Biological Sciences School Assistant Professor Cascade J. Sorte, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and colleagues discovered a direct link between changes in marine life physiology and ecosystem functioning while studying tide pools in Alaska. The study was published in the December issue of the online journal, PLOS ONE.
Professor Sorte is interested in determining how higher global temperatures and CO2 levels could affect coastline communities such as those found in tide pools. Her controlled field study found that algae within the pools responded differently to higher temperatures and higher CO2 levels than just higher temperatures alone. Discerning how global temperature change will affect the planet’s ecosystems is one of the most significant scientific challenges of the 21st century. As such, biologists from many disciplines are working to collect the necessary data to help construct models to forecast what types of changes might occur in our future.