Posts Tagged 'adaptation'

Ocean acidification narrows the acute thermal and salinity tolerance of the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata

Coastal and estuarine environments are characterised by acute changes in temperature and salinity. Organisms living within these environments are adapted to withstand such changes, yet near-future ocean acidification (OA) may challenge their physiological capacity to respond. We tested the impact of CO2-induced OA on the acute thermal and salinity tolerance, energy metabolism and acid-base regulation capacity of the oyster Saccostrea glomerata. Adult S. glomerata were acclimated to three CO2 levels (ambient 380 μatm, moderate 856 μatm, high 1500 μatm) for 5 weeks (24 °C, salinity 34.6) before being exposed to a series of acute temperature (15–33 °C) and salinity (34.2–20) treatments. Oysters acclimated to elevated CO2 showed a significant metabolic depression and extracellular acidosis with acute exposure to elevated temperature and reduced salinity, especially at the highest CO2 of 1500 μatm. Our results suggest that the acute thermal and salinity tolerance of S. glomerata and thus its distribution will reduce as OA continues to worsen.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification narrows the acute thermal and salinity tolerance of the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata’

Predation in high CO2 waters: prey fish from high-risk environments are less susceptible to ocean acidification

Most studies investigating the effects of anthropogenic environmental stressors do so in conditions that are often optimal for their test subjects, ignoring natural stressors such as competition or predation. As such, the quantitative results from such studies may often underestimate the lethality of certain toxic compounds. A well-known example of this concept is illustrated by the marked increase in the lethality of pesticides when larval amphibians are concurrently exposed to the odor of potential predators. Here, we investigated the interaction between background levels of environmental predation risk (high vs. low) and ocean acidification (ambient vs. elevated CO2) in 2 × 2 design. Wild-caught juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, were exposed in the laboratory to the different risk and CO2 conditions for 4 days and released onto coral reef patches. Using a well-established field assay, we monitored the in situ behavior and mortality of the damselfish for 2 days. We predicted that juvenile fish exposed to elevated CO2 and high-risk conditions would display more severe behavioral impairments and increased mortality compared to fish exposed to elevated CO2 maintained under low-risk conditions. As expected, elevated CO2 exposure led to impaired antipredator responses and increased mortality in low-risk fish compared to ambient CO2 controls. However, we failed to find an effect of elevated CO2 on the behavior and survival of the high-risk fish. We hypothesized that the results may stem from either a behavioral compensation or a physiological response to high risk. Our results provide insights into the interactive nature of environmental and natural stressors and advance our understanding of the predicted effect of ocean acidification on aquatic ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Predation in high CO2 waters: prey fish from high-risk environments are less susceptible to ocean acidification’

Genome-wide identification, characterization and expression analyses of TLRs in Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) provide insight into the disparity of responses to acidifying exposure in bivalves


  • Eighteen TLR superfamily members were identified in the P. yessoensis genome.
  • Phylogenetic analysis confirmed duplication and expansion of TLR genes in mollusk.
  • The 18 PyTLRs showed different immune response patterns to acidifying exposure.
  • Adaptive recruitment of tandem duplication of TLR genes have been arisen to the immune stress.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a crucial role in innate immunity by recognizing specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns, including lipoproteins, lipopeptides, lipopolysaccharide, flagellin, dsRNA, ssRNA and CpG DNA motifs. Although significant effects of TLRs on immunity have been reported in most vertebrates and some invertebrates, the complete TLR superfamily has not been systematically characterized in scallops. In this study, 18 TLR genes were identified from Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) using whole-genome scanning. Phylogenetic and protein structural analyses were performed to determine the identities and evolutionary relationships of the 18 genes. Extensive expansion of TLR genes from the Yesso scallop genome indicated gene duplication events. In addition, expression profiling of PyTLRs was performed at different acidifying exposure levels (pH = 6.50, 7.50) with different challenge durations (3, 6, 12 and 24 h) via in silico analysis using transcriptome and genome databases. Our results confirmed the inducible expression patterns of PyTLRs under acidifying exposure, and the responses to immune stress may have arisen through adaptive recruitment of tandem duplications of TLR genes. Collectively, this study provides novel insight into PyTLRs as well as the specific role and response of TLR signaling pathways in host immune responses against acidifying exposure in bivalves.


Continue reading ‘Genome-wide identification, characterization and expression analyses of TLRs in Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) provide insight into the disparity of responses to acidifying exposure in bivalves’

Exposure history determines pteropod vulnerability to ocean acidification along the US West Coast

The pteropod Limacina helicina frequently experiences seasonal exposure to corrosive conditions (Ωar  < 1) along the US West Coast and is recognized as one of the species most susceptible to ocean acidification (OA). Yet, little is known about their capacity to acclimatize to such conditions. We collected pteropods in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) that differed in the severity of exposure to Ωar conditions in the natural environment. Combining field observations, high-CO2 perturbation experiment results, and retrospective ocean transport simulations, we investigated biological responses based on histories of magnitude and duration of exposure to Ωar < 1. Our results suggest that both exposure magnitude and duration affect pteropod responses in the natural environment. However, observed declines in calcification performance and survival probability under high CO2 experimental conditions do not show acclimatization capacity or physiological tolerance related to history of exposure to corrosive conditions. Pteropods from the coastal CCE appear to be at or near the limit of their physiological capacity, and consequently, are already at extinction risk under projected acceleration of OA over the next 30 years. Our results demonstrate that Ωar exposure history largely determines pteropod response to experimental conditions and is essential to the interpretation of biological observations and experimental results.

Continue reading ‘Exposure history determines pteropod vulnerability to ocean acidification along the US West Coast’

Calcifying response and recovery potential of the brown alga Padina pavonica under ocean acidification

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing ocean acidification (OA), which affects calcifying organisms. Recent studies have shown that Padina pavonica investigated along a natural pCO2 gradient seems to acclimate to OA by reducing calcified structures and changing mineralogy from aragonite to calcium sulphate salts. The aim of the present study was to study the potential for acclimation of P. pavonica to OA along the same gradient and in aquaria under controlled conditions. P. pavonica was cross-transplanted for one week from a normal pH site (median value: pHTS = 8.1; pCO2 = 361 μatm) to a low pH site (median value: pHTS = 7.4; pCO2 = 1025 μatm) and vice versa. Results showed that this calcifying alga did survive under acute environmental pHTS changes but its calcification was significantly reduced. P. pavonica decalcified and changed mineralogy at pHTS = 7.4, but once brought back at pHTS = 8.1 it partially recovered the aragonite loss while preserving the calcium sulphate minerals that formed under low pHTS. These results suggest that P. pavonica could be used as a bio-indicator for monitoring OA, as well as localized anthropogenic acidity fluctuations.

Continue reading ‘Calcifying response and recovery potential of the brown alga Padina pavonica under ocean acidification’

Intraspecific variations in responses to ocean acidification in two branching coral species

Ocean acidification is widely recognised to have a negative impact on marine calcifying organisms by reducing calcifications, but controversy remains over whether such organisms could cope with ocean acidification within a range of phenotypic plasticity and/or adapt to future acidifying ocean. We performed a laboratory rearing experiment using clonal fragments of the common branching corals Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica under control and acidified seawater (lower pH) conditions (approximately 400 and 900 μatm pCO2, respectively) and evaluated the intraspecific variations in their responses to ocean acidification. Intra- and interspecific variations in calcification and photosynthetic efficiency were evident according to both pCO2 conditions and colony, indicating that responses to acidification may be individually variable at the colony level. Our results suggest that some corals may cope with ocean acidification within their present genotypic composition by adaptation through phenotypic plasticity, while others may be placed under selective pressures resulting in population alteration.

Continue reading ‘Intraspecific variations in responses to ocean acidification in two branching coral species’

Naturally acidified habitat selects for ocean acidification–tolerant mussels

Ocean acidification severely affects bivalves, especially their larval stages. Consequently, the fate of this ecologically and economically important group depends on the capacity and rate of evolutionary adaptation to altered ocean carbonate chemistry. We document successful settlement of wild mussel larvae (Mytilus edulis) in a periodically CO2-enriched habitat. The larval fitness of the population originating from the CO2-enriched habitat was compared to the response of a population from a nonenriched habitat in a common garden experiment. The high CO2–adapted population showed higher fitness under elevated PCO2 (partial pressure of CO2) than the non-adapted cohort, demonstrating, for the first time, an evolutionary response of a natural mussel population to ocean acidification. To assess the rate of adaptation, we performed a selection experiment over three generations. CO2 tolerance differed substantially between the families within the F1 generation, and survival was drastically decreased in the highest, yet realistic, PCO2 treatment. Selection of CO2-tolerant F1 animals resulted in higher calcification performance of F2 larvae during early shell formation but did not improve overall survival. Our results thus reveal significant short-term selective responses of traits directly affected by ocean acidification and long-term adaptation potential in a key bivalve species. Because immediate response to selection did not directly translate into increased fitness, multigenerational studies need to take into consideration the multivariate nature of selection acting in natural habitats. Combinations of short-term selection with long-term adaptation in populations from CO2-enriched versus nonenriched natural habitats represent promising approaches for estimating adaptive potential of organisms facing global change.

Continue reading ‘Naturally acidified habitat selects for ocean acidification–tolerant mussels’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book