Posts Tagged 'biological response'



Ocean acidification of a coastal Antarctic marine microbial community reveals a critical threshold for CO2 tolerance in phytoplankton productivity (update)

High-latitude oceans are anticipated to be some of the first regions affected by ocean acidification. Despite this, the effect of ocean acidification on natural communities of Antarctic marine microbes is still not well understood. In this study we exposed an early spring, coastal marine microbial community in Prydz Bay to CO2 levels ranging from ambient (343 µatm) to 1641 µatm in six 650 L minicosms. Productivity assays were performed to identify whether a CO2 threshold existed that led to a change in primary productivity, bacterial productivity, and the accumulation of chlorophyll a (Chl a) and particulate organic matter (POM) in the minicosms. In addition, photophysiological measurements were performed to identify possible mechanisms driving changes in the phytoplankton community. A critical threshold for tolerance to ocean acidification was identified in the phytoplankton community between 953 and 1140 µatm. CO2 levels  ≥ 1140 µatm negatively affected photosynthetic performance and Chl a-normalised primary productivity (csGPP14C), causing significant reductions in gross primary production (GPP14C), Chl a accumulation, nutrient uptake, and POM production. However, there was no effect of CO2 on C : N ratios. Over time, the phytoplankton community acclimated to high CO2 conditions, showing a down-regulation of carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) and likely adjusting other intracellular processes. Bacterial abundance initially increased in CO2 treatments  ≥ 953 µatm (days 3–5), yet gross bacterial production (GBP14C) remained unchanged and cell-specific bacterial productivity (csBP14C) was reduced. Towards the end of the experiment, GBP14C and csBP14C markedly increased across all treatments regardless of CO2 availability. This coincided with increased organic matter availability (POC and PON) combined with improved efficiency of carbon uptake. Changes in phytoplankton community production could have negative effects on the Antarctic food web and the biological pump, resulting in negative feedbacks on anthropogenic CO2 uptake. Increases in bacterial abundance under high CO2 conditions may also increase the efficiency of the microbial loop, resulting in increased organic matter remineralisation and further declines in carbon sequestration.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification of a coastal Antarctic marine microbial community reveals a critical threshold for CO2 tolerance in phytoplankton productivity (update)’

Climate change could drive marine food web collapse through altered trophic flows and cyanobacterial proliferation

Global warming and ocean acidification are forecast to exert significant impacts on marine ecosystems worldwide. However, most of these projections are based on ecological proxies or experiments on single species or simplified food webs. How energy fluxes are likely to change in marine food webs in response to future climates remains unclear, hampering forecasts of ecosystem functioning. Using a sophisticated mesocosm experiment, we model energy flows through a species-rich multilevel food web, with live habitats, natural abiotic variability, and the potential for intra- and intergenerational adaptation. We show experimentally that the combined stress of acidification and warming reduced energy flows from the first trophic level (primary producers and detritus) to the second (herbivores), and from the second to the third trophic level (carnivores). Warming in isolation also reduced the energy flow from herbivores to carnivores, the efficiency of energy transfer from primary producers and detritus to herbivores and detritivores, and the living biomass of detritivores, herbivores, and carnivores. Whilst warming and acidification jointly boosted primary producer biomass through an expansion of cyanobacteria, this biomass was converted to detritus rather than to biomass at higher trophic levels—i.e., production was constrained to the base of the food web. In contrast, ocean acidification affected the food web positively by enhancing trophic flow from detritus and primary producers to herbivores, and by increasing the biomass of carnivores. Our results show how future climate change can potentially weaken marine food webs through reduced energy flow to higher trophic levels and a shift towards a more detritus-based system, leading to food web simplification and altered producer–consumer dynamics, both of which have important implications for the structuring of benthic communities.

Continue reading ‘Climate change could drive marine food web collapse through altered trophic flows and cyanobacterial proliferation’

Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification

Phytoplankton cells living in the surface waters of oceans are experiencing alterations in environmental conditions associated with global change. Given their importance in global primary productivity, it is of considerable concern to know how these organisms will perform physiologically under the changing levels of pH, temperatures, and nutrients predicted for future oceanic ecosystems. Here we show that the model diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, when grown at different temperatures (20 or 24 °C), pCO2 (400 or 1000 µatm), and nitrate concentrations (2.5 or 102.5 µmol l−1), displayed contrasting performance in its physiology. Elevated pCO2 (and hence seawater acidification) under the nitrate-limited conditions led to decreases in specific growth rate, cell size, pigment content, photochemical quantum yield of PSII, and photosynthetic carbon fixation. Furthermore, increasing the temperature exacerbated the negative effects of the seawater acidification associated with elevated pCO2 on specific growth rate and chlorophyll content under the N-limited conditions. These results imply that a reduced upward transport of nutrients due to enhanced stratification associated with ocean warming might act synergistically to reduce growth and carbon fixation by diatoms under progressive ocean acidification, with important ramifications for ocean productivity and the strength of the biological CO2 pump.

Continue reading ‘Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification’

Taking the metabolic pulse of the world’s coral reefs

Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Taking the metabolic pulse of the world’s coral reefs’

Increased fitness of a key appendicularian zooplankton species under warmer, acidified seawater conditions

Ocean warming and acidification (OA) may alter the fitness of species in marine pelagic ecosystems through community effects or direct physiological impacts. We used the zooplanktonic appendicularian, Oikopleura dioica, to assess temperature and pH effects at mesocosm and microcosm scales. In mesocosms, both OA and warming positively impacted O. dioica abundance over successive generations. In microcosms, the positive impact of OA, was observed to result from increased fecundity. In contrast, increased pH, observed for example during phytoplankton blooms, reduced fecundity. Oocyte fertility and juvenile development were equivalent under all pH conditions, indicating that the positive effect of lower pH on O. dioica abundance was principally due to increased egg number. This effect was influenced by food quantity and quality, supporting possible improved digestion and assimilation at lowered pH. Higher temperature resulted in more rapid growth, faster maturation and earlier reproduction. Thus, increased temperature and reduced pH had significant positive impacts on O. dioica fitness through increased fecundity and shortened generation time, suggesting that predicted future ocean conditions may favour this zooplankton species.

Continue reading ‘Increased fitness of a key appendicularian zooplankton species under warmer, acidified seawater conditions’

Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber

Highlights

• Combined effects of acidification and cadmium were analysed in the scallop, F. glaber.
• Reduced pH slightly increased bioaccumulation of Cd.
• Synergistic and antagonistic effects occurred at cellular level.
• Tissue-specific responses indicate higher sensitivity of gills than digestive gland.
• Ocean acidification modulates the cellular toxicity of metals.

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) may affect sensitivity of marine organisms to metal pollution modulating chemical bioavailability, bioaccumulation and biological responsiveness of several cellular pathways. In this study, the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber was exposed to various combinations of reduced pH (pH/pCO2 7.4/∼3000 μatm) and Cd (20 μg/L). The analyses on cadmium uptake were integrated with those of a wide battery of biomarkers including metallothioneins, single antioxidant defenses and total oxyradical scavenging capacity in digestive gland and gills, lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damage in haemocytes. Reduced pH slightly increased concentration of Cd in scallop tissues, but no effects were measured in terms of metallothioneins. Induction of some antioxidants by Cd and/or low pH in the digestive gland was not reflected in variations of the total oxyradical scavenging capacity, while the investigated stressors caused a certain inhibition of antioxidants and reduction of the scavenging capacity toward peroxyl radical in the gills. Lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damages showed high sensitivity with possible synergistic effects of the investigated factors. The overall results suggest that indirect effects of ocean acidification on metal accumulation and toxicity are tissue-specific and modulate oxidative balance through different mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber’

Impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles and ocean acidification on antioxidant responses of Mytilus coruscus

Highlights

• Combined effects of pH and nano-ZnO on biochemical responses of mussels are investigated.
• Low pH and nano-ZnO induce a similar anti-oxidative responses.
• Gills are not only susceptible to nano-ZnO but also seawater acidification.

Abstract

Increased production of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) has raised extensive concerns about the potential toxic effects on marine organisms. Extensive evidences documented the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on the physiology and fitness of bivalves. In the present study, we investigated the biochemical responses of the mussel Mytilus coruscus exposed to both nano-ZnO and low pH relevant for ocean acidification conditions for 14 d followed by a 7-d recovery period. Most biochemical indexes (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), acid phosphatase (ACP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP)) measured in gills and hemocytes were increased when the mussels were subject to low pH or high concentration of nano-ZnO, suggesting oxidative stress responses. No significant interactions between the two stressors were observed for most measured parameters. After a 1 week recovery period, low pH and nano-ZnO had less marked impact for SOD, GPx, ACP and ALP in hemocytes as compared to the end of the 14 d exposure. However, no recovery was observed in gills. Overall, our results suggest that both low pH and nano-ZnO induce an anti-oxidative response in Mytilus coruscus with gills being more sensitive than hemocytes.

Continue reading ‘Impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles and ocean acidification on antioxidant responses of Mytilus coruscus’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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