Archive for the 'Science' Category

The effects of temperature and pCO2 on the size, thermal tolerance and metabolic rate of the red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) during early development

The red sea urchin Mesocentrotus franciscanus supports a highly valuable wild fishery along the West Coast of North America, but despite its importance in the ecology of kelp forests and as a harvested species, little is known about how M. franciscanus responds to abiotic stressors associated with ocean warming and acidification during its early development. Here, embryos of M. franciscanus were raised under combinations of two temperatures (13 °C and 17 °C) and two pCO2 levels (475 μatm and 1050 μatm) that represent current and future coastal environments. Elevated pCO2 levels led to a decrease in body size of gastrula stage embryos while temperature had no effect. At the prism stage, both temperature and pCO2 affected body size. The warmer temperature increased the body size of prism stage embryos, offsetting the stunting effect of elevated pCO2 on growth. Thermal tolerance, which was estimated by exposing prism stage embryos to a range of temperatures and estimating the survivorship, was found to be slightly higher in those raised under warmer temperatures. The developmental temperature and pCO2 conditions under which embryos were raised did not have an effect on the metabolic rate as measured by oxygen consumption rate at the prism stage. This study provides important insights into a species of high ecological and economic value. Overall, early development under elevated pCO2 conditions may adversely impact M. franciscanus while moderate warming may improve growth and thermal tolerance. Understanding how fishery species respond to abiotic stressors will facilitate our predictive capacity of how climate change will impact future populations, which links to issues such as sustainability and food security.

Continue reading ‘The effects of temperature and pCO2 on the size, thermal tolerance and metabolic rate of the red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) during early development’

Marine clade sensitivities to climate change conform across timescales

Rapid climate change is postulated to cause marine extinctions, especially among climate-sensitive clades, traits and regions1,2,3,4,5,6. This premise is based on two hypotheses: (1) known individual physiological sensitivities scale up to macroecological selectivity patterns4,7,8 and (2) ancient hyperthermal events are appropriate models to anticipate ecological winners and losers of anthropogenic climate change9. Yet these hypotheses have largely escaped quantitative appraisal. Here we show that experimental responses of modern marine ectotherms to single and combined climate-related stressors (such as seawater warming, hypoxia and acidification) align with Phanerozoic fossil extinction regimes across clades and functional traits. Of climate-related stressors, the synergistic interaction between warming and hypoxia10, encumbering aerobic metabolism, has the greatest potency as a proximate driver of extinction. All else being equal8, this synergy particularly imperils modern warm-water organisms. Modern–fossil agreement is strongest at intermediate–high extinction intensities and hyperthermal events but may fail at extreme extinction events, perhaps due to rising prominences of, and interactions among, additional biotic and abiotic stressors. According to results from marine ectotherms, clade-based sensitivity of individuals to climate-related stressors scales up from subannual experiments and decadal range-shift response magnitudes11, to extinction selectivity patterns at ancient climate-related stressor events and the Phanerozoic durations of genera.

Continue reading ‘Marine clade sensitivities to climate change conform across timescales’

Food availability modulates the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on fish growth

When organisms are unable to feed ad libitum they may be more susceptible to negative effects of environmental stressors such as ocean acidification and warming (OAW). We reared sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) at 15 or 20 °C and at ambient or high PCO2 (650 versus 1750 µatm PCO2; pH = 8.1 or 7.6) at ad libitum feeding and observed no discernible effect of PCO2 on the size-at-age of juveniles after 277 (20 °C) and 367 (15 °C) days. Feeding trials were then conducted including a restricted ration (25% ad libitum). At 15 °C, growth rate increased with ration but was unaffected by PCO2. At 20 °C, acidification and warming acted antagonistically and low feeding level enhanced PCO2 effects. Differences in growth were not merely a consequence of lower food intake but also linked to changes in digestive efficiency. The specific activity of digestive enzymes (amylase, trypsin, phosphatase alkaline and aminopeptidase N) at 20 °C was lower at the higher PCO2 level. Our study highlights the importance of incorporating restricted feeding into experimental designs examining OAW and suggests that ad libitum feeding used in the majority of the studies to date may not have been suitable to detect impacts of ecological significance.

Continue reading ‘Food availability modulates the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on fish growth’

Particulate trace metal dynamics in response to increased CO2 and iron availability in a coastal mesocosm experiment (update)

Rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing ocean acidification and will influence marine processes and trace metal biogeochemistry. In June 2012, in the Raunefjord (Bergen, Norway), we performed a mesocosm experiment, comprised of a fully factorial design of ambient and elevated pCO2 and/or an addition of the siderophore desferrioxamine B (DFB). In addition, the macronutrient concentrations were manipulated to enhance a bloom of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. We report the changes in particulate trace metal concentrations during this experiment. Our results show that particulate Ti and Fe were dominated by lithogenic material, while particulate Cu, Co, Mn, Zn, Mo and Cd had a strong biogenic component. Furthermore, significant correlations were found between particulate concentrations of Cu, Co, Zn, Cd, Mn, Mo and P in seawater and phytoplankton biomass (µgC L−1), supporting a significant influence of the bloom in the distribution of these particulate elements. The concentrations of these biogenic metals in the E. huxleyi bloom were ranked as follows: Zn < Cu ≈ Mn < Mo < Co < Cd. Changes in CO2 affected total particulate concentrations and biogenic metal ratios (Me : P) for some metals, while the addition of DFB only significantly affected the concentrations of some particulate metals (mol L−1). Variations in CO2 had the most clear and significant effect on particulate Fe concentrations, decreasing its concentration under high CO2. Indeed, high CO2 and/or DFB promoted the dissolution of particulate Fe, and the presence of this siderophore helped in maintaining high dissolved Fe. This shift between particulate and dissolved Fe concentrations in the presence of DFB, promoted a massive bloom of E. huxleyi in the treatments with ambient CO2. Furthermore, high CO2 decreased the Me : P ratios of Co, Zn and Mn while increasing the Cu : P ratios. These findings support theoretical predictions that the molar ratios of metal to phosphorous (Me : P ratios) of metals whose seawater dissolved speciation is dominated by free ions (e.g., Co, Zn and Mn) will likely decrease or stay constant under ocean acidification. In contrast, high CO2 is predicted to shift the speciation of dissolved metals associated with carbonates such as Cu, increasing their bioavailability and resulting in higher Me : P ratios.

Continue reading ‘Particulate trace metal dynamics in response to increased CO2 and iron availability in a coastal mesocosm experiment (update)’

Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress

Coral reefs are declining globally as climate change and local water quality press environmental conditions beyond the physiological tolerances of holobionts—the collective of the host and its microbial symbionts. To assess the relationship between symbiont composition and holobiont stress tolerance, community diversity metrics were quantified for dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Family: Symbiodiniaceae) from eight Acropora millepora genets that thrived under or responded poorly to various stressors. These eight selected genets represent the upper and lower tails of the response distribution of 40 coral genets that were exposed to four stress treatments (and control conditions) in a 10‐day experiment. Specifically, four ‘best performer’ coral genets were analyzed at the end of the experiment because they survived high temperature, high pCO2, bacterial exposure, or combined stressors, whereas four ‘worst performer’ genets were characterized because they experienced substantial mortality under these stressors. At the end of the experiment, seven of eight coral genets mainly hosted Cladocopium symbionts, whereas the eighth genet was dominated by both Cladocopium and Durusdinium symbionts. Symbiodiniaceae alpha and beta diversity were higher in worst performing genets than in best performing genets. Symbiont communities in worst performers also differed more after stress exposure relative to their controls (based on normalized proportional differences in beta diversity), than did best performers. A generalized joint attribute model estimated the influence of host genet and treatment on Symbiodiniaceae community composition and identified strong associations among particular symbionts and host genet performance, as well as weaker associations with treatment. Although dominant symbiont physiology and function contribute to host performance, these findings emphasize the importance of symbiont community diversity and stochasticity as components of host performance. Our findings also suggest that symbiont community diversity metrics may function as indicators of resilience and have potential applications in diverse disciplines from climate change adaptation to agriculture and medicine.

Continue reading ‘Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress’

Autonomous, ISFET-based total alkalinity and pH measurements on a barrier reef of Kāneʻohe Bay

Here we present first of its kind high frequency Total Alkalinity (AT) and pH data from a single solid-state autonomous sensor collected during a 6-day deployment at a barrier reef in Kāneʻohe Bay on the CRIMP-2 buoy. This dual parameter sensor is capable of rapid (<60 s), near simultaneous measurement of the preferred seawater carbonate system parameters, pH and AT without requiring any external reagents or moving parts inherent to the sensor. Its solid state construction, low power consumption, and low titrated volume (nanoliters) requirement make this sensor ideal for in situ monitoring of the aqueous carbon dioxide system. Through signal averaging, we estimate the pH-AT sensor is capable of achieving 2-10 μmol kg-1 precision in AT and 0.005 for pH. The CRIMP-2 site in Hawaiʻi provided an excellent means of validation of the prototype pH-AT sensor due to the extensive observations routinely collected at this site and large daily fluctuations in AT (~116 μmol kg-1) driven primarily by high calcification during the day and occasional CaCO3 mineral dissolution at night. High frequency sampling by the pH-AT sensor reveals details in the diurnal cycle that are nearly impossible to observe by discrete sampling. Greater temporal resolution of the aqueous carbon dioxide system is essential for differentiating various drivers of coral reef health and the response to external influences such as ocean warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Autonomous, ISFET-based total alkalinity and pH measurements on a barrier reef of Kāneʻohe Bay’

Origin and accumulation of an anthropogenic CO2 and 13C Suess effect in the Arctic Ocean

We determined the impact of anthropogenic CO2 (Cant) accumulation on the δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the Arctic Ocean (i.e., the 13C Suess effect) based on δ13C measurements during a GEOTRACES cruise in 2015. The δ13C decrease was estimated from the amount of Cant change derived by the transit time distribution (TTD) approach and the ratio of the anthropogenic δ13C/DIC change (RC). A significant Cant increase (up to 45 μmol kg−1) and δ13C decrease (up to −0.9‰) extends to ~2000 m in the Canada and Makarov Basin. We find distinctly different RC values for the intermediate water (300–2000 m) and upper halocline water (<200 m) of −0.020 and −0.012‰ (μmol kg−1)−1, respectively, which identifies two sources of Cant accumulation from North Atlantic and North Pacific. Furthermore, estimated RC for intermediate waters is the same as the RC observed in the Greenland Sea and the rate of anthropogenic DIC increase estimated for intermediate waters at 0.9 μmol kg−1 yr−1 is identical to the estimated rate in the Iceland Sea. These observations indicate that the high rate of Cant accumulation and δ13C decrease in the Arctic Ocean is primarily a result of the input of Cant, via ventilation of intermediate waters, from the Nordic Sea rather than local anthropogenic CO2 uptake within the Arctic Basin. We determine the preindustrial δ13C (δ13CPI) distributions and find distinct δ13CPI signatures of the intermediate and upper halocline waters that reflect the difference in δ13CPI–PO4 relationship of Atlantic and Pacific source water.

Continue reading ‘Origin and accumulation of an anthropogenic CO2 and 13C Suess effect in the Arctic Ocean’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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