Posts Tagged 'community composition'

Bacterial community responses during a possible CO2 leaking from sub-seabed storage in marine polluted sediments

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a viable option to reduce high concentrations of CO2 and mitigate their negative effects. This option has associated risks such as possible CO2 leakage from the storage sites. So far, negative effects deriving from a CO2 release have been reported for benthic macrofauna in both polluted and nonpolluted sediments. However, bacterial communities has no considered. In this work, risk assessment was carried out in order to evaluate the possible effects in a contaminated area considering bacterial responses (total number of cells, respiring activity, changes in the bacterial community composition and diversity). Four microcosms were placed into an integrated CO2 injection system with a non-pressurized chamber to simulate four different pH treatments (pH control 7.8, 7, 6.5 and 6). Results showed an impact on bacterial communities because of the CO2 treatment. Changes in respiring activity, community composition groups and diversity were found. This study highlights the use of respiring bacteria activity not only as bioindicator for environmental risk assessment and monitoring purposes but also as a bioindicador during a CO2 leakage event or CO2 enrichment process among all the responses studied.

Continue reading ‘Bacterial community responses during a possible CO2 leaking from sub-seabed storage in marine polluted sediments’

Impact of ocean acidification on Arctic phytoplankton blooms and dimethyl sulfide concentration under simulated ice-free and under-ice conditions (update)

In an experimental assessment of the potential impact of Arctic Ocean acidification on seasonal phytoplankton blooms and associated dimethyl sulfide (DMS) dynamics, we incubated water from Baffin Bay under conditions representing an acidified Arctic Ocean. Using two light regimes simulating under-ice or subsurface chlorophyll maxima (low light; low PAR and no UVB) and ice-free (high light; high PAR + UVA + UVB) conditions, water collected at 38 m was exposed over 9 days to 6 levels of decreasing pH from 8.1 to 7.2. A phytoplankton bloom dominated by the centric diatoms Chaetoceros spp. reaching up to 7.5 µg chlorophyll a L−1 took place in all experimental bags. Total dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSPT) and DMS concentrations reached 155 and 19 nmol L−1, respectively. The sharp increase in DMSPT and DMS concentrations coincided with the exhaustion of NO3− in most microcosms, suggesting that nutrient stress stimulated DMS(P) synthesis by the diatom community. Under both light regimes, chlorophyll a and DMS concentrations decreased linearly with increasing proton concentration at all pH levels tested. Concentrations of DMSPT also decreased but only under high light and over a smaller pH range (from 8.1 to 7.6). In contrast to nano-phytoplankton (2–20 µm), pico-phytoplankton ( ≤  2 µm) was stimulated by the decreasing pH. We furthermore observed no significant difference between the two light regimes tested in term of chlorophyll a, phytoplankton abundance and taxonomy, and DMSP and DMS net concentrations. These results show that ocean acidification could significantly decrease the algal biomass and inhibit DMS production during the seasonal phytoplankton bloom in the Arctic, with possible consequences for the regional climate.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on Arctic phytoplankton blooms and dimethyl sulfide concentration under simulated ice-free and under-ice conditions (update)’

Species composition of microzooplankton Tintinnid from the coastal waters of Digha, Bay of Bengal

Tintinnid species distribution and hydrography were studied in the coastal waters of Digha during winter (November 2015) and summer (March 2016) seasons. Surface water samples were collected from 11 different stations from 0 to 10 km offshore with the help of a mechanized trawler. Parameters like tintinnid species enumeration, zooplankton biomass, phytoplankton concentration (total chlorophyll) and abundance, sea surface temperature (SST), pH, transparency, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), total phosphate, silicate and nitrate were analysed. A total of 20 different tintinnid species (16 agglomerated +4 non-agglomerated) belonging to 6 genera were recorded from the study area with seasonal variation in tintinnid diversity, i.e. higher in summer (total 2745 individual/l) compared to winter (total 1191 individual/l). Tintinnopsis was the most dominant genus during both the seasons, i.e. 2100 individual/l in summer and 727 individual/l in winter, contributing about 76 and 61% population for the respective seasons. The correlation between species and water quality parameters showed that Tintinnopsis sp. abundance was significantly regulated by nitrate concentration, salinity, dissolved oxygen, water transparency and pH. However, the mentioned hydrological parameters were not the only factors regulating the tintinnid abundance. Tintinnid abundance was also found to be positively related with transparency (r = 0.732) and salinity (r = 0.524) and moderately related with dissolved oxygen (r = 0.488) whereas strong negative relation (at p ≤ 0.05) was established between tintinnid abundance with nitrate (r = −0.681) and pH (r = −0.561). Bray-Curtis cluster analysis of tintinnid species showed more than 60% similarity. Shannon’s diversity index (H′), Simpson’s evenness index (D) and Margalef’s species richness index were found to be higher in summer, i.e. 1.61, 0.729 and 1.612, compared to the winter season, i.e. 1.139, 0.597 and 1.268. k-dominance curve showed maximum abundance of Tintinnopsis baltica in winter and Tintinnopsis gracilis in summer. Principal component analysis (PCA) was analysed to find out the environmental variables affecting different tintinnid species diversity. A significant spatiotemporal variation in Tintinnid population distribution was observed from two-way ANOVA. The results reflect significant seasonal (F = 840.0), spatial (F = 47.3) and interactive variation (F = 71.2) among the ciliate microzooplankton at n = 66, p ≤ 0.001. High chlorophyll content and phytoplankton population in summer indicated that tintinnid diversity in the season was positively influenced by producer community in coastal waters of Digha.

Continue reading ‘Species composition of microzooplankton Tintinnid from the coastal waters of Digha, Bay of Bengal’

Low planktic foraminiferal diversity and abundance observed in a spring 2013 west–east Mediterranean Sea plankton tow transect (update)

Planktic foraminifera were collected with 150 µm BONGO nets from the upper 200 m water depth at 20 stations across the Mediterranean Sea between 2 May and 2 June 2013. The main aim is to characterize the species distribution and test the covariance between foraminiferal area density (ρA) and seawater carbonate chemistry in a biogeochemical gradient including ultraoligotrophic conditions. Average foraminifera abundances are 1.42 ± 1.43 ind. 10 m−3 (ranging from 0.11 to 5.20 ind. 10 m−3), including 12 morphospecies. Large differences in species assemblages and total abundances are observed between the different Mediterranean sub-basins, with an overall dominance of spinose, symbiont-bearing species indicating oligotrophic conditions. The highest values in absolute abundance are found in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea. The western basin is dominated by Globorotalia inflata and Globigerina bulloides at slightly lower standing stocks than in the eastern basin. In contrast, the planktic foraminiferal assemblage in the warmer, saltier, and more nutrient-limited eastern basin is dominated by Globigerinoides ruber (white). These new results, when combined with previous findings, suggest that temperature-induced surface water stratification and food availability are the main factors controlling foraminiferal distribution. In the oligotrophic and highly alkaline and supersaturated with respect to calcite and aragonite Mediterranean surface water, standing stocks and ρA of G. ruber (white) and G. bulloides are affected by both food availability and seawater carbonate chemistry. Rapid warming increased surface ocean stratification impacting food availability and changes in trophic conditions could be the causes of reduced foraminiferal abundance, diversity, and species-specific changes in planktic foraminiferal calcification.

Continue reading ‘Low planktic foraminiferal diversity and abundance observed in a spring 2013 west–east Mediterranean Sea plankton tow transect (update)’

The future for microplankton in the Baltic Sea – Effects of SWS and climate change

The Baltic Sea is located between 53°N to 66°N and from 10°E to 30°E and is the second largest brackish water body in the world. It consists of several basins where the Baltic Proper is the major water mass. Around 85 million people live in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea, which subjects it to a range of environmental pressures, such as increased nutrient inputs from human activities (eutrophication), shipping, over-fishing, acid rain and trace metals released from anti-fouling paint. All these stressors, combined with low alkalinity, variable salinity and limited water exchange, makes the Baltic Sea a very sensitive area that may be less resilient to future stressors such as climate change or increased shipping activities. Microplankton communities consist of small heterotrophic bacteria, picoplankton, phytoplankton, cyanobacteria and smaller grazers, such as ciliates and zooplankton. In the Baltic Proper, there is a succession of blooms, within the microplankton community, from diatoms and dinoflagellates in the early spring to cyanobacteria during summer and ending with a second diatom and dinoflagellate bloom in the autumn. The cyanobacteria of the Baltic Proper bloom every summer and are dominated by Aphanizomenon sp. and Nodularia spumigena. Dolichospermum spp. is present but is less abundant. The effects of climate change were tested on a natural microplankton community, as well as on isolated cyanobacteria species from the Baltic Sea. To simulate effects of climate change, the temperature was increased from 12°C to 16°C, salinity decreased from 6-7 to 3-4 and atmospheric pCO2-levels was increased from 380 ppm to 960 ppm. The biovolume of Aphanizomenon sp. and N. spumigena increased when temperature was increased by 4°C. When salinity was decreased by three units, both the growth and photosynthetic activity of N. spumigena were reduced while Aphanizomenon sp. was unaffected, and the growth of Dolichospermum sp. was increased. Furthermore, present-day salinities were beneficial, in terms of increased biovolumes, of diatoms, dinoflagellates and ciliates, compared to reduced future salinity. Increased atmospheric pCO2 had no effect on any of the species in the microplankton community. These results show that the future microplankton community may be positive, in terms of increased biovolume, for the cyanobacteria species Aphanizomenon sp. and Dolichospermum spp. An increase of cyanobacteria blooms may open up to the possibility to grow and/or harvest these species as a source of biofuel or fatty acids (FA). Dolichospermum sp. yielded higher total FA content per biovolume, compared to the other two cyanobacteria species in phosphorus-depleted medium and Aphanizomenon sp. in nitrogen-depleted medium. Natural nutrient levels in the Baltic Proper are low both in nitrogen and phosphorus, which indicates a possible future market for biofuel and FA technologies. Additionally, the effects of seawater scrubbing (SWS) were tested on a natural summer-bloom microplankton community. Three different concentrations of scrubber water were added; 1%, 3% and 10%. To elucidate effects of decreased pH alone, water acidified with H2SO4 was added in equal concentrations. The six treatments were compared to a control without acidifying substances. SWS or the corresponding pH treatments, did not have a direct effect on microplankton species composition and biovolume. However, the increased amount of Cu and Zn in the scrubber water, combined with significant decrease in pH and alkalinity already at the 1% scrubber water treatment calls for precaution when implementing scrubber units on the shipping fleet of the Baltic Sea. The accumulated effects of long-term repeated addition constantly throughout the year, i.e. in a shipping lane, are yet to be elucidated.

Continue reading ‘The future for microplankton in the Baltic Sea – Effects of SWS and climate change’

Structural and functional organization of fish assemblages in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent

The “business-as-usual emission scenario” simulated by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) suggests that atmospheric CO2 levels could approach 800 ppm by the end of the century. Corresponding biogeochemical models indicate that surface ocean water pH will drop from a pre-industrial value of about 8.2 to 7.8 within 2100 (Feely et al., 2010). This phenomenon known as “Ocean Acidification” (OA) is caused by the increasing CO2 emissions due to anthropic activities, with a current consequence decrease of about 0.1 unit of pH (Caldeira & Wickett 2003) that is having effects on seawater carbonate chemistry and on marine ecosystems. Many short-term laboratory experiments have shown the effects of OA on marine calcareous organisms (Doney et al., 2009), but also on not-calcifying ones. For instance, experiments on fish have revealed effects on physiological and behavioral aspects (Dixson et al., 2010; Munday et al., 2009), but many other aspects are still unknown (Ishimatsu et al., 2008). On the other hand, field experiments have been conducted in naturally acidified marine ecosystems, known as CO2 vents, which are currently investigated to study the long-term effects of OA on species, communities and ecological processes (Hall-Spencer et al. 2008).

Shallow CO₂ vents are widespread in Mediterranean (Dando et al., 1999) and represent a sort of natural mesocosms, where marked pH gradients are present at small spatial scales. The aim of this PhD project is to assess the effect of high pCO2/low pH on the structural and functional organization of fish assemblages in a Mediterranean shallow CO₂ vent (Aeolian Archipelago, NE Sicily). In particular, we compare the responses of a chronic exposed fish assemblage living near the primary vent (mean pH = 7.8; hereafter “Low pH”) with other two fish assemblages living at normal pH (mean pH = 8.2; hereafter “Control 1” and “Control 2”) in Vulcano and Lipari Islands. We hypothesized that the organization of fish assemblage at the low pH site is different from that in controls. To test our hypothesis we use several descriptors and different methodologies. First, we compared fish community structure by using Underwater Visual Census technique to assess species richness and abundance (frequency of occurrence). Then we carried out samplings to evaluate trophic organization of fish assemblages (we used stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to analyze food web and trophic levels), bioaccumulation and biomagnification of trace elements (concentration and bio-availability of several trace elements, also toxic ones, may increase due to direct input from the vent and to peculiar pH and Eh conditions), and the characteristics of carbonate structures like otoliths (to assess the effect of acidification on these structures by morphological analysis). Otoliths are also used as natural tags to study fish “site fidelity” of this particular site through microchemistry analysis of trace elements and isotopic composition.

This study provided a complete and exhaustive frame of fish assemblages structure and trophic organization at different pH levels. As scant data are available in the literature on this topic, the results of this research provide information about the ecological effects of long-term exposure to high CO2 levels on fish, a key biological component whose monitoring is relevant not only from the ecological side, but also for the economic one and for the implications on human health. Moreover, this study confirms the importance to use the naturally acidified environments to test ecological hypotheses on the effects of OA on communities and ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Structural and functional organization of fish assemblages in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent’

Large-scale seaweed cultivation diverges water and sediment microbial communities in the coast of Nan’ao Island, South China Sea

Seaweed cultivation not only provides economy benefits, but also remediates the environment contaminated by mariculture of animals (e.g., fish, shrimps). However, the response of microbial communities to seaweed cultivation is poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the diversity, composition, and structure of water and sediment microbial communities at a seaweed, Gracilaria lemaneiformis, cultivation zone and a control zone near Nan’ao Island, South China Sea by MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. We found that large-scale cultivation of G. lemaneiformis increased dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH but decreased inorganic nutrients, possibly due to nutrient uptake, photosynthesis and other physiological processes of G. lemaneiformis. These environmental changes significantly (adonis, P < 0.05) shifted the microbial community composition and structure of both water column and sediment samples in the G. lemaneiformis cultivation zone, compared to the control zone. Also, certain microbial taxa associated with seaweed, such as Arenibacter, Croceitalea, Glaciecola, Leucothrix and Maribacter were enriched at the cultivation zone. In addition, we have proposed a conceptual model to summarize the results in this study and guide future studies on relationships among seaweed processes, microbial communities and their environments. Thus, this study not only provides new insights into our understanding the effect of G. lemaneiformis cultivation on microbial communities, but also guides future studies on coastal ecosystems.

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