Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Biology

Committee Chair Name

Sean Craig

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Paul Bourdeau

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Luke Miller

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Fourth Committee Member Name

Alison Young

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional


Northern California, Foundation species, Mussels, Community ecology, Temperature stress, Climate

Subject Categories



With the continued progression of climate change, the role of foundation species as mediators of temperature stress for species living on and within them has become increasingly important. In the intertidal zone, a major foundation species is the California mussel, Mytilus californianus, which can help to limit thermal stress for species that live among aggregations of these mussels. The ability of mussels to limit thermal stress as temperatures increase, however, is still unclear. This study sought to experimentally manipulate surface temperatures of artificial mussel beds in situ to examine the effects that increased surface heating at a single site may have on the interior temperature of mussel beds and the structure of communities associated with them.

Artificial mussel beds were outfitted with custom-created heating systems and deployed for three months in summer within an existing mussel bed in Trinidad, California. At the end of the study, these artificial mussels were collected and the community of species living within each bed was assessed, along with the temperature regime on the surface and interior of these experimental beds. Results showed that surface temperatures of these artificial mussel beds were higher than temperatures in their interior, indicating that temperature stress is diminished for species living within the mussel bed. Additionally, community structure within these artificial beds was significantly related to maximum daily interior plot temperatures, highlighting the value of in situ experimental manipulation of mussel bed surface temperatures to determine the potential future effects of climate change on mussel bed communities.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.