Exposure time modulates the effects of climate change-related stressors on fertile sporophytes and early-life stage performance of a habitat-forming kelp species

Highlight

  • Ocean warming (OW) reduced the sorus photosynthetic performance.
  • OW reduced meiospore germination rate.
  • OW and ocean acidification reduced meiospore release (MR).
  • MR is more sensitive to temperature changes than to pCO2 changes.
  • Longer exposure to OW increased the negative effects on germination rate.

Abstract

Understanding the impact of increases in pCO2 (OA) and extreme changes in temperature on marine organisms is critical to predicting how they will cope with climate change. We evaluated the effects of OA as well as warming and cooling trend temperature on early reproductive traits of Lessonia trabeculata, a foundation kelp species. Sori discs were maintained for an exposure time (ET) of 3 (T3) and 7 (T7) days to one of two contrasting pCO2 levels (450 and 1100 μatm). In addition, at each pCO2 level, they were subjected to three temperature treatments: 15 °C (control), 10 °C (cool) and 19 °C (warm). Subsequently, we compared sorus photosynthetic performance (Fv/Fm), the number of meiospores released (MR) and their germination rate (GR) after 48 h of settlement, with values obtained from sori discs not exposed (DNE) to the treatments. The Fv/Fm measured for DNE was lower than at T3 and T7 at 10 and 15 °C but not at 19 °C. Regardless of temperature, we found no significant differences between MR measured at T0 and T3 were found. MR at T7 was significantly lower at 19 °C than at 10 and 15 °C. We found only aA significant reduction in MR in response to elevated pCO2 was only found at T3. The GR of meiospores released by DNE and then maintained for 48 h to 19 °C decreased significantly by ∼33 % when compared with those maintained for the same time at 10 and 15 °C. A similar, but more drastic reduction (∼54 %) in the GR was found in meiospores released by sori discs exposed for T3 and maintained for 48 h to 19 °C. We suggest that OA and warming trend will threaten the early establishment of this species with further consequences for the functioning of the associated ecosystem.

Graphical abstract

Under laboratory conditions were investigated the combined effect of pCO2, temperature and the exposure time on sorus photosynthetic performance (Fv/Fm) and meiospore performance (release and germination rate) of a habitat-forming kelp Lessonia trabeculata. The results suggest that important traits such as sorus photosynthetic performance, meiospores released and germination rate can be affected by those stressors and by the extent to which the sori are exposed. We concluded that ocean warming and ocean acidification might threaten the early establishment of this species with further consequences for the ecosystem functioning, goods and services in coastal environments.

González C. P., Edding M., Tala F., Torres R. & Manríquez P. H., in press. Exposure time modulates the effects of climate change-related stressors on fertile sporophytes and early-life stage performance of a habitat-forming kelp species. Environmental Pollution. Article (subscription required).

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