Posts Tagged 'crustaceans'

Changes in temperature, pH, and salinity affect the sheltering responses of Caribbean spiny lobsters to chemosensory cues

Florida Bay is home to a network of shallow mud-banks which act as barriers to circulation creating small basins that are often subject to extremes in temperature and salinity. Florida bay is also important juvenile habitat for the Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus. While our understanding of the effect of environmental changes on the survival, growth, and movement of spiny lobsters is growing, the effect on their chemosensory abilities has not yet been investigated. Lobsters rely heavily on chemical cues for many biological and ecological activities, and here we report on the effect of extreme environmental events in temperature (32 °C), salinity (45ppt), and pH (7.65 pH) on social behavior and sheltering preference in P. argus. Under normal conditions, chemical cues from conspecifics are used by spiny lobsters to identify suitable shelter and cues from stone crabs and diseased individuals are used to determine shelters to be avoided. In all altered conditions, lobsters lost the ability to aggregate with conspecifics and avoid stone crabs and diseased conspecifics. Thus, seasonal extreme events, and potentially future climate change conditions, alter the chemosensory-driven behavior of P. argus and may result in decreased survivorship due to impaired shelter selection or other behaviors.

Continue reading ‘Changes in temperature, pH, and salinity affect the sheltering responses of Caribbean spiny lobsters to chemosensory cues’

Impact of climate change and contamination in the oxidative stress response of marine organisms

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are increasing at an unprecedented rate, changing the carbonate chemistry (in a process known as ocean acidification) and temperature of the worlds ocean. Moreover, the simultaneous occurrence of highly toxic and persistent contaminants, such as mercury, will play a key role in further shaping the ecophysiology of marine organisms. Thus, the main goal of the present dissertation was to undertake the first comprehensive and comparative analysis of the biochemical strategies, namely antioxidant defense (both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants) and protein repair and removal mechanisms, of several marine organisms – from invertebrate (Veretillum cynomorium and Gammarus locusta) to vertebrate species (Argyrosomus regius, Chiloscyllium plagiosum and Scyliorhinus canicula) – encompassing different life-stages and life-strategies to the predicted climate-mediated changes. The findings provided in the present dissertation proved that organisms’ responses were mostly underpinned by temperature (increasing lipid, protein and nucleic acid damage), that also culminated into increased mercury bioaccumulation and toxicity, while ocean acidification as a sole stressor usually played a minor role in defining species vulnerability (i.e. responsible for increased oxidative damage in the marine calcifying organisms G. locusta). Nonetheless when co-occurring with warming and contamination scenarios, acidification was usually responsible for the reduction of heavy metal accumulation and toxicity, as well as decreased warming and contamination-elicited oxidative stress. Additionally, organisms’ responses were species-specific, and organisms that usually occupy more variable environments (e.g. daily changes in abiotic conditions) usually displayed greater responses towards environmental change than organisms inhabiting more stable environments. Furthermore, and assuming the relevance of transgenerational effects, it seems that the negative effects of OA are potentially being inherited by the offspring’s, compromising the efficiency of future generations to endure the upcoming conditions.

Continue reading ‘Impact of climate change and contamination in the oxidative stress response of marine organisms’

Obligate ectosymbionts increase the physiological resilience of a scleractinian coral to high temperature and elevated pCO2

Invertebrate ectosymbionts within the coralla of scleractinians enhance host fitness through protection from corallivores and nutrient addition. Here, we explore the ectosymbiotic relationship between the coral Pocillopora verrucosa and the crab Trapezia serenei and the shrimp Alpheus spp., to test for effects on coral calcification under contrasts of seawater temperature (27.7 °C and 29.9 °C) and pH (ambient, 8.0 and reduced, 7.7). Regardless of temperature, ectosymbionts depressed calcification by 55% (vs without ectosymbionts) at ambient pH; however, ectosymbionts only depressed calcification under ambient pH but not at reduced pH. These results suggest that P. verrucosa grows fastest at ambient pH without ectosymbionts, but when ectosymbionts are present, colonies are protected from further declines in calcification at reduced pH. This implies that there may be a change from a currently parasitic ectosymbiont–coral relationship to a commensal relationship that could increase fitness advantages for corals hosting crustacean ectosymbionts under ocean acidification conditions.

Continue reading ‘Obligate ectosymbionts increase the physiological resilience of a scleractinian coral to high temperature and elevated pCO2’

Individual and combined effects of low dissolved oxygen and low pH on survival of early stage larval blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus

A large number of coastal ecosystems globally are subjected to concurrent hypoxic and acidified conditions that will likely intensify and expand with continued climate change. In temperate regions, the spawning of many important organisms including the Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus occurs during the summer months when the severity of coastal hypoxia and acidification is the greatest. While the blue crab earliest larval stage can be exposed to co-occurring hypoxia and acidification observed in many coastal ecosystems, the effects of these concurrent stressors on larval blue crab survival is unknown. This study investigated the individual and combined consequences of low dissolved oxygen (DO) and low pH on blue crab larvae survival through a series of short-term experiments. During 14-day experiments with moderately hypoxic conditions (117–127 μM O2 or 3.74–4.06 mg L-1) and acidified conditions (pH on total scale of 7.16–7.33), low DO and low pH individually and significantly reduced larval survival by 60% and 49%, respectively, with the combination of stressors reducing survival by 87% compared to the control treatment (210–269 μM O2 or 6.72–8.61 mg L-1, 7.91–7.94 DO and pH, respectively). During 4-day experiments with lower DO levels (68–83 μM O2 or 2.18–2.62 mg L-1) and comparable pH levels of 7.29–7.39, low DO individually reduced survival by >90% compared to the control (261–267 μM O2 or 8.35–8.54 mg L-1, 7.92–7.97 DO and pH, respectively), whereas low pH had no effect and there was no interaction between stressors. Over a 4-day period, the DO threshold at which 50% of the larval blue crab population died (LC50) was 121 μM O2 (3.86 mgL-1). In 14-day experiments, the DO and pH effects were additive, yielding survival rates lower than the individual treatments, and significantly correlated with DO and pH concentrations. Collectively, these findings indicate that blue crab sensitivity to both low DO and low pH are acute within the larval stage, depend on the intensity and duration of exposure, and leads to mortality, thereby potentially contributing to the interannual variability and possible regional declines of this fishery.

Continue reading ‘Individual and combined effects of low dissolved oxygen and low pH on survival of early stage larval blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus’

Genotoxic effects of combined multiple stressors on Gammarus locusta haemocytes: Interactions between temperature, pCO2 and the synthetic progestin levonorgestrel


• Combined factors (temperature, pCO2, levonorgestrel) were assessed on G. locusta.

• Comet assay as valid technique to evaluate DNA damage in haemocytes.

• Haemocytes of each treatment were exposed, ex vivo, to an oxidant agent – H2O2.

• Stress factors alone did not significantly increase DNA damage, after 21 days.

• Solvent increased haemocytes DNA damage – not observed in hormone treatments.


Climate change and pharmaceutical contamination are two priority research topics due to their impacts in the aquatic ecosystems and in the food chain structure. In the bottom of many food chains are the invertebrates, like the amphipods, which are important environmental and ecotoxicological models. In this study, we combined the increase of temperature [ambient and warming temperature], pCO2 [normocapnia and hypercapnia] and the synthetic progestin levonorgestrel (LNG) [environmentally relevant concentration (10 ng L−1) and 100-fold higher (1000 ng L−1)] to evaluate the genotoxic effects on the amphipod Gammarus locusta haemocytes, using the comet assay technique. Additionally, the study examined protective/potentiating effects of the three tested factors against hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced DNA damage in haemocytes after ex vivo exposure. Our data revealed no significant effects of any of the three stressors on DNA damage of G. locusta haemocytes or protection against H2O2-induced DNA damage after twenty-one days exposure. Only a significant effect of the solvent was visible, since it was able to induce higher DNA damage (i.e. strand breaks) on exposed individuals. On the other hand, LNG exposure seemed to induce a slight increase of DNA damage after H2O2 exposure. Our findings suggest that more short-term studies to conclude about the genotoxicity and/or protective effects of the stress factors in G. locusta should be made, attending to the fast turnover rate of repairing cells that could have masked impacts seen only after the end of the experiment.

Cruzeiro C., Ramos A., Loganimoce E. M., Arenas F., Rocha E. & Cardoso P. G., 2019. Genotoxic effects of combined multiple stressors on Gammarus locusta haemocytes: Interactions between temperature, pCO2 and the synthetic progestin levonorgestrel. Environmental Pollution 245: 864-872. Article (subscription required).

Effects of oil and global environmental drivers on two keystone marine invertebrates

Ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA) are key features of global change and are predicted to have negative consequences for marine species and ecosystems. At a smaller scale increasing oil and gas activities at northern high latitudes could lead to greater risk of petroleum pollution, potentially exacerbating the effects of such global stressors. However, knowledge of combined effects is limited. This study employed a scenario-based, collapsed design to investigate the impact of one local acute stressor (North Sea crude oil) and two chronic global drivers (pH for OA and temperature for OW), alone or in combination on aspects of the biology of larval stages of two key invertebrates: the northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) and the green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis). Both local and global drivers had negative effects on survival, development and growth of the larval stages. These effects were species- and stage-dependent. No statistical interactions were observed between local and global drivers and the combined effects of the two drivers were approximately equal to the sum of their separate effects. This study highlights the importance of adjusting regulation associated with oil spill prevention to maximize the resilience of marine organisms to predicted future global conditions.

Continue reading ‘Effects of oil and global environmental drivers on two keystone marine invertebrates’

Adult Antarctic krill proves resilient in a simulated high CO2 ocean

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) have a keystone role in the Southern Ocean, as the primary prey of Antarctic predators. Decreases in krill abundance could result in a major ecological regime shift, but there is limited information on how climate change may affect krill. Increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing ocean acidification, as absorption of atmospheric CO2 in seawater alters ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification increases mortality and negatively affects physiological functioning in some marine invertebrates, and is predicted to occur most rapidly at high latitudes. Here we show that, in the laboratory, adult krill are able to survive, grow, store fat, mature, and maintain respiration rates when exposed to near-future ocean acidification (1000–2000 μatm pCO2) for one year. Despite differences in seawater pCO2 incubation conditions, adult krill are able to actively maintain the acid-base balance of their body fluids in near-future pCO2, which enhances their resilience to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Adult Antarctic krill proves resilient in a simulated high CO2 ocean’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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