Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'

Ocean acidification modifies biomolecule composition in organic matter through complex interactions

The main source of marine organic carbon (OC) is autotrophic production, while heterotrophic degradation is its main sink. Increased anthropogenic CO2 release leads to ocean acidification and is expected to alter phytoplankton community composition, primary production rates and bacterial degradation processes in the coming decades with potential consequences for dissolved and particulate OC concentration and composition. Here we investigate effects of increased pCO2 on dissolved and particulate amino acids (AA) and carbohydrates (CHO), in arctic and sub-arctic planktonic communities in two large-scale mesocosm experiments. Dissolved AA concentrations responded to pCO2/pH changes during early bloom phases but did not show many changes after nutrient addition. A clear positive correlation in particulate AA was detected in post-bloom phases. Direct responses in CHO concentrations to changing pCO2/pH were lacking, suggesting that observed changes were rather indirect and dependent on the phytoplankton community composition. The relative composition of AA and CHO did not change as a direct consequence of pCO2 increase. Changes between bloom phases were associated with the prevailing nutrient status. Our results suggest that biomolecule composition will change under future ocean conditions but responses are highly complex, and seem to be dependent on many factors including bloom phase and sampling site.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification modifies biomolecule composition in organic matter through complex interactions’

Effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on microflora community composition in the digestive tract of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16s RNA gene sequencing

Ocean acidification and microplastic pollution is a global environmental threat, this research evaluated the effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on mussel digestive tract microbial community. The 16S rRNA gene was sequenced to characterize the flora. Species diversity in the samples was assessed by clustering valid tags on 97% similarity. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were the three most abundant genera in the four groups, with Bacteroidetes showing the highest diversity. However, no differences in flora structure were evident under various treatments. Phylogenetic relationship analysis revealed Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes had the highest OTU diversity. The weighted UniFrac distance, principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) cluster tree and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) evaluation results for all samples also showed that changes in pH and microplastics concentration did not significantly affect the microbial community structure in the mussel digestive tract. The results presented the no significant effects of ocean acidification and microplastics intake on mussel intestinal diversity.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on microflora community composition in the digestive tract of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16s RNA gene sequencing’

Coral-macroalgal competition under ocean warming and acidification


  • Study investigates a common coral-macroalgal interaction under a low end emission scenario.
  • Light calcification is negatively influenced by an interaction of macroalgal contact and scenario.
  • Protein content, zooxanthellae density and Chlorophyll a were enhanced under scenario conditions.
  • Negative impacts of macroalgae on corals were observed, but not enhanced by scenario conditions.
  • More research on the impacts of climate change on the dynamics of coral-algal interactions is needed.


Competition between corals and macroalgae is frequently observed on reefs with the outcome of these interactions affecting the relative abundance of reef organisms and therefore reef health. Anthropogenic activities have resulted in increased atmospheric CO2 levels and a subsequent rise in ocean temperatures. In addition to increasing water temperature, elevated CO2 levels are leading to a decrease in oceanic pH (ocean acidification). These two changes have the potential to alter ecological processes within the oceans, including the outcome of competitive coral-macroalgal interactions. In our study, we explored the combined effect of temperature increase and ocean acidification on the competition between the coral Porites lobata and on the Great Barrier Reef abundant macroalga Chlorodesmis fastigiata. A temperature increase of +1 °C above present temperatures and CO2 increase of +85 ppm were used to simulate a low end emission scenario for the mid- to late 21st century, according to the Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6 (RCP2.6). Our results revealed that the net photosynthesis of P. lobata decreased when it was in contact with C. fastigiata under ambient conditions, and that dark respiration increased under RCP2.6 conditions. The Photosynthesis to Respiration (P:R) ratios of corals as they interacted with macroalgal competitors were not significantly different between scenarios. Dark calcification rates of corals under RCP2.6 conditions, however, were negative and significantly decreased compared to ambient conditions. Light calcification rates were negatively affected by the interaction of macroalgal contact in the RCP2.6 scenario, compared to algal mimics and to coral under ambient conditions. Chlorophyll a, and protein content increased in the RCP2.6 scenario, but were not influenced by contact with the macroalga. We conclude that the coral host was negatively affected by RCP2.6 conditions, whereas the productivity of its symbionts (zooxanthellae) was enhanced. While a negative effect of the macroalga (C. fastigiata) on the coral (P. lobata) was observed for the P:R ratio under control conditions, it was not enhanced under RCP2.6 conditions.

Continue reading ‘Coral-macroalgal competition under ocean warming and acidification’

Effects of warming and CO2 enrichment on O2 consumption, porewater oxygenation and pH of subtidal silt sediment

We investigated the effects of seawater warming and CO2 enrichment on the microbial community metabolism (using O2 consumption as a proxy) in subtidal silt sediment. Intact sediment cores, without large dwelling infauna, were incubated for 24 days at 12 (in situ) and 18 °C to confirm the expected temperature response. We then enriched the seawater overlying a subset of cold and warm-incubated cores with CO2 (+ ΔpCO2: 253–396 µatm) for 16 days and measured the metabolic response. Warming increased the depth-integrated volume-specific O2 consumption (Rvol), the maximum in the volume-specific O2 consumption at the bottom of the oxic zone (Rvol,bmax) and the volume-specific net O2 production (Pn,vol), and decreased the O2 penetration depth (O2-pd) and the depth of Rvol,bmax (depthbmax). Benthic photosynthesis oscillated the pH in the upper 2 mm of the sediment. CO2 enrichment of the warm seawater did not alter this oscillation but shifted the pH profile towards acidity; the effect was greatest at the surface and decreased to a depth of 12 mm. Confoundment rendered the CO2 treatment of the cold seawater inconclusive. In warm seawater, we found no statistically clear effect of CO2 enrichment on RvolRvol,bmaxPn,vol, O2-pd, or depthbmax and therefore suspect that this perturbation did not alter the microbial community metabolism. This confirms the conclusion from experiments with other, contrasting types of sediment.

Continue reading ‘Effects of warming and CO2 enrichment on O2 consumption, porewater oxygenation and pH of subtidal silt sediment’

Ocean acidification alters bacterial communities on marine plastic debris


  • Plastic will act as a novel ecological habitat for microbial communities.
  • Plastics harbour taxonomically distinct microbial communities (“Plastisphere”).
  • Ocean acidification greatly influences the Plastisphere community composition.


The increasing quantity of plastic waste in the ocean is providing a growing and more widespread novel habitat for microbes. Plastics have taxonomically distinct microbial communities (termed the ‘Plastisphere’) and can raft these unique communities over great distances. In order to understand the Plastisphere properly it will be important to work out how major ocean changes (such as warming, acidification and deoxygenation) are shaping microbial communities on waste plastics in marine environments. Here, we show that common plastic drinking bottles rapidly become colonized by novel biofilm-forming bacterial communities, and that ocean acidification greatly influences the composition of plastic biofilm assemblages. We highlight the potential implications of this community shift in a coastal community exposed to enriched CO2 conditions.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters bacterial communities on marine plastic debris’

Meta-analysis of multiple driver effects on marine phytoplankton highlights modulating role of pCO2

Responses of marine primary production to a changing climate are determined by a concert of multiple environmental changes, for example in temperature, light, pCO2, nutrients, and grazing. To make robust projections of future global marine primary production, it is crucial to understand multiple driver effects on phytoplankton. This meta-analysis quantifies individual and interactive effects of dual driver combinations on marine phytoplankton growth rates. Almost 50% of the single-species laboratory studies were excluded because central data and metadata (growth rates, carbonate system, experimental treatments) were insufficiently reported. The remaining data (42 studies) allowed for the analysis of interactions of pCO2 with temperature, light, and nutrients, respectively. Growth rates mostly respond non-additively, whereby the interaction with increased pCO2 profusely dampens growth-enhancing effects of high temperature and high light. Multiple and single driver effects on coccolithophores differ from other phytoplankton groups, especially in their high sensitivity to increasing pCO2. Polar species decrease their growth rate in response to high pCO2, while temperate and tropical species benefit under these conditions. Based on the observed interactions and projected changes, we anticipate primary productivity to: (a) first increase but eventually decrease in the Arctic Ocean once nutrient limitation outweighs the benefits of higher light availability; (b) decrease in the tropics and mid-latitudes due to intensifying nutrient limitation, possibly amplified by elevated pCO2; and (c) increase in the Southern Ocean in view of higher nutrient availability and synergistic interaction with increasing pCO2. Growth-enhancing effect of high light and warming to coccolithophores, mainly Emiliania huxleyi, might increase their relative abundance as long as not offset by acidification. Dinoflagellates are expected to increase their relative abundance due to their positive growth response to increasing pCO2 and light levels. Our analysis reveals gaps in the knowledge on multiple driver responses and provides recommendations for future work on phytoplankton.

Continue reading ‘Meta-analysis of multiple driver effects on marine phytoplankton highlights modulating role of pCO2’

Microcalcareous seaweeds as sentinels of trophic changes and CO2 trapping in transitional water systems


  • The presence of microcalcareous macroalgae was studied in the Italian lagoons.
  • Macroalgal growth was mainly affected by changes in the pH of the water column.
  • Small algae are a Litmus Test Paper Strip for environmental quality assessment.
  • Carbonated are accumulated in surface sediments by small calcareous macroalgae.
  • The CO2 abatement occurred in environments of good-high ecological conditions.


Microcalcareous epiphytic seaweeds (MES) are macroalgae more sensitive than aquatic angiosperms to environmental degradation and, with their presence/absence, these species act like sentinels providing useful information on the ecological status of environments. In this study, we analyzed the environmental parameters in water column and surface sediments in relation to macrophyte variables from 257 sites, distributed in the main Italian transitional water systems (TWS). The results showed that MES are strongly correlated to pH changes, the main parameter that regulates their presence/absence. The optimal growth range is between pH 7.80 and 8.35; out of these values their growth is reduced or hampered. In oxidized sediments the carbonate crusts, composed by Mg-Calcite (an unstable compound that in the sediments quickly turns into calcite), can permanently trap up to 2.47 tonnes ha−1 yr−1 of CO2, increasing sediment thickness of approx. 0.06–0.21 mm yr−1.

Continue reading ‘Microcalcareous seaweeds as sentinels of trophic changes and CO2 trapping in transitional water systems’

Acidification decreases microbial community diversity in the Salish Sea, a region with naturally high pCO2

Most literature exploring the biological effects of ocean acidification (OA) has focused on macroscopic organisms and far less is known about how marine microbial communities will respond. Studies of OA and microbial community composition and diversity have examined communities from a limited number of ocean regions where the ambient pH is near or above the global average. At San Juan Island (Salish Sea), a region that experiences naturally low pH (average = 7.8), the picoplankton (cell diameter is 0.2–2μm) community was predicted to show no response to experimental acidification in a three-week mesocosm experiment. Filtered seawater mesocosms were maintained via semicontinuous culturing. Three control mesocosms were maintained at pH 8.05 and three acidified mesocosms were maintained at pH 7.60. Total bacteria was quantified daily with a flow cytometer. Microbial communities were sampled every two days via filtration followed by DNA extraction, 16S rRNA amplification, and MiSeq sequencing. There was no significant difference in total bacteria between pH treatments throughout the experiment. Acidification significantly reduced Shannon’s diversity over time. During the final week of the experiment, acidification resulted in a significant decrease in Shannon’s diversity, Faith’s phylogenetic distance, and Pielous’s Evenness. ANCOM results revealed four bacterial ASVs (amplicon sequence variants), in families Flavobaceriaceae and Hyphomonadaceae that significantly decreased in relative frequency under acidification and two bacterial ASVs, in families Flavobacteriaceae and Alteromonadaceae, that significantly increased under acidification. This is the first OA study on the microbial community of the Salish Sea, a nutrient rich, low pH region, and the first of its kind to report a decrease in both picoplankton richness and evenness with acidification. These findings demonstrate that marine microbial communities that naturally experience acidic conditions are still sensitive to acidification.

Continue reading ‘Acidification decreases microbial community diversity in the Salish Sea, a region with naturally high pCO2’

Current and future trophic interactions in tropical shallow-reef lagoon habitats

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments are the dominant form of CaCO3 on coral reefs accumulating in lagoon and inter-reefal areas. Owing to their mineralogy and a range of physical parameters, tropical CaCO3 sediments are predicted to be more sensitive to dissolution driven by ocean acidification than the skeleton of living reef organisms. How this scales up to impact infaunal organisms, which are an important food source for higher trophic levels, and thereby ecosystem functioning, is not well explored. We combined seasonal field surveys in a shallow-reef lagoon ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with stable isotope analyses and a tank-based experiment to examine the potential top-down influence of the deposit-feeding sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, on this infaunal community under current and future ocean pH. Densities of surface-sediment meiofauna were lowest in winter and spring, with harpacticoid copepods (38%) and nematodes (27%) the dominant taxa. Stable isotope analyses showed that S. herrmanni had a top-down influence on meiofauna and microphytes with a distinct δ13C and δ15N trophic position that was homogenous across seasons and locations. Tanks that mimicked sandy shallow-reef lagoon habitats were used to examine the effects of ocean acidification (elevated pCO2) on this trophic interaction. We used outdoor control (sediment only) and experimental (sediment plus S. herrmanni) tanks maintained at present-day and near-future pCO2 (+ 570 µatm) for 24 days, which fluctuated with the diel pCO2 cycle. In sediment-only tanks, copepods were > twofold more abundant at elevated pCO2, with no negative effects documented for any meiofauna group. When included in the community, top-down control by S. herrmanni counteracted the positive effects of low pH on meiofaunal abundance. We highlight a novel perspective in coral reef trophodynamics between surface-sediment meiofauna and deposit-feeding sea cucumbers, and posit that community shifts may occur in shallow-reef lagoon habitats in a future ocean with implications for the functioning of coral reefs from the bottom up.

Continue reading ‘Current and future trophic interactions in tropical shallow-reef lagoon habitats’

The impacts of ocean acidification on marine food quality and its potential food chain consequences

Dissolution of anthropogenic CO2 into the oceans results in ocean acidification (OA), altering marine chemistry with consequences for primary, secondary, and tertiary food web producers. Here we examine how OA could affect the food quality of primary producers and subsequent trophic transfer to second and tertiary producers. Changes in food quality induced by OA are often related to secondary metabolites in primary producers, such as enriched phenolics in microalgae and iodine in brown algae. These biomolecules can then be transferred to secondary producers, potentially affecting seafood quality and other marine ecosystem services. Furthermore, shifts in dominant functional groups of primary producers under the influence of OA would also impact higher trophic levels through food web interactions. It is challenging to understand how these complex food chain effects of OA may be expressed under the influence of fluctuating environments or multiple drivers, and how these effects can be scaled up through marine food webs to humans.

Continue reading ‘The impacts of ocean acidification on marine food quality and its potential food chain consequences’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book