Posts Tagged 'adaption'

Acclimation history modulates effect size of calcareous algae (Halimeda opuntia) to herbicide exposure under future climate scenarios


•Calcifying algae were exposed to herbicide and future climate scenarios combined.

•Half of the algae were given long acclimation to future climate-change conditions.

•Experimental effects were exaggerated for algae that were not acclimated.

•Still, herbicide effects on acclimated algae stronger in future climate conditions

•Results show the need of climate-adjusted thresholds for water quality guidelines.


Tropical marine habitat-builders such as calcifying green algae can be susceptible to climate change (warming and acidification). This study evaluated the cumulative effects of ocean warming (OW), ocean acidification (OA) and the herbicide diuron on the calcifying green algae Halimeda opuntia. We also assessed the influence of acclimation history to experimental climate change conditions on physiological responses. H. opuntia were exposed for 15 days to orthogonal combinations of three climate scenarios [ambient (28 °C, pCO2 = 378 ppm), 2050 (29 °C, pCO2 = 567 ppm) and 2100 (30 °C, pCO2 = 721 ppm)] and to six diuron concentrations (up to 29 μg L−1). Half of the H. opuntia had been acclimated for eight months to the climate scenarios in a mesocosm approach, while the remaining half were not pre-acclimated, as is current practice in most experiments. Climate effects on quantum yield (ΔF/Fm′), photosynthesis and calcification in future climate scenarios were significantly stronger (by −24, −46 and +26%, respectively) in non-acclimated algae, suggesting experimental bias may exaggerate effects in organisms not appropriately acclimated to future-climate conditions. Thus, full analysis was done on acclimated plants only. Interactive effects of future climate scenarios and diuron were observed for ΔF/Fm′, while the detrimental effects of climate and diuron on net photosynthesis and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were additive. Calcification-related enzymes were negatively affected only by diuron, with inhibition of Ca-ATPase and upregulation of carbonic anhydrase. The combined and consistent physiological and biochemical evidence of negative impacts (across six indicators) of both herbicide and future-climate conditions on the health of H. opuntia highlights the need to address both climate change and water quality. Guideline values for contaminants may also need to be lowered considering ‘climate adjusted thresholds’. Importantly, this study highlights the value of applying substantial future climate acclimation periods in experimental studies to avoid exaggerated organism responses to OW and OA.

Continue reading ‘Acclimation history modulates effect size of calcareous algae (Halimeda opuntia) to herbicide exposure under future climate scenarios’

Transgenerational plasticity and acclimation of tropical sea urchins to ocean warming and acidification

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing the oceans to simultaneously warm and become increasingly acidic, with rates of change that are putting evolutionary pressure on many marine organisms. As a result, both short-term responses and the ability of organisms to acclimate to rapid environmental change through phenotypic plasticity are expected to play a considerable role in persistence of many species under future ocean change. Evidence is accumulating that non-genetic inheritance and transgenerational plasticity (TGP) may be important mechanisms which may facilitate acclimation to ocean warming and acidification. This thesis tests the overarching hypothesis that TGP and parental acclimation to predicted ocean warming and acidification conditions promote greater resilience in offspring using two tropical sea urchins, Tripneustes gratilla and Echinometra sp. A, as model organisms.

Continue reading ‘Transgenerational plasticity and acclimation of tropical sea urchins to ocean warming and acidification’

Long-term response of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata (C. Agardh) Greville (Phaeophyceae) to ocean acidification: Insights from high pCO2 vents


•We observed a reduced abundance and individual size of Dictyota at 8.1 compared to pH 6.7

•The photochemical efficiency differs between the two populations of Dictyota, living at two different pH for decades

•Individuals at low pH (6.7) have lower photochemical efficiency, low energetic costs but a higher capability to face the oxidative stress

•The saved energy may be invested in growth and reproduction, ensuring the biological success under ocean acidification

•First physiological plasticity and, then the adaptive response may be at base of short- and long-term response of Dictyota


The ocean acidification may severely affect macroalgal communities of the shallowest coastal habitats where they play relevant structural and functional roles. In this paper were investigated the physiological traits of two populations of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata, living at two different pH for several generations to assess the reasons of the algae reduced abundance at current (8.1) compared to low pH (6.7). Besides, through transplant experiments, the two populations were analysed for the stress response and reversibility of physiological performance at different pH. The long-term acclimation to high pCO2/low pH favours an ecotype characterised by low energetic costs, higher photochemical efficiency and more resistance to the oxidative stress, compared to individuals living at current pH. These traits promoted the growth and reproduction of the community living at pH 6.7, favouring a lower macroalgal diversity, but a higher ecological success under ocean acidification. The similar behaviour observed between Dictyota living at pH 6.7 and transplanted thalli from pH 6.7 to 8.1, suggested a high tolerance to pH changes in the short-term. On the contrary, adaptive responses may have favoured molecular adjustments on the long-term, as showed by the significant differences between the wild populations at pH 8.1 and 6.7. The overall data indicate that both plasticity and adaptive mechanisms may be the reasons for the success of the brown seaweeds under future high pCO2/low pH. The plasticity due to photochemistry adjustments is likely involved in the early response to environmental changes. Conversely, modifications in the photosynthetic biochemical machinery suggest that more complex adaptive mechanisms occurred in the current population of Dictyota living at pH 6.7. Further studies on population genetics will reveal if any differentiation is taking place at the population level or a local adaptation has already occurred in Dictyota and other brown algae under chronic low pH.

Continue reading ‘Long-term response of Dictyota dichotoma var. intricata (C. Agardh) Greville (Phaeophyceae) to ocean acidification: Insights from high pCO2 vents’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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