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Research Seminar: Erika Neave
February 4, 2019 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
A research seminar from UNC Marine Sciences graduate student, Erika Neave. Presented by the UNC at Chapel Hill Department of Marine Sciences. The location of this event will be in seminar room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC-CH campus in Chapel Hill, NC. This event will be held on Monday, February 4th at 12:20pm. This seminar will also be broadcast live to both UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences room 222 and online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 117-856-429).
Seminar Title: How do phytoplankton communities respond to El Niño in the Galápagos Islands?
Abstract: The Galápagos Islands sit on the equator, roughly 1000 km off of the coast of mainland Ecuador. The islands are famous for their diverse habitats which have elicited high biodiversity, especially noted in the macrofauna by naturalists such as Charles Darwin, Barbara and Peter Grant, and others. Perhaps less widely appreciated, but capturing the fascination of oceanographers, is that the islands rest at the convergence of many major currents: the Peru-Humboldt current, the Panama current, the South Equatorial current, and the Equatorial Undercurrent. These currents bring a diversity of water properties to the region and contribute to the upwelling of nutrients from the Galápagos platform. During El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) equatorial waters warm, winds weaken, and upwelling is not as prevalent. ENSO is known to put stress on the marine macrofauna of the Galápagos and have strong controls on the archipelago’s oceanographic make-up, but we have yet to understand how ENSO may affect marine phytoplankton. Marine phytoplankton consume pCO2, thus providing biomass to the seas, and lie at the bottom of marine food webs. Therefore, a change in phytoplankton community composition could have stark implications regarding an area’s resource availability. We suspect that due to the diverse oceanographic regimes of the Galápagos Islands, a mosaic of community responses to ENSO conditions will be observed, in which greater differences in community composition will occur at sites along the western edge of the platform. Marine phytoplankton are the link between oceanographic processes and fisheries, but we have yet to unveil their composition in the Galápagos.