Posts Tagged 'algae'

Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising

Mariculture of the economically important seaweed will likely be affected by the combined conditions of ocean acidification that resulting from increasing CO2 rising and decreased light levels, especially under high culture intensity and high biomass accumulation. To examine this coupling effect on the photosynthetic performance of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings, we cultured seedlings of this alga under different light and CO2 levels. Under low light conditions, elevated CO2 significantly decreased the photosynthesis of S. fusiforme seedlings, including a decreased photosynthetic electron transport rate. Seedlings grown under the low light intensity exhibited higher photosynthetic rates and compensation irradiance, and displayed higher photosynthetic pigment contents and light absorption than seedlings grown under high light intensity, providing strong evidence of photosynthetic acclimation to low light. However, the captured light and energy were insufficient to support photosynthesis in acidified seawater regardless of increased dissolved inorganic carbon, resulting in declined carbohydrate and biomass accumulation. This indicated that S. fusiforme photosynthesis was more sensitive to acidified seawater in its early growth stage, and strongly affected by light intensity. Future research should evaluate the practical manipulation of biomass accumulation and mariculture densities during the early culture period at the CO2 level predicted for the end of the century.

Continue reading ‘Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising’

Ocean warming, but not acidification, accelerates seagrass decomposition under near-future climate scenarios

The majority of marine macrophyte production is not consumed by herbivores but instead is channeled into detrital pathways where it supports biodiversity and drives coastal productivity, nutrient cycling and blue carbon sequestration. While it is clear that detrital pathways will be affected by ocean climate change, the relative importance of changing temperature or pH, or their interactions, has not been assessed. We used outdoor mesocosm experiments to assess the relative importance of ocean warming, acidification and latitude of litter origin on the decomposition and biomechanical properties of seagrass Zostera muelleri. Seagrass, collected from 2 sites at each of 2 latitudes (29° and 35°S), was subjected to an orthogonal combination of current and predicted future ocean warming (+3°C) and acidification (-0.3 pH unit). Elevated temperatures resulted in a 15% greater loss of seagrass detrital mass. Mass loss of seagrass detritus was also greater in seagrass from higher than from lower latitudes. The stiffness (Young’s modulus) of decomposing seagrass was greater at 22°C than at 25°C. Elevated sea temperatures also weakened decomposing seagrass, but the magnitude of these effects was greater for Z. muelleri originating from higher than from lower latitudes. Overall, ocean warming is likely to have a much larger influence on seagrass decomposition than ocean acidification. As climate changes, however, if seagrass from higher latitudes takes on similar characteristics to seagrass currently growing at lower latitudes, there may be a negative feedback against the impacts of ocean warming on decomposition, moderating changes in associated primary and secondary productivity that supports coastal fisheries and ecosystem processes.

Continue reading ‘Ocean warming, but not acidification, accelerates seagrass decomposition under near-future climate scenarios’

The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)

Coastal ecosystems can experience acidification via upwelling, eutrophication, riverine discharge, and climate change. While the resulting increases in pCO2 can have deleterious effects on calcifying animals, this change in carbonate chemistry may benefit some marine autotrophs. Here, we report on experiments performed with North Atlantic populations of hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), bay scallops (Argopecten irradians), and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown with and without North Atlantic populations of the green macroalgae, Ulva. In six of seven experiments, exposure to elevated pCO2 levels ( ∼ 1700µatm) resulted in depressed shell- and/or tissue-based growth rates of bivalves compared to control conditions, whereas rates were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva in all experiments. In many cases, the co-exposure to elevated pCO2 levels and Ulva had an antagonistic effect on bivalve growth rates whereby the presence of Ulva under elevated pCO2 levels significantly improved their performance compared to the acidification-only treatment. Saturation states for calcium carbonate (Ω) were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva under both ambient and elevated CO2 delivery rates, and growth rates of bivalves were significantly correlated with Ω in six of seven experiments. Collectively, the results suggest that photosynthesis and/or nitrate assimilation by Ulva increased alkalinity, fostering a carbonate chemistry regime more suitable for optimal growth of calcifying bivalves. This suggests that large natural and/or aquacultured collections of macroalgae in acidified environments could serve as a refuge for calcifying animals that may otherwise be negatively impacted by elevated pCO2 levels and depressed Ω.

Continue reading ‘The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)’

Primary production and calcification rates of algae‐dominated reef flat and seagrass communities

Monitoring variability in coral reef primary production and calcification is needed to understand changes over time and between reef systems, which helps separate differences due to natural and/or anthropogenic factors happening now and in the future. This study measured net productivity and calcification for two reef systems at Shark Bay, Heron Reef in the southern Great Barrier Reef and Saipan Lagoon, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Net primary productivity and calcification were strongly correlated for reef flats with an adjusted R2 = 0.66. Night time dissolution occurred at Shark Bay reef flat with an average of −12.66  mmol  CaCO3 · m−2 · hr−1, while calcification increased at night for the Saipan reef flat. For both reef flat sites, net productivity from oxygen flux was much lower than rates calculated from change in dissolved inorganic carbon. This study provided the first baseline estimates of net productivity and calcification for a reef flat and seagrass community in Saipan Lagoon. The seagrass community had the lowest productivity of all sites. However, the high presence of calcareous algae at the site highlights the need for more research on the carbonate chemistry of these habitats. All sites had high net productivity that was most likely associated with the dominant presence of algae. Continue reading ‘Primary production and calcification rates of algae‐dominated reef flat and seagrass communities’

Ocean acidification increases iodine accumulation in kelp‐based coastal food webs

Kelp are main iodine accumulators in the ocean, and their growth and photosynthesis are likely to benefit from elevated seawater CO2 levels due to ocean acidification. However, there are currently no data on the effects of ocean acidification on iodine metabolism in kelp. As key primary producers in coastal ecosystems worldwide, any change in their iodine metabolism caused by climate change will potentially have important consequences for global geochemical cycles of iodine, including iodine levels of coastal food webs that underpin the nutrition of billions of humans around the world. Here, we found that elevated pCO2 enhanced growth and increased iodine accumulation not only in the model kelp Saccharina japonica using both short‐term laboratory experiment and long‐term in situ mesocosms, but also in several other edible and ecologically significant seaweeds using long‐term in situ mesocosms. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of S. japonica revealed that most vanadium‐dependent haloperoxidase genes involved in iodine efflux during oxidative stress are down‐regulated under increasing pCO2, suggesting that ocean acidification alleviates oxidative stress in kelp, which might contribute to their enhanced growth. When consumed by abalone (Haliotis discus), elevated iodine concentrations in S. japonica caused increased iodine accumulation in abalone, accompanied by reduced synthesis of thyroid hormones. Thus, our results suggest that kelp will benefit from ocean acidification by a reduction in environmental stress however, iodine levels in kelp‐based coastal food webs will increase, with potential impacts on biogeochemical cycles of iodine in coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases iodine accumulation in kelp‐based coastal food webs’

Copper pollution exacerbates the effects of ocean acidification and warming on kelp microscopic early life stages

Ocean warming (OW), ocean acidification (OA) and their interaction with local drivers, e.g., copper pollution, may negatively affect macroalgae and their microscopic life stages. We evaluated meiospore development of the kelps Macrocystis pyrifera and Undaria pinnatifida exposed to a factorial combination of current and 2100-predicted temperature (12 and 16 °C, respectively), pH (8.16 and 7.65, respectively), and two copper levels (no-added-copper and species-specific germination Cu-EC50). Meiospore germination for both species declined by 5–18% under OA and ambient temperature/OA conditions, irrespective of copper exposure. Germling growth rate declined by >40%·day−1, and gametophyte development was inhibited under Cu-EC50 exposure, compared to the no-added-copper treatment, irrespective of pH and temperature. Following the removal of copper and 9-day recovery under respective pH and temperature treatments, germling growth rates increased by 8–18%·day−1. The exception was U. pinnatifida under OW/OA, where growth rate remained at 10%·day−1 before and after copper exposure. Copper-binding ligand concentrations were higher in copper-exposed cultures of both species, suggesting that ligands may act as a defence mechanism of kelp early life stages against copper toxicity. Our study demonstrated that copper pollution is more important than global climate drivers in controlling meiospore development in kelps as it disrupts the completion of their life cycle.

Continue reading ‘Copper pollution exacerbates the effects of ocean acidification and warming on kelp microscopic early life stages’

The impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on cadmium toxicity in Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta)

Cadmium is one of the major heavy metal pollutions in coastal waters, and it is well known that cadmium at trace concentration is toxic to macroalgae. Change in marine carbonate system and ocean acidification caused by elevated atmospheric CO2 also alter physiological characteristics of macroalgae. However, less research is focused on the combined impacts of elevated CO2 and cadmium pollution on the growth and physiology in macroalgae. In this study, the maricultivated macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta) was cultured at three levels of Cd2+ (control, 4 and 12 mg L−1) and two concentrations of CO2, the ambient CO2 (AC, 410 ppm) and elevated CO2 (HC, 1100 ppm). The results showed that 12 mg L−1 Cd2+ significantly suppressed the relative growth rate and superoxide dismutase activity in AC-grown P. haitanensis, while such inhibition extents by Cd2+ were alleviated in HC-grown algae. Cd2+ had no effects on efficiency of electron transport (α) and maximum electron transport rate (ETRmax), but α was increased by elevated CO2. Cd2+ dramatically suppressed the maximum net photosynthesis oxygen evolution rate (NPRm) and the minimum saturation irradiance (Ik) when the algal thalli were grown at AC, while such suppression of NPRm by Cd2+ was much decreased when the thalli were grown at HC. Collectively, our results suggested that elevated CO2 would alleviate Cd2+ toxicity on P. haitanensis.

Continue reading ‘The impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on cadmium toxicity in Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta)’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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