Posts Tagged 'calcification'



Diurnal fluctuations in seawater pCO2 amplify the negative effects of ocean acidification on the biotic performance of the calcifying macroalga Halimeda opuntia

Although the adverse effects of increasing atmospheric CO2-induced ocean acidification (OA) on marine calcifying macroalgae have been widely reported, there are limited studies on how daily fluctuations in pCO2 (pH) within shallow ecosystems influence the growth and physiological performance of these calcifiers. Therefore, a 42-day laboratory mimetic experiment to determine how growth, biological performance and related carbon and nitrogen metabolic products of the calcifying macroalga, Halimeda opuntia are generated in response to fluctuating pCO2 under OA conditions (1200 ppmv) was performed. The results of present study showed that the adverse effects of OA were more determined by the adverse influence of elevated acidity (H+) on growth rates, calcification, photosynthesis and the related biotic performance of H. opuntia compared with the positive effects that higher CO2 provided. Moreover, diurnal fluctuations in pCO2 levels [with higher (nearly 8.10) and lower pH (nearly 7.40) values during day and night times, respectively] have amplified these negative influences on H. opuntia. To mitigate elevated pCO2-related stress, higher contents of free amino acids and proline were highly secreted and likely linked to protecting the integrity of algal cellular structures. The above results contribute to increasing our understanding of the biological consequences of pCO2 (pH) variability on calcifying Halimeda species and their physiological plasticity in response to further oceanic pCO2 changes.

Continue reading ‘Diurnal fluctuations in seawater pCO2 amplify the negative effects of ocean acidification on the biotic performance of the calcifying macroalga Halimeda opuntia’

Environmental stability and phenotypic plasticity benefit the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus in an acidified fjord

The stratified Chilean Comau Fjord sustains a dense population of the cold-water coral (CWC) Desmophyllum dianthus in aragonite supersaturated shallow and aragonite undersaturated deep water. This provides a rare opportunity to evaluate CWC fitness trade-offs in response to physico-chemical drivers and their variability. Here, we combined year-long reciprocal transplantation experiments along natural oceanographic gradients with an in situ assessment of CWC fitness. Following transplantation, corals acclimated fast to the novel environment with no discernible difference between native and novel (i.e. cross-transplanted) corals, demonstrating high phenotypic plasticity. Surprisingly, corals exposed to lowest aragonite saturation (Ωarag < 1) and temperature (T < 12.0 °C), but stable environmental conditions, at the deep station grew fastest and expressed the fittest phenotype. We found an inverse relationship between CWC fitness and environmental variability and propose to consider the high frequency fluctuations of abiotic and biotic factors to better predict the future of CWCs in a changing ocean.

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Physiological response to seawater pH of the bivalve Abra alba, a benthic ecosystem engineer, is modulated by low pH

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification reduces fitness and condition of a benthic ecosystem engineer.
  • Degree of acidification determines the presence of effects.
  • Ocean acidification decreased the energy intake of Abra alba.
  • Physiological response resulted in higher metabolic losses through increased excretion rates.
  • Physiological changes of benthic engineers likely induce cascading effects on the ecosystem.

Abstract

The presence and behaviour of bivalves can affect the functioning of seafloor sediments through the irrigation of deeper strata by feeding and respiring through siphonal channels. Here, we investigated the physiological response and consecutive impact on functioning and body condition of the white furrow shell Abra alba in three pH treatments (pH = 8.2, pH = 7.9 and pH = 7.7). Although no pH effect on survival was found, lowered respiration and calcification rates, decreased energy intake (lower absorption rate) and increased metabolic losses (increased excretion rates) occurred at pH ∼ 7.7. These physiological responses resulted in a negative Scope for Growth and a decreased condition index at this pH. This suggests that the physiological changes may not be sufficient to sustain survival in the long term, which would undoubtedly translate into consequences for ecosystem functioning.

Continue reading ‘Physiological response to seawater pH of the bivalve Abra alba, a benthic ecosystem engineer, is modulated by low pH’

Effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on the calcification rate, survival, extrapallial fluid chemistry, and respiration of the Atlantic sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus

Anthropogenic CO2-emission is causing ocean warming and acidification. Understanding how basic physiological processes of marine organisms respond to these stressors is important for predicting their responses to future global change. We examined the effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature (pCO2 = 344–2199 ppm; temperature = 6°C, 9°C, and 12°C) on the calcification rate, extrapallial fluid (EPF) carbonate chemistry, respiration, and survivorship of Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) in a fully crossed 143-d experiment. Rates of calcification and respiration were inhibited by elevated pCO2, and mortality occurred when elevated pCO2 was accompanied by high-temperature stress. Declines in growth and survivorship were likely caused by external shell dissolution, thermal stress, and hypercapnic reduction of metabolism under elevated pCO2. Concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity in the EPF increased above seawater concentrations in response to elevated pCO2. EPF pH declined, but did not decline as much as seawater pH, indicating that scallops regulate EPF pH to support calcification. The combination of EPF pH regulation and DIC elevation yielded an increase in EPF [CO2−3] under elevated pCO2 treatments. The combination of low respiration rates, high EPF [CO2−3], and low calcification rates under elevated pCO2 suggests that the impaired calcification arises more from hypercapnic inhibition of metabolic activity and external shell dissolution than from chemically unfavorable conditions in the EPF. These results demonstrate the importance of EPF chemistry for bivalve biomineralization, but show that regulation efforts are insufficient to fully offset the deleterious effects of elevated pCO2 on scallop performance.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on the calcification rate, survival, extrapallial fluid chemistry, and respiration of the Atlantic sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus’

Systematic review and meta-analysis of ocean acidification effects in Halimeda: implications for algal carbonate production

Highlights

  • Calcification responses to OA vary widely among Halimeda species (neutral, negative).
  • For some species, these responses also seem to be region-dependent.
  • Experimental evidence suggests future declines in Halimeda-derived CaCO3 production.
  • Occurrence and magnitude of declines will be determined by community composition.

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) has been identified as one of the major climate-change related threats, mainly due to its significant impacts on marine calcifiers. Among those are the calcareous green algae of the genus Halimeda that are known to be major carbonate producers in shallow tropical and subtropical seas. Hence, any negative OA impacts on these organisms may translate into significant declines in regional and global carbonate production. In this study, we compiled the available information regarding Halimeda spp. responses to OA (experimental, in situ), with special focus on the calcification responses, one of the most studied response parameters in this group. Furthermore, among the compiled studies (n = 31), we selected those reporting quantitative data of OA effects on algal net calcification in an attempt to identify potential general patterns of species- and/or regional-specific OA responses and hence, impacts on carbonate production. While obtaining general patterns was largely hampered by the often scarce number of studies on individual species and/or regions, the currently available information indicates species-specific susceptibility to OA, seemingly unrelated to evolutionary lineages (and associated differences in morphology), that is often accompanied by differences in a species’ response across different regions. Thus, for projections of future declines in Halimeda-associated carbonate production, we used available regional reports of species-specific carbonate production in conjunction with experimental OA responses for the respective species and regions. Based on the available information, declines can be expected worldwide, though some regions harbouring more sensitive species might be more impacted than others.

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Growth response of reef-building corals to ocean acidification is mediated by interplay of taxon-specific physiological parameters

Ocean acidification (OA) poses a major threat to calcifying organisms such as reef-building corals, typically leading to reduced calcification rates. Mechanisms to compensate the effects of OA on coral growth may, however, involve processes other than calcification. Yet, the physiological patterns mediating coral growth under OA are not fully understood, despite an extensive body of literature characterizing physiological changes in corals under OA. Therefore, we conducted a three-month laboratory experiment with six scleractinian coral species (Acropora humilisAcropora milleporaPocillopora damicornisPocillopora verrucosaPorites cylindrica, and Porites lutea) to assess physiological parameters that potentially characterize growth (calcification, volume, and surface area), maintenance (tissue biomass, and lipid and protein content), and cellular stress (apoptotic activity) response under ambient (pH 7.9) and low pH (pH 7.7). We identified genus- and species-specific physiological parameters potentially mediating the observed growth responses to low pH. We found no significant changes in calcification but species showed decreasing growth in volume and surface area, which occurred alongside changes in maintenance and cellular stress parameters that differed between genera and species. Acropora spp. showed elevated cellular stress and Pocillopora spp. showed changes in maintenance-associated parameters, while both genera largely maintained growth under low pH. Conversely, Porites spp. experienced the largest decreases in volume growth but showed no major changes in parameters related to maintenance or cellular stress. Our findings indicate that growth- and calcification-related responses alone may not fully reflect coral susceptibility to OA. They may also contribute to a better understanding of the complex physiological processes leading to differential growth changes of reef-building corals in response to low pH conditions.

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Calcification accretion units (CAUs): a standardized approach for quantifying recruitment and calcium carbonate accretion in marine habitats

  1. Standardized metrics that quantify a component of ecosystem functioning are essential for evaluating the current status of coastal marine habitats and for monitoring how ecologically important ecosystems are changing in response to global and local environmental change. Calcification accretion units (CAUs) are a standardized tool for quantifying net calcium carbonate accretion, early successional community structure, recruitment of algae and sessile invertebrates and other response metrics that can be determined from image analyses in coastal marine habitats.
  2. CAUs are comprised of paired-settlement tiles that are separated by a spacer. This design mimics the presence of different representative habitats that are common in most marine systems such as exposed benthic surfaces, cryptic spaces inaccessible to grazers and shaded overhangings. The protected space between the tiles facilitates recruitment and inclusion of cryptic taxa in community assemblage estimates. After a period of deployment, CAUs are photographed for image analysis and then decalcified to quantify calcium carbonate accretion rates.
  3. The CAU methodology provides a cost-effective, standardized protocol for evaluating structure and function in marine benthic habitats. We illustrate how CAU data can be used to compare accretion rates and the relative proportion of carbonate polymorphs in ecosystems across the globe.
  4. Here we provide a comprehensive standard operating procedure for building, deploying and processing CAUs, to ensure that a consistent protocol is used for accurate data collection and cross-system comparative studies.
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Changing hydrographic, biogeochemical, and acidification properties in the Gulf of Maine as measured by the Gulf of Maine North Atlantic Time Series, GNATS, between 1998 and 2018

The Gulf of Maine North Atlantic Time Series (GNATS) has been run since 1998, across the Gulf of Maine (GoM), between Maine and Nova Scotia. GNATS goals are to provide ocean color satellite validation and to examine change in this coastal ecosystem. We have sampled hydrographical, biological, chemical, biogeochemical, and bio-optical variables. After 2008, warm water intrusions (likely North Atlantic Slope Water [NASW]) were observed in the eastern GoM at 50–180 m depths. Shallow waters (<50 m) significantly warmed in winter, summer, and fall but cooled during spring. Surface salinity and density of the GoM also significantly increased over the 20 years. Phytoplankton standing stock and primary production showed highly-significant decreases during the period. Concentrations of phosphate increased, silicate decreased, residual nitrate [N*; nitrate-silicate] increased, and the ratio of dissolved inorganic nitrogen:phosphate decreased, suggesting increasing nitrogen limitation. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and its optical indices generally increased over two decades, suggesting changes to the DOC cycle. Surface seawater carbonate chemistry showed winter periods where the aragonite saturation (Ωar) dropped below 1.6 gulf-wide due to upward winter mixing of cool, corrosive water. However, associated with increased average GoM temperatures, Ωar has significantly increased. These results reinforce the hypothesis that the observed decrease in surface GoM primary production resulted from a switch from Labrador Sea Water to NASW entering the GoM. A multifactor analysis shows that decreasing GoM primary production is most significantly correlated to decreases in chlorophyll and particulate organic carbon plus increases in N* and temperature.

Continue reading ‘Changing hydrographic, biogeochemical, and acidification properties in the Gulf of Maine as measured by the Gulf of Maine North Atlantic Time Series, GNATS, between 1998 and 2018’

The role of pH up-regulation in response to nutrient-enriched, low-pH groundwater discharge

Highlights

  • Dual geochemical approach using δ11B and B/Ca to evaluate coral calcifying fluids from West Maui, Hawai’i.
  • NMR analysis confirms boron is present as borate with no evidence of boric acid inclusion.
  • Increased pH up-regulation in corals exposed to high nutrient / low pH submarine groundwater discharge.
  • Calcifying fluid aragonite saturate state 9 to 10 times higher than ambient seawater.
  • Up-regulation as an internal coping mechanism to combat multiple stressors from land-based sources of pollution.

Abstract

Coral reefs and their ecosystems are threatened by both global stressors, including increasing sea-surface temperatures and ocean acidification (OA), and local stressors such as land-based sources of pollution that can magnify the effects of OA. Corals can physiologically control the chemistry of their internal calcifying fluids (CF) and can thereby regulate their calcification process. Specifically, increasing aragonite saturation state in the CF (ΩCF) may allow corals to calcify even under external low saturation conditions. Questions remain regarding the physiological processes that govern the CF chemistry and how they change in response to multiple stressors. To address this knowledge gap, the boron systematics (δ11B and B/Ca) were analyzed in tropical corals, Porites lobata, collected at submarine groundwater seeps impacted by the release of treated wastewater in west Maui, Hawai’i, to document the interactions between high nutrient / low pH seep water on CF carbonate chemistry. Results show substantial up-regulation of pH and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) with respect to seawater in P. lobata corals collected from within the wastewater impacted area at Kahekili Beach Park compared to the control site at Olowalu Beach. The ΩCF was 9 to 10 times higher than ambient seawater Ω, and 13 to 26% higher than in corals from the control site and from previously observed in tropical Porites spp. corals. Such elevated up-regulation suggests that corals exposed to nutrient-enriched, low pH effluent sustain CF supersaturated with respect to aragonite, possibly as an internal coping mechanism to combat multiple stressors from land-based sources of pollution. This elevated up-regulation has implications to coral vulnerability to future climate- and ocean-change scenarios.

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Cessation of hardground accretion by the cold-water coralline algae Clathromorphum compactum and Clathromorphum nereostratum predicted within two centuries

Ocean acidification and warming are expected to disproportionately affect high-latitude calcifying species, such as crustose coralline algae. Clathromorphum nereostratum and Clathromorphum compactum are the primary builders of carbonate-hardgrounds in the Aleutians Islands of Alaska and North Atlantic shelf, respectively, providing habitat and settlement substrates for a large number of species. We exposed wild-collected specimens to 12 pCO2/T treatments (344–3322 μatm; 6.38–12.40°C) for 4 months in a factorially crossed, replicated laboratory experiment. Impacts of pCO2/T on algal calcification were quantified from linear extension and buoyant weight. Here we show that, despite belonging to the same genus, Cnereostratum exhibited greater sensitivity to thermal stress, while Ccompactum exhibited greater sensitivity to pH stress. Furthermore, multivariate models of algal calcification derived from the experiment indicate that both Cnereostratum and Ccompactum will commence net dissolution as early as 2120 and 2200 AD, respectively. Our results therefore indicate that near-term climate change may lead to substantial degradation of these species and loss of the critical hardground habitats that they form.

Continue reading ‘Cessation of hardground accretion by the cold-water coralline algae Clathromorphum compactum and Clathromorphum nereostratum predicted within two centuries’

Natural analogues in pH variability and predictability across the coastal Pacific estuaries: extrapolation of the increased oyster dissolution under increased pH amplitude and low predictability related to ocean acidification

Coastal-estuarine habitats are rapidly changing due to global climate change, with impacts influenced by the variability of carbonate chemistry conditions. However, our understanding of the responses of ecologically and economically important calcifiers to pH variability and temporal variation is limited, particularly with respect to shell-building processes. We investigated the mechanisms driving biomineralogical and physiological responses in juveniles of introduced (Pacific; Crassostrea gigas) and native (Olympia; Ostrea lurida) oysters under flow-through experimental conditions over a six-week period that simulate current and future conditions: static control and low pH (8.0 and 7.7); low pH with fluctuating (24-h) amplitude (7.7 ± 0.2 and 7.7 ± 0.5); and high-frequency (12-h) fluctuating (8.0 ± 0.2) treatment. The oysters showed physiological tolerance in vital processes, including calcification, respiration, clearance, and survival. However, shell dissolution significantly increased with larger amplitudes of pH variability compared to static pH conditions, attributable to the longer cumulative exposure to lower pH conditions, with the dissolution threshold of pH 7.7 with 0.2 amplitude. Moreover, the high-frequency treatment triggered significantly greater dissolution, likely because of the oyster’s inability to respond to the unpredictable frequency of variations. The experimental findings were extrapolated to provide context for conditions existing in several Pacific coastal estuaries, with time series analyses demonstrating unique signatures of pH predictability and variability in these habitats, indicating potentially benefiting effects on fitness in these habitats. These implications are crucial for evaluating the suitability of coastal habitats for aquaculture, adaptation, and carbon dioxide removal strategies.

Continue reading ‘Natural analogues in pH variability and predictability across the coastal Pacific estuaries: extrapolation of the increased oyster dissolution under increased pH amplitude and low predictability related to ocean acidification’

Understanding the impacts of environment and parasitism on Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) vulnerability to ocean acidification

The global process of ocean acidification caused by the absorption of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases the concentration of carbonate ions and reduces the associated seawater saturation state (ΩCaCO3) – making it more energetically costly for marine calcifying organisms to build their shells or skeletons. Bivalves are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of ocean acidification on calcification, and they inhabit estuaries and coastal zones – regions most susceptible to ocean acidification. However, the response of an individual to elevated pCO2 can depend on the carbonate chemistry dynamics of its current environment and the environment of its parents. Additionally, an organism’s response to ocean acidification can depend on its ability to control the chemistry at the site of calcification. Biotic and abiotic stressors can modify bivalves’ control of calcifying fluid chemistry – known as extrapallial fluid (EPF). Understanding the responses of bivalves – which are foundation species – to ocean acidification is essential for predicting the impacts of oceanic change on marine communities. This dissertation uses a culturally, ecologically, and economically important bivalve in the northwest Atlantic – the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) – to explore the effects of environment and species interactions on responses to elevated pCO2.

Chapter 2 describes a field study that characterized diurnal and seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics of two estuaries in the Gulf of Maine that support Eastern oyster populations. The estuaries were monitored at high temporal resolution (half-hourly) over four years (2018-2021) using pH and conductivity loggers. Measured pH, salinity, and temperature were used to calculate carbonate chemistry parameters. Both estuaries exhibited strong seasonal and diurnal fluctuations in carbonate chemistry. They also experienced pCO2 values that greatly exceeded current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and those projected for the year 2100.

Chapter 3 describes a laboratory experiment that examined the capacity of intergenerational exposure to mitigate the adverse effects of ocean acidification on larval growth, shell morphology, and survival. Adult oysters were cultured in control or elevated pCO2 conditions for 30 days then crossed using a North Carolina II cross design. Larvae were grown for three days under control and elevated pCO2 conditions. Intergenerational exposure to elevated pCO2 conditions benefited early larval growth and shell morphology, but not survival. However, parental exposure was insufficient to completely counteract the adverse effects of the elevated pCO2 treatment on shell formation and survival.

Chapter 4 describes a laboratory experiment that examined the interplay between ocean acidification and parasite-host dynamics. Eastern oysters infested and not infested with bioeroding sponge (Cliona sp.) were cultured under three pCO2 conditions (539, 1040, 3294 ppm) and two temperatures (23, 27˚C) for 70 days to assess oyster control of EPF chemistry, growth, and survival. Bioeroding sponge infestation and elevated pCO2 reduced oyster net calcification and EPF pH but did not affect condition or survival. Infested oyster EPF pH was consistently lower than seawater pH, while EPF dissolved inorganic carbon was consistently elevated relative to seawater. These findings suggested that infested oysters effectively precipitated repair shell to prevent seawater intrusion into extrapallial fluid through bore holes across all treatments.

Chapter 5 characterizes the concentration of a suite of 56 elements normalized to calcium in EPF and shell of Crassostrea virginica grown under three pCO2 conditions (570, 990, 2912 ppm) and sampled at four timepoints (days 2, 9, 79, 101) to assess effects of pCO2 on organismal control of EPF and shell elemental composition and EPF-to-shell elemental partitioning. Elevated pCO2 significantly influenced the relative abundance of elements in the EPF (29) and shell (13) and altered EPF-to-shell elemental partitioning for 45 elements. Importantly, elevated pCO2 significantly influenced the concentration of several elements in C. virginica shell that are used in other biogenic carbonates as paleo-proxies for other environmental parameters. This result suggests that elevated pCO2 could influence the accuracy of paleo reconstructions.

Overall, this dissertation provides insights that can help improve our understanding of past, present, and future ocean environments. Understanding current local carbonate chemistry dynamics and the capacity for C. virginica to acclimate intergenerationally to elevated pCO2 can inform site and stock selection for aquaculture and restoration efforts. Studying parasite-host environment interactions provides critical insights into the potential for parasitism to alter responses to future ocean acidification. Finally, exploring the impact of elevated pCO2 on elemental composition of EPF and shell allowed us to understand better biomineralization processes, identify potential proxies for seawater pCO2 in bivalves, and offer insights that could help improve the accuracy of paleo reconstructions.

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Effects of seawater pCO2 on the skeletal morphology of massive Porites spp. corals

Ocean acidification alters the dissolved inorganic carbon chemistry of seawater and can reduce the calcification rates of tropical corals. Here we explore the effect of altering seawater pCO2 on the skeletal morphology of 4 genotypes of massive Porites spp. which display widely different calcification rates. Increasing seawater pCO2 causes significant changes in in the skeletal morphology of all Porites spp. studied regardless of whether or not calcification was significantly affected by seawater pCO2. Both the median calyx size and the proportion of skeletal surface occupied by the calices decreased significantly at 750 µatm compared to 400 µatm indicating that polyp size shrinks in this genus in response to ocean acidification. The coenosteum, connecting calices, expands to occupy a larger proportion of the coral surface to compensate for this decrease in calyx area. At high seawater pCO2 the spines deposited at the skeletal surface became more numerous and the trabeculae (vertical skeletal pillars) became significantly thinner in 2 of the 4 genotypes. The effect of high seawater pCO2 is most pronounced in the fastest growing coral and the regular placement of trabeculae and synapticulae is disturbed in this genotype resulting in a skeleton that is more randomly organised. The study demonstrates that ocean acidification decreases the polyp size and fundamentally alters the architecture of the skeleton in this major reef building species from the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

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Effect of low pH on growth and shell mechanical properties of the Peruvian scallop Argopecten purpuratus (Lamarck, 1819)

Highlights

  • Argopecten purpuratus shell growth was reduced by 9% in low pH exposure.
  • A. purpuratus net calcification was reduced about 10% in low pH exposure.
  • Shell microhardness of A. purpuratus was positively affected by low pH.

Abstract

Dissolution of anthropogenic CO2 modifies seawater pH, leading to ocean acidification, which might affect calcifying organisms such as bivalve mollusks. Along the Peruvian coast, however, natural conditions of low pH (7.6–8.0) are encountered in the habitat of the Peruvian scallop (Argopecten purpuratus), as a consequence of the nearby coastal upwelling influence. To understand the effects of low pH in a species adapted to these environmental conditions, an experiment was performed to test its consequences on growth, calcification, dissolution, and shell mechanical properties in juvenile Peruvian scallops. During 28 days, scallops (initial mean height = 14 mm) were exposed to two contrasted pH conditions: a control with unmanipulated seawater presenting pH conditions similar to those found in situ (pHT = 7.8) and a treatment, in which CO2 was injected to reduce pH to 7.4. At the end of the experiment, shell height and weight, and growth and calcification rates were reduced about 6%, 20%, 9%, and 10% respectively in the low pH treatment. Mechanical properties, such as microhardness were positively affected in the low pH condition and crushing force did not show differences between pH treatments. Final soft tissue weights were not significantly affected by low pH. This study provides evidence of low pH change shell properties increasing the shell microhardness in Peruvian scallops, which implies protective functions. However, the mechanisms behind this response need to be studied in a global change context.

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The coral reef-dwelling Peneroplis spp. shows calcification recovery to ocean acidification conditions

Large Benthic Foraminifera are a crucial component of coral-reef ecosystems, which are currently threatened by ocean acidification. We conducted culture experiments to evaluate the impact of low pH on survival and test dissolution of the symbiont-bearing species Peneroplis spp., and to observe potential calcification recovery when specimens are placed back under reference pH value (7.9). We found that Peneroplis spp. displayed living activity up to 3 days at pH 6.9 (Ωcal < 1) or up to 1 month at pH 7.4 (Ωcal > 1), despite the dark and unfed conditions. Dissolution features were observed under low Ωcal values, such as changes in test density, peeled extrados layers, and decalcified tests with exposed organic linings. A new calcification phase started when specimens were placed back at reference pH. This calcification’s resumption was an addition of new chambers without reparation of the dissolved parts, which is consistent with the porcelaneous calcification pathway of Peneroplis spp. The most decalcified specimens displayed a strong survival response by adding up to 8 new chambers, and the contribution of food supply in this process was highlighted. These results suggest that porcelaneous LBF species have some recovery abilities to short exposure (e.g., 3 days to 1 month) to acidified conditions. However, the geochemical signature of trace elements in the new calcite was impacted, and the majority of the new chambers were distorted and resulted in abnormal tests, which might hinder the specimens’ reproduction and thus their survival on the long term.

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Effects of seawater acidification on echinoid adult stage: a review

The continuous release of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing the acidity of seawater worldwide, and the pH is predicted to be reduced by ~0.4 units by 2100. Ocean acidification (OA) is changing the carbonate chemistry, jeopardizing the life of marine organisms, and in particular calcifying organisms. Because of their calcareous skeleton and limited ability to regulate the acid–base balance, echinoids are among the organisms most threatened by OA. In this review, 50 articles assessing the effects of seawater acidification on the echinoid adult stage have been collected and summarized, in order to identify the most important aspects to consider for future experiments. Most of the endpoints considered (i.e., related to calcification, physiology, behaviour and reproduction) were altered, highlighting how various and subtle the effects of pH reduction can be. In general terms, more than 43% of the endpoints were modified by low pH compared with the control condition. However, animals exposed in long-term experiments or resident in CO2-vent systems showed acclimation capability. Moreover, the latitudinal range of animals’ distribution might explain some of the differences found among species. Therefore, future experiments should consider local variability, long-term exposure and multigenerational approaches to better assess OA effects on echinoids.

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Coral calcification mechanisms in a warming ocean and the interactive effects of temperature and light

Ocean warming is transforming the world’s coral reefs, which are governed by the growth of marine calcifiers, most notably branching corals. Critical to skeletal growth is the corals’ regulation of their internal chemistry to promote calcification. Here we investigate the effects of temperature and light on the calcifying fluid chemistry (using boron isotope systematics), calcification rates, metabolic rates and photo-physiology of Acropora nasuta during two mesocosm experiments simulating seasonal and static temperature and light regimes. Under the seasonal regime, coral calcification rates, calcifying fluid carbonate chemistry, photo-physiology and metabolic productivity responded to both changes in temperature and light. However, under static conditions the artificially prolonged exposure to summer temperatures resulted in heat stress and a heightened sensitivity to light. Our results indicate that temperature and light effects on coral physiology and calcification mechanisms are interactive and context-specific, making it essential to conduct realistic multi-variate dynamic experiments in order to predict how coral calcification will respond to ocean warming.

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The combined effects of ocean acidification and copper on the physiological responses of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata

Highlights

  • Exposure to increased Cu concentrations suppressed coral calcification.
  • Calcification was suppressed further when exposed to Cu under high pCO2.
  • Respiration decreased after two weeks when stressors were applied in combination.

Abstract

A decrease in ocean pH of 0.3 units will likely double the proportion of dissolved copper (Cu) present as the free metal ion, Cu2+, the most bioavailable form of Cu, and one of the most common marine pollutants. We assess the impact of ocean acidification and Cu, separately and in combination, on calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of sub-colonies of a single tropical Stylophora pistillata colony. After 15 days of treatment, total calcification rates were significantly decreased in corals exposed to high seawater pCO2 (∼1000-μatm, 2100 scenario) and at both ambient (1.6–1.9 nmols) and high (2.5–3.6 nmols) dissolved Cu concentrations compared to controls. The effect was increased when both stressors were combined. Coral respiration rates were significantly reduced by the combined stressors after 2 weeks of exposure, indicating the importance of experiment duration. It is therefore likely rising atmospheric CO2 will exacerbate the negative effects of Cu pollution to S. pistillata.

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Meta-analysis reveals variance in tolerance to climate change across marine trophic levels

Highlights

  • First meta-analysis to determine climate change impacts on marine trophic levels
  • Extensive compilations of results from 1278 experiments, spanning 236 species and 18 phyla
  • Multi-level meta-analytic approach was used to deal with data non-independency.
  • Herbivore was the most sensitive level to climate change.
  • Higher trophic levels show stronger tolerance to climatic stressor.

Abstract

Marine ecosystems are currently facing a variety of anthropogenic perturbations, including climate change. Trophic differences in response to climate change may disrupt ecological interactions and thereby threaten marine ecosystem function. Yet, we still do not have a comprehensive understanding of how different trophic levels respond to climate change stressors in marine ecosystems. By including 1278 experiments, comprising 236 different marine species from 18 different phyla in a meta-analysis of studies measuring the direct effect of ocean acidification and ocean warming on marine organisms, we found that higher trophic level species display greater tolerance to ocean acidification but greater sensitivity to warming. In contrast, marine herbivores were the most vulnerable trophic level to both acidification and warming. Such imbalances in the community and a general reduction of biodiversity and biomass in lower trophic levels can significantly disrupt the system and could drive negative bottom-up effects. In conclusion, with ocean acidification and elevated temperatures, there is an alarming risk that trophic disparity may disrupt species interactions, and thereby drive community destabilization under ocean climate change.

Continue reading ‘Meta-analysis reveals variance in tolerance to climate change across marine trophic levels’

Physiological acclimatization in Hawaiian corals following a 22-month shift in baseline seawater temperature and pH

Climate change poses a major threat to coral reefs. We conducted an outdoor 22-month experiment to investigate if coral could not just survive, but also physiologically cope, with chronic ocean warming and acidification conditions expected later this century under the Paris Climate Agreement. We recorded survivorship and measured eleven phenotypic traits to evaluate the holobiont responses of Hawaiian coral: color, Symbiodiniaceae density, calcification, photosynthesis, respiration, total organic carbon flux, carbon budget, biomass, lipids, protein, and maximum Artemia capture rate. Survivorship was lowest in Montipora capitata and only some survivors were able to meet metabolic demand and physiologically cope with future ocean conditions. Most M. capitata survivors bleached through loss of chlorophyll pigments and simultaneously experienced increased respiration rates and negative carbon budgets due to a 236% increase in total organic carbon losses under combined future ocean conditions. Porites compressa and Porites lobata had the highest survivorship and coped well under future ocean conditions with positive calcification and increased biomass, maintenance of lipids, and the capacity to exceed their metabolic demand through photosynthesis and heterotrophy. Thus, our findings show that significant biological diversity within resilient corals like Porites, and some genotypes of sensitive species, will persist this century provided atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are controlled. Since Porites corals are ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans and often major reef builders, the persistence of this resilient genus provides hope for future reef ecosystem function globally.

Continue reading ‘Physiological acclimatization in Hawaiian corals following a 22-month shift in baseline seawater temperature and pH’

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