Posts Tagged 'bryozoa'

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Continue reading ‘Field-based experimental acidification alters fouling community structure and reduces diversity’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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