across the MHI from 2004–2019, the response of intertidal algae and invertebrate abundance and community diversity to SST was investigated across multiple spatial scales. Results show high rates of SST warming (0.40°C Decade-1) over this study’s timeframe, similar to predicted rates of warming for Hawaiʻi by the end of the 21st century. Changes in diversity and abundance in response to SST were variable among intertidal sites, but differences in antecedent SST among intertidal sites were significantly associated with community dissimilarity. In addition, a significant positive relationship was found between SST and diversity and between SST and six dominant taxa (positive relationship: turf algae, brown crustose algae, Turbinaria ornata; inverse relationship: Padina spp., Acanthophora spicifera, Dendropoma gregarium). For five of these six dominant taxa (the exception being brown crustose algae), trends in antecedent SST conditions over the several months preceding sampling best explained changes in abundance. The increase in community diversity in response to higher SSTs was best explained by temperatures in the ten months preceding sampling, and the resultant decreased abundance of dominant turf algae. These results highlight longer-term trends in antecedent SSTs as significant drivers of change within Hawaiian intertidal communities. Future research and management should consider these lagging effects of antecedent SST on intertidal communities in Hawaiʻi.
Pages/Duration:47 pages
Rights:All UHH dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: TCBES Theses
Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science

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