Posts Tagged 'Arctic'

Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C

Rapid climate change in the Northeast Atlantic and Arctic poses a threat to some of the world’s largest fish populations. Impacts of warming and acidification may become accessible through mechanism-based risk assessments and projections of future habitat suitability. We show that ocean acidification causes a narrowing of embryonic thermal ranges, which identifies the suitability of spawning habitats as a critical life-history bottleneck for two abundant cod species. Embryonic tolerance ranges linked to climate simulations reveal that ever-increasing CO2 emissions [Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5] will deteriorate suitability of present spawning habitat for both Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) by 2100. Moderate warming (RCP4.5) may avert dangerous climate impacts on Atlantic cod but still leaves few spawning areas for the more vulnerable Polar cod, which also loses the benefits of an ice-covered ocean. Emissions following RCP2.6, however, support largely unchanged habitat suitability for both species, suggesting that risks are minimized if warming is held “below 2°C, if not 1.5°C,” as pledged by the Paris Agreement.

Continue reading ‘Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C’

Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is an important prey species in the Arctic ecosystem, yet its habitat is changing rapidly: climate change, through rising seawater temperatures and CO2 concentrations, is projected to be most pronounced in Arctic waters. This study aimed to investigate the influence of ocean acidification and warming on maximum performance parameters of B. saida as indicators for the species’ acclimation capacities under environmental conditions projected for the end of this century. After 4 months at four acclimation temperatures (0, 3, 6, 8°C) each combined with two PCO2 levels (390 and 1170 µatm), aerobic capacities and swimming performance of B. saida were recorded following a Ucrit protocol. At both CO2 levels, standard metabolic rate (SMR) was elevated at the highest acclimation temperature indicating thermal limitations. Maximum metabolic rate (MMR) increased continuously with temperature, suggesting an optimum temperature for aerobic scope for exercise (ASex) at 6°C. Aerobic swimming performance (Ugait) increased with acclimation temperature irrespective of CO2 levels, while critical swimming speed (Ucrit) did not reveal any clear trend with temperature. Hypercapnia evoked an increase in MMR (and thereby ASex). However, swimming performance (both Ugait and Ucrit) was impaired under elevated near-future PCO2 conditions, indicating reduced efficiencies of oxygen turnover. The contribution of anaerobic metabolism to swimming performance was very low overall, and further reduced under hypercapnia. Our results revealed high sensitivities of maximum performance parameters (MMR, Ugait, Ucrit) of B. saida to ocean acidification. Impaired swimming capacity under ocean acidification may reflect reduced future competitive strength of B. saida.

Continue reading ‘Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions’

Using natural analogues to investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on Northern ecosystems

Northern oceans are in a state of rapid transition. Still, our knowledge of the likely effects of climate change and ocean acidification on key species in the food web, functionally important habitats and the structure of Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems is limited and based mainly on short-term laboratory studies on single species. This review discusses how tropical and temperate natural analogues of carbonate chemistry drivers, such as CO2 vents, have been used to further our knowledge of the sensitivity of biological systems to predicted climate change, and thus assess the capacity of different species to show long-term acclimation and adaptation to elevated levels of pCO2. Natural analogues have also provided the means to scale-up from single-species responses to community and ecosystem level responses. However, to date the application of such approaches is limited in high latitude systems. A range of Arctic and sub-Arctic sites, including CO2 vents, methane cold seeps, estuaries, up-welling areas, and polar fronts, that encompass gradients of pH, carbonate saturation state, and alkalinity, are suggested for future high latitude, in-situ ocean acidification research. It is recommended that combinations of monitoring of the chemical oceanography, observational, and experimental (in situ and laboratory) studies of organisms around these natural analogues be used to attain better predictions of the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on high latitude species and ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Using natural analogues to investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on Northern ecosystems’

AMAP assessment 2018: Arctic ocean acidification

Ocean acidification, resulting from changes in ocean chemistry induced by increasing seawater carbon dioxide concentrations, is one of the growing challenges to marine organisms, ecosystems and biogeochemical cycling. Some of the fastest rates of ocean acidification currently observed are in the Arctic Ocean, with important physiological and geochemical thresholds already surpassed. Projections indicate that large parts of the Arctic Ocean are undergoing marine carbonate system changes that will incur significant shifts in ecological status over the coming decades unless global carbon emissions are drastically curtailed. These changes in water chemistry and biology will have significant socio-ecological and economic consequences at the local to global level.

The first AMAP Arctic Ocean acidification report (AMAP, 2013) presented a scientific assessment on the changing state of ocean acidification in the Arctic and provided an Arctic-wide perspective on the rapid increase in seawater acidity. The report concluded that ocean acidification was affecting the Arctic marine environment and ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘AMAP assessment 2018: Arctic ocean acidification’

Experimental study of the influence of thawing permafrost on the chemical properties of sea water

In a warming environment, permafrost thawing can play a significant role in the chemical composition of coastal waters in the Arctic region. It is a potential source of organic and inorganic forms of nutrients, as well as heavy metals and pollutants. To estimate the permafrost thawing influence on the chemical properties of the sea water, an experimental study was conducted as part of a Norwegian-Russian expedition to Svalbard 11–17 June 2017. Permafrost (PF) samples were collected at an abrasive cliff 10 km west of Longyearbyen, after that, the experiment was performed at the University of Svalbard laboratory. The experiment was focused on identifying the possible changes in concentrations of nutrients, carbonate system parameters, and pollutant composition related to permafrost thawing. During the experiment, the samples of permafrost were added to the seawater. Then, the solution was exposed to natural conditions outdoors for 24 hours while water samples from the solution were taken at specified time intervals. Data from the experiment allowed for estimating the rate and change in concentrations of chemical substances due to permafrost thawing. This study shows the importance of permafrost thawing in the coastal areas chemical regime, affecting the metals supply, ocean acidification, and nutrient inputs; therefore, coastal ecosystems could be exposed to new impacts of numerous stresses associated with global warming.

Continue reading ‘Experimental study of the influence of thawing permafrost on the chemical properties of sea water’

The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits synergistically from warming and ocean acidification (update)

In the Arctic Ocean, climate change effects such as warming and ocean acidification (OA) are manifesting faster than in other regions. Yet, we are lacking a mechanistic understanding of the interactive effects of these drivers on Arctic primary producers. In the current study, one of the most abundant species of the Arctic Ocean, the prasinophyte Micromonas pusilla, was exposed to a range of different pCO2 levels at two temperatures representing realistic current and future scenarios for nutrient-replete conditions. We observed that warming and OA synergistically increased growth rates at intermediate to high pCO2 levels. Furthermore, elevated temperatures shifted the pCO2 optimum of biomass production to higher levels. Based on changes in cellular composition and photophysiology, we hypothesise that the observed synergies can be explained by beneficial effects of warming on carbon fixation in combination with facilitated carbon acquisition under OA. Our findings help to understand the higher abundances of picoeukaryotes such as M. pusilla under OA, as has been observed in many mesocosm studies.

Continue reading ‘The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits synergistically from warming and ocean acidification (update)’

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’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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