Multiple Environmental Stressors

How do multiple stressors interact to influence species? Does this interaction depend on temporal features?

Stressors can be defined as perturbations that are foreign or natural but excessive. Natural systems are typically characterized by multiple stressors that occur at the same time (coincidence) or with temporal delays (latent).  We examined how multiple stressors (temperature, hypoxia, and low salinity) may influence organismal physiology. Importantly, we modeled our experiments after time series data from Elkhorn Slough, California, an estuary that is heavily influenced by hypoxia.

webpage fig3

In this experiment, we exposed newly settled Olympia oysters to warming and hypoxic stress (oxygen depleted waters). We found that warming actually offset effects of hypoxia, which reduced growth. These effects were still evident 86 days later!

Technicians Chris Knight and Charlie Norton scan tiles with graduate student Jill Bible after breaking down the multiple stressor experiment.

Technicians Chris Knight and Charlie Norton scan tiles with graduate student Jill Bible after breaking down the multiple stressor experiment.

Relevant papers

Cheng, B.S., J.M. Bible, A.L. Chang, M.C. Ferner, K. Wasson, C.J. Zabin, M. Latta, A. Deck, A.E. Todgham, and E.D. Grosholz. (2015)
Testing local and global stressor impacts on a coastal foundation species using an ecologically realistic framework. Global Change Biology 21:2488-2499

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