Daily variation in net primary production and net calcification in coral reef communities exposed to elevated pCO2 (update)

The threat represented by ocean acidification (OA) for coral reefs has received considerable attention because of the sensitivity of calcifiers to changing seawater carbonate chemistry. However, most studies have focused on the organismic response of calcification to OA, and only a few have addressed community-level effects, or investigated parameters other than calcification, such as photosynthesis. Light (photosynthetically active radiation, PAR) is a driver of biological processes on coral reefs, and the possibility that these processes might be perturbed by OA has important implications for community function. Here we investigate how CO2 enrichment affects the relationships between PAR and community net O2 production (Pnet), and between PAR and community net calcification (Gnet), using experiments on three coral communities constructed to match (i) the back reef of Mo’orea, French Polynesia, (ii) the fore reef of Mo’orea, and (iii) the back reef of O’ahu, Hawaii. The results were used to test the hypothesis that OA affects the relationship between Pnet and Gnet. For the three communities tested, pCO2 did not affect the Pnet–PAR relationship, but it affected the intercept of the hyperbolic tangent curve fitting the Gnet–PAR relationship for both reef communities in Mo’orea (but not in O’ahu). For the three communities, the slopes of the linear relationships between Pnet and Gnet were not affected by OA, although the intercepts were depressed by the inhibitory effect of high pCO2 on Gnet. Our result indicates that OA can modify the balance between net calcification and net photosynthesis of reef communities by depressing community calcification, but without affecting community photosynthesis.

Continue reading ‘Daily variation in net primary production and net calcification in coral reef communities exposed to elevated pCO2 (update)’

Ocean acidification hampers sperm-egg collisions, gamete fusion, and generation of Ca2+ oscillations of a broadcast spawning bivalve, Tegillarca granosa

Although the effect of ocean acidification on fertilization success of marine organisms is increasingly well documented, the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. The fertilization success of broadcast spawning invertebrates depends on successful sperm-egg collisions, gamete fusion, and standard generation of Ca2+oscillations. Therefore, the realistic effects of future ocean pCO2 levels on these specific aspects of fertilization of Tegillarca granosa were investigated in the present study through sperm velocity trials, fertilization kinetics model analysis, and intracellular Ca2+assays, respectively. Results obtained indicated that ocean acidification significantly reduced the fertilization success of T. granosa, which could be accountable by (i) decreased sperm velocity hence reducing the probability for sperm-egg collisions; (ii) lowered probability of gamete fusion for each gamete collision event; and (iii) disrupted intracellular Ca2+ oscillations.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification hampers sperm-egg collisions, gamete fusion, and generation of Ca2+ oscillations of a broadcast spawning bivalve, Tegillarca granosa’

Altered sediment biota and lagoon habitat carbonate dynamics due to sea cucumber bioturbation in a high-pCO2 environment

The effects of global change on biological systems and functioning are already measureable, but how ecological interactions are being altered is poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience is strengthened by ecological functionality, which depends on trophic interactions between key species and resilience generated through biogenic buffering. Climate-driven alterations to coral reef metabolism, structural complexity and biodiversity are well documented, but the feedbacks between ocean change and trophic interactions of non-coral invertebrates are understudied. Sea cucumbers, some of the largest benthic inhabitants of tropical lagoon systems, can influence diel changes in reef carbonate dynamics. Whether they have the potential to exacerbate or buffer ocean acidification over diel cycles depends on their relative production of total alkalinity (AT) through the dissolution of ingested calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments and release of dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) through respiration and trophic interactions. In this study, the potential for the sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, a bêche-de-mer (fished) species listed as vulnerable to extinction, to buffer the impacts of ocean acidification on reef carbonate chemistry was investigated in lagoon sediment mesocosms across diel cycles. Stichopus herrmanni directly reduced the abundance of meiofauna and benthic primary producers through its deposit-feeding activity under present-day and near-future pCO2. These changes in benthic community structure, as well as AT (sediment dissolution) and CT (respiration) production by S. herrmanni, played a significant role in modifying seawater carbonate dynamics night and day. This previously unappreciated role of tropical sea cucumbers, in support of ecosystem resilience in the face of global change, is an important consideration with respect to the bêche-de-mer trade to ensure sea cucumber populations are sustained in a future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Altered sediment biota and lagoon habitat carbonate dynamics due to sea cucumber bioturbation in a high-pCO2 environment’

Presentation: “Climate change and ocean acidification”, INDEMER international conference, Monaco (video)

Presentation on climate change and how it relates to ocean acidification given by Dr Lydia Kapsenberg, post-doctoral researcher, National Science Foundation (USA) & Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), in the framework of the international conference “Knowledge of the ocean at the service of sustainable development”, 27-28 April 2017, Monaco, co-organized by INDEMER and the Oceanographic Institute – Prince Albert the 1st Foundation.

INDEMER, via Youtube, 17 July 2017. Video.

Carbon and nitrogen allocation strategy in Posidonia oceanica is altered by seawater acidification

Rising atmospheric CO2 causes ocean acidification that represents one of the major ecological threats for marine biota. We tested the hypothesis that long-term exposure to increased CO2 level and acidification in a natural CO2 vent system alters carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) metabolism in Posidonia oceanica L. (Delile), affecting its resilience, or capability to restore the physiological homeostasis, and the nutritional quality of organic matter available for grazers. Seawater acidification decreased the C to N ratio in P. oceanica tissues and increased grazing rate, shoot density, leaf proteins and asparagine accumulation in rhizomes, while the maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II was unaffected. The 13C-dilution in both structural and non-structural C metabolites in the acidified site indicated quali-quantitative changes of C source and/or increased isotopic fractionation during C uptake and carboxylation associated with the higher CO2 level. The decreased C:N ratio in the acidified site suggests an increased N availability, leading to a greater storage of 15N-enriched compounds in rhizomes. The amount of the more dynamic C storage form, sucrose, decreased in rhizomes of the acidified site in response to the enhanced energy demand due to higher shoot recruitment and N compound synthesis, without affecting starch reserves. The ability to modulate the balance between stable and dynamic C reserves could represent a key ecophysiological mechanism for P. oceanica resilience under environmental perturbation. Finally, alteration in C and N dynamics promoted a positive contribution of this seagrass to the local food web.

Continue reading ‘Carbon and nitrogen allocation strategy in Posidonia oceanica is altered by seawater acidification’

Effect of ocean acidification on growth, calcification, and gene expression in the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata

In this study, shell growth, shell microstructure, and expression levels of shell matrix protein genes (aspein, n16, and nacrein) that play a key role in the CaCO3 crystal polymorphism (calcite and aragonite) of the shell were investigated in the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata at pH 8.10, 7.70, and 7.40. We found that the shell length and total weight index did not vary significantly between oysters reared at pH 8.10 and 7.70, but was significantly lower at pH 7.40. Calcium content and shell hardness were not significantly different between pH 8.10 and 7.70, but were significantly different at pH 7.40. At pH 7.40, the shell exhibited a poorly organized nacreous microstructure, and showed an apparent loss of structural integrity in the nacreous layer. The prismatic layer appeared morphologically dissimilar from the samples at pH 8.10 and 7.70. The internal layer was corroded and had dissolved. At pH 7.40, the expression levels of nacrein, aspein, and n16 decreased on day 1, and remained low between days 2 and 42. The expression levels of these genes were significantly lower at pH 7.40 than at pH 8.10 and 7.70 during days 2–42. These results suggest that ocean acidification will have a limited impact on shell growth, calcification, and associated gene expression levels at a pH of 7.70, which is projected to be reached by the end of the century. The negative effects were found on calcification and gene expression occurred at the lowest experimental pH (7.40).

Continue reading ‘Effect of ocean acidification on growth, calcification, and gene expression in the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata’

Iron sources alter the response of Southern Ocean phytoplankton to ocean acidification

The rise in anthropogenic CO2 and the associated ocean acidification (OA) will change trace metal solubility and speciation, potentially altering Southern Ocean (SO) phytoplankton productivity and species composition. As iron (Fe) sources are important determinants of Fe bioavailability, we assessed the effect of Fe-laden dust versus inorganic Fe (FeCl3) enrichment under ambient and high pCO2 levels (390 and 900 μatm) in a naturally Fe-limited SO phytoplankton community. Despite similar Fe chemical speciation and net particulate organic carbon (POC) production rates, CO2-dependent species shifts were controlled by Fe sources. Final phytoplankton communities of both control and dust treatments were dominated by the same species, with an OA-dependent shift from the diatom Pseudo nitzschia prolongatoides towards the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis antarctica. Addition of FeCl3 resulted in high abundances of Nitzschia lecointei and Chaetoceros neogracilis under ambient and high pCO2, respectively. These findings reveal that both the characterization of the phytoplankton community at the species level and the use of natural Fe sources are essential for a realistic projection of the biological carbon pump in the Fe-limited pelagic SO under OA. As dust deposition represents a more realistic scenario for the Fe-limited pelagic SO under OA, unaffected net POC production and dominance of P. antarctica can potentially weaken the export of carbon and silica in the future.

Continue reading ‘Iron sources alter the response of Southern Ocean phytoplankton to ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book