Will temperature and salinity changes exacerbate the effects of seawater acidification on the marine microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum?

Highlights

• Combined effects of pH, temperature and salinity were studied on a marine diatom.
• A novel CO2 injection system was used for performing microalgae toxicity test.
• Synergistic effects were found on cell viability, cell size and autofluorescence.
• Results are useful to address the potential impact of climate change.

Abstract
To evaluate the effects related to the combination of potential future changes in pH, temperature and salinity on microalgae, a laboratory experiment was performed using the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Populations of this species were exposed during 48 h to a three-factor experimental design (3 × 2 × 2) with two artificial pH values (6, 7.4), two levels of temperature (23 °C, 28 °C), two levels of salinity (34 psu, 40 psu) and a control (pH 8, Temp 23 °C, Sal 34 psu). The effects on growth, cell viability, metabolic activity, and inherent cell properties (size, complexity and autofluorescence) of P. tricornutum were studied using flow cytometry. The results showed adverse effects on cultures exposed to pH 6 and high temperature and salinity, being the inherent cell properties the most sensitive response. Also, linked effects of these parameters resulted on cell viability and cell size decrease and an increase of cell autofluorescence. The conclusions obtained from this work are useful to address the potential effects of climate change (in terms of changes on pH, salinity and temperature) in microalgae.

Bautista-Chamizo E., Sendra M., Cid A., Seoane M., Romano de Orte M. & Riba I., 2018. Will temperature and salinity changes exacerbate the effects of seawater acidification on the marine microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum? Science of the Total Environment 634:  87–94. Article (subscription required).

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