NWFSC Monster Seminar Jam: Juliet Wong
The NWFSC's science seminar series features weekly presentations from our scientists and colleagues.
Juliet Wong, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Florida International University) is presenting a talk, "Spiny solutions: How sea urchins may face their changing environment."
Understanding the processes by which marine organisms respond to their changing environments is necessary if we are to make accurate predictions and informed decisions regarding conservation efforts, seafood safety and security, and other challenges we face as climate change continues. Many organisms may be particularly vulnerable to environmental stress during early development. Detrimental effects that occur early in their life history can carry over into later life stages or lead to population bottlenecks if mortality occurs. Sea urchins that populate coastal waters along the western coast of North America fulfill ecologically important roles, particularly within kelp forest ecosystems, and are economically valuable as fisheries species. The region they inhabit is susceptible to highly variable temperature and pH conditions, and as climate change continues, these organisms are predicted to experience progressive ocean warming and acidification. In this talk, I will discuss my work investigating the early development of sea urchins raised under different combinations of temperature and pH levels. Within a single generation, embryos and larvae exhibited developmental plasticity in relation to body size, thermal tolerance, and gene expression. However, environmental conditions experienced by the parental generation can also influence offspring phenotype via transgenerational plasticity. In a separate experiment, adult urchins were acclimated to different conditions during gametogenesis. I explored how this affected maternal provisioning and compared the epigenetic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic plasticity of progeny that differed by their maternal environments.
Dr. Juliet Wong is a global change biologist interested in mechanisms that can confer rapid phenotypic plasticity, and understanding how they may influence ecological and evolutionary processes in marine systems. Her research spans tropical, temperate, and polar ecosystems to investigate how climate change impacts marine invertebrates. Dr. Wong studies how these organisms interact with and respond to their changing environments using a variety of physiological and molecular approaches. She is currently an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology in the Environmental Epigenetics Lab (EELab) at Florida International University.
Juliet M. Wong and Gretchen E. Hofmann (2021). Gene expression patterns of red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) exposed to different combinations of temperature and pCO2 during early development. BMC Genomics 22(32). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-07327-x.
Juliet M. Wong and Gretchen E. Hofmann (2020) The effects of temperature and pCO2 on the size, thermal tolerance and metabolic rate of the red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) during early development. Marine Biology 167(33). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-019-3633-y.
Juliet M. Wong, Logan C. Kozal, Terence S. Leach, Umihiko Hoshijima, and Gretchen E. Hofmann (2019) Transgenerational effects in an ecological context: Conditioning of adult sea urchins to upwelling conditions alters maternal provisioning and progeny phenotype. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 517: 65-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2019.04.006.
Juliet M. Wong, Kevin M. Johnson, Morgan W. Kelly, and Gretchen E. Hofmann (2018). Transcriptomics reveal transgenerational effects in purple sea urchin embryos: Adult acclimation to upwelling conditions alters the response of their progeny to differential pCO2 levels. Molecular Ecology 27(5): 1120-1137. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14503.
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