Oysters, Ocean Acidification, and -Omics

Yaamini Venkataraman

Date

Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 4:30pm

Pacific oysters are an integral part of Puget Sound's ecology, economy, and culture. However, the environmental, economic, and social benefits of oysters are endangered by ocean acidification. In this talk, This talk will explore how ocean acidification affects multiple generations of oysters. Temporarily exposing adult Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) to low pH prior to gametogenesis affects larval abundance. The documented effect on Pacific oyster larval abundance indicates a potential role for epigenetic modifications, specifically DNA methylation, in response to ocean acidification. Understanding a possible mechanism for phenotypic plasticity and acclimation across generations is valuable when considering organismal ability to persist in the face of environmental change.

Photo of Yaamini Venkataraman

Yaamini Venkataraman is a Ph.D student at the Roberts Lab, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington:

As a California Bay Area native, I grew up going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I was always floored by the intricacies of the organisms themselves, but also how complex their environments were. These experiences pushed me to get my B.S. in General Biology and B.A. in Environmental Policy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I studied several different species-environment interactions, including copepods and copper toxicity at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, marsh plants species and increased carbon inputs at the Smithsonian Institute for Environmental Studies and limpet-surfgrass interactions under acidified conditions at UCSD. At the Roberts Lab, I study how climate change is going to affect the organisms in our current and future oceans. My current projects involve examining ocean acidification’s effects on oysters using “-omic” techniques. Specifically, I study how exposure to ocean acidification in one generation affects the epigenome, and whether or not transgenerational epigenetic inheritance contributes to phenotypic plasticity in Pacific and Eastern oysters.

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The Huxley Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

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Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in the Academic Center West (AW-204) on the WWU campus in Bellingham, WA.

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