Posts Tagged 'coral'

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.

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An ocean acidification-simulated system and its application in coral physiological studies

Due to the elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, ocean acidification (OA) has recently emerged as a research theme in marine biology due to an expected deleterious effect of altered seawater chemistry on calcification. A system simulating future OA scenario is crucial for OA-related studies. Here, we designed an OA-simulated system (OASys) with three solenoid-controlled CO2 gas channels. The OASys can adjust the pH of the seawater by bubbling CO2 gas into seawaters via feedback systems. The OASys is very simple in structure with an integrated design and is new-user friendly with the instruction. Moreover, the OASys can monitor and record real-time pH values and can maintain pH levels within 0.02 pH unit. In a 15-d experiment, the OASys was applied to simulate OA in which the expected target pH values were 8.00, 7.80 and 7.60 to study the calcifying response of Galaxea fascicularis. The results showed daily mean seawater pH values held at pH 8.00±0.01, 7.80±0.01 and 7.61±0.01 over 15 d. Correspondingly, the coral calcification of G. fascicularis gradually decreased with reduced pH.

Continue reading ‘An ocean acidification-simulated system and its application in coral physiological studies’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book