Transgenerational effects of pCO2-driven ocean acidification on adult mussels Mytilus chilensis modulate physiological response to multiple stressors in larvae

The effect of CO2-driven ocean acidification (OA) on marine biota has been extensively studied mostly on a single stage of the life cycle. However, the cumulative and population-level response to this global stressor may be biased due to transgenerational effects and their impacts on physiological plasticity. In this study, we exposed adult mussels Mytilus chilensis undergoing gametogenesis to two pCO2 levels (550 and 1200 μatm) for 16 weeks, aiming to understand if prolonged exposure of reproductive individuals to OA can affect the performance of their offspring, which, in turn, were reared under multiple stressors (pCO2, temperature, and dissolved cadmium). Our results indicate dependence between the level of pCO2 of the broodstock (i.e., parental effect) and the performance of larval stages in terms of growth and physiological rates, as a single effect of temperature. While main effects of pCO2 and cadmium were observed for larval growth and ingestion rates, respectively, the combined exposure to stressors had antagonistic effects. Moreover, we found a suppression of feeding activity in post-spawning broodstock upon high pCO2 conditions. Nevertheless, this observation was not reflected in the final weight of the broodstock and oocyte diameter. Due to the ecological and socioeconomic importance of mussels’ species around the globe, the potential implications of maternal effects for the physiology, survival, and recruitment of larvae under combined global-change stressors warrant further investigation.

Continue reading ‘Transgenerational effects of pCO2-driven ocean acidification on adult mussels Mytilus chilensis modulate physiological response to multiple stressors in larvae’

Deciphering carbon sources of mussel shell carbonate under experimental ocean acidification and warming


• Sources of Mytilus edulis shell carbonate are deciphered through carbon isotopic analysis.
• With increasing temperature, the percent metabolic carbon incorporation into shell increases.
• Exposure to low pH also results in an increase of metabolic carbon taken up into shell.
• Ongoing climate change reduces the ability of M. edulis to extract seawater carbon to calcify.


Ocean acidification and warming is widely reported to affect the ability of marine bivalves to calcify, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. In particular, the response of their calcifying fluid carbonate chemistry to changing seawater carbonate chemistry remains poorly understood. The present study deciphers sources of the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the calcifying fluid of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) reared at two pH (8.1 and 7.7) and temperature (16 and 22 °C) levels for five weeks. Stable carbon isotopic ratios of seawater DIC, mussel soft tissues and shells were measured to determine the relative contribution of seawater DIC and metabolically generated carbon to the internal calcifying DIC pool. At pH 8.1, the percentage of seawater DIC synthesized into shell carbonate decreases slightly from 83.8% to 80.3% as temperature increases from 16 to 22 °C. Under acidified conditions, estimates of percent seawater DIC incorporation decreases clearly to 65.6% at 16 °C and to 62.3% at 22 °C, respectively. These findings indicate that ongoing ocean acidification and warming may interfere with the calcification physiology of M. edulis through interfering with its ability to efficiently extract seawater DIC to the calcifying front.

Continue reading ‘Deciphering carbon sources of mussel shell carbonate under experimental ocean acidification and warming’

In situ responses of the sponge microbiome to ocean acidification

Climate change is causing rapid changes in reef structure, biodiversity, and function, though most sponges are predicted to tolerate conditions projected for 2100. Sponges maintain intimate relationships with microbial symbionts, with previous studies suggesting that microbial flexibility may be pivotal to success under ocean acidification. We performed a reciprocal transplantation of the coral reef sponges Coelocarteria singaporensis and Stylissa cf. flabelliformis between a control reef site and an adjacent CO2 vent site in Papua New Guinea to explore how the sponge microbiome responds to ocean acidification. Microbial communities of C. singaporensis, which differed initially between sites, did not shift towards characteristic control or vent microbiomes, even though relative abundances of Chloroflexi and Cyanobacteria increased and that of Thaumarchaeota decreased seven months after transplantation to the control site. Microbial communities of S. cf. flabelliformis, which were initially stable between sites, did not respond specifically to transplantation but collectively exhibited a significant change over time, with a relative increase in Thaumarchaeota and decrease in Proteobacteria in all treatment groups. The lack of a community shift upon transplantation to the vent site suggests that microbial flexibility, at least in the adult life-history stage, does not necessarily underpin host survival under ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘In situ responses of the sponge microbiome to ocean acidification’

Rapid warming and salinity changes in the Gulf of Maine alter surface ocean carbonate parameters and hide ocean acidification

A profound warming event in the Gulf of Maine during the last decade has caused sea surface temperatures to rise to levels exceeding any earlier observations recorded in the region over the last 150 years. This event dramatically affected CO2 solubility and, in turn, the status of the sea surface carbonate system. When combined with the concomitant increase in sea surface salinity and assumed rapid equilibration of carbon dioxide across the air sea interface, thermodynamic forcing partially mitigated the effects of ocean acidification for pH, while raising the saturation index of aragonite (ΩARΩAR ) by an average of 0.14 U. Although the recent event is categorically extreme, we find that carbonate system parameters also respond to interannual and decadal variability in temperature and salinity, and that such phenomena can mask the expression of ocean acidification caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. An analysis of a 34-year salinity and SST time series (1981–2014) shows instances of 5–10 years anomalies in temperature and salinity that perturb the carbonate system to an extent greater than that expected from ocean acidification. Because such conditions are not uncommon in our time series, it is critical to understand processes controlling the carbonate system and how ecosystems with calcifying organisms respond to its rapidly changing conditions. It is also imperative that regional and global models used to estimate carbonate system trends carefully resolve variations in the physical processes that control CO2 concentrations in the surface ocean on timescales from episodic events to decades and longer.

Continue reading ‘Rapid warming and salinity changes in the Gulf of Maine alter surface ocean carbonate parameters and hide ocean acidification’

Meeting: NYS Ocean Acidification Task Force

Date: 1 November 2018 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (US Eastern)

Location: 20 Endeavour Hall, South Campus, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794

Description:  The Ocean Acidification Task Force works to assess the impacts of ocean acidification on the ecological, economic, and social well-being of the State of New York in order to recommend actions to reduce these impacts. All are invited to observe and participate in this process.

Continue reading ‘Meeting: NYS Ocean Acidification Task Force’

Time to take ocean acidification seriously

From 2007 to 2010, major shellfish hatcheries supplying the seed for West Coast oyster growers suffered persistent production failures. Hatchery scientists were witnessing baby larval oysters (just the size of the width of an eyelash) completely dissolving before their eyes. It wasn’t until 2012 that a group of researchers at Oregon State University confirmed that the collapse in oyster seed production was due to ocean acidification.

Due to various factors, the northern Pacific Ocean is more prone to ocean acidification than the northern Atlantic Ocean; however, we are now beginning to see the effects locally. Luckily, we can implement the West Coast hatchery solutions to overcome the short-term acidification problems, but more research is needed to learn how our fisheries will be impacted long-term.

The aquaculture industry is the fastest growing food sector in the U.S. (5 percent growth annually since 2010), and shellfish farming on the Island currently generates about $4 million annually into our local economy.

Continue reading ‘Time to take ocean acidification seriously’

PERSGA Member States trained on ocean acidification in Aqaba


Credit: PERSGA

A group of 26 participants representing 7 Member States (Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) of the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), had the opportunity to attend a 5-day introductory course on ocean acidification in Aqaba, Jordan from 30 September to 4 October 2018. This regional workshop was organized by PERSGA in partnership with the IAEA Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC), The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and the Marine Science Station (MSS)/University of Jordan and Yarmouk University.

The workshop sought to give participants entering the field of ocean acidification a solid overview of the topic, from the underlying chemistry to its impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems. It introduced methods used to monitor ocean acidification in the field, as well as approaches to assess the risk to marine life using lab experiments. An international group of experts shared their expertise in ocean acidification research through lectures and practical demonstrations.

Continue reading ‘PERSGA Member States trained on ocean acidification in Aqaba’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book