Archive for the 'Science' Category

Interactive effects of seawater carbonate chemistry, light intensity and nutrient availability on physiology and calcification of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Rising atmospheric carbonate dioxide (CO2) levels lead to increasing CO2 concentration and declining pH in seawater, as well as ocean warming. This enhances stratification and shoals the upper mixed layer (UML), hindering the transport of nutrients from deeper waters and exposing phytoplankton to increased light intensities. In the present study, we investigated combined impacts of CO2 levels (410 μatm (LC) and 925 μatm (HC)), light intensities (80–480 μmol photons m−2 s−1) and nutrient concentrations [101 μmol L−1 dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and 10.5 μmol L−1 dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) (HNHP); 8.8 μmol L−1 DIN and 10.5 μmol L−1 DIP (LN); 101 μmol L−1 DIN and 0.4 μmol L−1 DIP (LP)] on growth, photosynthesis and calcification of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. HC and LN synergistically decreased growth rates of E. huxleyi at all light intensities. High light intensities compensated for inhibition of LP on growth rates at LC, but exacerbated inhibition of LP at HC. These results indicate that the ability of E. huxleyi to compete for nitrate and phosphate may be reduced in future oceans with high CO2 and high light intensities. Low nutrient concentrations increased particulate inorganic carbon quotas and the sensitivity of maximum electron transport rates to light intensity. Light-use efficiencies for carbon fixation and calcification rates were significantly larger than that of growth. Our results suggest that interactive effects of multiple environmental factors on coccolithophores need to be considered when predicting their contributions to the biological carbon pump and feedbacks to climate change.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of seawater carbonate chemistry, light intensity and nutrient availability on physiology and calcification of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Simultaneous shifts in elemental stoichiometry and fatty acids of Emiliania huxleyi in response to environmental changes

Climate-driven changes in environmental conditions have significant and complex effects on marine ecosystems. Variability in phytoplankton elements and biochemicals can be important for global ocean biogeochemistry and ecological functions, while there is currently limited understanding on how elements and biochemicals respond to the changing environments in key coccolithophore species such as Emiliania huxleyi. We investigated responses of elemental stoichiometry and fatty acids (FAs) in a strain of E. huxleyi under three temperatures (12, 18 and 24 °C), three N : P supply ratios (molar ratios 10:1, 24:1 and 63:1) and two pCO2 levels (560 and 2400 µatm). Overall, C : N : P stoichiometry showed the most pronounced response to N : P supply ratios, with high ratios of particulate organic carbon vs. particulate organic nitrogen (POC : PON) and low ratios of PON vs. particulate organic phosphorus (PON : POP) in low-N media, and high POC : POP and PON : POP in low-P media. The ratio of particulate inorganic carbon vs. POC (PIC : POC) and polyunsaturated fatty acid proportions strongly responded to temperature and pCO2, both being lower under high pCO2 and higher with warming. We observed synergistic interactions between warming and nutrient deficiency (and high pCO2) on elemental cellular contents and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) proportion in most cases, indicating the enhanced effect of warming under nutrient deficiency (and high pCO2). Our results suggest differential sensitivity of elements and FAs to the changes in temperature, nutrient availability and pCO2 in E. huxleyi, which is to some extent unique compared to non-calcifying algal classes. Thus, simultaneous changes of elements and FAs should be considered when predicting future roles of E. huxleyi in the biotic-mediated connection between biogeochemical cycles, ecological functions and climate change.

Continue reading ‘Simultaneous shifts in elemental stoichiometry and fatty acids of Emiliania huxleyi in response to environmental changes’

Inorganic carbon fluxes on the Mackenzie Shelf of the Beaufort Sea (update)

The Mackenzie Shelf in the southeastern Beaufort Sea is a region that has experienced large changes in the past several decades as warming, sea-ice loss, and increased river discharge have altered carbon cycling. Upwelling and downwelling events are common on the shelf, caused by strong, fluctuating along-shore winds, resulting in cross-shelf Ekman transport, and an alternating estuarine and anti-estuarine circulation. Downwelling carries dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and other remineralization products off the shelf and into the deep basin for possible long-term storage in the world’s oceans. Upwelling carries DIC and nutrient-rich waters from the Pacific-origin upper halocline layer (UHL) onto the shelf. Profiles of DIC and total alkalinity (TA) taken in August and September of 2014 are used to investigate the cycling of carbon on the Mackenzie Shelf. The along-shore transport of water and the cross-shelf transport of DIC are quantified using velocity field output from a simulation of the Arctic and Northern Hemisphere Atlantic (ANHA4) configuration of the Nucleus of European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO) framework. A strong upwelling event prior to sampling on the Mackenzie Shelf took place, bringing CO2-rich (elevated pCO2) water from the UHL onto the shelf bottom. The maximum on-shelf DIC flux was estimated at 16.9×103 mol C d−1 m−2 during the event. The maximum on-shelf transport of DIC through the upwelling event was found to be 65±15×10−3 Tg C d−1. TA and the oxygen isotope ratio of water (δ18O-H2O) are used to examine water-mass distributions in the study area and to investigate the influence of Pacific Water, Mackenzie River freshwater, and sea-ice melt on carbon dynamics and air–sea fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the surface mixed layer. Understanding carbon transfer in this seasonally dynamic environment is key to quantify the importance of Arctic shelf regions to the global carbon cycle and provide a basis for understanding how it will respond to the aforementioned climate-induced changes.

Continue reading ‘Inorganic carbon fluxes on the Mackenzie Shelf of the Beaufort Sea (update)’

Towards an autonomous microfluidic sensor for dissolved carbon dioxide determination


•A microfluidic sensor for dissolved carbon dioxide determination in aqueous environments has been developed.
•The design of a microfluidic chip coupled with a white LED and a colour detector successfully formed the detection system.
•This is the first microfluidic device for the determination of dissolved CO2 that measures colour.
•The stability of the selected reagent has been studied for three months so far and is still stable.
•The result is a portable system for the determination of dissolved carbon dioxide from 7.2 ppm to 425.6 ppm.

In this work, we present a new system for the determination of dissolved carbon dioxide (from 7.2 ppm to 425.6 ppm) in aqueous environments. Microfluidic technology has been incorporated in sensor design to reduce the volume of samples and reagents. Moreover, a detection system has been integrated in the chip, consisting of a white light-emitting diode as a light source and a high-resolution digital colour sensor as the detector, which are able to detect changes in colour produced by the reaction of the sensing chemistry and carbon dioxide in water.
The optimised parameters found for the system are: flow rate 0.6 mL·min−1, integration time 30 s and the time for pumping of solutions was 3 min, obtaining a LOD of 7.2 ppm. The CO2 response, reproducibility, precision, and stability of the sensing chemistry have been studied and compared with those obtained using bench-top instrumentation (i.e. a spectrophotometer), obtaining good agreement.

Continue reading ‘Towards an autonomous microfluidic sensor for dissolved carbon dioxide determination’

Behavior of brooded coral larvae in response to elevated pCO2

Elevated pCO2 threatens coral reefs through impaired calcification. However, the extent to which elevated pCO2 affects the distribution of the pelagic larvae of scleractinian corals, and how this may be interpreted in the context of ocean acidification (OA), remains unknown. We tested the hypothesis that elevated pCO2 affects one aspect of the behavior (i.e., motility) of brooded larvae from Pocillopora damicornis in Okinawa (Japan), and used UV-transparent tubes that were 68-cm long (45 mm ID) to incubate larvae on a shallow fringing reef. Replicate tubes were filled with seawater at ~400 μatm or ~1,000 μatm pCO2, stocked with 50 larvae each, and incubated vertically for 12 h with their midpoints at 0.3-m (shallow) or 3.3-m (deep) depth over a reef at 4-m depth. Larval behavior was assayed through their position in the tubes, which was scored in situ every 4 h beginning at 08:00 h. Lipid content was measured at the end of the experiment as a potential driver of behavior through its effects on larval buoyancy. Larval position in the tubes varied between depths and time of day at ~400 μatm pCO2 and ~1,000 μatm pCO2. At ~400 μatm, larvae moved toward the top (0.1-m) of shallow tubes throughout the day, but in the deep tubes they aggregated at the bottom of the tubes from 08:00 to 20:00 h. In contrast, larvae incubated at ~1,000 μatm pCO2 aggregated at the bottom of shallow tubes at 08:00 and 20:00 h, however in the deep tubes they were found in the bottom throughout the day. As lipid content of the larvae declined 23–25% at ~1,000 vs. ~400 μatm pCO2, loss of lipid may be a cause of modified larval behavior at high pCO2. If the pCO2-mediated changes in behavior and lipid content during this short experiment occur during longer exposures to high pCO2, our results suggest OA could alter the dispersal capacity of brooded coral larvae.

Continue reading ‘Behavior of brooded coral larvae in response to elevated pCO2’

Dimethylsulfide (DMS) production in polar oceans may be resilient to ocean acidification

Emissions of dimethylsulfide (DMS) from the polar oceans play a key role in atmospheric processes and climate. Therefore, it is important we increase our understanding of how DMS production in these regions may respond to environmental change. The polar oceans are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA). However, our understanding of the polar DMS response is limited to two studies conducted in Arctic waters, where in both cases DMS concentrations decreased with increasing acidity. Here, we report on our findings from seven summertime shipboard microcosm experiments undertaken in a variety of locations in the Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean. These experiments reveal no significant effects of short term OA on the net production of DMS by planktonic communities. This is in contrast to identical experiments from temperate NW European shelf waters where surface ocean communities responded to OA with significant increases in dissolved DMS concentrations. A meta-analysis of the findings from both temperate and polar waters (n = 18 experiments) reveals clear regional differences in the DMS response to OA. We suggest that these regional differences in DMS response reflect the natural variability in carbonate chemistry to which the respective communities may already be adapted. Future temperate oceans could be more sensitive to OA resulting in a change in DMS emissions to the atmosphere, whilst perhaps surprisingly DMS emissions from the polar oceans may remain relatively unchanged. By demonstrating that DMS emissions from geographically distinct regions may vary in response to OA, our results may facilitate a better understanding of Earth’s future climate. Our study suggests that the way in which processes that generate DMS respond to OA may be regionally distinct and this should be taken into account in predicting future DMS emissions and their influence on Earth’s climate.

Continue reading ‘Dimethylsulfide (DMS) production in polar oceans may be resilient to ocean acidification’

Impact on climate change on marine plankton with special reference to Indian seas

The seas surrounding India, namely Arabian Sea (AS) and Bay of Bengal (BoB) with their associated coastal embayments form one of the highly productive areas and biodiversity hotspots in the tropics contributing profusely to the socio-economic front of the region. Therefore, acquiring knowledge of the climate change scenario of this region and its impacts on marine ecosystems in general and planktons, in particular, is considered crucial for better resilience. In fact, several attempts have been made of late to understand the climate change impacts on plankton, corals and mangroves of this region. In this article, we tried to update the climate change scenario of Indian seas and its impact on plankton communities based on the information gathered from the peer reviewed publications and scientific reports. Results of this review have shown that the global warming generated SST (Sea Surface Temperature) rise and sea water acidification related pH fall have affected the species composition, abundance, phenology and metabolic pathways of plankton populations in this region

Continue reading ‘Impact on climate change on marine plankton with special reference to Indian seas’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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