Eco-physiological responses of copepods and pteropods to ocean warming and acidification

We compare physiological responses of the crustacean copepod Calanus pacificus and pelagic pteropod mollusk Limacina helicina to ocean temperatures and pH by measuring biomarkers of oxidative stress, antioxidant defences, and the activity of the respiratory electron transport system in organisms collected on the 2016 West Coast Ocean Acidification cruise in the California Current System. Copepods and pteropods exhibited strong but divergent responses in the same habitat; copepods had higher oxygen-reactive absorbance capacity, glutathione-S-transferase, and total glutathione content. The ratio between reduced to oxidised glutathione was higher in copepods than in pteropods, indicating lower oxidative stress in copepods. Pteropods showed higher activities of glutathione reductase, catalase, and lipid peroxidation, indicating increased antioxidant defences and oxidative stress. Thus, the antioxidant defence system of the copepods has a greater capacity to respond to oxidative stress, while pteropods already face severe stress and show limited capacity to deal with further changes. The results suggest that copepods have higher adaptive potential, owing to their stronger vertical migration behaviour and efficient glutathione metabolism, whereas pteropods run the risk of oxidative stress and mortality under high CO2 conditions. Our results provide a unique dataset and evidence of stress-inducing mechanisms behind pteropod ocean acidification responses.

Continue reading ‘Eco-physiological responses of copepods and pteropods to ocean warming and acidification’

African scientists brainstorm on emerging ocean problems

African scientists brainstorm on ocean acidification in Monrovia

A steering committee of the Ocean Acidification (OA), which comprises a group of African scientists, under the banner of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), on Friday, March 22, met in Monrovia to discuss emerging aspects from the effects of OA with multi-stressors (multiple environmental factors), review global status and forecast capabilities as well as explore opportunities for capacity development.

Ocean acidification, often referred to as “the other CO2 problem,” is a major threat to marine ecosystems worldwide, and is the focus of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.3, which to better understand ocean acidification’s impacts on industry, increase coordination across nations and stakeholders, and highlight the widespread recognition of the threat of OA to the health and sustainability of marine ecosystems.

Mrs. Nayrah Shaltout, said GOA-ON relies on international collaboration to share data, and understand the global ecological impacts of OA).

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Ocean acidification awareness takes center stage in Liberia

Ocean Acidification Awareness Takes Center Stage In Liberia

A high-level panel comprising of Marine and Environmental Scientists from across Africa under the banner, Ocean Acidification Africa network has called for robust regional cooperation in tackling ocean acidification.


Ocean Acidification Africa is a pan-African network specifically convened to coordinate and promote ocean acidification (OA) awareness and research in Africa.

Ocean acidification, often referred to as “the other CO2 problem”, is a major threat to marine ecosystems worldwide, and is the focus of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.3.

Since 2015, African scientists are actively collaborating to advance ocean acidification research throughout the continent as part of the Ocean Acidification Africa network.

At the first high-level meeting on Tuesday, January 19 in Monrovia, Sheck Sherif, Co-Chair of the OA- African network and PhD Researcher at Queen’s University Belfast and Marine Fellow at Conservation International, in his introductory remarks noted that little is known about ocean acidification in Africa and as such, there was a need to build the capacity of African Scientists.

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Decadal-scale acidification trends in adjacent North Carolina estuaries: competing role of anthropogenic CO2 and riverine alkalinity loads

Decadal-scale pH trends for the open ocean are largely monotonic and controlled by anthropogenic CO2 invasion. In estuaries, though, such long-term pH trends are often obscured by a variety of other factors, including changes in net metabolism, temperature, estuarine mixing, and riverine hydrogeochemistry. In this study, we mine an extensive biogeochemical database in two North Carolina estuaries, the Neuse River estuary (NeuseRE) and New River estuary (NewRE), in an effort to deconvolute decadal-scale trends in pH and associated processes. By applying a Generalized Additive Mixed Model (GAMM), we show that temporal changes in NewRE pH were insignificant, while pH decreased significantly throughout much of the NeuseRE. In both estuaries, variations in pH were accompanied by increasing river discharge, and were independent of rising temperature. Decreases in bottom-water pH in the NeuseRE coincided with elevated primary production in surface waters, highlighting the importance of eutrophication on long-term acidification trends. Next, we used a simple mixing model to illustrate the impact of changing river discharge on estuarine carbonate chemistry. We found that increased riverine alkalinity loads to the NewRE likely buffered the impact of CO2-intrusion-induced acidification. In the NeuseRE, however, elevated dissolved inorganic carbon loads further decreased the buffering capacity, exacerbating the effects of CO2-intrusion-driven acidification. Taken together, the findings of this study show that future trajectories in estuarine pH will be shaped by complex interactions among global-scale changes in climate, regional-scale changes in precipitation patterns, and local-scale changes in estuarine biogeochemistry.

Continue reading ‘Decadal-scale acidification trends in adjacent North Carolina estuaries: competing role of anthropogenic CO2 and riverine alkalinity loads’

Time‐of‐detection as a metric for prioritizing between climate observation quality, frequency, and duration

We advance a simple framework based on “time‐of‐detection” for estimating the observational needs of studies assessing climate changes amidst natural variability, and apply it to several examples related to ocean acidification. This approach aims to connect the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network “weather” and “climate” data quality thresholds with a single dynamic threshold appropriate for a range of potential ocean signals and environments. A key implication of the framework is that measurement frequency can be as important as measurement accuracy, particularly in highly variable environments. Pragmatic cost‐benefit analyses based on this framework can be performed to quantitatively determine which observing strategy will accomplish a given detection goal soonest and resolve a signal with the greatest confidence, and to assess how the tradeoffs between measurement frequency and accuracy vary regionally.

Continue reading ‘Time‐of‐detection as a metric for prioritizing between climate observation quality, frequency, and duration’

Contrasting effects of acidification and warming on dimethylsulfide concentrations during a temperate estuarine fall bloom mesocosm experiment

The effects of ocean acidification and warming on the concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) were investigated during a mesocosm experiment in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary (LSLE) in the fall of 2014. Twelve mesocosms covering a range of pHT (pH on the total hydrogen ion concentration scale) from 8.0 to 7.2, corresponding to a range of CO2 partial pressures (pCO2) from 440 to 2900 µatm, at two temperatures (in situ and +5 ∘C; 10 and 15 ∘C) were monitored during 13 days. All mesocosms were characterized by the rapid development of a diatom bloom dominated by Skeletonema costatum, followed by its decline upon the exhaustion of nitrate and silicic acid. Neither the acidification nor the warming resulted in a significant impact on the abundance of bacteria over the experiment. However, warming the water by 5 ∘C resulted in a significant increase in the average bacterial production (BP) in all 15 ∘C mesocosms as compared to 10 ∘C, with no detectable effect of pCO2 on BP. Variations in total DMSP (DMSPt = particulate + dissolved DMSP) concentrations tracked the development of the bloom, although the rise in DMSPt persisted for a few days after the peaks in chlorophyll a. Average concentrations of DMSPt were not affected by acidification or warming. Initially low concentrations of DMS (<1 nmol L−1) increased to reach peak values ranging from 30 to 130 nmol L−1 towards the end of the experiment. Increasing the pCO2 reduced the averaged DMS concentrations by 66 % and 69 % at 10 and 15 ∘C, respectively, over the duration of the experiment. On the other hand, a 5 ∘C warming increased DMS concentrations by an average of 240 % as compared to in situ temperature, resulting in a positive offset of the adverse pCO2 impact. Significant positive correlations found between bacterial production and concentrations of DMS throughout our experiment point towards temperature-associated enhancement of bacterial DMSP metabolism as a likely driver of the mitigating effect of warming on the negative impact of acidification on the net production of DMS in the LSLE and potentially the global ocean.

Continue reading ‘Contrasting effects of acidification and warming on dimethylsulfide concentrations during a temperate estuarine fall bloom mesocosm experiment’

Spatio-temporal distribution of physicochemical and bacteriological parameters in the north area of Monastir bay, eastern coast of Tunisia

Temporal characterization of physicochemical and bacteriological parameters of the Monastir bay was conducted out on 12 stations, during six sampling periods in 2014. Results showed a seasonal variation on the physicochemical parameters of the water masses (temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, and turbidity) and well-oxygenated waters. Results indicated the absence of mineral phosphorus and the presence of low concentration of organic phosphorus in the stations close the coastline. Mineral nitrogen represented completely by nitrate, and organic nitrogen was detected everywhere during all sampling periods without any particular distribution. Chlorophyll-a concentrations present at low ratio characterizing an oligotrophic ecosystem showed two peaks, one during spring (April, May) and second in fall (September), and were significantly correlated with temperature (R2 = 0.82). Statistical analysis of different physicochemical parameters showed a correlation between temperature pH and oxygen. ANOVA tests showed a significant difference inter-sampling periods and between stations. Bacterial flora is dominated by halotolerant germs, which showed higher concentrations in the southern part of the studied area and are inversely correlated with salinity, turbidity, oxygen, and organic nitrogen (respectively R2 = − 0.62; − 0.79; − 0.84; − 0.72). The same evolution pattern was observed in mesophilic non-halo-obligate microflora. The Vibrionaceae concentration was correlated with water temperature and was within the standards for marine waters. Fecal coliform bacteria are absent in the studied area during all sampling periods. No particularity in water quality was noticed in this ecosystem, which characterized a good state. However, one can say that the collected data on physicochemical and bacteriological evolution can provide baseline information for assisting management of the Monastir bay, which represented a typical and important model of south Mediterranean Sea.

Continue reading ‘Spatio-temporal distribution of physicochemical and bacteriological parameters in the north area of Monastir bay, eastern coast of Tunisia’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book