Posts Tagged 'calcification'

Regional and species level responses of Scleractinian corals under global change within the Caribbean Sea

Human-induced global change has caused rapid increases in ocean temperature (warming) and declines in seawater pH (acidification), and are expected to have negative impacts on tropical reef-building corals globally. Abnormally high seawater temperatures disrupt the symbiosis between corals and their algal endosymbiont in a process known as ‘coral bleaching.’ During such bleaching events, calcification rates decline and physiological processes deteriorate. Additionally, corals rely heavily on elevated seawater pH in order to support and maintain production of their calcium carbonate skeletons. Together, changes in ocean temperatures and seawater pH pose serious threats to coral reefs, foundational ecosystems that provide habitat for countless essential fisheries, while also acting as natural buffers from storms and providing major economic support for tropical coastal communities. Identifying how these global scale stressors impact Caribbean coral reefs is critical in understanding community composition and coral abundance on future reefs. This dissertation employs an interdisciplinary suite of techniques to assess the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the growth and physiology of Caribbean corals to improve understandings of the responses of coral under projected global change, and provide a framework for similar future studies. Through the use of a meta-analysis (Chapter 1), I identified trends in coral calcification throughout the Greater Caribbean Sea in response to experimental ocean acidification and warming, and performed quantitative assessment of experimental design effects on coral calcification rates. I then conducted a 93- day simulated ocean acidification and warming mesocosm experiment to identify growth (Chapter 2, 4) and physiological (Chapter 3) responses of several species of common Caribbean corals. The results from this work highlight the diversity of responses of Caribbean corals to projected global change at individual and species levels, as well as between the coral host and algal endosymbiont. Overall, the variation in growth and physiological responses of these important Caribbean coral species under ocean acidification and warming is critical in predicting the future ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of Caribbean reefs as global change unfolds.

Continue reading ‘Regional and species level responses of Scleractinian corals under global change within the Caribbean Sea’

Air-sea CO2 flux in an equatorial continental shelf dominated by coral reefs (Southwestern Atlantic Ocean)

Highlights

•Air-sea CO2 fluxes and carbonate chemistry were investigated in coral reef-dominated waters (SW Atlantic).

•The relationship between nTA and nDIC evidenced occurrence of CaCO3 calcification in coral reefs.

•CaCO3 calcification increased the values of fCO2sw, and lowered the pHT and Ωara.

•Aquatic emissions of CO2 in coral reefs were higher than nearshore and offshore locations.

•The results have implications considering the carbon budget at the SW Atlantic Ocean.

Abstract

Coral reefs are ecosystems highly vulnerable to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, including those related to the ocean acidification and global warming. Brazilian coral reefs contains the major area of reefs coverage in the Southwestern (SW) Atlantic Ocean, however, studies aimed at investigating the controls of seawater carbonate chemistry in coral reefs are still overlooked in Brazil. This study comprehends the first investigation of complete seawater carbonate chemistry parameters in a section of the equatorial continental shelf dominated by coral reefs in the SW Atlantic Ocean. The sampling included spatial continuous underway measurements of sea surface CO2 fugacity (fCO2sw), temperature (SST), salinity (SSS), and discrete investigations of total alkalinity (TA), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), bicarbonate (HCO3), carbonate (CO32−), and saturation state of aragonite (Ωara). The study was conducted during a dry period (July-2019) in the Marine State Park of Pedra da Risca do Meio (PRM), a marine protected area dominated by coral reef communities. Overall, the coral-reef dominated waters presented higher values of fCO2sw (475 ± 28 μatm), and lower values of pHT (7.98 ± 0.008), CO32− (217 ± 5 μmol kg-1) and Ωara (3.49 ± 0.07), compared to nearshore regions without the influence of coral reef waters, where the averages of fCO2sw, pHT, CO32−, and Ωarawere, respectively, 458 ± 21 μatm, 8.00 ± 0.007, 224 ± 4 μmol kg-1, and 3.58 ± 0.05. The relationship between salinity-normalized TA (nTA) and salinity-normalized DIC (nDIC) showed a slope higher than 1 (1.26) in the coral reef, evidencing the occurrence of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation and prevalence of inorganic carbon metabolism. The CaCO3 precipitation involves the consumption of TA and DIC in a ratio 2:1, with production of CO2. This mechanism explains the higher values of fCO2sw in the coral reef-dominated waters. The values of fCO2sw were always higher than the atmospheric values (fCO2air), indicating a permanent source of CO2 in the study area during the sampled period. The calculated fluxes of CO2 at the air-sea interface averaged 8.4 ± 6.5 mmolC m-2 d-1 in the coral reef-dominated waters, and these data are higher than those verified in nearshore and offshore locations. These higher emissions of CO2 in coral reef-dominated waters evidence that the carbon budgets calculated for North and Northeastern continental shelf of Brazil must include these environments taking into account the widespread coral reef coverage in the region. This study also confirms that biogeochemical processes occurring in coral reefs are modifying the seawater carbonate chemistry, with implication in the context of the current process of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Air-sea CO2 flux in an equatorial continental shelf dominated by coral reefs (Southwestern Atlantic Ocean)’

Calcification of planktonic foraminifer Pulleniatina obliquiloculata controlled by seawater temperature rather than ocean acidification

Highlights

• A method is provided to correct the dissolution effect on foraminiferal SNW

• Core-top ISNWP. obli is positively correlated with calcification temperature

• ISNWP. obli linked to seawater temperature, but not atmospheric pCO2, since 250 ka

• Temperature is the dominant factor controlling P. obliquiloculata calcification

Abstract

Planktonic foraminifera represent a major component of global marine carbonate production, and understanding environmental influences on their calcification is critical to predicting marine carbon cycle responses to modern climate change. The present study investigated the effects of different environmental influences on calcification of the planktonic foraminifer Pulleniatina obliquiloculata. By correcting the dissolution effect on the size-normalized weight (SNW) of P. obliquiloculata from deep-sea sediments, we provide a means of estimating initial size-normalized weight (ISNW) from which to assess secular changes in the degree of calcification of P. obliquiloculata. Core-top ISNW in P. obliquiloculata from the global tropical oceans is significantly positively correlated with calcification temperature, suggesting that temperature is the dominant control on calcification. Using Neogloboquadrina dutertrei SNW as an independent deep-water Δ[CO32−] proxy, we present an ISNW record for P. obliquiloculata from the western tropical Pacific since 250 ka. The response of ISNW to past seawater temperature variations further confirms the dominant influence of temperature on P. obliquiloculata calcification. A potential increase in calcification as a result of ocean warming may have reduced oceanic uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere and increased atmospheric pCO2, generating a positive feedback for global warming.

Continue reading ‘Calcification of planktonic foraminifer Pulleniatina obliquiloculata controlled by seawater temperature rather than ocean acidification’

Prior exposure to elevated pCO2 does not affect calcification of a tropical scleractinian when returned to ambient pCO2

Highlights

•Coral reefs experience biologically-driven pCO2 oscillations

•Calcification of A. retusa with two pCO2 exposure histories differed.

•When subsequently placed in common pCO2 environment, calcification was similar.

•Some corals are capable of a reversible plastic response of calcification.

Abstract

Coral reefs experience biologically-driven pCO2 oscillations that are predicted to become more extreme in magnitude and duration under ocean acidification (OA) regimes. Understanding the plasticity of responses in common reef-building corals to oscillations in pCO2 will allow for better predictions of their function in future seawater conditions. This study explored the effects of variation in seawater pCO2 on coral calcification using experiments conducted over one month between 9 April 2018 and 18 May 2018. Branches (~4-cm long) of Acropora retusa were sampled from colonies at 10-m depth on the fore reef of Mo’orea, French Polynesia (17° 28′ 53.9004″ S, 149° 49′ 50.5992″ W). We tested the hypothesis that depressed calcification caused by elevated pCO2 (~1000 μatm) is relaxed (i.e., calcification increases) upon return to ambient pCO2 (~400 μatm). Corals first were incubated in ambient or elevated pCO2 for 19 days, with the result that calcification integrated over this period was reduced by 31% under elevated pCO2. The same corals were then incubated at ambient pCO2 for 11 days, during which calcification was independent of the experimental pCO2 exposure history. Our results suggest that a quick relaxation of pCO2-depressed calcification in A. retusa following cessation of high pCO2 indicates that corals are capable of a reversible plastic response of calcification when confronted by pCO2 oscillations.

Continue reading ‘Prior exposure to elevated pCO2 does not affect calcification of a tropical scleractinian when returned to ambient pCO2’

Global warming offsets the ecophysiological stress of ocean acidification on temperate crustose coralline algae

Highlights

•The ecological risk of climate change on temperate CCA has been assessed by mesocosm.

•Future change in carbonate chemistry has led to ecophysiological change of CCA.

•Oxygenic photosynthesis and growth decreased under acidified seawater.

•Negative metabolic changes in ocean acidification were offset by elevated temperature.

Abstract

Dramatic increases in the release of anthropogenic CO2 and global temperatures have resulted in alterations to seawater carbonate chemistry and metabolisms of marine organisms. There has been recent interest in the effects of these stressors on crustose coralline algae (CCA) because photosynthesis and calcification are influenced by all components of carbonate chemistry. To examine this, a mesocosm experiment was conducted to evaluate photosynthesis, calcification and growth in the temperate CCA Chamberlainium sp. under acidification (doubled CO2), warming (+5 °C), and greenhouse (doubled CO2 and +5 °C) conditions compared to present-day conditions. After 47 days of acclimation to these conditions, productivity was lowest under acidification, although photochemical properties were improved, while respiration was highest under warming. Likewise, growth was lowest under acidification, but this negative response was offset by elevated temperature under greenhouse. Together, these results suggest that warming offsets the negative effects of acidification by creating more suitable conditions for photosynthesis and growth.

Continue reading ‘Global warming offsets the ecophysiological stress of ocean acidification on temperate crustose coralline algae’

Ocean acidification induces subtle shifts in gene expression and DNA methylation in mantle tissue of the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

Early evidence suggests that DNA methylation can mediate phenotypic responses of marine calcifying species to ocean acidification (OA). Few studies, however, have explicitly studied DNA methylation in calcifying tissues through time. Here, we examined the phenotypic and molecular responses in the extrapallial fluid and mantle (fluid and tissue at the calcification site) in the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) exposed to experimental OA over 80 days. Oysters were reared under three experimental pCO2 treatments (‘control’, 580 uatm; ‘moderate OA’, 1000 uatm; ‘high OA’, 2800 uatm) and sampled at 6 time points (24 hours – 80 days). We found that high OA initially induced changes in the pH of the extrapallial fluid (pHEPF) relative to the external seawater, but the magnitude of this difference was highest at 9 days and diminished over time. Calcification rates were significantly lower in the high OA treatment compared to the other treatments. To explore how oysters regulate their extrapallial fluid, gene expression and DNA methylation were examined in the mantle-edge tissue of oysters from day 9 and 80 in the control and high OA treatments. Mantle tissue mounted a significant global molecular response (both in the transcriptome and methylome) to OA that shifted through time. Although we did not find individual genes that were significantly differentially expressed to OA, the pHEPF was correlated with the eigengene expression of several co-expressed gene clusters. A small number of OA-induced differentially methylated loci were discovered, which corresponded with a weak association between OA-induced changes in genome-wide gene body DNA methylation and gene expression. Gene body methylation, however, was not significantly correlated with the eigengene expression of pHEPF correlated gene clusters. These results suggest that in C. virginica, OA induces a subtle response in a large number of genes, but also indicates that plasticity at the molecular level may be limited. Our study highlights the need to re-assess the plasticity of tissue-specific molecular responses in marine calcifiers, as well as the role of DNA methylation and gene expression in mediating physiological and biomineralization responses to OA.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification induces subtle shifts in gene expression and DNA methylation in mantle tissue of the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)’

Evolutionary links between intra‐ and extracellular acid–base regulation in fish and other aquatic animals

The acid–base relevant molecules carbon dioxide (CO2), protons (H+), and bicarbonate (HCO3) are substrates and end products of some of the most essential physiological functions including aerobic and anaerobic respiration, ATP hydrolysis, photosynthesis, and calcification. The structure and function of many enzymes and other macromolecules are highly sensitive to changes in pH, and thus maintaining acid–base homeostasis in the face of metabolic and environmental disturbances is essential for proper cellular function. On the other hand, CO2, H+, and HCO3 have regulatory effects on various proteins and processes, both directly through allosteric modulation and indirectly through signal transduction pathways. Life in aquatic environments presents organisms with distinct acid–base challenges that are not found in terrestrial environments. These include a relatively high CO2 relative to O2 solubility that prevents internal CO2/HCO3 accumulation to buffer pH, a lower O2 content that may favor anaerobic metabolism, and variable environmental CO2, pH and O2 levels that require dynamic adjustments in acid–base homeostatic mechanisms. Additionally, some aquatic animals purposely create acidic or alkaline microenvironments that drive specialized physiological functions. For example, acidifying mechanisms can enhance O2 delivery by red blood cells, lead to ammonia trapping for excretion or buoyancy purposes, or lead to CO2 accumulation to promote photosynthesis by endosymbiotic algae. On the other hand, alkalinizing mechanisms can serve to promote calcium carbonate skeletal formation. This nonexhaustive review summarizes some of the distinct acid–base homeostatic mechanisms that have evolved in aquatic organisms to meet the particular challenges of this environment.

Continue reading ‘Evolutionary links between intra‐ and extracellular acid–base regulation in fish and other aquatic animals’

Effect of ocean acidification and temperature on growth, survival, and shell performance of fluted giant clams (Tridacna squamosa)

This study aims to determine the effect of ocean acidification and temperature on growth, survival, and shell performance of fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa). Juvenile fluted giant clam put into an aquarium which is given a combination of CO2 pressure treatment (415, 1000 and 1800 ppm) and temperature (30, 32, and 34°C). Measuring the length, width and height of the shell perform in every two weeks for five times. CaCO3 content and shell strength was test at the end of the study. The best growth of shell length, shell width, and shell height in the treatment of CO2 concentrations of 415 ppm and temperatures of 30°C were 23.28 mm, 11.51 mm and 0.69 mm respectively. Survival live also obtained in the treatment of CO2 concentrations of 415 ppm and temperatures of 30°C and CO2 concentrations of 415 ppm and temperatures of 32°C each of 100%. The strength of the shell and CaCO3 content decreased in the treatment of CO2 concentration and high temperatures. Higher concentration of CO2 and increased temperature negatively affected the growth of length, width, survival of scales, reduced strength and the CaCO3 content of shell.

Continue reading ‘Effect of ocean acidification and temperature on growth, survival, and shell performance of fluted giant clams (Tridacna squamosa)’

Understanding patterns of bivalve vulnerability and resilience to ocean acidification: Insights from field studies, tank experiments and novel physiological studies

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are causing an unprecedented rate of global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions are additionally causing ocean acidification; a process that decreases the pH and carbonate saturation state of seawater. Ocean acidification is particularly stressful for marine calcifiers; organisms that build calcium carbonate shells or skeletons. Marine bivalves build calcium carbonate shells that they use as a support for their growing tissues, and as protection from predation. Bivalves are osmoconformers, and have limited mobility, meaning that they are particularly susceptible to the impacts of thermal stress. Bivalve fisheries generate billions of dollars to the US economy in annual revenue, therefore understanding their response to these two global change stressors is crucial for helping the communities that rely on these fisheries plan for global change. The following studies explore the response of commercially important bivalve species to ocean acidification and warming.

Continue reading ‘Understanding patterns of bivalve vulnerability and resilience to ocean acidification: Insights from field studies, tank experiments and novel physiological studies’

Characterizing biogeochemical fluctuations in a world of extremes: A synthesis for temperate intertidal habitats in the face of global change

Coastal and intertidal habitats are at the forefront of anthropogenic influence and environmental change. The species occupying these habitats are adapted to a world of extremes, which may render them robust to the changing climate or more vulnerable if they are at their physiological limits. We characterized the diurnal, seasonal and interannual patterns of flux in biogeochemistry across an intertidal gradient on a temperate sandstone platform in eastern Australia over 6 years (2009–2015) and present a synthesis of our current understanding of this habitat in context with global change. We used rock pools as natural mesocosms to determine biogeochemistry dynamics and patterns of eco‐stress experienced by resident biota. In situ measurements and discrete water samples were collected night and day during neap low tide events to capture diurnal biogeochemistry cycles. Calculation of pHT using total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) revealed that the mid‐intertidal habitat exhibited the greatest flux over the years (pHT 7.52–8.87), and over a single tidal cycle (1.11 pHT units), while the low‐intertidal (pHT 7.82–8.30) and subtidal (pHT 7.87–8.30) were less variable. Temperature flux was also greatest in the mid‐intertidal (8.0–34.5°C) and over a single tidal event (14°C range), as typical of temperate rocky shores. Mean TA and DIC increased at night and decreased during the day, with the most extreme conditions measured in the mid‐intertidal owing to prolonged emersion periods. Temporal sampling revealed that net ecosystem calcification and production were highest during the day and lowest at night, particularly in the mid‐intertidal. Characterization of biogeochemical fluctuations in a world of extremes demonstrates the variable conditions that intertidal biota routinely experience and highlight potential microhabitat‐specific vulnerabilities and climate change refugia.

Continue reading ‘Characterizing biogeochemical fluctuations in a world of extremes: A synthesis for temperate intertidal habitats in the face of global change’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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