Sophie Julia McCoy

Sophie Julia McCoy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC · Department of Biology

Ph.D.

About

54
Publications
11,967
Reads
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1,017
Citations
Citations since 2017
31 Research Items
811 Citations
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Introduction
I study how environmental chemistry can drive biology and ecological interactions in the context of changing climate. My research explores the effects of climate change on marine life, focusing on links between physiological and ecological responses of nearshore macroalgal populations and communities to ocean acidification.
Additional affiliations
January 2016 - December 2021
Florida State University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
April 2014 - August 2016
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Position
  • Marie Curie Fellow
January 2009 - April 2014
University of Chicago
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
As the process of ocean acidification alters seawater carbon chemistry, physiological processes such as skeletal accretion are expected to become more difficult for calcifying organisms. The crustose coralline red algae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) form an important guild of calcifying primary producers in the temperate Northeast Pacific. The morphol...
Article
As the ocean environment changes over time, a paucity of long-term data sets and historical comparisons limits the exploration of community dynamics over time in natural systems. Here, we used a long-term experimental data set to present evidence for a reversal of competitive dominance within a group of crustose coralline algae (CCA) from the 1980s...
Article
Full-text available
Research into the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on marine organisms has greatly increased during the past decade, as realization of the potential dramatic impacts has grown. Studies have revealed the multifarious respon-ses of organisms to OA conditions, indicating a high level of intra-and interspecific variation in species' ability to accom...
Article
Full-text available
A distinct gap in our ability to understand changes in coastal biology that may be as-sociated with recent ocean acidification is the paucity of directly measured ocean en-vironmental parameters at coastal sites in recent decades. Thus, many researchers have turned to sclerochronological reconstructions of water chemistry to document the 5 historic...
Article
Full-text available
The anthropogenic input of fossil fuel carbon into the atmosphere results in increased carbon dioxide (CO(2)) into the oceans, a process that lowers seawater pH, decreases alkalinity and can inhibit the production of shell material. Corrosive water has recently been documented in the northeast Pacific, along with a rapid decline in seawater pH over...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the drivers of net coral reef calcium carbonate production is increasingly important as ocean warming, acidification, and other anthropogenic stressors threaten the maintenance of coral reef structures and the services these ecosystems provide. Despite intense research effort on coral reef calcium carbonate production, the inclusion o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous on coral reefs and perform important ecosystem functions. Benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) have become increasingly abundant on degraded reefs. While epilithic and endolithic benthic cyanobacteria are the primary trophic resource for many parrotfishes, mat-forming benthic cyanobacteria are generally considered unpalat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Home range behavior is common in animals and mediates species interactions and distributions. We investigated home range behavior and spatial interactions in four common parrotfishes on coral reefs in Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands, to determine the contributions of spatial interactions to their coexistence. We computed home ranges for females and...
Article
Full-text available
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a reimagining of many aspects of higher education, including how instructors interact with their students and how they encourage student participation. Text-based chatting during synchronous remote instruction is a simple form of student-student and student-instructor interaction. The impo...
Preprint
Full-text available
The dynamism of ecological interactions in rapidly changing ecosystems can be understood only by linking community context to population dynamics. Holistic characterization of such mechanisms requires integrating patterns of variability across scales. Here, we integrated observational, experimental, and theoretical approaches to unify local and reg...
Preprint
Full-text available
Viruses exert considerable influence on microbial population dynamics and community structure, with cascading effects on ecosystem-scale biogeochemical cycling and functional trajectories. Creating broadly generalizable theory on viral trophic ecology requires further inquiry into historically unexplored microbial systems that currently lack empiri...
Article
Sunscreens generate a potentially important source of environmental contamination across marine and aquatic systems. Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3; BP-3) is one of the most common organic filters in chemical sunscreen and has been detected in seawater at high concentrations. In this study, we asked whether BP-3 contamination affected the photosynthesi...
Article
Concurrent rise in the prevalence of conspicuous benthic cyanobacterial mats and the incidence of coral diseases independently mark major axes of degradation of coral reefs globally. Recent advances have uncovered the potential for the existence of interactions between expanding cover of cyanobacterial mats and coral disease, especially Black Band...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change threatens to alter the processes of ecological interactions in addition to the composition and function of communities. Traditional ecological paradigms typically do not account for strong differences in the impacts of environmental stressors by trophic level, focusing instead on differential effects on competitors or functional type...
Article
Accurately predicting the effects of ocean and coastal acidification on marine ecosystems requires understanding how responses scale from laboratory experiments to the natural world. Using benthic calcifying macroalgae as a model system, we performed a semi-quantitative synthesis to compare directional responses between laboratory experiments and f...
Article
Full-text available
Disturbance impacts the spatial distribution of primary producers, which can have cascading effects on ecosystem function. The lower‐intertidal zone on the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest is one such place where wave energy creates a mosaic‐like distribution between two assemblages: surfgrass (Phyllospadix scouleri) meadows and macroalgal for...
Article
Rising levels of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere over the past several decades has resulted in a changing climate and is projected to further fuel global climate change in future centuries. Key components of climate change in the ocean are ocean acidification (decreasing pH and carbonate ion concentration [ CO32- ]) and rising...
Article
Anthropogenic forcing is spurring cyanobacterial proliferation in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. While planktonic cyanobacterial blooms have received substantial research attention, benthic blooms of mat-forming cyanobacteria have received considerably less attention, especially benthic mat blooms on coral reefs. Resultingly, numerous aspects of cor...
Article
Rhodoliths provide numerous benefits to coastal ecosystems and help support high biodiversity. No study, however, has explored rhodoliths that occupy northeastern Gulf of Mexico patch reefs, and their contributions to local ecosystem function remain uncharacterized. Here, we employed the acetylene reduction assay to assess nitrogen fixation capabil...
Article
Coralline algae perform important ecological roles in nearshore marine ecosystems globally by promoting the settlement of invertebrate larvae and enhancing biodiversity by creating habitat. However, these roles are severely threatened by global environmental changes. Most coralline algae are extremely difficult to identify, and DNA sequencing has r...
Article
Full-text available
Species concepts formalize evolutionary and ecological processes, but often conflict with one another when considering the mechanisms that ultimately lead to species delimitation. Evolutionary biologists are, however, recognizing that the conceptualization of a species is separate and distinct from the delimitation of species. Indeed, if species ar...
Article
Full-text available
Dramatic coral loss has significantly altered many Caribbean reefs, with potentially important consequences for the ecological functions and ecosystem services provided by reef systems. Many studies examine coral loss and its causes—and often presume a universal decline of ecosystem services with coral loss—rather than evaluating the range of possi...
Article
Full-text available
Microbiome research has increased dramatically in recent years, driven by advances in technology and significant reductions in the cost of analysis. Such research has unlocked a wealth of data, which has yielded tremendous insight into the nature of the microbial communities, including their interactions and effects, both within a host and in an ex...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Organisms inhabiting the intertidal zone have been used to study natural ecophysiological responses and adaptations to thermal stress because these organisms are routinely exposed to high‐temperature conditions for hours at a time. While intertidal organisms may be inherently better at withstanding temperature stress due to regular exposur...
Article
Seaweeds are important components of near‐shore ecosystems as primary producers, foundation species and biogeochemical engineers. Seaweed communities are likely to alter under predicted climate change scenarios. We tested the physiological responses of three perennial, turf‐building, intertidal rhodophytes, Mastocarpus stellatus, Osmundea pinnatifi...
Article
Full-text available
Herbivory is an important process in the general structuring of coral reef benthic communities. However, evidence of its ability to control coral reef benthic cyanobacterial mats, which have recently proliferated on reefs worldwide, remains ambivalent. Here, we report that the French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru), Striped Parrotfish (Scarus iseri),...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic stressors can alter the structure and functioning of infaunal communities, which are key drivers of the carbon cycle in marine soft sediments. Nonetheless, the compounded effects of anthropogenic stressors on carbon fluxes in soft benthic systems remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the cumulative effects of ocean acidificati...
Article
Full-text available
Macroalgae drive the largest CO 2 flux fixed globally by marine macrophytes. Most of the resulting biomass is exported through the coastal ocean as detritus and yet almost no field measurements have verified its potential net sequestration in marine sediments. This gap limits the scope for the inclusion of macroalgae within blue carbon schemes that...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing population responses to climate‐related environmental change is key to understanding the adaptive potential of the species as a whole. Coralline algae are critical components of marine shallow water ecosystems where they function as important ecosystem engineers. Populations of the calcifying algae Corallina officinalis from the center (s...
Article
Full-text available
Research into the effects of reduced pH caused by rising CO2 on echinoderms has been strongly biased toward those groups which rely heavily on calcification, such as sea urchins. There is very limited information available for groups that are less reliant on calcification, such as sea cucumbers. Moreover, plasticity in physiology and behavior in ho...
Article
In macroalgal‐dominated systems, herbivory is a major driver in controlling ecosystem structure. However, the role of altered plant–herbivore interactions and effects of changes to trophic control under global change are poorly understood. This is because both macroalgae and grazers themselves may be affected by global change, making changes in pla...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification, a product of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, may already have affected calcified organisms in the coastal zone, such as bivalves and other shellfish. Understanding species’ responses to climate change requires the context of long-term dynamics. This can be particularly difficult given the longevity of many important spec...
Article
Full-text available
Seawater pH and the availability of carbonate ions are decreasing due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, posing challenges for calcifying marine species. Marine mussels are of particular concern given their role as foundation species worldwide. Here, we document shell growth and calcification patterns in Mytilus californianus, the Californi...
Article
Full-text available
Historical ecological datasets froma coastalmarine communityof crustose coralline algae (CCA) enabled the documentation of ecological changes in this community over 30 years in the Northeast Pacific. Data on competitive interactions obtained from field surveys showed concordance between the 1980s and 2013, yet also revealed a reduction in how stron...
Article
Full-text available
Research on coralline algal responses to ocean acidification and other environmental stressors has increased in recent years as coralline algae is thought to stand a higher chance of being affected by acidification stress than other macroalgae. To provide context and enhance the existing eco-physiological framework for climate change studies, it is...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification, the result of increased dissolution of carbon dioxide (CO2) in seawater, is a leading subject of current research. The effects of acidification on non-calcifying macroalgae are, however, still unclear. The current study reports two 1-month studies using two different macroalgae, the red alga Palmaria palmata (Rhodophyta) and th...
Article
Full-text available
Coralline algae are globally distributed benthic primary producers that secrete calcium carbonate skeletons. In the context of ocean acidification, they have received much recent attention due to the potential vulnerability of their high-Mg calcite skeletons and their many important ecological roles. Herein, we summarize what is known about coralli...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The process of ocean acidification is driving important changes in coastal seawater chemistry. Experimental evidence suggests that acidification may be a greater stressor to some organisms than others, including within communities and guilds of interacting species. In light of recent changes in ocean carbon chemistry i...
Article
Ocean acidification is changing the marine environment, with potentially serious consequences for many organisms. Much of our understanding of ocean acidification effects comes from laboratory experiments, which demonstrate physiological responses over relatively short timescales. Observational studies and, more recently, experimental studies in na...
Data
Ocean acidification is changing the marine environment, with potentially serious consequences for many organisms. Much of our understanding of ocean acidification effects comes from laboratory experiments, which demonstrate physiological responses over relatively short timescales. Observational studies and, more recently, experimental studies in na...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Anthropogenic impacts on the global carbon cycle pose a dual risk to ocean ecosystems. Aside from rising temperatures, the process of ocean acidification is causing coastal water chemistry to change dramatically. It is therefore important to assess the potential for biological response to seawater chemistry on both the...
Article
Full-text available
Our changing climate has entrained a host of known and unknown changes to the ocean environment. Among these, coastal water chemistry is changing at a greater rate than ever before, and will drive coastal pH lower than has been experienced by any modern organism. Although much assessment of ocean acidification is focused on single-species responses...
Data
Daily Upwelling Index (UI) in proximity to Tatoosh Island (48°N) from 1998–2009. The UI showed a significant positive linear trend (slope = 0.0109, p<0.001), though the r2 was low (r2 = 0.016). (TIF)
Data
Mean daily SST for Buoy 46041 (Cape Elizabeth) in °C from 1998–2009. The SST showed a significant negative trend (slope = −0.0002, p<0.001), though the r2 was low (r2 = 0.014). (TIF)
Data
Mean monthly Aqua MODIS chl fluorescence data from 2000–2009. There was no significant pattern for AquaMODIS data with time (−0.0005, p = 0.487). (TIF)
Data
Mean monthly SeaWiFS values from 1998–2007 (chl a in mg m−3). There was no significant pattern for SeaWiFS with time (−0.073, p = 0.622). (TIF)
Article
Full-text available
There has been a recent focus on monitoring the extent and amplitude of ocean acidification and determining its effect on marine ecosystems. An obstacle to assessing responses in marine ecosystems is the paucity of direct ocean pH and carbonate chemistry measurements, both spatially and temporally. At Tatoosh Island, WA, in the coastal north-temper...
Article
Analyses of carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios of terrestrial leaf waxes and the carbon and nitrogen abundance, ratio, and isotopic composition of bulk sediments from Lake Wandakara, a crater lake in western Uganda, East Africa, document human and climatic controls on the aquatic system and on the surrounding terrestrial vegetation during the past...

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