Posts Tagged 'Antarctic'

Additive effects of pCO2 and temperature on respiration rates of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica

The Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, is a dominant member of the zooplankton in the Ross Sea and supports the vast diversity of marine megafauna that designates this region as an internationally protected area. Here, we observed the response of respiration rate to abiotic stressors associated with global change—environmentally relevant temperature treatments (−0.8°C, 4°C) and pH treatments reflecting current-day and future modeled extremes (8.2, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at −0.8°C; 8.11, 7.95 and 7.7 pH at 4°C). Sampling repeatedly over a 14-day period in laboratory experiments and using microplate respirometry techniques, we found that the metabolic rate of juvenile pteropods increased in response to low-pH exposure (pH 7.7) at −0.8°C, a near-ambient temperature. Similarly, metabolic rate increased when pteropods were exposed simultaneously to multiple stressors: lowered pH conditions (pH 7.7) and a high temperature (4°C). Overall, the results showed that pCO2 and temperature interact additively to affect metabolic rates in pteropods. Furthermore, we found that L. h. antarctica can tolerate acute exposure to temperatures far beyond its maximal habitat temperature. Overall, L. h. antarctica appears to be susceptible to pH and temperature stress, two abiotic stressors which are expected to be especially deleterious for ectothermic marine metazoans in polar seas.

Continue reading ‘Additive effects of pCO2 and temperature on respiration rates of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica’

Geographical CO2 sensitivity of phytoplankton correlates with ocean buffer capacity

Accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 is significantly altering ocean chemistry. A range of biological impacts resulting from this oceanic CO2 accumulation are emerging, however, the mechanisms responsible for observed differential susceptibility between organisms and across environmental settings remain obscure. A primary consequence of increased oceanic CO2 uptake is a decrease in the carbonate system buffer capacity, which characterizes the system’s chemical resilience to changes in CO2, generating the potential for enhanced variability in pCO2 and the concentration of carbonate [urn:x-wiley:13541013:media:gcb14324:gcb14324-math-0001], bicarbonate [urn:x-wiley:13541013:media:gcb14324:gcb14324-math-0002], and protons [H+] in the future ocean. We conducted a meta‐analysis of 17 shipboard manipulation experiments performed across three distinct geographical regions that encompassed a wide range of environmental conditions from European temperate seas to Arctic and Southern oceans. These data demonstrated a correlation between the magnitude of natural phytoplankton community biological responses to short‐term CO2 changes and variability in the local buffer capacity across ocean basin scales. Specifically, short‐term suppression of small phytoplankton (<10 μm) net growth rates were consistently observed under enhanced pCO2within experiments performed in regions with higher ambient buffer capacity. The results further highlight the relevance of phytoplankton cell size for the impacts of enhanced pCO2 in both the modern and future ocean. Specifically, cell size‐related acclimation and adaptation to regional environmental variability, as characterized by buffer capacity, likely influences interactions between primary producers and carbonate chemistry over a range of spatio‐temporal scales.

Continue reading ‘Geographical CO2 sensitivity of phytoplankton correlates with ocean buffer capacity’

Assessment of the carbonate chemistry seasonal cycles in the Southern Ocean from persistent observational platforms

Observations from Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) biogeochemical profiling Argo floats are used to characterize the climatological seasonal cycles and drivers of dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, pH, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2), and the saturation state of aragonite (ΩAr) at the surface and at 200 m across five Southern Ocean frontal regimes, including under sea ice. The Southern Ocean ranges from a temperature‐dominated system in the northernmost Subtropical Zone to a biologically dominated system in the most poleward Seasonal Sea Ice Zone. In all zones, the ingassing or outgassing of CO2 must be balanced by geostrophic and Ekman transport, mixing from below, and particle transport of carbon into or out of the euphotic zone. The climatological seasonal cycles spanning the period from 2014 to 2017 compare favorably with existing climatologies in spring and summer and less so during winter months, at higher latitudes, and in ice‐covered regions due, in part, to limited wintertime observations before SOCCOM. We observe increases in the carbon and nutrient content of surface waters south of the Subantarctic Front between climatological data products and the SOCCOM float climatologies, even after adjusting for anthropogenic change, suggesting a large‐scale increase in the amount of upwelled carbon‐ and nutrient‐rich deep waters. This increased upwelling corresponds to a positive Southern Annular Mode Index over 2014‐2017 and likely acts to decrease the magnitude of the Southern Ocean sink of total carbon by increasing outgassing of natural CO2, especially during winter months.

Continue reading ‘Assessment of the carbonate chemistry seasonal cycles in the Southern Ocean from persistent observational platforms’

A review on the biodiversity, distribution and trophic role of cephalopods in the Arctic and Antarctic marine ecosystems under a changing ocean

Cephalopods play an important role in polar marine ecosystems. In this review, we compare the biodiversity, distribution and trophic role of cephalopods in the Arctic and in the Antarctic. Thirty-two species have been reported from the Arctic, 62 if the Pacific Subarctic is included, with only two species distributed across both these Arctic areas. In comparison, 54 species are known from the Antarctic. These polar regions share 15 families and 13 genera of cephalopods, with the giant squid Architeuthis dux the only species confirmed to occur in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Polar cephalopods prey on crustaceans, fish, and other cephalopods (including cannibalism), whereas predators include fish, other cephalopods, seabirds, seals and whales. In terms of differences between the cephalopod predators in the polar regions, more Antarctic seabird species feed on cephalopods than Arctic seabirds species, whereas more Arctic mammal species feed on cephalopods than Antarctic mammal species. Cephalopods from these regions are likely to be more influenced by climate change than those from the rest of the World: Arctic fauna is more subjected to increasing temperatures per se, with these changes leading to increased species ranges and probably abundance. Antarctic species are likely to be influenced by changes in (1) mesoscale oceanography (2) the position of oceanic fronts (3) sea ice extent, and (4) ocean acidification. Polar cephalopods may have the capacity to adapt to changes in their environment, but more studies are required on taxonomy, distribution, ocean acidification and ecology.

Continue reading ‘A review on the biodiversity, distribution and trophic role of cephalopods in the Arctic and Antarctic marine ecosystems under a changing ocean’

Ocean acidification changes the structure of an Antarctic coastal protistan community (update)

Antarctic near-shore waters are amongst the most sensitive in the world to ocean acidification. Microbes occupying these waters are critical drivers of ecosystem productivity, elemental cycling and ocean biogeochemistry, yet little is known about their sensitivity to ocean acidification. A six-level, dose–response experiment was conducted using 650 L incubation tanks (minicosms) adjusted to a gradient in fugacity of carbon dioxide (fCO2) from 343 to 1641 µatm. The six minicosms were filled with near-shore water from Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, and the protistan composition and abundance was determined by microscopy during 18 days of incubation. No CO2-related change in the protistan community composition was observed during the initial 8 day acclimation period under low light. Thereafter, the response of both autotrophic and heterotrophic protists to fCO2 was species-specific. The response of diatoms was mainly cell size related; microplanktonic diatoms ( >  20 µm) increased in abundance with low to moderate fCO2 (343–634 µatm) but decreased at fCO2  ≥  953 µatm. Similarly, the abundance of Phaeocystis antarctica increased with increasing fCO2 peaking at 634 µatm. Above this threshold the abundance of micro-sized diatoms and P. antarctica fell dramatically, and nanoplanktonic diatoms ( ≤  20 µm) dominated, therefore culminating in a significant change in the protistan community composition. Comparisons of these results with previous experiments conducted at this site show that the fCO2 thresholds are similar, despite seasonal and interannual differences in the physical and biotic environment. This suggests that near-shore microbial communities are likely to change significantly near the end of this century if anthropogenic CO2 release continues unabated, with profound ramifications for near-shore Antarctic ecosystem food webs and biogeochemical cycling.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification changes the structure of an Antarctic coastal protistan community (update)’

Behavioural responses of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) to CO2-induced ocean acidification: would krill really notice?

The Southern Ocean is expected to be significantly affected by future ocean acidification. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is the key species of the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Understanding their behavioural responses to acidification is critical for assessing the impacts of ocean acidification on the ecosystem. Adult Antarctic krill reared in different holding tanks with various CO2 levels for 6 months prior to the experiments were tested for their behavioural responses to different carbon dioxide partial pressures (pCO2) (400, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 4000 μatm pCO2) in a two-channel flume. The time krill occupied either of the flume channels (with high or ambient CO2 levels) was highly variable in all tests. In most cases no significant preference to either side of the flume was found. The krill did not display any systematic discrimination to the sea water with different CO2 levels regardless of the CO2 levels that krill were acclimated for in the 6 months prior to the experiment. Poor ability to discriminate high CO2 waters may have an important implication to their life history in the future as ocean acidification rapidly progresses in parts of Southern Ocean.

Continue reading ‘Behavioural responses of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) to CO2-induced ocean acidification: would krill really notice?’

Microalgal photophysiology and macronutrient distribution in summer sea ice in the Amundsen and Ross Seas, Antarctica

Our study addresses how environmental variables, such as macronutrients concentrations, snow cover, carbonate chemistry and salinity affect the photophysiology and biomass of Antarctic sea-ice algae. We have measured vertical profiles of inorganic macronutrients (phosphate, nitrite + nitrate and silicic acid) in summer sea ice and photophysiology of ice algal assemblages in the poorly studied Amundsen and Ross Seas sectors of the Southern Ocean. Brine-scaled bacterial abundance, chl a and macronutrient concentrations were often high in the ice and positively correlated with each other. Analysis of photosystem II rapid light curves showed that microalgal cells in samples with high phosphate and nitrite + nitrate concentrations had reduced maximum relative electron transport rate and photosynthetic efficiency. We also observed strong couplings of PSII parameters to snow depth, ice thickness and brine salinity, which highlights a wide range of photoacclimation in Antarctic pack-ice algae. It is likely that the pack ice was in a post-bloom situation during the late sea-ice season, with low photosynthetic efficiency and a high degree of nutrient accumulation occurring in the ice. In order to predict how key biogeochemical processes are affected by future changes in sea ice cover, such as in situ photosynthesis and nutrient cycling, we need to understand how physicochemical properties of sea ice affect the microbial community. Our results support existing hypothesis about sea-ice algal photophysiology, and provide additional observations on high nutrient concentrations in sea ice that could influence the planktonic communities as the ice is retreating.

Continue reading ‘Microalgal photophysiology and macronutrient distribution in summer sea ice in the Amundsen and Ross Seas, Antarctica’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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