Posts Tagged 'communityMF'

The ability of fragmented kelp forests to mitigate ocean acidification and the effects of seasonal upwelling on kelp-purple sea urchin interactions

Bull kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana) forests along the coast for northern California have decreased dramatically as a result of a ‘perfect storm’ of multiple environmental stressors. The disappearance of a predatory sea star and subsequent increase in purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) and the recurrence of marine heat waves have caused these once diverse ecosystems to be rapidly converted into relative species-depauperate urchin barrens. By examining the interactive effects of both a rapidly changing abiotic environment and the increase in urchin grazing pressure that is affecting this vital ecosystem, we can better understand its ultimate fate and make better-informed decisions to manage and protect it. As once large and persistent kelp forests are converted into fragmented landscapes of small kelp patches, kelp’s ability to take up dissolved inorganic carbon and reduce nearby acidity and increase both dissolved oxygen and bio-available calcium carbonate may be reduced, preventing it from serving as an environmental stress-free ‘oasis’ of reduced environmental stresses for local marine organisms and affecting ecosystem dynamics. In my first chapter, I examined whether small, fragmented kelp patches are able to retain their ability to alter local seawater chemistry to the same extent a large persistent kelp forests that have been studied previously. I found that in the canopies of small kelp patches, multiple parameters of carbonate chemistry fluctuated more than in the kelp benthos and in adjacent urchin barrens, consistent with metabolic activity by the kelp. Further, kelp fragments increased pH and aragonite saturation and decreased pCO2 during the day to a similar degree as large, intact kelp forests. These results suggest that small kelp patches could mitigate OA stress during the day and serve as spatial and temporal refugia for canopy-dwelling organisms. I also found that the benthic environment in kelp forests and adjacent urchin barrens is subject to unbuffered decreases in temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH. Thus, in chapter two, I assessed how current-day and future-predicted fluctuations in the duration and magnitude of these upwelling-associated stressors would impact the grazing, growth, and survivorship of purple urchins from kelp forest and urchin barren habitats. With upwelling predicted to increase in both intensity and duration with global climate change, understanding whether urchins from different habitats are differentially affected by upwelling-related stressors will give insight into how current and future stressors may be able to help ‘tip the scales’ and convert the increasing number of urchin barrens back into healthy productive kelp forests. I found condition-dependent susceptibility in urchins to increased magnitude and duration upwelling-related stressors. Grazing and gonadal development in kelp forest urchins was most negatively affected by distant future upwelling conditions, whereas in urchin barren urchins, grazing and survival were sensitive to exposure to upwelling in general, and also to increase in magnitudes of acidity, hypoxia, and temperature across both upwelling and non-upwelling events in the future. These results have important implications for population dynamics of urchins and their interactions with bull kelp, which could strongly affect ecosystem dynamics and transitions between kelp forests and urchin barrens. Taken together, the two chapters my thesis provide valuable insight into the potential resilience of bull kelp, a critical foundation species in northeastern Pacific coastal habitats, in the face of a rapidly changing multi-stressor environment.

Continue reading ‘The ability of fragmented kelp forests to mitigate ocean acidification and the effects of seasonal upwelling on kelp-purple sea urchin interactions’

External pH modulation during the growth of Vibrio tapetis , the etiological agent of Brown Ring Disease

Brown Ring Disease (BRD) is an infection of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum due to the pathogen Vibrio tapetis . During BRD, clams are facing immunodepression and shell biomineralization alteration. In this paper, we studied the role of pH on the growth of the pathogen and formulated hypothesis on the establishment of BRD by V. tapetis .

Methods and Results
In this study, we monitored the evolution of pH during the growth of V. tapetis in a range of pH and temperatures. We also measured the pH of Manila clam hemolymph and extrapallial fluids during infection by V. tapetis . We highlighted that V. tapetis modulates the external pH during its growth, to a value of 7.70. During the development of BRD, V. tapetis also influences extrapallial fluids and hemolymph pH in vitro in the first hours of exposure and in vivo after 3 days of infection.

Our experiments have shown a close interaction between V. tapetis CECT4600, a pathogen of Manila clam that induces BRD, and the pH of different compartments of the animals during infection. These results indicate that that the bacterium, through a direct mechanism or as a consequence of physiological changes encountered in the animal during infection, is able to interfere with the pH of Manila clam fluids. This pH modification might promote the infection process or at least create an imbalance within the animal, that would favor its persistence. This last hypothesis should be tested in future experiment.

Significance and Impact of Study
This study is the first observation of pH modifications in the context of BRD and might orient future research on the fine mechanisms of pH modulation associated to BRD.

Continue reading ‘External pH modulation during the growth of Vibrio tapetis , the etiological agent of Brown Ring Disease’

High CO2 and warming affect microzooplankton food web dynamics in a Baltic Sea summer plankton community

Aquatic ecosystems face a multitude of environmental stressors, including warming and acidification. While warming is expected to have a pronounced effect on plankton communities, many components of the plankton seem fairly robust towards realistic end-of-century acidification conditions. However, interactions of the two stressors and the inclusion of further factors such as nutrient concentration and trophic interactions are expected to change this outcome. We investigated the effects of warming and high CO2 on a nutrient-deplete late summer plankton community from the Kiel Fjord, Baltic Sea, using a mesocosm setup crossing two temperatures with a gradient of CO2. Phytoplankton and microzooplankton (MZP) growth rates as well as biomass, taxonomic composition, and grazing rates of MZP were analysed. We observed effects of high CO2, warming, and their interactions on all measured parameters. The occurrence and direction of the effects were dependent on the phytoplankton or MZP community composition. In addition, the abundance of small-sized phytoplankton was identified as one of the most important factors in shaping the MZP community composition. Overall, our results indicate that an estuarine MZP community used to strong natural fluctuations in CO2 can still be affected by a moderate increase in CO2 if it occurs in combination with warming and during a nutrient-deplete post-bloom situation. This highlights the importance of including trophic interactions and seasonality aspects when assessing climate change effects on marine zooplankton communities.

Continue reading ‘High CO2 and warming affect microzooplankton food web dynamics in a Baltic Sea summer plankton community’

Model simulation of seasonal growth of Fucus vesiculosus in its benthic community

Numerical models are a suitable tool to quantify impacts of predicted climate change on complex ecosystems but are rarely used to study effects on benthic macroalgal communities. Fucus vesiculosus L. is a habitat‐forming macroalga in the Baltic Sea and alarming shifts from the perennial Fucus community to annual filamentous algae are reported. We developed a box model able to simulate the seasonal growth of the Baltic Fucus–grazer–epiphyte system. This required the implementation of two state variables for Fucus biomass in units of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Model equations describe relevant physiological and ecological processes, such as storage of C and N assimilates by Fucus, shading effects of epiphytes or grazing by herbivores on both Fucus and epiphytes, but with species‐specific rates and preferences. Parametrizations of the model equations and required initial conditions were based on measured parameters and process rates in the near‐natural Kiel Outdoor Benthocosm (KOB) experiments during the Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification project. To validate the model, we compared simulation results with observations in the KOB experiment that lasted from April 2013 until March 2014 under ambient and climate‐change scenarios, that is, increased atmospheric temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide. The model reproduced the magnitude and seasonal cycles of Fucus growth and other processes in the KOBs over 1 yr under different scenarios. Now having established the Fucus model, it will be possible to better highlight the actual threat of climate change to the Fucus community in the shallow nearshore waters of the Baltic Sea.

Continue reading ‘Model simulation of seasonal growth of Fucus vesiculosus in its benthic community’

Cascading effects of climate change on plankton community structure

Plankton communities account for at least half of global primary production and play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Warming and acidification may alter the interaction chains in these communities from the bottom and top of the food web. Yet, the relative importance of these potentially complex interactions has not yet been quantified. Here, we examine the isolated and combined effects of warming, acidification, and reductions in phytoplankton and predator abundances in a series of factorial experiments. We find that warming directly impacts the top of the food web, but that the intermediate trophic groups are more strongly influenced by indirect effects mediated by altered top-down interactions. Direct manipulations of predator and phytoplankton abundance reveal similar strong top-down interactions following top predator decline. A meta-analysis of published experiments further supports the conclusion that warming has stronger direct impacts on the top and bottom of the food web rather than the intermediate trophic groups, with important differences between freshwater and marine plankton communities. Our results reveal that the trophic effect of warming cascading down from the top of the plankton food web is a powerful agent of global change.

Continue reading ‘Cascading effects of climate change on plankton community structure’

Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress

Coral reefs are declining globally as climate change and local water quality press environmental conditions beyond the physiological tolerances of holobionts—the collective of the host and its microbial symbionts. To assess the relationship between symbiont composition and holobiont stress tolerance, community diversity metrics were quantified for dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Family: Symbiodiniaceae) from eight Acropora millepora genets that thrived under or responded poorly to various stressors. These eight selected genets represent the upper and lower tails of the response distribution of 40 coral genets that were exposed to four stress treatments (and control conditions) in a 10‐day experiment. Specifically, four ‘best performer’ coral genets were analyzed at the end of the experiment because they survived high temperature, high pCO2, bacterial exposure, or combined stressors, whereas four ‘worst performer’ genets were characterized because they experienced substantial mortality under these stressors. At the end of the experiment, seven of eight coral genets mainly hosted Cladocopium symbionts, whereas the eighth genet was dominated by both Cladocopium and Durusdinium symbionts. Symbiodiniaceae alpha and beta diversity were higher in worst performing genets than in best performing genets. Symbiont communities in worst performers also differed more after stress exposure relative to their controls (based on normalized proportional differences in beta diversity), than did best performers. A generalized joint attribute model estimated the influence of host genet and treatment on Symbiodiniaceae community composition and identified strong associations among particular symbionts and host genet performance, as well as weaker associations with treatment. Although dominant symbiont physiology and function contribute to host performance, these findings emphasize the importance of symbiont community diversity and stochasticity as components of host performance. Our findings also suggest that symbiont community diversity metrics may function as indicators of resilience and have potential applications in diverse disciplines from climate change adaptation to agriculture and medicine.

Continue reading ‘Symbiont community diversity is more variable in corals that respond poorly to stress’

Adaptation to pH stress by Vibrio fischeri can affect its symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes)

Many microorganisms engaged in host-microbe interactions pendulate between a free-living phase and a host-affiliated stage. How adaptation to stress during the free-living phase affects host-microbe associations is unclear and understudied. To explore this topic, the symbiosis between Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) and the luminous bacterium Vibrio fischeri was leveraged for a microbial experimental evolution study. V. fischeri experienced adaptation to extreme pH while apart from the squid host. V. fischeri was serially passaged for 2000 generations to the lower and upper pH growth limits for this microorganism, which were pH 6.0 and 10.0, respectively. V. fischeri was also serially passaged for 2000 generations to vacillating pH 6.0 and 10.0. Evolution to pH stress both facilitated and impaired symbiosis. Microbial evolution to acid stress promoted squid colonization and increased bioluminescence for V. fischeri , while symbiont adaptation to alkaline stress diminished these two traits. Oscillatory selection to acid and alkaline stress also improved symbiosis for V. fischeri , but the facilitating effects were less than that provided by microbial adaptation to acid stress. In summary, microbial adaptation to harsh environments amid the free-living phase may impact the evolution of host-microbe interactions in ways that were not formerly considered.

Continue reading ‘Adaptation to pH stress by Vibrio fischeri can affect its symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes)’

Biogenic acidification of Portuguese oyster Magallana angulata mariculture can be mediated through introducing brown seaweed Sargassum hemiphyllum


• Monoculture of oysters produces excess CO2, affecting carbon fluxes.

• Seaweed can eliminate CO2 released by oysters.

• Multi-trophic culture of oysters and seaweed can mitigate oysters monoculture negative impacts.


The physiological responses of aquaculture organisms (e.g., oyster and seaweed) have the potential to affect seawater carbon fluxes and subsequently are affected by these seawater changes. In this study, a laboratory experiment and a field mesocosm experiment were carried out in Daya Bay, southern China. In the laboratory experiment, Portuguese oyster Magallana angulata and the brown seaweed Sargassum hemiphyllum were mono-cultured in 20-L transparent glass bottles for 24 h. Water sample were collected at four incubation time points (i.e. 0 h, 4 h, 12 h and 24 h) to examine their physiological responses across the incubation period. The results showed that the oyster calcification rate was not significantly changed among 4 h, 12 h and 24 h. On the other hand, during the 24 h incubation time, the oyster respiration rate, seawater pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and CO32– concentration were significantly declined, but the seawater CO2 concentration was increased. For the seaweed, from 0 h to 12 h, seawater CO2 and HCO3– concentrations were significantly declined. However, the seawater pH and DO concentration were increased. In the field experiment, oyster and seaweed were cultured in mesocosm bags. The effects of different culture models of M. angulata and S. hemiphyllum (i.e. oyster monoculture, seaweed monoculture and oyster-seaweed co-culture) on seawater CO2‑carbonate system and air-sea CO2 flux (FCO2) were investigated after 24 h incubation. The results showed that DIC, HCO3– and CO2 concentrations and the partial pressure of CO2 in co-culture bags were significantly lower than the control bags (without any culture organisms) and oyster bags, indicated that S. hemiphyllum can effectively absorb the CO2 released by the oysters. The negative values of air-sea FCO2 in the co-culture bags represent a CO2 sink from the atmosphere to the sea. These results demonstrated that aquaculture organism monoculture could result in a stress for itself, and there could be an interspecies mutual benefit for both M. angulata and S. hemiphyllum in the co-culture system. The negative environmental impacts of mono-trophic oyster aquaculture in this view could be mediated with the multi-trophic inclusion of seaweed.

Continue reading ‘Biogenic acidification of Portuguese oyster Magallana angulata mariculture can be mediated through introducing brown seaweed Sargassum hemiphyllum’

Predator prey interactions between predatory gastropod Reishia clavigera, barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite amphitrite and mussel Brachidontes variabilis under ocean acidification

Since the response to ocean acidification is species specific, differences in responses between predator and prey will alter their interactions, hence affect the population dynamics of both species. Changes in predator prey interactions between a predatory muricid gastropod Reishia clavigera and its prey, the barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite amphitrite and mussel Brachidontes variabilis under three pCO2 levels (380, 950, and 1250 μatm) were investigated. The searching time for barnacles increased and the ability to locate them decreased at higher pCO2 levels. The movement speed and the prey consumption rate, however, were independent of pCO2. There was no preference towards either B. variabilis or A. amphitrite amphitrite regardless of pCO2. Exposure experiments involving multiple generations are suggested to assess transgenerational effects of ocean acidification and the potential compensation responses before any realistic predictions on the long term changes of population dynamics of the interacting species can be made.

Continue reading ‘Predator prey interactions between predatory gastropod Reishia clavigera, barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite amphitrite and mussel Brachidontes variabilis under ocean acidification’

Algal density mediates the photosynthetic responses of a marine macroalga Ulva conglobata (Chlorophyta) to temperature and pH changes


• Increased algal densities reduce photosynthesis and respiration of Ulva conglobata.

• Algal density mediates the interactive effect of increased temperature and lowered pH.

• Altered temperature and pH oppositely affect photosynthetic rate and saturation light.


Growing of macroalgae increases their biomass densities in natural habitats. To explore how the altered algal density impacts their photosynthetic responses to changes of environmental factors, we compared the photosynthesis versus irradiance characteristics of a marine green macroalga Ulva conglobata under low [2.0 g fresh weight (FW) L−1], medium (6.0 g FW L−1) and high biomass densities (12.0 g FW L−1), and under a matrix of temperatures (20, 25, 30 and 35 °C) and pH levels (7.8, 8.2 and 8.6). Increased algal densities decreased the photosynthetic O2 evolution rate among all combined temperature and pH treatments, in parallel with the decrease of light-utilizing efficiency (α, the initial slope) and maximum photosynthetic rate (Pmax) and the increase of light saturation point (EK). Rising temperature interacted with lowered pH to increase the α under low but not under high algal densities. Rising temperature increased the Pmax and decreased the EK under low algal density, but not under high density. Lowered pH promoted the Pmax and EK under all three algal densities. The increased temperature enhanced the dark respiration (Rd) and light compensation point (EC), while the altered pH showed a limited effect. Moreover, the increased algal density reduced the Rd, and had a limited effect on the EC. In addition, our results indicate that changing algal densities caused the complex photophysiological changes in responses to the temperature and pH changes, and these complex responses resolved into a close relation between Rd and Pmax across the matrix of temperatures and pH levels.

Continue reading ‘Algal density mediates the photosynthetic responses of a marine macroalga Ulva conglobata (Chlorophyta) to temperature and pH changes’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book