Posts Tagged 'BRcommunity'



Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)

Biotic interactions are increasingly known to shape ecosystem community structure. Recently, there has been a renewed focus on species interactions in light of global change, especially ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) in marine ecosystems. In coastal environments, macroalgae are among the most important taxa as they are often the most abundant primary producers and form the base of food webs. However, due to their sedentary nature, they are also vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In order to better understand how species interactions will be affected by climate change stressors, a solid understanding of how interspecies interactions operate under present-day conditions is needed. The first chapter of this thesis attempts to characterize seasonal variation in macroalgal physiology and biochemistry, and how interspecific interactions might affect algal fitness and palatability to a sea urchin herbivore (Echinometra lucunter). Specimens of Jania rubens, Sargassum cymosum, and Ulva lactuca were collected from monospecific patches or from associations , where individuals were in physical contact with another species, in both summer and winter. Net photosynthesis, nitrogen reductase activity, and pigment, phenolic and carbonate content of algae were evaluated among different associations across the two seasons. The results indicate that in addition to seasonal variation in most parameters measured, interactions between algae could change in both magnitude and sign (positive, negative or neutral) in different seasons. The no-choice herbivory assay (conducted in winter) revealed that both Jania and Ulva were consumed at higher rates when they were associated with each other, whereas Sargassum was not affected. These results suggest that macroalgae may influence the physiology and biochemical composition of neighboring species and subsequently affect their palatability, which may influence local community structure. To further evaluate effects of species interactions under climate change stressors, an experiment was performed to assess algal-herbivore interactions under OW and OA conditions. The most preferentially consumed algae from the first experiment (Jania rubens) and the sea urchin E. lucunter were evaluated in a 21-day mesocosm study with treatments of control, OW, OA, and OW+OA. Algal physiology was unaffected by increased temperature (+4°C) and pCO2 (1,000 ppm), but changes in the biochemical composition of the algal tissue were found. Metabolic rates of the sea urchin E. lucunter were higher in the ambient temperature, high pCO2 treatment, and feeding assays showed that this influenced consumption, with increased feeding rates in this treatment. The results here show that although algal biochemical composition was affected by future pCO2, at least in the short term, direct effects to sea urchin metabolism were more important for impacting this algae-herbivore interaction.

Continue reading ‘Implicações fisiológicas e ecológicas de interações interespecíficas nos bentos marinho-subsídio para o entendimento de cenários atuais e futuros (in Portuguese)’

Future climate change is predicted to affect the microbiome and condition of habitat-forming kelp

Climate change is driving global declines of marine habitat-forming species through physiological effects and through changes to ecological interactions, with projected trajectories for ocean warming and acidification likely to exacerbate such impacts in coming decades. Interactions between habitat-formers and their microbiomes are fundamental for host functioning and resilience, but how such relationships will change in future conditions is largely unknown. We investigated independent and interactive effects of warming and acidification on a large brown seaweed, the kelp Ecklonia radiata, and its associated microbiome in experimental mesocosms. Microbial communities were affected by warming and, during the first week, by acidification. During the second week, kelp developed disease-like symptoms previously observed in the field. The tissue of some kelp blistered, bleached and eventually degraded, particularly under the acidification treatments, affecting photosynthetic efficiency. Microbial communities differed between blistered and healthy kelp for all treatments, except for those under future conditions of warming and acidification, which after two weeks resembled assemblages associated with healthy hosts. This indicates that changes in the microbiome were not easily predictable as the severity of future climate scenarios increased. Future ocean conditions can change kelp microbiomes and may lead to host disease, with potentially cascading impacts on associated ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Future climate change is predicted to affect the microbiome and condition of habitat-forming kelp’

Predicting which species succeed in climate-forced polar seas

Understanding the mechanisms which determine the capacity of any species to adapt to changing environmental conditions is one of the foremost requirements in accurately predicting which populations, species and clades are likely to survive ongoing, rapid climate change. The polar oceans are amongst the most rapidly changing environments on Earth with reduced regional sea ice duration and extent, and their fauna’s expected sensitivity to warming and acidification. These changes potentially pose a significant threat to a number of polar fauna. There is, therefore, a critical need to assess the vulnerability of a wide range of species to determine the tipping points or weak links in marine assemblages. Knowledge of the effect of multiple stressors on polar marine fauna has advanced over the last 40 years, but there are still many data gaps. This study applies ecological risk assessment techniques to the increasing knowledge of polar species’ physiological capacities to identify their exposure to climate change and their vulnerability to this exposure. This relatively rapid, semi-quantitative assessment provides a layer of vulnerability on top of climate envelope models, until such times as more extensive physiological data sets can be produced. The risk assessment identified more species that are likely to benefit from the near-future predicted change (the winners), especially predators and deposit feeders. Fewer species were scored at risk (the losers), although animals that feed on krill scored consistently as under the highest risk.

Continue reading ‘Predicting which species succeed in climate-forced polar seas’

Impact of temperature, CO2, and iron on nutrient uptake by a late-season microbial community from the Ross Sea, Antarctica

The Southern Ocean is rapidly changing as a result of rising sea surface temperatures, elevated CO2 concentrations, and modifications to iron sources and sinks. The Southern Ocean has seasonally high rates of primary production, making it critical to determine how changes will impact biogeochemical rate processes in this important sink for CO2. During the austral summer, we measured nitrogen and carbon uptake rates by a late-season Ross Sea microbial community under different potential climate change conditions. A natural microbial assemblage was collected from the ice edge, and grown using a semi-continuous culturing followed by a continuous culturing ‘ecostat’ approach. The individual and combined impacts of temperature elevation and iron addition were tested during both approaches, and CO2 level was also manipulated during the continuous experiment. Nutrient concentrations and biomass parameters were measured throughout both experiments. During the continuous experiment we also measured uptake rates of nitrate (NO3-) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by 2 size classes (0.7-5.0 and >5.0 µm) of microorganisms. Of the parameters tested, temperature elevation had the largest impact, significantly increasing NO3- and DIC uptake rates by larger microorganisms. Iron addition was also important; however, the magnitude of its impact was greater when temperature was also changed. These results indicate that NO3- and DIC uptake rates may increase as sea surface warming occurs in the Southern Ocean, and thus have important implications for estimating new production and potential carbon uptake and eventual export to the deep sea.

Continue reading ‘Impact of temperature, CO2, and iron on nutrient uptake by a late-season microbial community from the Ross Sea, Antarctica’

Combined effects of ocean acidification and increased light intensity on natural phytoplankton communities from two Southern Ocean water masses

The composition of phytoplankton communities plays a major role in the efficiency of the biological carbon pump and energy transfer to higher trophic levels. Phytoplankton community composition can be significantly affected by changes in environmental conditions. We investigated the effect of increased pCO2 and light intensity on natural communities from two Southern Ocean water masses, the Subtropical Frontal Zone (STFZ) and Subantarctic Surface Waters (SASW). The community in both experiments shifted to predominately dinoflagellates under high pCO2 and high light and the community composition was significantly different between both treatments at the end of the incubation. In the STFZ assemblage, the combination of increased light and pCO2 had a small positive effect on diatom, coccolithophores and picoeukaryote abundance at the beginning of the experiment while higher pCO2 alone had no or a negative effect. In the SASW assemblage, the combination of increased light and pCO2 had a negative effect on diatom abundance while lower pH/higher pCO2 alone resulted in an increase in diatom counts compared to the control. Coccolithophores grew only in the control treatment. Our results show that there are taxon-specific and locality specific differences in natural phytoplankton community responses to increased light and pCO2 within low nutrient regions.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of ocean acidification and increased light intensity on natural phytoplankton communities from two Southern Ocean water masses’

El Niño-related thermal stress coupled with upwelling-related ocean acidification negatively impacts cellular to population-level responses in pteropods along the California Current System with implications for increased bioenergetic costs

Understanding the interactive effects of multiple stressors on pelagic mollusks associated with global climate change is especially important in highly productive coastal ecosystems of the upwelling regime, such as the California Current System (CCS). Due to temporal overlap between a marine heatwave, an El Niño event, and springtime intensification of the upwelling, pteropods of the CCS were exposed to co-occurring increased temperature, low Ωar and pH, and deoxygenation. The variability in the natural gradients during NOAA’s WCOA 2016 cruise provided a unique opportunity for synoptic study of chemical and biological interactions. We investigated the effects of in situ multiple drivers and their interactions across cellular, physiological, and population levels. Oxidative stress biomarkers were used to assess pteropods’ cellular status and antioxidant defenses. Low aragonite saturation state (Ωar) is associated with significant activation of oxidative stress biomarkers, as indicated by increased levels of lipid peroxidation (LPX), but the antioxidative activity defense might be insufficient against cellular stress. Thermal stress in combination with low Ωar additively increases the level of LPX toxicity, while food availability can mediate the negative effect. On the physiological level, we found synergistic interaction between low Ωar and deoxygenation and thermal stress (Ωar:T, O2:T). On the population level, temperature was the main driver of abundance distribution, with low Ωar being a strong driver of secondary importance. The additive effects of thermal stress and low Ωar on abundance suggest a negative effect of El Niño at the population level. Our study clearly demonstrates Ωar and temperature are master variables in explaining biological responses, cautioning the use of a single parameter in the statistical analyses. High quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids are susceptible to oxidative stress because of LPX, resulting in the loss of lipid reserves and structural damage to cell membranes, a potential mechanism explaining extreme pteropod sensitivity to low Ωar. Accumulation of oxidative damage requires metabolic compensation, implying energetic trade-offs under combined thermal and low Ωar and pH stress. Oxidative stress biomarkers can be used as early-warning signal of multiple stressors on the cellular level, thereby providing important new insights into factors that set limits to species’ tolerance to in situ multiple drivers.

Continue reading ‘El Niño-related thermal stress coupled with upwelling-related ocean acidification negatively impacts cellular to population-level responses in pteropods along the California Current System with implications for increased bioenergetic costs’

Functional biodiversity loss along natural CO2 gradients

The effects of environmental change on biodiversity are still poorly understood. In particular, the consequences of shifts in species composition for marine ecosystem function are largely unknown. Here we assess the loss of functional diversity, i.e. the range of species biological traits, in benthic marine communities exposed to ocean acidification (OA) by using natural CO2 vent systems. We found that functional richness is greatly reduced with acidification, and that functional loss is more pronounced than the corresponding decrease in taxonomic diversity. In acidified conditions, most organisms accounted for a few functional entities (i.e. unique combination of functional traits), resulting in low functional redundancy. These results suggest that functional richness is not buffered by functional redundancy under OA, even in highly diverse assemblages, such as rocky benthic communities.

Continue reading ‘Functional biodiversity loss along natural CO2 gradients’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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