Current and Future Threats to the Biodiversity of Sydney Harbour

Many of the plants and animals, including mussels, living on rocky shores in Sydney Harbour support “hidden” biodiversity.  Mussel beds create a protective habitat for a diverse group of plants and animals.  As the climate is warming and oceans are absorbing greater levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the ocean is getting warmer and becoming acidified.  Along with other marine species, those living within mussel beds will be faced with an increasingly stressful environment.  Our research is investigating the how the marine invertebrates living in mussel beds will respond to future climate change.

In our experiment, we are manipulating the temperature and the acidity of the water. Water, with the early life stages of marine animals or larvae, is being pumped directly from the harbour into our experimental tanks. We are measuring the numbers and types of species arriving to the mussel beds under current and future climate scenarios.

Our study species is the native hairy mussel, Trichomya hirsuta

Researchers:

Professor Pauline Ross
Dr Victoria Cole
Dr Laura Parker
John Wright (PhD student)
Elliot Scanes (PhD student)
Lauren Barnett (Honours student)
Hayden Davies (Undergraduate student)

Funders:

University of Western Sydney Research Grant (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine)
Ethel Mary Read Grant, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales

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