No Air: Should We Care? Examining Spirontocaris sica living in a hypoxic environment

E. MacLean \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 23-32.

Download PDF


The increase of hypoxic zones in the oceans is jeopardizing marine ecosystems. Benthic ecosystems have shown to be particularly vulnerable to these zones. In this paper, the correlation between hypoxic oxygen levels and a benthic shrimp, Spirontocaris sica, was examined to understand how benthic organisms might adapt to hypoxia. Spirontocaris sica was studied in its naturally hypoxic environment, Saanich Inlet, BC. In an examination of the Spirontocaris sica population and oxygen levels over the period from October 2009 to October 2010, no correlation between the two variables was observed. These findings suggest that the Spirontocaris sica population is independent of oxygen levels. Possible explanations of this trend may be due to an abundant food source or an environmental factor causing abnormal dispersal. These other factors should be investigated in future studies as they have the potential to reactivate post-hypoxic ecosystems.