Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'

Impact of ocean acidification on the biogeochemistry and meiofaunal assemblage of carbonate-rich sediments: results from core incubations (Bay of Villefranche, NW Mediterranean Sea)


• A sediment incubation experiment to assess the effect of ocean acidification
• Porewater concentration gradients and sediment-water fluxes (DIC, TA, pH, Ca2+, O2)
• Ocean acidification impacts early diagenesis in carbonate-rich sediments.
• CaCO3 dissolution and the TA release may increase the buffering capacity of bottom water.


Marine sediments are an important carbonate reservoir whose partial dissolution could buffer seawater pH decreases in the water column as a consequence of anthropogenic CO2 uptake by the ocean. This study investigates the impact of ocean acidification on the carbonate chemistry at the sediment-water interface (SWI) of shallow-water carbonate sediments. Twelve sediment cores were sampled at one station in the Bay of Villefranche (NW Mediterranean Sea). Four sediment cores were immediately analyzed in order to determine the initial distribution (T0) of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), pH and dissolved oxygen (O2) in the porewaters and to quantify sediment-water fluxes. Four other cores were kept submerged in the laboratory for 25 days with ambient seawater (pHT = 8.12) and the remaining four cores were incubated with acidified seawater (average pH offset of −0.68). This acidification experiment was carried out in an open-flow system, in the dark and at in-situ temperature (15 °C). Every three days, sediment-water fluxes (DIC, TA, pH, O2 and nutrients) were determined using a whole core 12-h incubation technique. Additionally, vertical O2 and pH microprofiles were regularly recorded in the first 2 cm of the sediment during the entire experiment. At the end of the experiment, TA, DIC and Ca2+ concentrations were analyzed in the porewaters and the abundance and taxonomic composition of meiofaunal organisms were assessed. The saturation states of the porewaters with respect to calcite and aragonite were over-saturated but under-saturated with respect to 12 mol% Mg-calcite, in both acidified and non-acidified treatments. The sediment-water fluxes of TA and DIC increased in the acidified treatment, likely as a consequence of enhanced carbonate dissolution. In contrast, the acidification of the overlying water did not significantly affect the O2 and nutrients fluxes at the SWI. Meiofaunal abundance decreased in both treatments over the duration of the experiment, but the organisms seemed unaffected by the acidification. Our results demonstrate that carbonate dissolution increased under acidified conditions but other parameters, such as microbial redox processes, were apparently not affected by the pH decrease, at least during the duration of our experiment. The dissolution of sedimentary carbonates and the associated release of TA may potentially buffer bottom water, depending on the intensity of the TA flux, the TA/DIC ratio, vertical mixing and, therefore, the residence time of bottom water. Under certain conditions, this process may mitigate the effect of ocean acidification on benthic ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on the biogeochemistry and meiofaunal assemblage of carbonate-rich sediments: results from core incubations (Bay of Villefranche, NW Mediterranean Sea)’

Primary producers may ameliorate impacts of daytime CO2 addition in a coastal marine ecosystem

Predicting the impacts of ocean acidification in coastal habitats is complicated by bio-physical feedbacks between organisms and carbonate chemistry. Daily changes in pH and other carbonate parameters in coastal ecosystems, associated with processes such as photosynthesis and respiration, often greatly exceed global mean predicted changes over the next century. We assessed the strength of these feedbacks under projected elevated CO2 levels by conducting a field experiment in 10 macrophyte-dominated tide pools on the coast of California, USA. We evaluated changes in carbonate parameters over time and found that under ambient conditions, daytime changes in pH, pCO2, net ecosystem calcification (NEC), and O2 concentrations were strongly related to rates of net community production (NCP). CO2 was added to pools during daytime low tides, which should have reduced pH and enhanced pCO2. However, photosynthesis rapidly reduced pCO2 and increased pH, so effects of CO2 addition were not apparent unless we accounted for seaweed and surfgrass abundances. In the absence of macrophytes, CO2 addition caused pH to decline by ∼0.6 units and pCO2 to increase by ∼487 µatm over 6 hr during the daytime low tide. As macrophyte abundances increased, the impacts of CO2 addition declined because more CO2 was absorbed due to photosynthesis. Effects of CO2addition were, therefore, modified by feedbacks between NCP, pH, pCO2, and NEC. Our results underscore the potential importance of coastal macrophytes in ameliorating impacts of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Primary producers may ameliorate impacts of daytime CO2 addition in a coastal marine ecosystem’

The influence of abrupt increases in seawater pCO2 on plankton productivity in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean

We conducted a series of experiments to examine short-term (2–5 days) effects of abrupt increases in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in seawater on rates of primary and bacterial production at Station ALOHA (22°45’ N, 158° W) in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The majority of experiments (8 of 10 total) displayed no response in rates of primary production (measured by 14C-bicarbonate assimilation; 14C-PP) under elevated pCO2 (~1100 μatm) compared to ambient pCO2 (~387 μatm). In 2 of 10 experiments, rates of 14C-PP decreased significantly (~43%) under elevated pCO2 treatments relative to controls. Similarly, no significant differences between treatments were observed in 6 of 7 experiments where bacterial production was measured via incorporation of 3H-leucine (3H-Leu), while in 1 experiment, rates of 3H-Leu incorporation measured in the dark (3H-LeuDark) increased more than 2-fold under high pCO2 conditions. We also examined photoperiod-length, depth-dependent (0–125 m) responses in rates of 14C-PP and 3H-Leu incorporation to abrupt pCO2 increases (to ~750 μatm). In the majority of these depth-resolved experiments (4 of 5 total), rates of 14C-PP demonstrated no consistent response to elevated pCO2. In 2 of 5 depth-resolved experiments, rates of 3H-LeuDark incorporation were lower (10% to 15%) under elevated pCO2 compared to controls. Our results revealed that rates of 14C-PP and bacterial production in this persistently oligotrophic habitat generally demonstrated no or weak responses to abrupt changes in pCO2. We postulate that any effects caused by changes in pCO2 may be masked or outweighed by the role that nutrient availability and temperature play in controlling metabolism in this ecosystem.

Continue reading ‘The influence of abrupt increases in seawater pCO2 on plankton productivity in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean’

The duality of ocean acidification as a resource and a stressor

Ecologically dominant species often define ecosystem states, but as human disturbances intensify, their subordinate counterparts increasingly displace them. We consider the duality of disturbance by examining how environmental drivers can simultaneously act as a stressor to dominant species and as a resource to subordinates. Using a model ecosystem, we demonstrate that CO2‐driven interactions between species can account for such reversals in dominance; i.e., the displacement of dominants (kelp forests) by subordinates (turf algae). We established that CO2 enrichment had a direct positive effect on productivity of turfs, but a negligible effect on kelp. CO2 enrichment further suppressed the abundance and feeding rate of the primary grazer of turfs (sea urchins), but had an opposite effect on the minor grazer (gastropods). Thus, boosted production of subordinate producers, exacerbated by a net reduction in its consumption by primary grazers, accounts for community change (i.e., turf displacing kelp). Ecosystem collapse, therefore, is more likely when resource enrichment alters competitive dominance of producers, and consumers fail to compensate. By recognizing such duality in the responses of interacting species to disturbance, which may stabilize or exacerbate change, we can begin to understand how intensifying human disturbances determine whether or not ecosystems undergo phase shifts.

Continue reading ‘The duality of ocean acidification as a resource and a stressor’

Compensation of ocean acidification effects in Arctic phytoplankton assemblages

The Arctic and subarctic shelf seas, which sustain large fisheries and contribute to global biogeochemical cycling, are particularly sensitive to ongoing ocean acidification (that is, decreasing seawater pH due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions). Yet, little information is available on the effects of ocean acidification on natural phytoplankton assemblages, which are the main primary producers in high-latitude waters. Here we show that coastal Arctic and subarctic primary production is largely insensitive to ocean acidification over a large range of light and temperature levels in different experimental designs. Out of ten CO2-manipulation treatments, significant ocean acidification effects on primary productivity were observed only once (at temperatures below 2 °C), and shifts in the species composition occurred only three times (without correlation to specific experimental conditions). These results imply a high capacity to compensate for environmental variability, which can be understood in light of the environmental history, tolerance ranges and intraspecific diversity of the dominant phytoplankton species.

Continue reading ‘Compensation of ocean acidification effects in Arctic phytoplankton assemblages’

Microeukaryotic biogeography in the typical subtropical coastal waters with multiple environmental gradients


• Microeukaryotic communities in subtropical coastal waters were investigated.
• The microeukaryotes were dominantly comprised of Dinoflagellata and Ciliophora.
• The distribution of top abundant taxa exhibited environment-conditioned features.
• Microeukaryotic α-diversity was associated with phosphorus and suspended particles.
• Spatially-structured local conditions largely shape microeukaryotic biogeography.


The determinants of microeukaryotic biogeography in coastal waters at a regional scale remain largely unclear. The coastal northern Zhejiang (in the East China Sea) is a typical subtropical marine ecosystem with multiple environmental gradients that has been extensively perturbed by anthropogenic activities. Thus, it is a valuable region to investigate the key drivers that shape microbial biogeography. We investigated microeukaryotic communities in surface waters from 115 stations in this region using 18S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing. The microeukaryotic communities were mainly comprised of Dinoflagellata, Ciliophora, Protalveolata, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and Cryptophyceae. The top abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were highly specific for distinct habitat types, exhibiting significant environment-conditioned features; however, the cosmopolitan OTUs were not strongly correlated with the measured environmental variables. Total phosphorus and suspended particles were major environmental determinants of microeukaryotic α-diversity. Environmental variables, particularly temperature, salinity, pH and silicate concentration, were strongly associated with the microeukaryotic community composition. Overall, environmental and spatial factors explained 55.92% of community variation in total with 34.03% of the variation shared, suggesting that spatially structured environmental variations mainly conditioned the microeukaryotic biogeography in this region. Additionally, dispersal limitation, as indicated by the great pure spatial effect and distance-decay pattern, was another important factor. In summary, our results reveal that spatially structured environmental variation and dispersal limitation mainly conditioned the microeukaryotic biogeography. The results may provide useful distribution patterns of microeukaryotes to determine sources of microbes from marine ecosystems that may facilitate the utilization of coastal resources.

Continue reading ‘Microeukaryotic biogeography in the typical subtropical coastal waters with multiple environmental gradients’

Symbiodinium functional diversity in the coral Siderastrea siderea is influenced by thermal stress and reef environment, but not ocean acidification

Coral bleaching events are increasing in frequency, demanding examination of the physiological and molecular responses of scleractinian corals and their algal symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) to stressors associated with bleaching. Here, we quantify the effects of long-term (95-day) thermal and CO2-acidification stress on photochemical efficiency of in hospite Symbiodinium within the coral Siderastrea siderea, along with corresponding coral color intensity, for corals from two reef zones (forereef, nearshore) on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. We then explore the molecular responses of in hospite Symbiodinium to these stressors via genome-wide gene expression profiling. Elevated temperatures reduced symbiont photochemical efficiencies and were highly correlated with coral color loss. However, photochemical efficiencies of forereef symbionts were more negatively affected by thermal stress than nearshore symbionts, suggesting greater thermal tolerance and/or reduced photodamage in nearshore corals. At control temperatures, CO2-acidification had little effect on symbiont physiology, although forereef symbionts exhibited constitutively higher photochemical efficiencies than nearshore symbionts. Gene expression profiling revealed that S. siderea were dominated by Symbiodinium goreaui (C1), except under thermal stress, which caused shifts to thermotolerant Symbiodinium trenchii (D1a). Comparative transcriptomics of conserved genes across the host and symbiont revealed few differentially expressed S. goreaui genes when compared to S. siderea, highlighting the host’s role in the coral’s response to environmental stress. Although S. goreaui transcriptomes did not vary in response to acidification stress, their gene expression was strongly dependent on reef zone, with forereef S. goreaui exhibiting enrichment of genes associated with photosynthesis. This finding, coupled with constitutively higher forereef S. goreaui photochemical efficiencies, suggests that functional differences in genes associated with primary production exist between reef zones.

Continue reading ‘Symbiodinium functional diversity in the coral Siderastrea siderea is influenced by thermal stress and reef environment, but not ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book