Thesis: Response of calcareous pteropods (Euthecosomata) to environmental change
Euthecosomata are calcifiers that play an important role in the ocean carbonate cycle. Ocean acidification as a result of the uptake of CO2 affects pteropods by increasing dissolution rates of their aragonite skeletons. Like most gastropods, euthecosome pteropods form shells that represent records of their life-history and environmental factors at the time of calcification. Pteropods are widely distributed in the water column and represent an important food source for other zooplankton groups, commercially important fish and many marine mammals. After being overlooked for many years, pteropods are in the spotlight because of their key role in polar ecosystems and their potential vulnerability to ocean acidification induced dissolution. This project will study the chemical composition the thecosome shells using advanced techniques in order to assess their potential resilience to future global climate change and their potential as environmental indicator of oceanic systems.
Why my research is important
Pteropods are found circumglobally in all of the world’s oceans. They play an important role in the marine food web and the oceans carbonate system. The impacts of environmental change and ocean acidification on biological processes are varied; the ability for marine organism to calcify their calcium carbonate skeletons (internal and external) is on the front line. While pteropod were ignored for many years and treated as by-catch of plankton studies, today, their shell calcification is the object of growing concern. It is important to understand the mechanisms behind the calcification mechanism of the euthecosome aragonitic shell before making any assumption on their level of threat or resilience with regards to global environmental change.