Posts Tagged 'adaptation'

Iron availability modulates the effects of future CO2 levels within the marine planktonic food web

Ocean acidification (OA) due to increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions is affecting marine ecosystems at an unprecedented rate, altering biogeochemical cycles. Direct empirical studies on natural communities are required to analyse the interactive effects of multiple stressors while spanning multiple trophic levels. We investigated the interactive effects of changes in CO2 and iron availability on functional plankton groups. We used mesocosms manipulating the carbonate system from the start to achieve present (low concentration, LC) and predicted future pCO2 levels (high concentration, HC). To manipulate dissolved iron (dFe), half of the mesocosms were amended with 70 nM (final concentration) of the siderophore desferoxamine B (DFB) on Day 7 (+DFB and -DFB treatments). Manipulation of both CO2 and DFB increased dFe compared to the control. During the 22 experimental days, the plankton community structure showed 2 distinct phases. In phase 1 (Days 1-10), only bacterioplankton abundances increased at elevated pCO2. In contrast, a strong community response was evident in phase 2 (Days 11-22) due to DFB addition. Biomass of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi increased massively at LC+DFB. HC negatively affected E. huxleyi and Synechococcus sp., and high dFe (+DFB) had a positive effect on both. The rest of the plankton community was unaffected by the treatments. Increased dFe partially mitigated the negative effect of HC imposed on the coccolithophores, indicating that E. huxleyi was able to acclimate better to OA. This physiological iron-mediated acclimation can diminish the deleterious effects of OA on carbon export and the rain ratio, thus affecting food web dynamics and future ecosystem functioning.

Continue reading ‘Iron availability modulates the effects of future CO2 levels within the marine planktonic food web’

Response and adaptation to climate change in the South China Sea and Coral Sea

Over the past decades, climate change in the tropical western Pacific has led to surface warming, a distinct decrease in sea surface salinity, obvious sea level rise (SLR), and ocean acidification in the South China Sea (SCS) and Coral Sea (CS), which have had profound impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal communities. The aim of this study is to examine and compare the extent of marine climate change in these two areas, and to summarize possible adaptations in response to climate change. Our results indicate that a fast rise in sea surface temperature (SST) at a rate of more than 0.07 °C decade−1 and a decrease in sea surface salinity (SSS) at a rate of more than −0.09 g kg−1 decade−1 appeared in the SCS, which are greater than that in the CS, although SST changes also show a plateau consistent with the global warming hiatus since 2000. As a proxy for marine productivity, concentrations of chlorophyll-a apparently varied with the SSS and SST changes in the two areas. Our findings suggest that marine ecosystem functions have been greatly affected by climate change through changes in tropical evaporation and rainfall. Meanwhile, persistent SLR and ocean acidification pose serious threats to low-lying coastal areas, small islands, coral-dominated reef ecosystems, and related subsistence fisheries. The sustainable development of communities in low-lying coastal zones and small islands faces significant future challenge. Adaptation strategies for mitigating the effects of climate changes need to be developed and put forward.

Continue reading ‘Response and adaptation to climate change in the South China Sea and Coral Sea’

Intra-population variability of ocean acidification impacts on the physiology of Baltic blue mussels (Mytilus edulis): integrating tissue and organism response

Increased maintenance costs at cellular, and consequently organism level, are thought to be involved in shaping the sensitivity of marine calcifiers to ocean acidification (OA). Yet, knowledge of the capacity of marine calcifiers to undergo metabolic adaptation is sparse. In Kiel Fjord, blue mussels thrive despite periodically high seawater PCO2, making this population interesting for studying metabolic adaptation under OA. Consequently, we conducted a multi-generation experiment and compared physiological responses of F1 mussels from ‘tolerant’ and ‘sensitive’ families exposed to OA for 1 year. Family classifications were based on larval survival; tolerant families settled at all PCO2 levels (700, 1120, 2400 µatm) while sensitive families did not settle at the highest PCO2 (≥99.8% mortality). We found similar filtration rates between family types at the control and intermediate PCO2 level. However, at 2400 µatm, filtration and metabolic scope of gill tissue decreased in tolerant families, indicating functional limitations at the tissue level. Routine metabolic rates (RMR) and summed tissue respiration (gill and outer mantle tissue) of tolerant families were increased at intermediate PCO2, indicating elevated cellular homeostatic costs in various tissues. By contrast, OA did not affect tissue and routine metabolism of sensitive families. However, tolerant mussels were characterised by lower RMR at control PCO2 than sensitive families, which had variable RMR. This might provide the energetic scope to cover increased energetic demands under OA, highlighting the importance of analysing intra-population variability. The mechanisms shaping such difference in RMR and scope, and thus species’ adaptation potential, remain to be identified.

Continue reading ‘Intra-population variability of ocean acidification impacts on the physiology of Baltic blue mussels (Mytilus edulis): integrating tissue and organism response’

Evolutionary genomics of the cold-adapted diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus

The Southern Ocean houses a diverse and productive community of organisms. Unicellular eukaryotic diatoms are the main primary producers in this environment, where photosynthesis is limited by low concentrations of dissolved iron and large seasonal fluctuations in light, temperature and the extent of sea ice. How diatoms have adapted to this extreme environment is largely unknown. Here we present insights into the genome evolution of a cold-adapted diatom from the Southern Ocean, Fragilariopsis cylindrus, based on a comparison with temperate diatoms. We find that approximately 24.7 per cent of the diploid F. cylindrus genome consists of genetic loci with alleles that are highly divergent (15.1 megabases of the total genome size of 61.1 megabases). These divergent alleles were differentially expressed across environmental conditions, including darkness, low iron, freezing, elevated temperature and increased CO2. Alleles with the largest ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitutions also show the most pronounced condition-dependent expression, suggesting a correlation between diversifying selection and allelic differentiation. Divergent alleles may be involved in adaptation to environmental fluctuations in the Southern Ocean.

Continue reading ‘Evolutionary genomics of the cold-adapted diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus’

The resilience of marine ecosystems to climatic disturbances

The intensity and frequency of climate-driven disturbances are increasing in coastal marine ecosystems. Understanding the factors that enhance or inhibit ecosystem resilience to climatic disturbance is essential. We surveyed 97 experts in six major coastal biogenic ecosystem types to identify “bright spots” of resilience in the face of climate change. We also evaluated literature that was recommended by the experts that addresses the responses of habitat-forming species to climatic disturbance. Resilience was commonly reported in the expert surveys (80% of experts). Resilience was observed in all ecosystem types and at multiple locations worldwide. The experts and literature cited remaining biogenic habitat, recruitment/connectivity, physical setting, and management of local-scale stressors as most important for resilience. These findings suggest that coastal ecosystems may still hold great potential to persist in the face of climate change and that local- to regional-scale management can help buffer global climatic impacts.

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The adaptive potential of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus under multifactorial environmental change

Multiple global and local stressors threaten populations of the bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae). Baltic F. vesiculosus populations presumably have a lower genetic diversity compared to other populations. I investigated the adaptive potential under multifactorial environmental change in F. vesiculosus germlings. Effects of warming and acidification were crossed during one year at the two levels “present” and “future” (according to the year 2110) at the “Kiel Outdoor Benthocosms” by applying delta-treatments. Effects of warming varied with season while acidification showed generally weak effects. The two factors “ocean acidification and warming” (OAW) and nutrients were crossed showing that nutrient enrichment mitigated heat stress. Germlings previously treated under the OAW x nutrient experiment were subsequently exposed to a simulated hypoxic upwelling. Sensitivity to hypoxia was enhanced by the previous OAW conditions. Difference in the performance of genetically different sibling groups and diversity level were observed indicating an increased adaptive potential at higher genetic diversity. Different sibling groups were analysed under multiple factors to test correlations of genotypic sensitivities. Sensitivity towards warming, acidification and nutrient enrichment correlated positively while sensitivities towards OAW and hypoxia showed a negative correlation demonstrating that genotypes previously selected under OAW are sensitive to hypoxic upwelling. In a literature review, responses of marine organisms to climate change were analysed through different levels of biological organisation showing that climate change has different effects on each single level of biological organisation. This study highlights that global change research requires an upscaling approach with regard to multiple factors, seasons, natural fluctuations, different developmental stages and levels of biological organisation in the light of the adaptive potential.

Continue reading ‘The adaptive potential of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus under multifactorial environmental change’

Physiological plasticity and local adaptation to elevated pCO2 in calcareous algae: an ontogenetic and geographic approach

To project how ocean acidification will impact biological communities in the future, it is critical to understand the potential for local adaptation and the physiological plasticity of marine organisms throughout their entire life cycle, as some stages may be more vulnerable than others. Coralline algae are ecosystem engineers that play significant functional roles in oceans worldwide and are considered vulnerable to ocean acidification. Using different stages of coralline algae, we tested the hypothesis that populations living in environments with higher environmental variability and exposed to higher levels of pCO2 would be less affected by high pCO2 than populations from a more stable environment experiencing lower levels of pCO2. Our results show that spores are less sensitive to elevated pCO2 than adults. Spore growth and mortality were not affected by pCO2 level; however, elevated pCO2 negatively impacted the physiology and growth rates of adults, with stronger effects in populations that experienced both lower levels of pCO2 and lower variability in carbonate chemistry, suggesting local adaptation. Differences in physiological plasticity and the potential for adaptation could have important implications for the ecological and evolutionary responses of coralline algae to future environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Physiological plasticity and local adaptation to elevated pCO2 in calcareous algae: an ontogenetic and geographic approach’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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