Posts Tagged 'bryozoa'

Biomineralization: integrating mechanism and evolutionary history

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) biomineralizing organisms have played major roles in the history of life and the global carbon cycle during the past 541 Ma. Both marine diversification and mass extinctions reflect physiological responses to environmental changes through time. An integrated understanding of carbonate biomineralization is necessary to illuminate this evolutionary record and to understand how modern organisms will respond to 21st century global change. Biomineralization evolved independently but convergently across phyla, suggesting a unity of mechanism that transcends biological differences. In this review, we combine CaCO3 skeleton formation mechanisms with constraints from evolutionary history, omics, and a meta-analysis of isotopic data to develop a plausible model for CaCO3 biomineralization applicable to all phyla. The model provides a framework for understanding the environmental sensitivity of marine calcifiers, past mass extinctions, and resilience in 21st century acidifying oceans. Thus, it frames questions about the past, present, and future of CaCO3 biomineralizing organisms.

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Comparative sensitivities of zooplankton to ocean acidification conditions in experimental and natural settings

Zooplankton can serve as indicators of ecosystem health, water quality, food web structure, and environmental change, including those associated with climate change and ocean acidification (OA). Laboratory studies demonstrate that low pH and high pCO2 associated with OA can significantly affect the physiology and survival of zooplankton, with differential responses among taxa. While laboratory studies can be indicative of zooplankton response to OA, in situ responses will ultimately determine the fate of populations and ecosystems. In this perspective, we compare expectations from experimental studies with observations made in Puget Sound (Washington, United States), a highly dynamic estuary with known vulnerabilities to low pH and high pCO2. We found little association between empirical measures of in situ pH and the abundance of sensitive taxa as revealed by meta-analysis, calling into question the coherence between experimental studies and field observations. The apparent mismatch between laboratory and field studies has important ramifications for the design of long-term monitoring programs and interpretation and use of the data produced. Important work remains to be done to connect traits that are sensitive to OA with those that are ecologically relevant and reliably observable in the field.

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Growth response of calcifying marine epibionts to biogenic pH fluctuations and global ocean acidification scenarios

In coastal marine environments, physical and biological forces can cause dynamic pH fluctuations from microscale (diffusive boundary layer [DBL]) up to ecosystem‐scale (benthic boundary layer [BBL]). In the face of ocean acidification (OA), such natural pH variations may modulate an organism’s response to OA by providing temporal refugia. We investigated the effect of pH fluctuations, generated by the brown alga Fucus serratus‘ biological activity, on the calcifying epibionts Balanus improvisus and Electra pilosa under OA. For this, both epibionts were grown on inactive and biologically active surfaces and exposed to (1) constant pH scenarios under ambient (pH 8.1) or OA conditions (pH 7.7), or (2) oscillating pH scenarios mimicking BBL conditions at ambient (pH 7.7–8.6) or OA scenarios (pH 7.4–8.2). Furthermore, all treatment combinations were tested at 10°C and 15°C. Against our expectations, OA treatments did not affect epibiont growth under constant or fluctuating (BBL) pH conditions, indicating rather high robustness against predicted OA scenarios. Furthermore, epibiont growth was hampered and not fostered on active surfaces (fluctuating DBL conditions), indicating that fluctuating pH conditions of the DBL with elevated daytime pH do not necessarily provide temporal refugia from OA. In contrast, results indicate that factors other than pH may play larger roles for epibiont growth on macrophytes (e.g., surface characteristics, macrophyte antifouling defense, or dynamics of oxygen and nutrient concentrations). Warming enhanced epibiont growth rates significantly, independently of OA, indicating no synergistic effects of pH treatments and temperature within their natural temperature range.

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Volcanic CO2 seep geochemistry and use in understanding ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is one of the most dramatic effects of the massive atmospheric release of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution, although its effects on marine ecosystems are not well understood. Submarine volcanic hydrothermal fields have geochemical conditions that provide opportunities to characterise the effects of elevated levels of seawater CO2 on marine life in the field. Here, we review the geochemical aspects of shallow marine CO2-rich seeps worldwide, focusing on both gas composition and water chemistry. We then describe the geochemical effects of volcanic CO2 seepage on the overlying seawater column. We also present new geochemical data and the first synthesis of marine biological community changes from one of the best-studied marine CO2 seep sites in the world (off Vulcano Island, Sicily). In areas of intense bubbling, extremely high levels of pCO2 (> 10,000 μatm) result in low seawater pH (< 6) and undersaturation of aragonite and calcite in an area devoid of calcified organisms such as shelled molluscs and hard corals. Around 100–400 m away from the Vulcano seeps the geochemistry of the seawater becomes analogous to future ocean acidification conditions with dissolved carbon dioxide levels falling from 900 to 420 μatm as seawater pH rises from 7.6 to 8.0. Calcified species such as coralline algae and sea urchins fare increasingly well as sessile communities shift from domination by a few resilient species (such as uncalcified algae and polychaetes) to a diverse and complex community (including abundant calcified algae and sea urchins) as the seawater returns to ambient levels of CO2. Laboratory advances in our understanding of species sensitivity to high CO2 and low pH seawater, reveal how marine organisms react to simulated ocean acidification conditions (e.g., using energetic trade-offs for calcification, reproduction, growth and survival). Research at volcanic marine seeps, such as those off Vulcano, highlight consistent ecosystem responses to rising levels of seawater CO2, with the simplification of food webs, losses in functional diversity and reduced provisioning of goods and services for humans.

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Summer and winter MgCO3 levels in the skeletons of Arctic bryozoans

Highlights

  • Summer and winter MgCO3 levels in skeleton of Arctic bryozoans by Anna Iglikowska, Małgorzata Krzemińska, Paul E. Renaud, Jørgen Berge, Haakon Hop and Piotr Kukliński.
  • Arctic seawater differs in carbonate saturation state during polar night and day.

  • During summer carbonate saturation gradient is expected related to depth.

  • Carbonate saturation state may influence Mg accumulation in biogenic calcite.

  • No differences between summer and winter levels of skeletal MgCO3 were found.

  • Bryozoans are able to regulate their skeletal MgCO3 concentrations biologically.

Abstract

In the Arctic, seasonal patterns in seawater biochemical conditions are shaped by physical, chemical, and biological processes related to the alternation of seasons, i.e. winter polar night and summer midnight sun. In summertime, CO2 concentration is driven by photosynthetic activity of autotrophs which raises seawater pH and carbonate saturation state (Ω). In addition, restriction of photosynthetic activity to the euphotic zone and establishment of seasonal stratification often leads to depth gradients in pH and Ω. In winter, however, severely reduced primary production along with respiration processes lead to higher CO2 concentrations which consequently decrease seawater pH and Ω.

Many calcifying invertebrates incorporate other minerals, in addition to calcium, into their skeletons, with potential consequences for stability of the mineral matrix and vulnerability to abrasion of predators. We tested whether changes in seawater chemistry due to light-driven activities of marine biota can influence the uptake of Mg into calcified skeletons of Arctic Bryozoa, a dominant faunal group in polar hard-bottom habitats. Our results indicate no clear differences between summer and winter levels of skeletal MgCO3 in five bryozoan species despite differences in Ω between these two seasons. Furthermore, we could not detect any depth-related differences in MgCO3 content in skeletons of selected bryozoans. These results may indicate that Arctic bryozoans are able to control MgCO3 skeletal concentrations biologically. Yet recorded spatial variability in MgCO3 content in skeletons from stations exhibiting different seawater parameters suggests that environmental factors can also, to some extent, shape the skeletal chemistry of Arctic bryozoans.

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Energetic context determines species and community responses to ocean acidification

Physiological responses to ocean acidification are thought to be related to energetic trade‐offs. Although a number of studies have proposed that negative responses to low pH could be minimized in situations where food resources are more readily available, evidence for such effects on individuals remain mixed, and the consequences of such effects at the community level remain untested. We explored the potential for food availability and diet quality to modify the effects of acidification on developing marine fouling communities in field‐deployed mesocosms by supplementing natural food supply with one of two species of phytoplankton, differing in concentration of fatty acids. After twelve weeks, no species demonstrated the interactive effects generally predicted in the literature, where a positive overall effect of diet mitigated the negative overall effects of acidification. Rather, for some species, additional food supply appeared to bring out or exacerbate the negative effects of low pH. Community richness and structure were only altered by acidification, while space occupation and evenness reflected patterns of the most dominant species. Importantly, we find that acidification stress can increase the relative abundance of invasive species, even under resource conditions that otherwise prevented invasive species establishment. Overall, the proposed hypothesis regarding the ability for food addition to mitigate the negative effects of acidification is thus far not widely supported at species or community levels. It is clear that acidification is a strong driving force in these communities but understanding underlying energetic and competitive context is essential to developing mechanistic predictions for climate change responses.

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Behavioral responses to ocean acidification in marine invertebrates: new insights and future directions

Ocean acidification (OA) affects marine biodiversity and alters the structure and function of marine populations, communities, and ecosystems. Recently, effects of OA on the behavioral responses of marine animals have been given with much attention. While many of previous studies focuses on marine fish. Evidence suggests that marine invertebrate behaviors were also be affected. In this review, we discussed the effects of C02-driven OA on the most common behaviors studied in marine invertebrates, including settlement and habitat selection, feeding, anti-predatory, and swimming behaviors, and explored the related mechanisms behind behaviors. This review summarizes how OA affects marine invertebrate behavior, and provides new insights and highlights novel areas for future research.

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Bryozoans and ocean acidification

Bryozoans are aquatic animals that form colonies of connected individuals. Bryozoans have such highly variable morphology that they are often mistaken for other organisms such as hydroids, corals, colonial ascidians and turfing seaweeds. Some colonies are bushy and moss-like, hence the phylum name, Bryozoa, which means ‘moss animals’ in Greek. Others are flat and encrusting, hence the common name ‘sea mats’. Still others resemble lace, forming erect frondose colonies with holes in their structure or encrustations over sea-weeds and rocks, hence the name ‘lace corals’. Since no single common name is applicable to all species, the name ‘bryozoans’ is the most preferred by researchers of the group.

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Abiotic and biotic interactions in the diffusive boundary layer of kelp blades create a potential refuge from ocean acidification

  1. Seaweeds are able to modify the chemical environment at their surface, in a micro‐zone called the diffusive boundary layer (DBL), via their metabolic processes controlled by light intensity. Depending on the thickness of the DBL, sessile invertebrates such as calcifying bryozoans or tube‐forming polychaetes living on the surface of the blades can be affected by the chemical variations occurring in this microlayer. Especially in the context of ocean acidification (OA), these microhabitats might be considered as a refuge from lower pH, because during the day photosynthesis temporarily raises the pH to values higher than in the mainstream seawater.
  2. We assessed the thickness and the characteristics of the DBL at two pH levels (today’s average surface ocean pH 8.1 and a reduced pH predicted for the end of the century, pH 7.7) and seawater flows (slow, 0.5 and fast, >8 cm/s) on Ecklonia radiata (kelp) blades. Oxygen and pH profiles from the blade surface to the mainstream seawater were measured with O2 and pH microsensors for both bare blades and blades colonized by the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea.
  3. The DBL was thicker in slow flow compared with fast flow and the presence of bryozoans increased the DBL thickness and shaped the DBL gradient in dark conditions. Net production was increased in the low pH condition, increasing the amount of oxygen in the DBL in both bare and epiphytized blades. This increase drove the daily pH fluctuations at the blade surface, shifting them towards higher values compared with today’s pH. The presence of bryozoans led to lower oxygen concentrations in the DBL and more complex pH fluctuations at the blade surface, particularly at pH 7.7.
  4. Overall, this study, based on microprofiles, shows that, in slow flow, DBL microenvironments at the surface of the kelps may constitute a refuge from OA with pH values higher than those of the mainstream seawater. For calcifying organisms, it could also represent training ground for harsh conditions, with broad daily pH and oxygen fluctuations. These chemical microenvironments, biologically shaped by the macrophytes, are of great interest for the resilience of coastal ecosystems in the context of global change.

Continue reading ‘Abiotic and biotic interactions in the diffusive boundary layer of kelp blades create a potential refuge from ocean acidification’

Plastic responses of bryozoans to ocean acidification

Phenotypic plasticity has the potential to allow organisms to respond rapidly to global environmental change, but the range and effectiveness of these responses are poorly understood across taxa and growth strategies. Colonial organisms might be particularly resilient to environmental stressors, as organizational modularity and successive asexual generations can allow for distinctively flexible responses in the aggregate form. We performed laboratory experiments to examine the effects of increasing dissolved carbon dioxide (i.e. ocean acidification) on the colonial bryozoan Celleporella cornuta sampled from two source populations within a coastal upwelling region of the northern California coast. Bryozoan colonies were remarkably plastic under these carbon dioxide (CO2) treatments. Colonies raised under high CO2 grew more quickly, investing less in reproduction and producing lighter skeletons when compared to genetically identical clones raised under current atmospheric values. Bryozoans held in high CO2 conditions also changed the Mg/Ca ratio of skeletal calcite and increased the expression of organic coverings in new growth, which may serve as protection against acidified water. We also observed strong differences between populations in reproductive investment and organic covering reaction norms, consistent with adaptive responses to persistent spatial variation in local oceanographic conditions. Our results demonstrate that phenotypic plasticity and energetic trade-offs can mediate biological responses to global environmental change, and highlight the broad range of strategies available to colonial organisms.

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Natural acidification changes the timing and rate of succession, alters community structure, and increases homogeneity in marine biofouling communities

Ocean acidification may have far-reaching consequences for marine community and ecosystem dynamics, but its full impacts remain poorly understood due to the difficulty of manipulating pCO2 at the ecosystem level to mimic realistic fluctuations that occur on a number of different timescales. It is especially unclear how quickly communities at various stages of development respond to intermediate-scale pCO2 change and, if high pCO2 is relieved mid-succession, whether past acidification effects persist, are reversed by alleviation of pCO2 stress, or are worsened by departures from prior high pCO2 conditions to which organisms had acclimatized. Here, we used reciprocal transplant experiments along a shallow water volcanic pCO2 gradient to assess the importance of the timing and duration of high pCO2 exposure (i.e. discrete events at different stages of successional development vs. continuous exposure) on patterns of colonization and succession in a benthic fouling community. We show that succession at the acidified site was initially delayed (less community change by eight weeks) but then caught up over the next four weeks. These changes in succession led to homogenization of communities maintained in or transplanted to acidified conditions, and altered community structure in ways that reflected both short- and longer-term acidification history. These community shifts are likely a result of interspecific variability in response to increased pCO2 and changes in species interactions. High pCO2 altered biofilm development, allowing serpulids to do best at the acidified site by the end of the experiment, although early (pre-transplant), negative effects of pCO2 on recruitment of these worms was still detectable. The ascidians Diplosoma sp. and Botryllus sp. settled later and were more tolerant to acidification. Overall, transient and persistent acidification-driven changes in the biofouling community, via both past and more recent exposure, could have important implications for ecosystem function and food web dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Natural acidification changes the timing and rate of succession, alters community structure, and increases homogeneity in marine biofouling communities’

Interactive effects of temperature, food and skeletal mineralogy mediate biological responses to ocean acidification in a widely distributed bryozoan

Marine invertebrates with skeletons made of high-magnesium calcite may be especially susceptible to ocean acidification (OA) due to the elevated solubility of this form of calcium carbonate. However, skeletal composition can vary plastically within some species, and it is largely unknown how concurrent changes in multiple oceanographic parameters will interact to affect skeletal mineralogy, growth and vulnerability to future OA. We explored these interactive effects by culturing genetic clones of the bryozoan Jellyella tuberculata (formerly Membranipora tuberculata) under factorial combinations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and food concentrations. High CO2 and cold temperature induced degeneration of zooids in colonies. However, colonies still maintained high growth efficiencies under these adverse conditions, indicating a compensatory trade-off whereby colonies degenerate more zooids under stress, redirecting energy to the growth and maintenance of new zooids. Low-food concentration and elevated temperatures also had interactive effects on skeletal mineralogy, resulting in skeletal calcite with higher concentrations of magnesium, which readily dissolved under high CO2. For taxa that weakly regulate skeletal magnesium concentration, skeletal dissolution may be a more widespread phenomenon than is currently documented and is a growing concern as oceans continue to warm and acidify.

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Ocean acidification increases larval swimming speed and has limited effects on spawning and settlement of a robust fouling bryozoan, Bugula neritina

Few studies to date have investigated the effects of ocean acidification on non-reef forming marine invertebrates with non-feeding larvae. Here, we exposed adults of the bryozoan Bugula neritina and their larvae to lowered pH. We monitored spawning, larval swimming, settlement, and post-settlement individual sizes at two pHs (7.9 vs. 7.6) and settlement dynamics alone over a broader pH range (8.0 down to 6.5). Our results show that spawning was not affected by adult exposure (48 h at pH 7.6), larvae swam 32% faster and the newly-settled individuals grew significantly larger (5%) at pH 7.6 than in the control. Although larvae required more time to settle when pH was lowered, reduced pH was not lethal, even down to pH 6.5. Overall, this fouling species appeared to be robust to acidification, and yet, indirect effects such as prolonging the pelagic larval duration could increase predation risk, and might negatively impact population dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases larval swimming speed and has limited effects on spawning and settlement of a robust fouling bryozoan, Bugula neritina’

Low pH conditions impair module capacity to regenerate in a calcified colonial invertebrate, the bryozoan Cryptosula pallasiana

Many aquatic animals grow into colonies of repeated, genetically identical, modules (zooids). Zooid interconnections enable colonies to behave as integrated functional units, while plastic responses to environmental changes may affect individual zooids. Plasticity includes the variable partitioning of resources to sexual reproduction, colony growth and maintenance. Maintenance often involves regeneration, which is also a routine part of the life history in some organisms, such as bryozoans. Here we investigate changes in regenerative capacity in the encrusting bryozoan Cryptosula pallasiana when cultured at different seawater pCO2 levels. The proportion of active zooids showing polypide regeneration was highest at current oceanic pH (8.1), but decreased progressively as pH declined below that value, reaching a six-fold reduction at pH 7.0. The zone of budding of new zooids at the colony periphery declined in size below pH 7.7. Under elevated pCO2 conditions, already experienced sporadically in coastal areas, skeletal corrosion was accompanied by the proportional reallocation of resources from polypide regeneration in old zooids to the budding of new zooids at the edge of the colony. Thus, future ocean acidification can affect colonial organisms by changing how they allocate resources, with potentially profound impacts on life-history patterns and ecological interactions.

Continue reading ‘Low pH conditions impair module capacity to regenerate in a calcified colonial invertebrate, the bryozoan Cryptosula pallasiana’

Effects of ocean acidification on benthic organisms in the Mediterranean Sea under realistic climatic scenarios: A meta-analysis

Ocean acidification is expected to cause significant changes in the marine environment over the coming century. The effects of acidification on organisms’ physiology have been studied over the past two decades. However, the experimental findings are not always easily comparable because of differences in experimental design, and comparable experiments do not always produce similar results. To rigorously integrate the current knowledge, we performed a meta-analysis of published studies focused on benthic organisms in the Mediterranean Sea, both in controlled manipulative experiments and in situ experiments near vent areas. In each experiment, the effect of acidification was calculated as the log-transformed response ratio (LnRR) of experimental versus control conditions. The quantitative results obtained by the meta-analysis highlight: (a) an increase in fleshy algae cover, which may lead to a competitive advantage over calcifying macroalgae; (b) a reduction of calcification by both algae and corals; (c) an increase in seagrass shoot density under low pH; and (d) a general increase in the photosynthetic activity of macrophytes.

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Impacts of seawater saturation state (ΩA = 0.4 – 4.6) and temperature (10, 25 °C) on the dissolution kinetics of whole-shell biogenic carbonates

Anthropogenic increase of atmospheric pCO2 since the Industrial Revolution has caused seawater pH to decrease and seawater temperatures to increase—trends that are expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Myriad experimental studies have investigated the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on marine calcifiers’ ability to build protective shells and skeletons. No studies, however, have investigated the combined impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the whole-shell dissolution kinetics of biogenic carbonates. Here, we present the results of experiments designed to investigate the effects of seawater saturation state (ΩA = 0.4 – 4.6) and temperature (10, 25 °C) on gross rates of whole-shell dissolution for ten species of benthic marine calcifiers: the oyster Crassostrea virginicus, the ivory barnacle Balanus eburneus, the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, the conch Strombus alatus, the tropical coral Siderastrea siderea, the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula, the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria, the soft clam Mya arenaria, the branching bryozoan Schizoporella errata, and the coralline red alga Neogoniolithon sp. These experiments confirm that dissolution rates of whole-shell biogenic carbonates decrease with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation state, increase with temperature, and vary predictably with respect to the relative solubility of the calcifiers’ polymorph mineralogy [high-Mg calcite (mol% Mg > 4) > aragonite > low-Mg calcite (mol% Mg < 4)], consistent with prior studies on sedimentary and inorganic carbonates. Furthermore, the severity of the temperature effects on gross dissolution rates also varied with respect to carbonate polymorph solubility, with warming (10 – 25 °C) exerting the greatest effect on biogenic high-Mg calcite, an intermediate effect on biogenic aragonite, and the least effect on biogenic low-Mg calcite. These results indicate that both ocean acidification and warming will lead to increased dissolution of biogenic carbonates in future oceans, with shells/skeletons composed of the more soluble polymorphs of CaCO3 being the most vulnerable to these stressors. The effects of saturation state and temperature on gross shell dissolution rate were modelled with an exponential asymptotic function (y = B0 – B2· eB1·x) that appeals to the general Arrhenius-derived rate equation for mineral dissolution [r = (C · e-Ea/RT)(1-Ω)n]. Although the dissolution curves for the investigated biogenic CaCO3 exhibited exponential asymptotic trends similar to those of inorganic CaCO3, the observation that gross dissolution of whole-shell biogenic CaCO3 occurred (albeit at lower rates) even in treatments that were oversaturated (Ω > 1) with respect to both aragonite and calcite reveals fundamental differences between the dissolution kinetics of whole-shell CaCO3 and inorganic CaCO3. Thus, applying stoichiometric solubility products derived for inorganic CaCO3 to model gross dissolution of biogenic carbonates may substantially underestimate the impacts of ocean acidification on net calcification (gross calcification minus gross dissolution) of systems ranging in scale from individual organisms to entire ecosystems (i.e., net ecosystem calcification). Finally, these experiments permit rough estimation of the impact of CO2-induced ocean acidification on the gross calcification rates of various marine calcifiers, calculated as the difference between net calcification rates derived empirically in prior studies and gross dissolution rates derived from the present study. Organisms’ gross calcification responses to acidification were generally less severe than their net calcification response patterns, with aragonite mollusks (bivalves, gastropods) exhibiting the most negative gross calcification response to acidification, and photosynthesizing organisms, including corals and coralline red algae, exhibiting relative resilience.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of seawater saturation state (ΩA = 0.4 – 4.6) and temperature (10, 25 °C) on the dissolution kinetics of whole-shell biogenic carbonates’

Field-based experimental acidification alters fouling community structure and reduces diversity

1.Increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are affecting ocean chemistry, leading to increased acidification (i.e., decreased pH) and reductions in calcium carbonate saturation state. 2.Many species are likely to respond to acidification, but the direction and magnitude of these responses will be based on interspecific and ontogenetic variation in physiology and the relative importance of calcification. Differential responses to ocean acidification among species will likely result in important changes in community structure and diversity. 3.To characterize potential impacts of ocean acidification on community composition and structure, we examined the response of a marine fouling community to experimental CO2 enrichment in field-deployed flow-through mesocosm systems. 4.Acidification significantly altered community structure by altering the relative abundances of species and reduced community variability, resulting in more homogenous biofouling communities from one experimental tile to the next both among and within the acidified mesocosms. Mussel (Mytilus trossulus) recruitment was reduced by over 30% in the elevated CO2 treatment compared to the ambient treatment by the end of the experiment. Strong differences in mussel cover (up to 40% lower in acidified conditions) developed over the second half of the 10-week experiment. Acidification did not appear to affect mussel growth, as average mussel sizes were similar between treatments at the end of the experiment. Hydroid (Obelia dichotoma) cover was significantly reduced in the elevated CO2 treatment after eight weeks. Conversely, the percent cover of bryozoan colonies (Mebranipora membranacea) was higher under acidified conditions with differences becoming apparent after six weeks. Neither recruitment nor final size of barnacles (Balanus crenatus) was affected by acidification. By the end of the experiment, diversity was 41% lower in the acidified treatment relative to ambient conditions. 5.Overall, our findings support the general expectation that OA will simplify marine communities by acting on important ecological processes that ultimately determine community structure and diversity.

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Depth patterns in Antarctic bryozoan skeletal Mg-calcite: Can they provide an analogue for future environmental changes?

Factors related to depth have the potential to provide an analogue for future changes in the skeletal mineralogy of calcifying marine organisms and communities, given that oceanic pH decreases with depth, with a minimum pH of <7.7, which corresponds to the predicted pH of shallow waters in the next 85 yr. Antarctic bryozoans are often characterized by surprisingly broad bathymetrical ranges, and thus have potential for the study of depth-related environmental changes. This study addressed depth-related changes in the levels of magnesium (Mg)-calcite in Antarctic bryozoan skeletons for the first time in order to facilitate predictions of ocean acidification effects. Specimens (n = 103) belonging to 4 bryozoan species (3 cheilostomes and 1 cyclostome) were collected at various depths in East Antarctica (Terre Adelie and George V Land) during the CEAMARC cruise (December 2007 to January 2008), and Mg-calcite contents from their calcareous skeletons were studied using X-ray diffraction. A dataset was compiled from existing environmental data for both sampling and neighboring sites. All 4 species were found to be entirely calcitic with low or intermediate Mg-levels. The predicted negative correlation between pH and Mg-calcite was not evident. Higher Mg levels were found in Fasciculipora ramosa from the George V Basin, suggesting that high salinity shelf water creates favorable conditions for this species, although alternative environmental and biological factors influencing Mg-calcite in skeletons are also discussed for this species.

Continue reading ‘Depth patterns in Antarctic bryozoan skeletal Mg-calcite: Can they provide an analogue for future environmental changes?’

Dissolution rates of biogenic carbonates in natural seawater at different pCO2 conditions: a laboratory study

The bulk dissolution rates of six biogenic carbonates (goose barnacle, benthic foraminifera, bryozoan, sea urchin, and two types of coralline algae) and a sample of mixed sediment from the Bermuda carbonate platform were measured in natural seawater at pCO2 values ranging from approximately 3000 to 5500 μatm. This range of pCO2 values encompassed values regularly observed in porewaters at a depth of a few cm in carbonate sediments at shallow water depths (<15 m) on the Bermuda carbonate platform. The biogenic carbonates included calcites of varying Mg content (2–17 mol%) and a range of specific surface areas (0.01–2.7 m2 g−1) as determined by BET gas adsorption. Measured rates of dissolution increased with increasing pCO2 treatment for all substrates and ranged from 2.5 to 18 μmol g−1 h−1. The highest rates of dissolution were observed for the bryozoans and the lowest rates for the goose barnacles. The relative ranking in dissolution rates between different substrates was consistent at all pCO2 levels, indicating that substrates dissolve sequentially and that some substrates will be more vulnerable than others to rising CO2 and ocean acidification. Furthermore, dissolution rates were found to increase with increasing Mg content, though the relative dissolution rates were observed to be a function of both Mg content and microstructure (surface area).

Continue reading ‘Dissolution rates of biogenic carbonates in natural seawater at different pCO2 conditions: a laboratory study’

Bryozoans in climate and ocean acidification research: A reappraisal of an under-used tool

Bryozoans are colonial animals that are widely distributed in marine benthic environments and play an important role in temperate and cold-water oceanic shelves as habitat providers. Morphologically and mineralogically diverse, bryozoans are important carbonate producers with an extensive fossil record, which makes them good indicators in environmental and (paleo) environmental research. Existing data, though insufficient, suggests that bryozoans can become a valuable tool in investigating present-day climate change. This paper reviews the major characteristics of bryozoans, their function in shallow oceanic areas worldwide, and their potential as proxy organisms in climate and ocean acidification research.

Continue reading ‘Bryozoans in climate and ocean acidification research: A reappraisal of an under-used tool’


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