Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'

Multiple stressor effects on macrobenthic communities in Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, U.S.A.

At any moment in nature, organisms are likely being exposed to multiple stressors, the effects of which are difficult to separate. Often, however, environmental stressors are considered on an individual basis. In southeastern Corpus Christi Bay, TX, declines in benthic macrofaunal community abundance, biomass, diversity, species richness, and species evenness have largely been attributed to the occurrence of hypoxia, a condition of low dissolved oxygen (DO). This study proposes that multiple stressors contribute to these observed benthic macrofaunal declines in southeastern Corpus Christi Bay. Therefore, a 30-year time series of water quality data (salinity, temperature, DO, pH, phosphate, ammonium, nitrite+nitrate, sulfate) and benthic community data (abundance, biomass, species richness, species evenness) was analyzed to describe 1) water quality dynamics of the region and 2) relationships between water quality dynamics and benthic macrofaunal response. Principal component analysis indicated that a large variability in the water quality dataset (63%) could be summarized by three principal components representing a multiple stressor index, a nutrient index, and an acidification index. Seasonality was found to be confounded with the multiple stressor index but not the nutrient or acidification indexes. Spearman rank-order correlations indicated both the multiple stressor and acidification indexes were inversely related to benthic macrofaunal community abundance, biomass, and species richness. A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis on individual water quality variables specified DO, and possibly temperature, to be leading explanatory variables for predicting benthic abundance. Temperature, pH, and nitrite+nitrate were indicated as leading explanatory variables for predicting benthic biomass. Temperature was indicated to be the only leading explanatory variable for predicting species richness. Results demonstrate that multiple stressors, including high temperature, high salinity, and low DO concentrations, are collectively acting on benthic communities in southeastern Corpus Christi Bay.

Continue reading ‘Multiple stressor effects on macrobenthic communities in Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, U.S.A.’

Ocean acidification impacts on coastal ecosystem services due to habitat degradation

The oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is changing seawater chemistry in a process known as ocean acidification. The chemistry of this rapid change in surface waters is well understood and readily detectable in oceanic observations, yet there is uncertainty about the effects of ocean acidification on society since it is difficult to scale-up from laboratory and mesocosm tests. Here, we provide a synthesis of the likely effects of ocean acidification on ecosystem properties, functions and services based on observations along natural gradients in pCO2. Studies at CO2 seeps worldwide show that biogenic habitats are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification and that their degradation results in less coastal protection and less habitat provisioning for fisheries. The risks to marine goods and services amplify with increasing acidification causing shifts to macroalgal dominance, habitat degradation and a loss of biodiversity at seep sites in the tropics, the sub-tropics and on temperate coasts. Based on this empirical evidence, we expect ocean acidification to have serious consequences for the millions of people who are dependent on coastal protection, fisheries and aquaculture. If humanity is able to make cuts in fossil fuel emissions, this will reduce costs to society and avoid the changes in coastal ecosystems seen in areas with projected pCO2 levels. A binding international agreement for the oceans should build on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to ‘minimise and address the impacts of ocean acidification’.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification impacts on coastal ecosystem services due to habitat degradation’

In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH

Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations are contributing to ocean acidification (reduced seawater pH and carbonate concentrations), with potentially major ramifications for marine ecosystems and their functioning. Using a novel in situ experiment we examined impacts of reduced seawater pH on Antarctic sea ice-associated microalgal communities, key primary producers and contributors to food webs. pH levels projected for the following decades-to-end of century (7.86, 7.75, 7.61), and ambient levels (7.99), were maintained for 15 d in under-ice incubation chambers. Light, temperature and dissolved oxygen within the chambers were logged to track diurnal variation, with pH, O2, salinity and nutrients assessed daily. Uptake of CO2 occurred in all treatments, with pH levels significantly elevated in the two extreme treatments. At the lowest pH, despite the utilisation of CO2 by the productive microalgae, pH did not return to ambient levels and carbonate saturation states remained low; a potential concern for organisms utilising this under-ice habitat. However, microalgal community biomass and composition were not significantly affected and only modest productivity increases were noted, suggesting subtle or slightly positive effects on under-ice algae. This in situ information enables assessment of the influence of future ocean acidification on under-ice community characteristics in a key coastal Antarctic habitat.

Continue reading ‘In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH’

Analyzing the impacts of elevated-CO2 levels on the development of a subtropical zooplankton community during oligotrophic conditions and simulated upwelling

Ocean acidification (OA) is affecting marine ecosystems through changes in carbonate chemistry that may influence consumers of phytoplankton, often via trophic pathways. Using a mesocosm approach, we investigated OA effects on a subtropical zooplankton community during oligotrophic, bloom, and post-bloom phases under a range of different pCO2 levels (from ∼400 to ∼1480 μatm). Furthermore, we simulated an upwelling event by adding 650 m-depth nutrient-rich water to the mesocosms, which initiated a phytoplankton bloom. No effects of pCO2 on the zooplankton community were visible in the oligotrophic conditions before the bloom. The zooplankton community responded to phytoplankton bloom by increased abundances in all treatments, although the response was delayed under high-pCO2 conditions. Microzooplankton was dominated by small dinoflagellates and aloricate ciliates, which were more abundant under medium- to high-pCO2 conditions. The most abundant mesozooplankters were calanoid copepods, which did not respond to CO2 treatments during the oligotrophic phase of the experiment but were found in higher abundance under medium- and high-pCO2 conditions toward the end of the experiment, most likely as a response to increased phyto- and microzooplankton standing stocks. The second most abundant mesozooplankton taxon were appendicularians, which did not show a response to the different pCO2 treatments. Overall, CO2 effects on zooplankton seemed to be primarily transmitted through significant CO2 effects on phytoplankton and therefore indirect pathways. We conclude that elevated pCO2 can change trophic cascades with significant effects on zooplankton, what might ultimately affect higher trophic levels in the future.

Continue reading ‘Analyzing the impacts of elevated-CO2 levels on the development of a subtropical zooplankton community during oligotrophic conditions and simulated upwelling’

Role of temperature and carbonate system variability on a host-parasite system: implications for the gigantism hypothesis

Highlights

• Field and laboratory evidence support the parasite-induced gigantism hypothesis.

• Weight and thickness shell are influenced by the environmental factors and parasitism.

• Host-parasite interaction may be modulated by SST that interplay with carbonate system variability.

Abstract

Biological interactions and environmental constraints alter life-history traits, modifying organismal performances. Trematode parasites often impact their hosts by inducing parasitic castration, frequently correlated with increased body size in the host (i.e., gigantism hypothesis), which is postulated to reflect the re-allocation of energy released by the reduction in the reproductive process. In this study, we compared the effect of a trematode species on shell size and morphology in adult individuals of the intertidal mussels Perumytilus purpuratus (>20 mm) collected from two local populations of contrasting environmental regimes experienced in central-southern Chile. Our field data indicates that in both study locations, parasitized mussels evidenced higher body sizes (shell length, total weight and volume) as compared with non-parasitized. In addition, parasitized mussels from the southern location evidenced thinner shells than non-parasitized ones and those collected from central Chile, suggesting geographical variation in shell carbonate precipitation across intertidal habitats of the Chilean coast. In laboratory conditions, mussels collected from a local population in central Chile were exposed to two temperature treatments (12 and 18 °C). Parasitized mussels showed higher growth rates than non-parasitized, regardless of the seawater temperature treatments. However, the metabolic rate was not influenced by the parasite condition or the temperature treatments. Our field and laboratory results support the parasite-induced gigantism hypothesis, and suggest that both the thermal environment and geographic location explain only a portion of the increased body size, while the parasitic condition is the most plausible factor modulating the outcome of this host-parasite interaction.

Continue reading ‘Role of temperature and carbonate system variability on a host-parasite system: implications for the gigantism hypothesis’

Impacts of global warming and elevated CO2 on sensory behavior in predator-prey interactions: a review and synthesis

Ecosystems are shaped by complex interactions between species and their environment. However, humans are rapidly changing the environment through increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, creating global warming and elevated CO2 levels that affect ecological communities through multiple processes. Understanding community responses to climate change requires examining the consequences of changing behavioral interactions between species, such as those affecting predator and prey. Understanding the underlying sensory process that govern these interactions and how they may be affected by climate change provides a predictive framework, but many studies examine behavioral outcomes only. This review summarizes the current knowledge of global warming and elevated CO2 impacts on predator-prey interactions with respect to the relevant aspects of sensory ecology, and we discuss the potential consequences of these effects. Our specific questions concern how climate change affects the ability of predators and prey to collect information and how this affects predator-prey interactions. We develop a framework for understanding how warming and elevated CO2 can alter behavioral interactions by examining how the processes (steps) of sensory cue (or signal) production, transmission and reception may change. This includes both direct effects on cue production and reception resulting from changes in organismal physiology, but also effects on cue transmission resulting from modulation of the physical environment via physical and biotic changes. We suggest that some modalities may be particularly prone to disruption, and that aquatic environments may suffer more serious disruptions as a result of elevated CO2 and warming that collectively affect all steps of the signaling process. Temperature by itself may primarily operate on aspects of cue generation and transmission, implying that sensory-mediated disruptions in terrestrial environments may be less severe. However, significant biases in the literature in terms of modalities (chemosensation), taxa (fish), and stressors (elevated CO2) examined currently prevents accurate generalizations. Significant issues such as multimodal compensation and altered transmission or other environmental effects remain largely unaddressed. Future studies should strive to fill these knowledge gaps in order to better understand and predict shifts in predator-prey interactions in a changing climate.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of global warming and elevated CO2 on sensory behavior in predator-prey interactions: a review and synthesis’

Warming and CO2 enhance Arctic heterotrophic microbial activity

Ocean acidification and warming are two main consequences of climate change that can directly affect biological and ecosystem processes in marine habitats. The Arctic Ocean is the region of the world experiencing climate change at the steepest rate compared with other latitudes. Since marine planktonic microorganisms play a key role in the biogeochemical cycles in the ocean it is crucial to simultaneously evaluate the effect of warming and increasing CO2 on marine microbial communities. In 20 L experimental microcosms filled with water from a high-Arctic fjord (Svalbard), we examined changes in phototrophic and heterotrophic microbial abundances and processes [bacterial production (BP) and mortality], and viral activity (lytic and lysogenic) in relation to warming and elevated CO2. The summer microbial plankton community living at 1.4°C in situ temperature, was exposed to increased CO2 concentrations (135–2,318 μatm) in three controlled temperature treatments (1, 6, and 10°C) at the UNIS installations in Longyearbyen (Svalbard), in summer 2010. Results showed that chlorophyll a concentration decreased at increasing temperatures, while BP significantly increased with pCO2 at 6 and 10°C. Lytic viral production was not affected by changes in pCO2 and temperature, while lysogeny increased significantly at increasing levels of pCO2, especially at 10°C (R2 = 0.858, p = 0.02). Moreover, protistan grazing rates showed a positive interaction between pCO2 and temperature. The averaged percentage of bacteria grazed per day was higher (19.56 ± 2.77% d-1) than the averaged percentage of lysed bacteria by virus (7.18 ± 1.50% d-1) for all treatments. Furthermore, the relationship among microbial abundances and processes showed that BP was significantly related to phototrophic pico/nanoflagellate abundance in the 1°C and the 6°C treatments, and BP triggered viral activity, mainly lysogeny at 6 and 10°C, while bacterial mortality rates was significantly related to bacterial abundances at 6°C. Consequently, our experimental results suggested that future increases in water temperature and pCO2 in Arctic waters will produce a decrease of phytoplankton biomass, enhancement of BP and changes in the carbon fluxes within the microbial food web. All these heterotrophic processes will contribute to weakening the CO2 sink capacity of the Arctic plankton community.

Continue reading ‘Warming and CO2 enhance Arctic heterotrophic microbial activity’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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