Posts Tagged 'bryozoa'

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’

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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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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