Posts Tagged 'algae'

Varying conditions in intertidal pools: high resolution pH dynamics and primary production

Most studies designed to assess the effects of ocean acidification take place in coastal and intertidal environments, which are characterized by a great variability of its physical and chemical parameters. However, a great number of these studies use fixed pH levels predicted for the future, disregarding natural pH oscillations. In this work we studied the pH oscillations and primary productivity of intertidal rockpools in two rocky shore areas. To provide high resolution continuous pH data we used an autonomous pH measuring system which consisted of a pH sensor, a data logger and a battery encased in a waterproof container. Oxygen concentration and primary production from phytoplankton and macro- phytobentos were also measured. We found a range of pH variation in the pools of 0.07 pH units/day when water dynamics was high and of 0.26 pH units/day when conditions were more stable. Carbonate systems parameters, temperature and oxygen concentration were related and they responded to the day / night cycle and hydrodynamic conditions. We suggest that these natural oscillations in pH and temperature must be taken into account in ocean acidifications studies in order to obtain more accurate results.

Continue reading ‘Varying conditions in intertidal pools: high resolution pH dynamics and primary production’

Carbon and nitrogen accumulation and interspecific competition in two algae species, Pyropia haitanensis and Ulva lactuca, under ocean acidification conditions

If the atmospheric CO2 continues to increase as predicted, Pyropia haitanensis would experience the coupled effects of ocean acidification (OA) and interference from the epiphyte alga Ulva lactuca. In the current study, we evaluated the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) accumulation in P. haitanensis and U. lactuca under OA conditions, as well as the interspecific competition between these two algae. We found that, under mono-culture conditions, OA significantly enhanced the growth of both P. haitanensis and U. lactuca and markedly increased the soluble carbohydrate (SC) content and C/N ratios in P. haitanensis, but reduced its soluble proteins (SP) content. In U. lactuca, OA reduced its SP content, but increased C/N ratios, while its SC content was not significantly affected. Under biculture conditions, the rapid growth of U. lactuca and its comparatively more efficient use of nutrients resulted in insufficient available N sources for P. haitanensis. Biculture with U. lactuca increased SC but declined SP content. This also resulted in some membrane injuries that were indicated by increased malondialdehyde (MDA) content and depressed growth in P. haitanensis. Biculture with U. lactuca was disadvantageous for carbon and nitrogen accumulation in P. haitanensis. The results demonstrated that under conditions of OA, the negative effects caused by the epiphyte U. lactuca were more pronounced. If the CO2 levels rise as predicted, Ulva algae would severely interfere with maricultivation of P. haitanensis.

Continue reading ‘Carbon and nitrogen accumulation and interspecific competition in two algae species, Pyropia haitanensis and Ulva lactuca, under ocean acidification conditions’

Plant and sediment properties in seagrass meadows from two Mediterranean CO2 vents: Implications for carbon storage capacity of acidified oceans

Highlights
• Seagrass features differed between control and low pH stations inconsistently in the two vents.

• Carbon content and its surficial accumulation decreased at high pCO2–low pH conditions.

• Carbon storage capacity of the seagrass may not increase at high pCO2-low pH conditions.

Abstract
Assessing the status of important carbon sinks such as seagrass meadows is of primary importance when dealing with potential climate change mitigation strategies. This study examined plant and sediment properties in seagrass meadows (Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Asch.) from two high pCO2–low pH Mediterranean vent systems, located at Milos (Greece) and Vulcano (Italy) Islands, providing insights on carbon storage potential in future acidified oceans. Contrary to what has been suggested, carbon content (both inorganic and organic) and its surficial accumulation decreased at high pCO2–low pH in comparison with controls. The decrease in inorganic carbon may result from the higher solubility of carbonates due to the more acidic conditions. At Vulcano, the seagrass properties (e.g., leaf area, biomass) appeared negatively affected by environmental conditions at high pCO2–low pH conditions and this may have had a detrimental effect on the organic carbon content and accumulation. At Milos, organic carbon decreased at high pCO2–low pH conditions, despite the increase in seagrass aboveground biomass, leaf length and area, probably as a consequence of site-specific features, which need further investigation and may include both biotic and abiotic factors (e.g., oligotrophic conditions, decreased sedimentation rate and input of allochthonous material). Results suggest that, in contrast to previous predictions based exclusively on the expected positive response of seagrasses to ocean acidification, carbon storage capacity of the seagrass C. nodosa may not increase at high pCO2-low pH conditions. This study emphasizes the need to investigate further the potential alteration in the climate mitigation service delivered by seagrass meadows in acidified oceans.

Continue reading ‘Plant and sediment properties in seagrass meadows from two Mediterranean CO2 vents: Implications for carbon storage capacity of acidified oceans’

Contrasting responses of photosynthesis and photochemical efficiency to ocean acidification under different light environments in a calcifying alga

Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to enhance photosynthesis in many marine taxa. However, photophysiology has multiple components that OA may affect differently, especially under different light environments, with potentially contrasting consequences for photosynthetic performance. Furthermore, because photosynthesis affects energetic budgets and internal acid-base dynamics, changes in it due to OA or light could mediate the sensitivity of other biological processes to OA (e.g. respiration and calcification). To better understand these effects, we conducted experiments on Porolithon onkodes, a common crustose coralline alga in Pacific coral reefs, crossing pCO2 and light treatments. Results indicate OA inhibited some aspects of photophysiology (maximum photochemical efficiency), facilitated others (α, the responsiveness of photosynthesis to sub-saturating light), and had no effect on others (maximum gross photosynthesis), with the first two effects depending on treatment light level. Light also exacerbated the increase in dark-adapted respiration under OA, but did not alter the decline in calcification. Light-adapted respiration did not respond to OA, potentially due to indirect effects of photosynthesis. Combined, results indicate OA will interact with light to alter energetic budgets and potentially resource allocation among photosynthetic processes in P. onkodes, likely shifting its light tolerance, and constraining it to a narrower range of light environments.

Continue reading ‘Contrasting responses of photosynthesis and photochemical efficiency to ocean acidification under different light environments in a calcifying alga’

A triple trophic boost: how carbon emissions indirectly change a marine food chain

The pervasive enrichment of CO2 in our oceans is a well‐documented stressor to marine life. Yet, there is little understanding about how CO2 affects species indirectly in naturally complex communities. Using natural CO2 vents, we investigated the indirect effects of CO2 enrichment through a marine food chain. We show how CO2 boosted the biomass of three trophic levels: from the primary producers (algae), through to their grazers (gastropods), and finally through to their predators (fish). We also found that consumption by both grazers and predators intensified under CO2 enrichment, but, ultimately, this top‐down control failed to compensate for the boosted biomass of both primary producers and herbivores (bottom‐up control). Our study suggests that indirect effects can buffer the ubiquitous and direct, negative effects of CO2 enrichment by allowing the upward propagation of resources through the food chain. Maintaining the natural complexity of food webs in our ocean communities could, therefore, help minimize the future impacts of CO2 enrichment.

Continue reading ‘A triple trophic boost: how carbon emissions indirectly change a marine food chain’

Factors that affect the growth and photosynthesis of the filamentous green algae, Chaetomorpha valida, in static sea cucumber aquaculture ponds with high salinity and high pH

Chaetomorpha valida, dominant filamentous green algae, can be harmful to sea cucumber growth in aquaculture ponds of China. In order to understand the environmental factors affecting the growth of C. valida in sea cucumber aquaculture ecosystems, a combination of field investigations and laboratory experiments were conducted. Field surveys over one year revealed that C. valida survived in sea cucumber aquaculture ponds in salinities ranging from 24.3 ± 0.01‰ to 32.0 ± 0.02‰ and a pH range of 7.5 ± 0.02–8.6 ± 0.04. The high salinity and pH during the period of low C. valida biomass from January to May lay the foundation for its rapid growth in the following months of June to October. Many factors interact in the field environment, thus, laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the isolated effects of pH and salinity on C. valida growth. In laboratory experiments, samples were incubated under different salinity and pH conditions at 25 °C, with a light intensity of 108 μmol photon·m−2·s−1, and a photoperiod of 12 L:12 D. Results showed that salinity and pH significantly affect the growth and Fv/Fm (quantum yield of photosynthesis) of C. valida (p < 0.01). C. valida grew the longest at a salinity of 34‰ and a pH of 8.0. At 34‰ salinity, C. valida grew to 26.44 ± 5.89 cm in 16 days. At a pH of 8.0, C. valida grew to 67.96 ± 4.45 cm in 32 days. Fv/Fm was 0.635 ± 0.002 at a salinity of 32‰, and 0.550 ± 0.006 to 0.660± 0.001 at pH 7.0 to 8.5. Based on these results, we conclude that C. valida can bloom in sea cucumber ponds due to the high salinity and pH of coastal sea waters, which promote growth and maintain the photosynthetic activity of C. valida.

Continue reading ‘Factors that affect the growth and photosynthesis of the filamentous green algae, Chaetomorpha valida, in static sea cucumber aquaculture ponds with high salinity and high pH’

Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy

Increased plant biomass is observed in terrestrial systems due to rising levels of atmospheric CO2, but responses of marine macroalgae to CO2 enrichment are unclear. The 200% increase in CO2 by 2100 is predicted to enhance the productivity of fleshy macroalgae that acquire inorganic carbon solely as CO2 (non‐carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism [CCM] species—i.e., species without a carbon dioxide‐concentrating mechanism), whereas those that additionally uptake bicarbonate (CCM species) are predicted to respond neutrally or positively depending on their affinity for bicarbonate. Previous studies, however, show that fleshy macroalgae exhibit a broad variety of responses to CO2 enrichment and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. This physiological study compared the responses of a CCM species (Lomentaria australis) with a non‐CCM species (Craspedocarpus ramentaceus) to CO2 enrichment with regards to growth, net photosynthesis, and biochemistry. Contrary to expectations, there was no enrichment effect for the non‐CCM species, whereas the CCM species had a twofold greater growth rate, likely driven by a downregulation of the energetically costly CCM(s). This saved energy was invested into new growth rather than storage lipids and fatty acids. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive literature synthesis to examine the extent to which the growth and photosynthetic responses of fleshy macroalgae to elevated CO2 are related to their carbon acquisition strategies. Findings highlight that the responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their carbon uptake strategy, and targeted physiological experiments on a wider range of species are needed to better predict responses of macroalgae to future oceanic change.

Continue reading ‘Responses of macroalgae to CO2 enrichment cannot be inferred solely from their inorganic carbon uptake strategy’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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