Posts Tagged 'biological response'



Tropical coral reef coral patterns in Indonesian shallow water areas close to underwater volcanic vents at Minahasa Seashore, and Mahengetang and Gunung Api Islands

Coral community patterns on some Indonesian reefs influenced by CO2 from underwater volcanic vents and nutrients from eutrophication pressures were examined. The overall aim of the study was to provide an insight into the significance of future ocean acidification compared to eutrophication pressures on tropical coral communities. Coral cover and seawater characteristics at acidified sites (with varied levels of eutrophication), i.e., moderate acidification (pH: 7.87 ± 0.04), low acidification (pH: 8.01 ± 0.04) and reference (pH: 8.2 ± 0.02), were observed at reefs associated with Minahasa Seashore, and Mahengetang and Gunung Api Islands. Results showed that coral community patterns varied among locations and acidified sites, e.g., domination of families such as Alcyoniidae, Acroporidae, Poritidae and Heliporidae, and with different levels of abiotic cover. Surprisingly, pH was not detected as the major determining factor. This finding probably relates to tropical seawater temperatures being high enough to still allow for aragonite deposition even at pH values down to 7.8. Nutrients (phosphate and dissolved inorganic nitrogen) were shown to be the main determining factors that influenced community patterns on the observed coral reefs. Overall, the results indicate that tropical coral reef community patterns will continue to vary as pH decreases to the predicted oceanic value of pH 7.8 over the next 100 years, and bio-geo-ecological characteristics and anthropogenic pressures will be the major factors determining Indonesian tropical coral community structure, compared to pH.

Continue reading ‘Tropical coral reef coral patterns in Indonesian shallow water areas close to underwater volcanic vents at Minahasa Seashore, and Mahengetang and Gunung Api Islands’

A combination of salinity and pH affects the recruitment of Gladioferens pectinatus (Brady) (Copepoda; Calanoida)

Carbon dioxide levels in many estuaries fluctuate and, in several cases, reach extremes much higher than those predicted for oceans by the end of the century. Moreover, estuaries are characterized by natural fluctuations in salinity, and reduced pH, from increased pCO2, exposes estuarine organisms to multiple stresses. Although the effects of low pH on the reproduction of several marine copepod species have been assessed, studies examining effects of pH in estuarine copepod species are extremely scarce. Here, we aim at understanding the reproductive response of Gladioferens pectinatus to the stress posed by both salinity and pH. G. pectinatus was exposed to salinities 2 and 10, at four different pH levels each. Our results show no impairment in the brood size, embryonic development time and hatching success under low pH levels at either salinities. However, at salinity 2, the percentage of nauplii growing into adults significantly decreased at low pH, whereas at salinity 10, no major effect was observed. We argue that the combination of osmoregulation and acidity induced stress response can affect the development of nauplii and copepodites, as well as adult recruitment, likely due to energy reallocation and molting impairment. We also argue that resilience and phenotypic plasticity highly influence the ability of different copepod species and populations to reproduce and grow under stressful combinations of environmental parameters. This study points out the importance of understanding the effects of multiple stresses or parameters on the adaptability of organisms to water acidification.

Continue reading ‘A combination of salinity and pH affects the recruitment of Gladioferens pectinatus (Brady) (Copepoda; Calanoida)’

Shelled pteropods in peril: Assessing vulnerability in a high CO2 ocean

The impact of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems is a vital concern facing marine scientists and managers of ocean resources. Euthecosomatous pteropods (holoplanktonic gastropods) represent an excellent sentinel for indicating exposure to anthropogenic OA because of the sensitivity of their aragonite shells to the OA conditions less favorable for calcification. However, an integration of observations, experiments and modelling efforts is needed to make accurate predictions of how these organisms will respond to future changes to their environment. Our understanding of the underlying organismal biology and life history is far from complete and must be improved if we are to comprehend fully the responses of these organisms to the multitude of stressors in their environment beyond OA. This review considers the present state of research and understanding of euthecosomatous pteropod biology and ecology of these organisms and considers promising new laboratory methods, advances in instrumentation (such as molecular, trace elements, stable isotopes, palaeobiology alongside autonomous sampling platforms, CT scanning and high-quality video recording) and novel field-based approaches (i.e. studies of upwelling and CO2 vent regions) that may allow us to improve our predictive capacity of their vulnerability and/or resilience. In addition to playing a critical ecological and biogeochemical role, pteropods can offer a significant value as an early-indicator of anthropogenic OA. This role as a sentinel species should be developed further to consolidate their potential use within marine environmental management policy making.

Continue reading ‘Shelled pteropods in peril: Assessing vulnerability in a high CO2 ocean’

Assessing the influence of ocean acidification to marine amphipods: A comparative study

CO2 increases in the ocean may occur both by the capacity of CO2 exchanges with its dissolved form between atmosphere and surface seawater as well by CO2 leaks during the carbon capture and storage (CCS) process. The decrease in seawater pH may result in a reduction in the concentration of both hydroxide and carbonate (OH– and CO32 −). The main aim of this work is to conduct an ecotoxicology comparative survey using two amphipod species from Europe and Brazil exposed to different acidification (CO2) scenarios. For it, an integrative approach based on the weight of evidence was used for comparative proposes to identify the effects on the amphipods association with the acidification and with the related mobility of metals. The results demonstrate that the Ampelisca brevicornis species is more sensitive to pH reductions than the Hyale youngi species. Furthermore, this study has demonstrated that the CO2 enrichment in aquatic ecosystems would cause changes on the mobility of certain metals (Zn, Cu and As). The results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that the dissolved Zn in overlying water was strongly correlated with the decrease in the pH and was associated with increased toxicity of the sediment to the exposed organisms, mainly for the A. brevicornis species from Spain. Nevertheless, similar results were found in relation to the mortality of amphipods in low pH values for all sediment tested. Concluding, it is highlighted the importance of comparative studies in different types of environment and improve the understood of the risks associated with the ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Assessing the influence of ocean acidification to marine amphipods: A comparative study’

The influence of environmental variability on the biogeography of coccolithophores and diatoms in the Great Calcite Belt

The Great Calcite Belt (GCB) of the Southern Ocean is a region of elevated summertime upper ocean calcite concentration derived from coccolithophores, despite the region being known for its diatom predominance. The overlap of two major phytoplankton groups, coccolithophores and diatoms, in the dynamic frontal systems characteristic of this region, provides an ideal setting to study environmental influences on the distribution of different species within these taxonomic groups. Water samples for phytoplankton enumeration were collected from the upper 30 m during two cruises, the first to the South Atlantic sector (Jan–Feb 2011; 60 °W–15 °E and 36–60 °S) and the second in the South Indian sector (Feb–Mar 2012; 40–120 °E and 36–60 °S). The species composition of coccolithophores and diatoms was examined using scanning electron microscopy at 27 stations across the Sub-Tropical, Polar, and Sub-Antarctic Fronts. The influence of environmental parameters, such as sea-surface temperature (SST), salinity, carbonate chemistry (i.e., pH, partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon), macro-nutrients (i.e., nitrate + nitrite, phosphate, silicic acid, ammonia), and mixed layer average irradiance, on species composition across the GCB, was assessed statistically. Nanophytoplankton (cells 2–20 μm) were the numerically abundant size group of biomineralizing phytoplankton across the GCB, the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi and the diatoms Fragilariopsis nana, F. pseudonana and Pseudonitzschia sp. were the most dominant and widely distributed species. A combination of SST, macro-nutrient concentrations and pCO2 were the best statistical descriptors of biogeographic variability of biomineralizing species composition between stations. Emiliania huxleyi occurred in the silicic acid-depleted waters between the Sub-Antarctic Front and the Polar Front, indicating a favorable environment for this coccolithophore in the GCB after spring diatom blooms remove silicic acid to limiting levels. After full consideration of variability in carbonate chemistry and temperature on the distribution of nanoplankton in the GCB, we find that temperature remains the dominant driver of biogeography in a large proportion of the modern Southern Ocean.

Continue reading ‘The influence of environmental variability on the biogeography of coccolithophores and diatoms in the Great Calcite Belt’

Carbon dioxide induced plasticity of branchial acid-base pathways in an estuarine teleost

Anthropogenic CO2 is expected to drive ocean pCO2 above 1,000 μatm by 2100 – inducing respiratory acidosis in fish that must be corrected through branchial ion transport. This study examined the time course and plasticity of branchial metabolic compensation in response to varying levels of CO2 in an estuarine fish, the red drum, which regularly encounters elevated CO2 and may therefore have intrinsic resilience. Under control conditions fish exhibited net base excretion; however, CO2 exposure resulted in a dose dependent increase in acid excretion during the initial 2 h. This returned to baseline levels during the second 2 h interval for exposures up to 5,000 μatm, but remained elevated for exposures above 15,000 μatm. Plasticity was assessed via gene expression in three CO2 treatments: environmentally realistic 1,000 and 6,000 μatm exposures, and a proof-of-principle 30,000 μatm exposure. Few differences were observed at 1,000 or 6,000 μatm; however, 30,000 μatm stimulated widespread up-regulation. Translocation of V-type ATPase after 1 h of exposure to 30,000 μatm was also assessed; however, no evidence of translocation was found. These results indicate that red drum can quickly compensate to environmentally relevant acid-base disturbances using baseline cellular machinery, yet are capable of plasticity in response to extreme acid-base challenges.

Continue reading ‘Carbon dioxide induced plasticity of branchial acid-base pathways in an estuarine teleost’

Aerobic and behavioral flexibility allow estuarine gastropods to flourish in rapidly changing and extreme pH conditions

Despite efforts to understand marine organismal responses to ocean acidification (gradual change in pH/ pCO2pCO2 over decades), there is a lack of information about the capabilities of coastal organisms to endure rapid and extreme pH change (often full units within hours). We predicted that gastropods faced with estuarine acidification avoid extreme pH exposure through isolation and/or escape behavior, and energetically compensate for feeding and energy uptake limitations by facultative metabolic depression (FMD). To test this, we studied behavioral (organism activity) and aerobic (cardiac performance) responses to acidification in two closely related tropical intertidal species, the estuarine Indothais gradata (two populations) and the open-shore Reishia bitubercularis. Snails were exposed in the laboratory to either acutely declining or stable low pH conditions, using two acidification modes (HNO3-acidification and CO2-aeration). Under acutely declining pH, aerobic performance was regulated to unexpectedly low pH levels (4.5), effectively extending the field pH range for activity. This pH performance threshold marked the onset of behavioral isolation and FMD (as opposed to respiratory stress) and was lower in Indothais than Reishia snails during mineral acidification. Behavioral (in isolated gastropods) and environmental hypercapnic acidosis complicates interpretation of lowered metabolic performance. Stable reduced pH exposures resulted in different behavioral and physiological responses by the Indothais populations, including more prominent escape from water in the seaward population. Overall, these results suggest that aerobic and behavioral flexibility are crucial to organismal fitness in widely fluctuating pH circumstances. They further warn against overgeneralizing marine acidification consequences across physiological dispositions, taxonomic levels, and ecological systems.

Continue reading ‘Aerobic and behavioral flexibility allow estuarine gastropods to flourish in rapidly changing and extreme pH conditions’


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