Climate Change Effects On Marine Species

An international research team led by Adam Reitzel of UNC Charlotte Biological Sciences is investigating how epigenetic regulations and microbial communities influence the adaption of coastal marine species to climate change.

The team received funding in March from the Human Frontier Science Program, as one of only seven teams to receive a Young Investigators’ Grant from 871 teams that sought funding. Reitzel’s collaborators are Sylvain Forêt of the Australian National University and Sebastian Fraune of the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany.

“Evidence is growing that climate change has profound effects on marine ecosystems, yet our understanding and ability to predict how species respond in these ecosystems is still very limited,” Reitzel says. Unlike the genes of an animal, epigenetics and microbial composition can rapidly alter due to changes in the environment, making them ideal mechanisms to study how species respond to environmental threats like global warming.