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Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida, in Puget Sound: stable isotope shell profiles as potential indicators of a changing climate

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There is a need to monitor environmental changes in situ across aquatic ecosystems. Sclerochronology, a systematic biogeochemical method that assesses variations in the accretionary hard tissues of invertebrates, can be useful in studying these changes. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether an equilibrium relationship exists between seasonal annual temperature variations in bivalve shells of species with multiple geographic ranges. We present one of the first sclerochronology reports to characterize the δ18O and δ13C shell profiles of the Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida (Carpenter, 1864) to evaluate its utility as a proxy for past water temperature relating to seasonal cycles. The objectives were to: (1) assess shell δ18O and δ13C values from specimens sampled over time; and (2) to evaluate whether δ18O shell profiles correlate with seasonal temperature patterns. Seven O. lurida specimens were collected, and measurements were taken across shell growth. Results from generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) showed that O. lurida produced δ18O profiles consistent with a sinusoidal time pattern. The δ18O values ranged from −2.74‰ to −1.05‰, and there was a significant third-order polynomial temporal relationship. Covariation between profiles of shell δ18O and δ13C values was observed over time. Two independently estimated measures of δ18O water, accounting for salinity, temperature, and shell carbonate, were also positively correlated over time. Implications support the theory that O. lurida shell δ18O profiles may be in isotopic equilibrium with ambient water conditions with applications for informing monitoring programs.
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Affiliations: 1: School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 2: Department of Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 3: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University, CF10 3AT Cardiff, UK

Appeared or available online: October 5, 2020

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