Posts Tagged 'biological response'

Forecasting ocean acidification impacts on kelp forest ecosystems

Ocean acidification is one the biggest threats to marine ecosystems worldwide, but its ecosystem wide responses are still poorly understood. This study integrates field and experimental data into a mass balance food web model of a temperate coastal ecosystem to determine the impacts of specific OA forcing mechanisms as well as how they interact with one another. Specifically, we forced a food web model of a kelp forest ecosystem near its southern distribution limit in the California large marine ecosystem to a 0.5 pH drop over the course of 50 years. This study utilizes a modeling approach to determine the impacts of specific OA forcing mechanisms as well as how they interact. Isolating OA impacts on growth (Production), mortality (Other Mortality), and predation interactions (Vulnerability) or combining all three mechanisms together leads to a variety of ecosystem responses, with some taxa increasing in abundance and other decreasing. Results suggest that carbonate mineralizing groups such as coralline algae, abalone, snails, and lobsters display the largest decreases in biomass while macroalgae, urchins, and some larger fish species display the largest increases. Low trophic level groups such as giant kelp and brown algae increase in biomass by 16% and 71%, respectively. Due to the diverse way in which OA stress manifests at both individual and population levels, ecosystem-level effects can vary and display nonlinear patterns. Combined OA forcing leads to initial increases in ecosystem and commercial biomasses followed by a decrease in commercial biomass below initial values over time, while ecosystem biomass remains high. Both biodiversity and average trophic level decrease over time. These projections indicate that the kelp forest community would maintain high productivity with a 0.5 drop in pH, but with a substantially different community structure characterized by lower biodiversity and relatively greater dominance by lower trophic level organisms.

Continue reading ‘Forecasting ocean acidification impacts on kelp forest ecosystems’

Plastic response of the oyster Ostrea chilensis to temperature and pCO2 within the present natural range of variability

Estuaries are characterized by high fluctuation of their environmental conditions. Environmental parameters measured show that the seawater properties of the Quempillén estuary (i.e. temperature, salinity, pCO2, pH and ΩCaCO3) were highly fluctuating and related with season and tide. We test the effects of increasing temperature and pCO2 in the seawater on the physiological energetics of the bivalve Ostrea chilensis. Juvenile oysters were exposed to an orthogonal combination of three temperatures (10, 15, and 20°C) and two pCO2 levels (~400 and ~1000 μatm) for a period of 60 days to evaluate the temporal effect (i.e. 10, 20, 30, 60 days) on the physiological rates of the oysters. Results indicated a significant effect of temperature and time of exposure on the clearance rate, while pCO2 and the interaction between pCO2 and the other factors studied did not show significant effects. Significant effects of temperature and time of exposure were also observed on the absorption rate, but not the pCO2 nor its interaction with other factors studied. Oxygen consumption was significantly affected by pCO2, temperature and time. Scope for growth was only significantly affected by time; despite this, the highest values were observed for individuals subject to to 20°C and to ~1000 μatm pCO2. In this study, Ostrea chilensis showed high phenotypic plasticity to respond to the high levels of temperature and pCO2 experienced in its habitat as no negative physiological effects were observed. Thus, the highly variable conditions of this organism’s environment could select for individuals that are more resistant to future scenarios of climate change, mainly to warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Plastic response of the oyster Ostrea chilensis to temperature and pCO2 within the present natural range of variability’

The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine

Increased greenhouse gas emissions have caused rapid ocean warming (OW) and reduced ocean pH via acidification (OA). Both OW and OA will likely impact marine crustaceans, but they are often examined in isolation. We conducted an environmental-stressor experiment to understand how exposure to current summer conditions (16 °C, pH 8.0), OW only (20 °C, pH 8.0), OA only (16 °C, pH 7.6), or both acidification and warming, OAW (20 °C, pH 7.6), differentially influence thermal physiology and immune response of female subadults of the American lobster, Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837. Following a 42 d exposure, cardiac performance was assessed during an acute thermal stress, and lobsters were subjected to a subsequent 21 d pathogen challenge with the bacterium Aerococcus viridans var. homari, the causative agent of gaffkemia. Lobsters under OAW had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.02) Arrhenius break temperatures (ABT), an indicator of thermal limits of capacity, compared to lobsters exposed to all other treatments, suggesting these stressors act synergistically to reduce physiological performance. Individuals from the OW and OAW treatments also had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.035) total hemocyte counts (THCs), an indicator of immune response, and showed a reduced median time to death (by up to 5 d sooner) post A. viridans injection compared to lobsters exposed to current summer conditions. Moreover, nearly twice as many lobsters exposed to OAW lost at least one claw during the pathogen challenge compared to all other treatment groups, potentially increasing the risk of mortality due to secondary infection. Together, these results suggest that OAW will impact the physiology and immune response of subadult H. americanus, potentially influencing successful recruitment to the fishery.

Continue reading ‘The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine’

Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is expected to continue rising by 2100, leading to a decrease in ocean pH in a process known as ocean acidification (OA). OA can have a direct impact on calcifying organisms, including on the cuttlebone of the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Moreover, nutritional status has also been shown to affect the cuttlebone structure and potentially affect buoyancy. Here, we aimed to understand the combined effects of OA (980 μatm CO2) and food availability (fed vs. non-fed) on the buoyancy of cuttlefish newborns and respective cuttlebone weight/area ratio (as a proxy for calcification). Our results indicate that while OA elicited negative effects on hatching success, it did not negatively affect the cuttlebone weight/area ratio of the hatchlings—OA led to an increase in cuttlebone weight/area ratio of fed newborns (but not in unfed individuals). The proportion of “floating” (linked to buoyancy control loss) newborns was greatest under starvation, regardless of the CO2 treatment, and was associated with a drop in cuttlebone weight/area ratio. Besides showing that cuttlefish buoyancy is unequivocally affected by starvation, here, we also highlight the importance of nutritional condition to assess calcifying organisms’ responses to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification’

Adaption potential of Crassostrea gigas to ocean acidification and disease caused by Vibrio harveyi

The survival and development of bivalve larvae is adversely impacted by ocean acidification and Vibrio infection, indicating that bivalves need to simultaneously adapt to both stressors associated with anthropogenic climate change. In this study, we use a half-dial breeding design to estimate heritability (h2) for survival to Vibrio harveyi infection and larval shell length to aragonite undersaturated and normal conditions in laboratory-reared Crassostrea gigas. Phenotypic differences were observed between families for these traits with heritability estimated to be moderate for survival to V. harveyi challenge (h2 = 0.25) and low for shell length in corrosive (Ωaragonite = 0.9, h2 = 0.15) and normal conditions (Ωaragonite = 1.6, h2 = 0.15). Predicted breeding values for larval shell length are correlated between aragonite-undersaturated and normal conditions (Spearman r = 0.63, p < 0.05), indicating that larger larvae tend to do better in corrosive seawater. Aquaculture hatcheries routinely cull slow-growing larvae to reduce and synchronize time taken for larvae to metamorphose to spat, thus inadvertently applying size-related selection for larger larvae. This indirect selection in the hatchery populations provides a plausible explanation why domesticated oyster populations are less sensitive to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Adaption potential of Crassostrea gigas to ocean acidification and disease caused by Vibrio harveyi’

Algal density alleviates the elevated CO2‐caused reduction on growth of Porphyra haitanensis (Bangiales, Rhodophyta), a species farmed in China

Growing of Pyropia haitanensis, a commercially farmed macroalga, usually increases their densities greatly during cultivation in natural habitats. To explore how the increased algal densities affect their photosynthetic responses to rising CO2, we compared the growth, cell components and photosynthesis of the thalli of P. haitanensis under a matrix of pCO2 levels (ambient CO2, 400 ppm; elevated CO2, 1,000 ppm) and biomass densities [low, 1.0 g fresh weight (FW) L−1; medium, 2.0 g FW L−1; high, 4.0 g FW L−1]. Under ambient CO2, the relative growth rate (RGR) was 5.87% d−1, 2.32% d−1 and 1.51% d−1 in low, medium and high densities, and elevated CO2 reduced the RGR by 27%, 25% and 12% respectively. Maximal photochemical quantum yield of photosystem II (FV/FM) was higher in low than in high densities, so were the light‐utilized efficiency (α ), saturation irradiance (EK) and maximum relative electron transfer rate (rETRmax). Elevated CO2 enhanced the FV/FM in low density but not in higher densities, as well as the α, EK and rETRmax. In addition, elevated CO2 reduced the content of chlorophyll a and enhanced that of carotenoids, but unaffected phycoerythrin, phycocyanin and soluble proteins. Our results indicate that the increased algal densities reduced both the growth and the photosynthesis of P. haitanensis and alleviated the elevated CO2‐induced negative impact on growth and positive impact on photosynthesis. Moreover, the elevated CO2‐induced reduction on growth and promotion on photosynthesis indicates that rising CO2 may enhance the loss of photosynthetic products of P. haitanensis through releasing organic matters.

Continue reading ‘Algal density alleviates the elevated CO2‐caused reduction on growth of Porphyra haitanensis (Bangiales, Rhodophyta), a species farmed in China’

Additive impacts of deoxygenation and acidification threaten marine biota

Deoxygenation in coastal and open‐ocean ecosystems rarely exists in isolation but occurs concomitantly with acidification. Here, we first combine meta‐data of experimental assessments from across the globe to investigate the potential interactive impacts of deoxygenation and acidification on a broad range of marine taxa. We then characterize the differing degrees of deoxygenation and acidification tested in our dataset using a ratio between the partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide (p O2/p CO2) to assess how biological processes change under an extensive, yet diverse range of p O2 and p CO2 conditions. The dataset comprised 375 experimental comparisons and revealed predominantly additive but variable effects (91.7%‐additive, 6.0%‐synergistic, 2.3%‐antagonistic) of the dual stressors, yielding negative impacts across almost all responses examined. Our data indicates that the p O2/p CO2‐ratio offers a simplified metric to characterize the extremity of the concurrent stressors and shows that more severe impacts occurred when ratios represented more extreme deoxygenation and acidification conditions. Importantly, our analysis highlights the need to assess the concurrent impacts of deoxygenation and acidification on marine taxa and that assessments considering the impact of O2 depletion alone will likely underestimate the impacts of deoxygenation events and their ecosystem‐wide consequences.

Continue reading ‘Additive impacts of deoxygenation and acidification threaten marine biota’

Microbial ecosystem and anthropogenic impacts

Oceans are the most vulnerable sites for anthropogenic waste from domestic as well as industrial origin. Usually, marine ecosystems are exposed to most anthropogenic stressors ranging from sewage disposal to nuclear waste contaminants. Most recent threats to marine ecosystems are ocean warming and ocean acidification (related to anthropogenic emission of CO2), oil (tarball), and (micro) plastic contamination, which is proved to have a devastating impact on the marine ecosystem. Microbes are abundantly present in marine ecosystems playing essential roles in ecosystem productivity and biogeochemistry. Generally, microbial communities are the initial responders of these stressors. Altered microbial communities in response to these stressors can, in turn, have adverse impact on the marine ecosystem and later on humans. In this review, we highlight the effect of oil pollution, microplastics, and increased CO2 on the marine microbial ecosystem. The information on the impacts of such stressors on microbial communities will be valuable to formulate appropriate remediation approaches for future use.

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Selective breeding of edible bivalves and its implication of global climate change

Bivalve molluscs are very nutritious and are an important source of human animal protein. To date, bivalve farming has contributed to about 15% of the mean per capita animal protein intake of approximate 1.5 billion people around the world. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change, mainly global warming and ocean acidification, have had many deleterious effects on bivalve aquaculture, not only leading to mass mortalities of bivalves in farms and hatcheries, but also causing collapse of natural bivalve populations. In response to the recurrent mass mortalities of farmed bivalves, many selective breeding programmes have been launched with the breeding goal of reducing mortality rate caused by disease outbreaks and changing ocean conditions. This article reviews the progress and potential of selective breeding of edible bivalves in the context of global climate change. It is clear from the literature that in terms of environmental sensitivity, and disease resistance and tolerance, selective breeding has great potential for improving the robustness of edible bivalves with significant heritability and genetic gain. Because the robustness of edible bivalves to climate change is a complex trait affected by multiple genes, the application of modern genomic tools in selective breeding is expected to dramatically enhance the accuracy and efficacy of genetic improvements and produce bivalve strains that are robust to climate change. The information in this article is very useful for guidance on adaptation strategies for climate‐smart bivalve aquaculture solutions to be implemented in bivalve hatcheries and farms.

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Bioprocess strategies for enhancing the outdoor production of Nannochloropsis gaditana: an evaluation of the effects of pH on culture performance in tubular photobioreactors

A priority of the industrial applications of microalgae is the reduction of production costs while maximizing algae biomass productivity. The purpose of this study was to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of pH control on the production of Nannochloropsis gaditana in tubular photobioreactors under external conditions while considering the environmental, biological, and operational parameters of the process. Experiments were carried out in 3.0 m3 tubular photobioreactors under outdoor conditions. The pH values evaluated were 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, and 10.0, which were controlled by injecting pure CO2 on-demand. The results have shown that the ideal pH for microalgal growth was 8.0, with higher values of biomass productivity (Pb) (0.16 g L−1 d−1), and CO2 use efficiency (ECO2) (74.6% w w−1); RCO2/biomass value obtained at this pH (2.42 gCO2 gbiomass−1) was close to the theoretical value, indicating an adequate CO2 supply. At this pH, the system was more stable and required a lower number of CO2 injections than the other treatments. At pH 6.0, there was a decrease in the Pb and ECO2; cultures at pH 10.0 exhibited a lower Pb and photosynthetic efficiency as well. These results imply that controlling the pH at an optimum value allows higher CO2 conversions in biomass to be achieved and contributes to the reduction in costs of the microalgae production process.

Continue reading ‘Bioprocess strategies for enhancing the outdoor production of Nannochloropsis gaditana: an evaluation of the effects of pH on culture performance in tubular photobioreactors’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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