Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-8-2016

Faculty Advisor(s)

Hesham El-Askary


The continuing climate change is negatively impacting ecosystems, specifically oceans which are declining and food webs are being altered by the increase of greenhouse gases. The increase of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is increasing sea surface temperature of the world’s oceans. Certain organisms lower on the food chain like phytoplankton and zooplankton are directly affected by the warming which alters how they process nutrients and their productivity. The limited amount of these primary producers in the oceans and specifically the location they inhabit directly affects all the organisms above them on the food chain. Several marine animals like sharks that filter feed on these organisms and in recent years, an increase in shark sighting near shores on the coast of California have given rise to questions on why this is occurring. Using remote sensing images, it is possible to look at how these sharks and even other marine organisms’ migration patterns are changing due to the rises in sea surface temperature due to global warming. Currently, the research has begun looking at the coast of California using the program Giovanni and looking at time averaged maps of sea surface temperature and phytoplankton absorption. Additionally, the program SeaDas was used to look at seasonal climatology and chlorophyll content. The results so far have shown that there is a direct relationship in the sea surface temperature increases and the receding to closer to shores of phytoplankton in the last 10 years (2006-2016). Future research will look into these patterns and its direction relationship to the exact migration patterns of sharks. Additionally, research will look into how these relationships are applicable to other areas and marine organisms in the world oceans.


Presented at the Fall 2016 Student Research Day at Chapman University.