Effects of temperature and mussel size on intertidal mussel bed infaunal communities: implications for climate change and biodiversity.

Rebecca Gooding
University of British Columbia, Department of Zoology
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Padilla Bay National Research Reserve
Publication Date: 

While mussel beds can withstand the changing tides, global climate change may cause damage to these diverse ecosystems. As the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increases, so does the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater. The resulting acidification changes the basic chemistry of the oceans and decreases the growth rate of organisms which rely on dissolved calcium carbonate to build their shells. If current carbon dioxide emission trends continue, it is possible that mussels will remain smaller for longer periods of time and be less able to protect associated epifauna (organisms which live among the mussels) from temperature extremes, which may also increase due to global climate change.