Archive for the 'Science' Category

Exposure to elevated pCO2 does not exacerbate reproductive suppression of Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in low oxygen environments

Eutrophication-induced hypoxia is one of the primary anthropogenic threats to coastal ecosystems. Under hypoxic conditions, a deficit of O2 and a surplus of CO2 will concurrently decrease pH, yet studies of hypoxia have seldom considered the potential interactions with elevated pCO2 (reduced pH). Previous studies on gelatinous organisms concluded that they are fairly robust to low oxygen and reduced pH conditions individually, yet the combination of stressors has only been examined for ephyrae. The goals of this study were to determine the individual and interactive effects of hypoxia and elevated pCO2 on the asexual reproduction and aerobic respiration rates of polyps of the scyphozoan Aurelia aurita during a manipulative experiment that ran for 36 d. pCO2 and pO2 were varied on a diel basis to closely mimic the diel conditions observed in the field. Exposure to low dissolved oxygen (DO) reduced asexual budding of polyps by ~50% relative to control conditions. Under hypoxic conditions, rates of respiration were elevated during an initial acclimation period (until Day 8), but respiration rates did not differ between DO levels under prolonged exposure. There was no significant effect of increased pCO2 on either asexual reproduction or aerobic respiration, suggesting that elevated pCO2 (reduced pH) did not exacerbate the negative reproductive effects of hypoxia on A. aurita polyps.

Continue reading ‘Exposure to elevated pCO2 does not exacerbate reproductive suppression of Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in low oxygen environments’

Acoustic signal and noise changes in the Beaufort Sea Pacific Water duct under anticipated future acidification of Arctic Ocean waters

It is predicted that Arctic Ocean acidity will increase during the next century as a result of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere and migration into ocean waters. This change has implications for sound transmission because low-pH seawater absorbs less sound than high-pH water. Altered pH will affect sound in the 0.3−10 kHz range if the criterion is met that absorption is the primary cause of attenuation, rather than the alternatives of loss in the ice or seabed. Recent work has exploited sound that meets the criterion, sound trapped in a Beaufort Sea duct composed of Pacific Winter Water underlying Pacific Summer Water. Arctic pH is expected to drop from 8.1 to 7.9 (approximately) over the next 30−50 yr, and effects of this chemical alteration on the intensity levels of this ducted sound, and on noise, are examined here. Sound near 900 Hz is predicted to undergo the greatest change, traveling up to 38% further. At ranges of 100−300 km, sound levels from a source in the duct may increase by 7 dB or more. Noise would also increase, but noise is ducted less efficiently, with the result that 1 kHz noise is predicted to rise approximately 0.5 dB.

Continue reading ‘Acoustic signal and noise changes in the Beaufort Sea Pacific Water duct under anticipated future acidification of Arctic Ocean waters’

Calcification in a marginal sea – influence of seawater [Ca2+] and carbonate chemistry on bivalve shell formation

In estuarine coastal systems such as the Baltic Sea, mussels suffer from low salinity which limits their distribution. Anthropogenic climate change is expected to cause further desalination which will lead to local extinctions of mussels in the low saline areas. It is commonly accepted that mussel distribution is limited by osmotic stress. However, along the salinity gradient environmental conditions for biomineralization are successively becoming more adverse as a result of reduced [Ca2+] and dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) availability. In larvae, calcification is an essential process starting during early development with formation of the prodissoconch I (PD I) shell which is completed under optimal conditions within 2 days.

Experimental manipulations of seawater [Ca2+] start to impair PD I formation in Mytilus larvae at concentrations below 3 mM, which corresponds to conditions present in the Baltic at salinities below 8 g kg-1. In addition, lowering dissolved inorganic carbon to critical concentrations (< 1 mM) similarly affected PD I size which was well correlated with calculated ΩAragonite and [Ca2+][HCO3]/[H+] in all treatments. Comparing results for larvae from the western Baltic with a population from the central Baltic revealed significantly higher tolerance of PD I formation to lowered [Ca2+] and [Ca2+][HCO3]/[H+] in the low saline adapted population. This may result from genetic adaptation to the more adverse environmental conditions prevailing in the low saline areas of the Baltic.

The combined effects of lowered [Ca2+] and adverse carbonate chemistry represent major limiting factors for bivalve calcification and can thereby contribute to distribution limits of mussels in the Baltic Sea.

Continue reading ‘Calcification in a marginal sea – influence of seawater [Ca2+] and carbonate chemistry on bivalve shell formation’

Impacts of near-future ocean acidification and warming on the shell mechanical and geochemical properties of gastropods from intertidal to subtidal zones

Many marine organisms produce calcareous shells as the key structure for defence, but the functionality of shells may be compromised by ocean acidification and warming. Nevertheless, calcifying organisms may adaptively modify their shell properties in response to these impacts. Here, we examined how reduced pH and elevated temperature affect shell mechanical and geochemical properties of common grazing gastropods from intertidal to subtidal zones. Given the greater environmental fluctuations in the intertidal zone, we hypothesized that intertidal gastropods would exhibit more plastic responses in shell properties than subtidal gastropods. Overall, three out of five subtidal gastropods produced softer shells at elevated temperature, while intertidal gastropods maintained their shell hardness at both elevated pCO2 (i.e. reduced pH) and temperature. Regardless of pH and temperature, degree of crystallization was maintained (except one subtidal gastropod) and carbonate polymorph remained unchanged in all tested species. One intertidal gastropod produced less soluble shells (e.g. higher calcite/aragonite) in response to reduced pH. In contrast, subtidal gastropods only produced aragonite which has higher solubility than calcite. Overall, subtidal gastropods are expected to be more susceptible than intertidal gastropods to shell dissolution and physical damage under future seawater conditions. The increased vulnerability to shell dissolution and predation could have serious repercussions for their survival and ecological contributions in the future subtidal environment.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of near-future ocean acidification and warming on the shell mechanical and geochemical properties of gastropods from intertidal to subtidal zones’

Effects of in situ CO2 enrichment on epibiont settlement on artificial substrata within a Posidonia oceanica meadow

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification (OA) may cause community shifts by effecting early life stages.
  • pH was lowered in situ and maintained as an offset within a FOCE setup.
  • Settlement/colonization of molluscs and peracarid crustaceans were robust to OA.
  • Crustose coralline algae and calcifying polychaetes were vulnerable at early life.

Abstract

Alterations to colonization or early post-settlement stages may cause the reorganization of communities under future ocean acidification conditions. Yet, this hypothesis has been little tested by in situ pH manipulation. A Free Ocean Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FOCE) system was used to lower pH by a ~ 0.3 unit offset within a partially enclosed portion (1.7 m3) of a Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow (11 m depth) between 21 June and 3 November 2014. Epibiont colonization and early post settlement stages were assessed within the FOCE setup, as part of the larger community-level study, to better understand the outcome for a multispecies assemblage and the ecological processes that result in reported community shifts under altered carbonate chemistry. Two types of artificial collectors (tiles and scourers) were placed within three treatments: a pH-manipulated enclosure, an un-manipulated control enclosure, and an open plot in the ambient meadow. Tiles and scourers were collected after one to four months. Additionally, to see whether the outcome differed for communities in a later successional stage, previously settled scourer-collectors were also placed in the same three treatments. Enclosures acted to reduce settlement and migrant colonization. Scourers deployed for one to four months within the open-plot contained a community assemblage that could be distinguished from the assemblages within the enclosures. However, a comparison of enclosure assemblages on tiles showed evidence of a pH effect. There was lowered coverage of crustose coralline algae and fewer calcareous tube-forming polychaetes (Spirorbis sp. and Spirobranchus sp.) on tiles placed in the pH-manipulated enclosure compared to the un-manipulated enclosure. For assemblages in scourer collectors, shared and common taxa, in all treatments, were invertebrate polychaetes Psamathe fusca, Sphaerosyllis sp., Chrysopetalum sp., arthropods Harpacticoida, and Amphipoda, and the juvenile bivalve Lyonsia sp. Similar organism composition and abundance, as well as taxonomic richness and evenness, were found in scourers from both enclosures. Pre-settled scourers contained greater numbers of individuals and more calcified members, but the assemblage, as well as the growth rate of a juvenile bivalve Lyonsia sp., appeared unaffected by a two-month exposure to lowered pH and calcium carbonate saturation state. Results from this case study support the hypothesis that early stages of specific calcifiers (crustose coralline algae and calcareous tube-forming polychaetes) are sensitive to near future ocean acidification conditions yet suggest that negative effects on sessile micro-invertebrate assemblages will be minimal.

Continue reading ‘Effects of in situ CO2 enrichment on epibiont settlement on artificial substrata within a Posidonia oceanica meadow’

Response to Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”

Hutchins et al. question the validity of our results showing that under fast growth conditions, the beneficial effect of high CO2 on Trichodesmium is overwhelmed by the deleterious effect of the concomitant decrease in ambient and cellular pH. The positive effect of acidification reported by Hutchins and co-workers is likely caused by culture conditions that support suboptimal growth rates.

Continue reading ‘Response to Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”’

Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”

Hong et al. (Reports, 5 May 2017, p. 527) suggested that previous studies of the biogeochemically significant marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium showing increased growth and nitrogen fixation at projected future high CO2 levels suffered from ammonia or copper toxicity. They reported that these rates instead decrease at high CO2 when contamination is alleviated. We present and discuss results of multiple published studies refuting this toxicity hypothesis.

Continue reading ‘Comment on “The complex effects of ocean acidification on the prominent N2-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium”’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book