EbertThomasZoologyOceanConditionsBottom(VOR).pdf Public Deposited

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  • Intraspecific life history attributes of growth, survival, and reproduction can vary in response to changes in the physical environment. These changes can induce a cascading effect across trophic levels. In marine systems, shifts in ocean conditions such as warm and cold phases of ENSO can change primary production in benthic algae, which in turn modify resources available to benthic omnivores. Monthly gonad samples of the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, were taken during from 2007 to mid 2009 at sites from Vancouver Island, Canada, to Punta Baja, México. Although mean sea surface temperature, SST, changed by about 8°C from north to south latitudinal patterns of size-specific gonad weight were not detected. There were, however, differences across sites. At individual sites, mean SST changed by less than 1° C from 2007 to 2009. Gonad Index data from Yankee Point, California, from 1952–64 included mean annual temperatures that varied by 2.4°C and both strong El Niño and La Niña events. Yankee Point data showed significant (P≤0.01) correlations with the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI and MEI.ext), sea surface temperature (SST), the Northern Oscillation Index (NOI), and the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI). Dissections at other sites along the coast from mid 1960 to 2009 showed that size-specific gonad weights were smaller during periods of El Niño than during periods of La Niña.
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