Posts Tagged 'Antarctica'

The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica

Phaeocystis antarctica is an integral player of the phytoplankton community of the Southern Ocean (SO), the world’s largest high-nutrient low-chlorophyll region, and faces chronic iron (Fe) limitation. As the SO is responsible for 40% of anthropogenic CO2 uptake, P. antarctica must also deal with ocean acidification (OA). However, mechanistic studies investigating the effects of Fe limitation and OA on trace metal (TM) stoichiometry, transcriptomic, and photophysiological responses of this species, as well as on the Fe chemistry, are lacking. This study reveals that P. antarctica responded strongly to Fe limitation by reducing its growth rate and particulate organic carbon (POC) production. Cellular concentrations of all TMs, not just Fe, were greatly reduced, suggesting that Fe limitation may drive cells into secondary limitation by another TM. P. antarctica was able to adjust its photophysiology in response to Fe limitation, resulting in similar absolute electron transport rates across PSII. Even though OA-stimulated growth in Fe-limited and -replete treatments, the slight reduction in cellular POC resulted in no net effect on POC production. In addition, relatively few genes were differentially expressed due to OA. Finally, this study demonstrates that, under our culture conditions, OA did not affect inorganic Fe or humic-acid-like substances in seawater but triggered the production of humic-acid-like substances by P. antarctica. This species is well adapted to OA under all Fe conditions, giving it a competitive advantage over more sensitive species in a future ocean.

Continue reading ‘The impacts of iron limitation and ocean acidification on the cellular stoichiometry, photophysiology, and transcriptome of Phaeocystis antarctica’

Environmental controls on pteropod biogeography along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Pteropods are abundant zooplankton in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) and important grazers of phytoplankton and prey for higher trophic levels. We analyzed long‐term (1993–2017) trends in summer (January–February) abundance of WAP pteropods in relation to environmental controls (sea ice, sea surface temperature, climate indices, phytoplankton biomass and productivity, and carbonate chemistry) and interspecies dynamics using general linear models. There was no overall directional trend in abundance of thecosomes, Limacina helicina antarctica and Clio pyramidata, throughout the entire WAP, although L. antarctica abundance increased in the slope region and C. pyramidata abundance increased in the South. High L. antarctica abundance was strongly tied to a negative Multivariate El Niño Southern Oscillation Index the previous year. C. pyramidata abundance was best explained by early sea ice retreat 1‐yr prior. Abundance of the gymnosome species, Clione antarctica and Spongiobranchaea australis, increased over the time series, particularly in the slope region. Gymnosome abundance was positively influenced by abundance of their prey, L. antarctica, during the same season, and late sea ice advance 2‐yr prior. These trends indicate a shorter ice season promotes longer periods of open water in spring/summer favoring all pteropod species. Weak relationships were found between pteropod abundance and carbonate chemistry, and no long‐term trend in carbonate parameters was detected. These factors indicate ocean acidification is not presently influencing WAP pteropod abundance. Pteropods are responsive to the considerable environmental variability on both temporal and spatial scales—key for predicting future effects of climate change on regional carbon cycling and plankton trophic interactions.

Continue reading ‘Environmental controls on pteropod biogeography along the Western Antarctic Peninsula’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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