OA-ICC December calendar: 22/12- “OA down under”

Count down the days until 2015 together with the OA-ICC! Each day of December you will find a short story on the OA-ICC news stream highlighting an ocean acidification project, effort, or resource.

Discover today’s story below: “OA down under”!

Continue reading ‘OA-ICC December calendar: 22/12- “OA down under”’

The positive relationship between ocean acidification and pollution

Ocean acidification and pollution coexist to exert combined effects on the functions and services of marine ecosystems. Ocean acidification can increase the biotoxicity of heavy metals by altering their speciation and bioavailability. Marine pollutants, such as heavy metals and oils, could decrease the photosynthesis rate and increase the respiration rate of marine organisms as a result of biotoxicity and eutrophication, facilitating ocean acidification to varying degrees. Here we review the complex interactions between ocean acidification and pollution in the context of linkage of multiple stressors to marine ecosystems. The synthesized information shows that pollution-affected respiration acidifies coastal oceans more than the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Coastal regions are more vulnerable to the negative impact of ocean acidification due to large influxes of pollutants from terrestrial ecosystems. Ocean acidification and pollution facilitate each other, and thus coastal environmental protection from pollution has a large potential for mitigating acidification risk.

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Limpets counteract ocean acidification induced shell corrosion by thickening of aragonitic shell layers (update)

Specimens of the patellogastropod limpet Patella caerulea were collected within (pHlow-shells) and outside (pHn-shells) a CO2 vent site at Ischia, Italy. Four pHlow-shells and four pHn-shells were sectioned transversally and scanned for polymorph distribution by means of confocal Raman microscopy. The pHlow-shells displayed a twofold increase in aragonite area fraction and size-normalised aragonite area. Size-normalised calcite area was halved in pHlow-shells. Taken together with the increased apical and the decreased flank size-normalised thickness of the pHlow-shells, these data led us to conclude that low-pH-exposed P. caerulea specimens counteract shell dissolution by enhanced shell production. This is different from normal elongation growth and proceeds through addition of aragonitic parts only, while the production of calcitic parts is confined to elongation growth. Therefore, aragonite cannot be regarded as a disadvantageous polymorph per se under ocean acidification conditions.

Continue reading ‘Limpets counteract ocean acidification induced shell corrosion by thickening of aragonitic shell layers (update)’

Impact of long-term moderate hypercapnia and elevated temperature on the energy budget of isolated gills of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

Effects of severe hypercapnia have been extensively studied in marine fishes, while the knowledge on the impacts of moderately elevated CO2 levels and their combination with warming is scarce. Here we investigate ion regulation mechanisms and energy budget in gills from Atlantic cod acclimated long-term to elevated PCO2 levels (2,500 μatm) and temperature (18 °C). Isolated perfused gill preparations were established to determine gill thermal plasticity during acute exposures (10-22 °C) and in vivo costs of Na+/K+-ATPase activity and of protein and RNA synthesis. Maximum enzyme capacities of F1Fo-ATPase, H+-ATPase and Na+/K+-ATPase were measured in vitro in crude gill homogenates. After whole animal acclimation to elevated PCO2 and/or warming, branchial oxygen consumption responded more strongly to acute temperature change. The fractions of gill respiration allocated to protein and RNA synthesis remained unchanged. In gills of fish CO2-exposed at both temperatures, energy turnover associated with Na+/K+-ATPase activity was reduced by 30 percent below rates of the control group. This contrasted in vitro capacities of Na+/K+-ATPase, which remained unchanged under elevated CO2 at 10 °C, and earlier studies which had found a strong upregulation under more severe hypercapnia. F1Fo-ATPase capacities increased in hypercapnic gills at both temperatures, whereas Na+/K+ATPase and H+-ATPase capacities only increased in response to elevated CO2 and warming indicating the absence of thermal compensation under CO2. We conclude that in vivo ion-regulatory energy demand is lowered under moderately elevated CO2 levels despite the stronger thermal response of total gill respiration and the upregulation of F1Fo-ATPase. This effect is maintained at elevated temperature.

Continue reading ‘Impact of long-term moderate hypercapnia and elevated temperature on the energy budget of isolated gills of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)’

Emergence of multiple ocean ecosystem drivers in a large ensemble suite with an earth system model

Marine ecosystems are increasingly impacted by human-induced changes. Ocean ecosystem drivers – including warming, acidification, deoxygenation and perturbations to biological productivity – can co-occur in space and time, but detecting their trends is complicated by the presence of noise associated with natural variability in the climate system. Here we use Large Initial-Condition Ensemble Simulations with a comprehensive Earth System Model under a historical/RCP8.5 pathway over 1950–2100 to consider emergence characteristics for the four individual and combined drivers. Using a one-standard deviation (67% confidence) threshold of signal-to-noise to define emergence with a 30 yr trend window, we show that ocean acidification emerges much earlier than other drivers, namely during the 20th century over most of the global ocean. For biological productivity, the anthropogenic signal does not emerge from the noise over most of the global ocean before the end of the 21st century. The early emergence pattern for sea surface temperature in low latitudes is reversed from that of subsurface oxygen inventories, where emergence occurs earlier in the Southern Ocean. For the combined multiple-driver field, 41% of the global ocean exhibits emergence for the 2005–2014 period, and 63% for the 2075–2084 period. The combined multiple-driver field reveals emergence patterns by the end of this century that are relatively high over much of the Southern Ocean, North Pacific, and Atlantic, but relatively low over the tropics and the South Pacific. In regions with pronounced emergence characteristics, marine ecosystems can be expected to be pushed outside of their comfort zone determined by the degree of natural background variability to which they are adapted. The results here thus have implications not only for optimization of the ocean observing system, but also for risk assessment and mitigation strategies.

Continue reading ‘Emergence of multiple ocean ecosystem drivers in a large ensemble suite with an earth system model’

Processes determining the marine alkalinity and calcium carbonate saturation state distributions (update)

We introduce a composite tracer for the marine system, Alk*, that has a global distribution primarily determined by CaCO3 precipitation and dissolution. Alk* is also affected by riverine alkalinity from dissolved terrestrial carbonate minerals. We estimate that the Arctic receives approximately twice the riverine alkalinity per unit area as the Atlantic, and 8 times that of the other oceans. Riverine inputs broadly elevate Alk* in the Arctic surface and particularly near river mouths. Strong net carbonate precipitation results in low Alk* in subtropical gyres, especially in the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Upwelling of dissolved CaCO3-rich deep water elevates North Pacific and Southern Ocean Alk*. We use the Alk* distribution to estimate the variability of the calcite saturation state resulting from CaCO3 cycling and other processes. We show that regional differences in surface calcite saturation state are due primarily to the effect of temperature differences on CO2 solubility and, to a lesser extent, differences in freshwater content and air–sea disequilibria. The variations in net calcium carbonate cycling revealed by Alk* play a comparatively minor role in determining the calcium carbonate saturation state.

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Gauging perceptions of ocean acidification in Alaska

While ocean acidification (OA) poses a significant threat to ocean-related ecosystems and communities reliant on marine fisheries, aquaculture, and coral reef systems, limited public understanding and awareness can prevent coastal regions from being able to adequately assess the need for OA adaptation or mitigation. This study assessed public understanding of OA and how social and demographic factors influence the public’s concern for OA. The analysis was based on 311 questionnaires from full-time Alaska residents. The results showed that most Alaskans self-reported to have a basic awareness of OA, and subsequently were able to recognize that CO2 emissions related to human activity are the dominant driver of changing ocean conditions. However, there was a low recognition of how natural variability in the marine environment affects OA, and most respondents were not very confident in their understanding of OA-related science. Moreover, even though many communities in Alaska are reliant on commercial and subsistence fishing activities, the respondents had a low awareness of fisheries-related OA risk. Given the ongoing debate associated with climate change research, evaluating CO2 mitigation efforts through the perspective of OA could give individuals an unbiased way to assess the pros and cons of more intensive efforts to curb CO2 emissions. Furthermore, using OA communication to enhance the understanding of how natural variability influences OA around the state and the potential economic implications for Alaska fisheries would help residents and stakeholders make informed decisions when considering fisheries management plans, food security, and job diversity as OA intensifies. Solidifying the understanding that any reduction in pH and intensification of OA can have implications for marine species that are irreversible on human timescales will reinforce not only that OA is an immediate concern, but also the importance of taking action now.

Continue reading ‘Gauging perceptions of ocean acidification in Alaska’

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