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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 523:93-103 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11199

Changes in pteropod distributions and shell dissolution across a frontal system in the California Current System

N. Bednaršek1,3,*, M. D. Ohman2

1Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
2California Current Ecosystem LTER site, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego,
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0218, USA
3Present address: School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, 3707 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We tested the sensitivity of the vertical distributions and shell dissolution patterns of thecosome pteropods to spatial gradients associated with an eddy-associated front in the southern California Current System. The aragonite saturation horizon (Ωarag = 1.0) shoaled from >200 to <75 m depth across the front. The vertical distribution of thecosome pteropods tracked these changes, with all 5 species showing reduced occurrence at depths below 100 m where waters were less saturated with respect to aragonite. Shell dissolution patterns of the numerically dominant thecosome Limacina helicina corresponded to the cross-frontal changes in Ωarag saturation state. Severe shell dissolution (categorized here as Type II and Type III) was low in near-surface waters where Ωarag > 1.4, while peak dissolution occurred in depths where Ωarag = 1.0 to 1.4. Vertical habitat compression and increased shell dissolution may be expected to accompany future shoaling of waters that are undersaturated with respect to aragonite.


KEY WORDS: Pteropoda · Ocean fronts · Vertical distribution · Shell dissolution


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Cite this article as: Bednaršek N, Ohman MD (2015) Changes in pteropod distributions and shell dissolution across a frontal system in the California Current System. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 523:93-103. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11199

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