Posts Tagged 'Baltic Sea'

Impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of marine bivalves (update)

Bivalve calcification, particularly of the early larval stages, is highly sensitive to the change in ocean carbonate chemistry resulting from atmospheric CO2 uptake. Earlier studies suggested that declining seawater [CO32−] and thereby lowered carbonate saturation affect shell production. However, disturbances of physiological processes such as acid-base regulation by adverse seawater pCO2 and pH can affect calcification in a secondary fashion. In order to determine the exact carbonate system component by which growth and calcification are affected it is necessary to utilize more complex carbonate chemistry manipulations. As single factors, pCO2 had no effects and [HCO3] and pH had only limited effects on shell growth, while lowered [CO32−] strongly impacted calcification. Dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) limiting conditions led to strong reductions in calcification, despite high [CO32−], indicating that [HCO3] rather than [CO32−] is the inorganic carbon source utilized for calcification by mytilid mussels. However, as the ratio [HCO3] / [H+] is linearly correlated with [CO32−] it is not possible to differentiate between these under natural seawater conditions. An equivalent of about 80 μmol kg−1 [CO32−] is required to saturate inorganic carbon supply for calcification in bivalves. Below this threshold biomineralization rates rapidly decline. A comparison of literature data available for larvae and juvenile mussels and oysters originating from habitats differing substantially with respect to prevailing carbonate chemistry conditions revealed similar response curves. This suggests that the mechanisms which determine sensitivity of calcification in this group are highly conserved. The higher sensitivity of larval calcification seems to primarily result from the much higher relative calcification rates in early life stages. In order to reveal and understand the mechanisms that limit or facilitate adaptation to future ocean acidification, it is necessary to better understand the physiological processes and their underlying genetics that govern inorganic carbon assimilation for calcification.

Continue reading ‘Impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of marine bivalves (update)’

Impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of marine bivalves

Bivalve calcification, particular of the early larval stages is highly sensitive to the change of ocean carbonate chemistry resulting from atmospheric CO2 uptake. Earlier studies suggested that declining seawater [CO32−] and thereby lowered carbonate saturation affect shell production. However, disturbances of physiological processes such as acid-base regulation by adverse seawater pCO2 and pH can affect calcification in a secondary fashion. In order to determine the exact carbonate system component by which growth and calcification are affected it is necessary to utilize more complex carbonate chemistry manipulations. As single factors, pCO2 had no and [HCO3−] and pH only limited effects on shell growth, while lowered [CO32−] strongly impacted calcification. Dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) limiting conditions led to strong reductions in calcification, despite high [CO32−], indicating that [HCO3−] rather than [CO32−] is the inorganic carbon source utilized for calcification by mytilid mussels. However, as the ratio [HCO3−] / [H+] is linearly correlated with [CO32−] it is not possible to differentiate between these under natural seawater conditions. Therefore, the availability of [HCO3−] combined with favorable environmental pH determines calcification rate and an equivalent of about 80 μmol kg−1 [CO32−] is required to saturate inorganic carbon supply for calcification in bivalves. Below this threshold biomineralization rates rapidly decline. A comparison of literature data available for larvae and juvenile mussels and oysters originating from habitats differing substantially with respect to prevailing carbonate chemistry conditions revealed similar response curves. This suggests that the mechanisms which determine sensitivity of calcification in this group are highly conserved. The higher sensitivity of larval calcification seems to primarily result from the much higher relative calcification rates in early life stages. In order to reveal and understand the mechanisms that limit or facilitate adaptation to future ocean acidification, it is necessary to better understand the physiological processes and their underlying genetics that govern inorganic carbon assimilation for calcification.

Continue reading ‘Impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of marine bivalves’

Metabolic rate and activity of blue mussel Mytilus edulis trossulus under short-term exposure to carbon dioxide-induced water acidification and oxygen deficiency

This work investigated the effect of carbon dioxide-induced decreased water pH (8.1 – control, 7.5 and 7.0), oxygen saturation (~100% and ~20%) and the combination of both factors on the behaviour (gaping activity) and the total metabolic rate of blue mussel Mytilus edulis trossulus from the southern Baltic Sea. Heat dissipation measurements were carried out in a Calvet-type isothermal twin calorimeter equipped with a flow-through system. The resting metabolic rate was not significantly (p > 0.05) affected by pH or oxygen saturation. Neither was there significant (p > 0.05) effect of the interaction of both factors on this process. The high inter-individual variability in behaviour affected the value of maximal recorded activity and duration of activity peaks connected with shell gaping behaviour. In some mussels, they were short and appeared periodically, and other individuals were inactive or exhibited temporal activity terms of different duration. The lowered oxygen saturation significantly (p < 0.05) affected the time spent on activity. However, there was no effect (p > 0.05) of lowered pH on this parameter, which indicates that oxygen deficiency may affect the Baltic population of M. edulis trossulus more seriously than acidification.

Continue reading ‘Metabolic rate and activity of blue mussel Mytilus edulis trossulus under short-term exposure to carbon dioxide-induced water acidification and oxygen deficiency’

Juvenile sea stars exposed to acidification decrease feeding and growth with no acclimation potential

Ocean acidification has the potential to affect growth and calcification of benthic marine invertebrates, particularly during their early life history. We exposed field-collected juveniles of Asterias rubens from Kiel Fjord (western Baltic Sea) to 3 seawater CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) levels (ranging from around 650 to 3500 µatm) in a long-term (39 wk) and a short-term (6 wk) experiment. In both experiments, survival and calcification were not affected by elevated pCO2. However, feeding rates decreased strongly with increasing pCO2, while aerobic metabolism and NH4+ excretion were not significantly affected by CO2 exposure. Consequently, high pCO2 reduced the scope for growth in A. rubens. Growth rates decreased substantially with increasing pCO2 and were reduced even at pCO2 levels occurring in the habitat today (e.g. during upwelling events). Sea stars were not able to acclimate to higher pCO2, and growth performance did not recover during the long-term experiment. Therefore, the top-down control exerted by this keystone species may be diminished during periods of high environmental pCO2 that already occur occasionally and will be even higher in the future. However, some individuals were able to grow at high rates even at high pCO2, indicating potential for rapid adaption. The selection of adapted specimens of A. rubens in this seasonally acidified habitat may lead to higher CO2 tolerance in adult sea stars of this population compared to the juvenile stage. Future studies need to address the synergistic effects of multiple stressors such as acidification, warming and reduced salinity, which will simultaneously impact the performance of sea stars in this habitat.

Continue reading ‘Juvenile sea stars exposed to acidification decrease feeding and growth with no acclimation potential’

Effect on pCO2 by phytoplankton uptake of dissolved organic nutrients in the Central and Northern Baltic Sea, a model study

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) has been added to an existing biogeochemical model and the phytoplankton were allowed to utilize the dissolved organic nutrients for primary production. The results show typical vertical structures for dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and improved or maintained model skill for both mean vertical profiles and mean seasonal variation of biogeochemical variables, evaluated by objective skill metrics. Due to scarce DOM measurements in the Baltic Sea it was hard to validate the new variables, but the model can recreate the general magnitude and distribution of terrestrial and in situ produced DOC, DON, and DOP, as far as we know them. The improvements are especially clear for the total nutrient levels and in recreating the biological drawdown of CO2 in the Eastern Gotland basin. Without phytoplankton uptake of dissolved organic nitrogen and phosphate, CO2 assimilation is lower during the summer months and the partial pressure of CO2 increases by about 200 μatm in the Eastern Gotland Basin, while in the Bothnian Bay, both the duration and magnitude of CO2 assimilation are halved. Thus the phytoplankton uptake of dissolved organic nutrients lowers pCO2 in both basins. Variations in the river transported DOM concentration mainly affect the magnitude of the summer cyanobacteria bloom.

Continue reading ‘Effect on pCO2 by phytoplankton uptake of dissolved organic nutrients in the Central and Northern Baltic Sea, a model study’

Multiple stressors threatening the future of the Baltic Sea–Kattegat marine ecosystem: Implications for policy and management actions

The paper discusses the combined effects of ocean acidification, eutrophication and climate change on the Baltic Sea and the implications for current management strategies. The scientific basis is built on results gathered in the BONUS+ projects Baltic-C and ECOSUPPORT. Model results indicate that the Baltic Sea is likely to be warmer, more hypoxic and more acidic in the future. At present management strategies are not taking into account temporal trends and potential ecosystem change due to warming and/or acidification, and therefore fulfilling the obligations specified within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, OSPAR and HELCOM conventions and national environmental objectives may become significantly more difficult. The paper aims to provide a basis for a discussion on the effectiveness of current policy instruments and possible strategies for setting practical environmental objectives in a changing climate and with multiple stressors.

Continue reading ‘Multiple stressors threatening the future of the Baltic Sea–Kattegat marine ecosystem: Implications for policy and management actions’

Coping with climate change? Copepods experience drastic variations in their physicochemical environment on a diurnal basis

Migratory zooplankton, such as copepods experience widely varying conditions in their physicochemical environment on a diurnal basis. The amplitude of the fluctuations may affect the copepods’ ability to respond to climate change. The environment in coastal areas is naturally fluctuating and the effects of ocean acidification are difficult to predict. Negative effects on copepods may affect the whole food web as they are the most abundant zooplankton, constituting a major part of the diet of fish. In this study, we determined the vertical profiles of an array of environmental variables and the vertical distribution of common copepods in a shallow coastal area of the Baltic Sea. We sampled once a month, in June, July and August, every sixth hour during 24 h. We found that copepods experience a change in pH of more than 0.5 units and 5 °C change in temperature during migration. Thus, on diurnal time scales copepods experience a range in their physicochemical environment that is equal to or larger than the predicted climate change scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Coping with climate change? Copepods experience drastic variations in their physicochemical environment on a diurnal basis’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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