[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 16-Feb-2007
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: John A. Barth
barth@coas.oregonstate.edu
541-737-1607
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Altered ocean currents disturb ecosystem off Northern California and Oregon coast

In 2005, a delay in the arrival of a seasonal, nutrient-rich ocean current off the coast of Northern California and Oregon led to reduced influx of barnacle and mussel larvae to rocky shores, researchers report. The coastal ecosystem off Northern California and Oregon owes its richness to southward winds that move warm ocean surface water offshore during the spring and summer. The warm water is replaced by cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean. John Barth and colleagues report that in 2005 the southward winds were delayed, leading to a late arrival of the cold, nutrient-rich water. The change in ocean currents had several ecological consequences: high ocean temperatures, low nutrient levels, and low abundance of phytoplankton. The researchers also observed that fewer barnacle and mussel larvae settled onto rocks during spring and early summer of 2005, likely due to the low availability of food. In late summer, stronger than usual nutrient-rich currents arrived at the coast, leading to a recovery of mussel, but not barnacle, recruitment. Understanding the ecological consequences of changes in coastal ocean currents is important, the researchers say, because if global warming continues, climate models predict ocean current alterations like the one observed in 2005.

###

Please note the special embargo date and time for this paper.

EMBARGOED: NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE: 16 FEBRUARY 2007, 6:00 PM U.S. Eastern time / 11:00 PM London time 17 FEBRUARY 2007, 8:00 AM Japan time / 10:00 AM Australia Eastern time

If you need assistance, please contact the PNAS News Office at 202-334-1310, or e-mail PNASnews@nas.edu

Research from this paper will be presented at a press conference at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, on Friday, February 16, 3:00 PM Pacific time, in the Hotel Nikko Ballroom I, 3rd floor.

Article #00462: “Delayed upwelling alters nearshore coastal ocean ecosystems in the Northern California current” by John A. Barth, Bruce A. Menge, Jane Lubchenco, Francis Chan, John M. Bane, Anthony R. Kirincich, Margaret A. McManus, Karina J. Nielsen, Stephen D. Pierce, and Libe Washburn

MEDIA CONTACT: John A. Barth, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; tel: 541-737-1607; e-mail: barth@coas.oregonstate.edu

IMAGES ACCOMPANYING THIS ARTICLE ARE AVAILABLE

A preprint of this paper is available to registered journalists at: http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/pnas/07-00462.pdf

If you need assistance, please contact the PNAS News Office at 202-334-1310, or e-mail PNASnews@nas.edu

When citing the PNAS article in your story, suggested wording would be: "…publishing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…" or similar language. Such wording may help reduce reader confusion as to when the research article is available to the general public.

IMPORTANT NOTE: PNAS publishes daily online. Articles are published as soon as final corrections are made, and the exact date of publication is not scheduled in advance. The above article will publish between Tuesday, February 20 and Friday, February 23, 2007. Due to the holiday, PNAS will not publish on Monday, February 19.



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.