How will climate change influence the destructive impacts and distribution of wood-borers?
Ocean warming associated with climate change is driving the expansion of warm-water species into temperate waters. However, studies have not yet assessed the potential for the diverse assemblages of destructive and economically damaging wood-boring invertebrates to invade temperate bays. These mollusks and crustaceans bore into and weaken coastal infrastructure such as docks, pilings, and sea walls causing millions of dollars of damage and altering marine habitats. Understanding the risk potential of these species to spread north with ocean warming would allow coastal resource managers and ports to better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of borers to the coastal economy, ecology, and sustainability. To predict the potential for range expansions of destructive warm-water marine borers in Pacific coast estuaries, I am creating a geodatabase of select marine wood-borers on the Pacific coast and using ecological niche modelling software to predict how their distributions may change in a warming ocean.
I am currently seeking volunteers interested in contributing to this project. Students will receive training in literature review, data extraction, and possibly ecological modelling. There is also opportunity for obtaining research credit (Bio 199).
Black and white photos (circa 1915-20): San Francisco Bay Marine Piling Committee (1921) Report on the San Francisco Bay Marine Piling Survey, San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Bay Marine Piling Committee