The continental margin off of San Diego supports many commercially important animals that live on or near the seafloor, such as rockfish, prawn and squid. The open waters overlying the margin harbor a huge diversity and abundance of animals that are important for oceanic food webs (such as lanternfish, krill, and jellyfish). These organisms are exposed to large variations of environmental conditions throughout their lifetimes. Using the new Scripps Institution of Oceanography Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), our team will measure the range of depths where different organisms can be found in relation to environmental variables such as temperature, salinity, oxygen and pH. To look at seasonal changes in the distribution of animals, we will sample both in the summertime (July 2012) and in the winter (December 2012), as important environmental variables often change with season. The team will observe both open-ocean and seafloor species that live at the interface with the continental shelf.
This research will further our understanding of distributional patterns for many important food resources for people and for open-ocean food webs that ultimately support populations of whales, dolphin, seals and large fishes like tunas. This research is additionally important to further understanding of the potential ecosystem response to predicted future acidification and deoxygenation of oceanic waters.
Photo: Morphological measurements of near-hatch paralarvae. DML=Dorsal mantle length, TL=total length, HW=head width, YL=yolk length, YW=yolk width
Photo: Squid spawning at 10 m depth along the coast of La Jolla Shores, December 2011.
Video: Navarro and Naretto (Javier) work at 20m depth to collect market squid embyo capsules in a field study that parallels a laboratory experiment to understand the effects of low DO/pH and high pCO2 on squid development. If embyro capsules are found during benthic surveys (50-400m depth) during the San Diego Coastal Expedition, Navarro et al. will collect embryos using the ROV and biobox in a similar manner.