Posts Tagged 'crustaceans'

Early life stages of Calanus pacificus are neither exposed nor sensitive to low pH waters

We characterized the vertical distribution of Calanus pacificus eggs and larvae and the carbonate chemistry that they are exposed to in Puget Sound, WA. We found that, under stratified conditions, more than 90% of eggs and nauplii stages 1–4 were distributed above the pycnocline, in seawater with pH higher than 7.7. In addition, eggs and larvae from 101 females were reared for 5 days under a range of pH conditions (7.2–8.0) to investigate how pH sensitivity varies among individuals. We observed a slight increase in naupliar survival at pH 7.3 in Individual Brood experiments, while in Mixed Brood experiments, exposure to pH 7.3 led to a small decline in hatching success. In a Split Brood experiment, inter-individual variability among different females’ broods masked pH effects. These results indicate that C. pacificus early life stages are generally tolerant to short-term direct effects of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Early life stages of Calanus pacificus are neither exposed nor sensitive to low pH waters’

Season affects strength and direction of the interactive impacts of ocean warming and biotic stress in a coastal seaweed ecosystem

The plea for using more “realistic,” community‐level, investigations to assess the ecological impacts of global change has recently intensified. Such experiments are typically more complex, longer, more expensive, and harder to interpret than simple organism‐level benchtop experiments. Are they worth the extra effort? Using outdoor mesocosms, we investigated the effects of ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA), their combination (OAW), and their natural fluctuations on coastal communities of the western Baltic Sea during all four seasons. These communities are dominated by the perennial and canopy‐forming macrophyte Fucus vesiculosus—an important ecosystem engineer Baltic‐wide. We, additionally, assessed the direct response of organisms to temperature and pH in benchtop experiments, and examined how well organism‐level responses can predict community‐level responses to the dominant driver, OW. OW affected the mesocosm communities substantially stronger than acidification. OW provoked structural and functional shifts in the community that differed in strength and direction among seasons. The organism‐level response to OW matched well the community‐level response of a given species only under warm and cold thermal stress, that is, in summer and winter. In other seasons, shifts in biotic interactions masked the direct OW effects. The combination of direct OW effects and OW‐driven shifts of biotic interactions is likely to jeopardize the future of the habitat‐forming macroalga F. vesiculosus in the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, we conclude that seasonal mesocosm experiments are essential for our understanding of global change impact because they take into account the important fluctuations of abiotic and biotic pressures.

Continue reading ‘Season affects strength and direction of the interactive impacts of ocean warming and biotic stress in a coastal seaweed ecosystem’

Reduced pH and elevated salinities affect the physiology of intertidal crab Minuca mordax (Crustacea, Decapoda)

Minuca mordax is a model for studies on ocean acidification and sea-level rise because lives in mangroves and riverbanks with low pH. We investigated the physiology of the crabs exposed to differents pH (6.5 and 5.8) and salinity (25, 30, 35, 40 45S). There was not mortality or alterations in the hypo-osmoregulation, suggesting that the factors did not affect salt absorption/secretion. Reduced pH changed metabolism, ammonia excretion, and hepatosomatic index in relation to the animals kept in control pH. At elevated salinities, metabolism increased when animals were kept in control pH, but it decreased when they were exposed to acidified pH. energy substrate, varied between proteins to a mixture of proteins and lipids. Important physiological parameters, related to the catabolism of amino acids and to the energy demand are changed and the consequences might include alterations in growth and reproduction due to the energy channeling to limiting processes of homeostasis.

Continue reading ‘Reduced pH and elevated salinities affect the physiology of intertidal crab Minuca mordax (Crustacea, Decapoda)’

Spatial patterns in aragonite saturation for the north central California shelf

Ocean acidification is exacerbated along the California shelf due to the upwelling of deep CO2 rich waters. This process of upwelling is driven by along-shore winds, which vary in strength by season. We present the relationship between along-shore wind and aragonite undersaturation utilizing an empirical formula to determine aragonite saturation from salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Our models show that stronger along-shore winds are correlated with a higher percentage of the water column undersaturated in aragonite. In addition, pteropod and juvenile krill density decrease in upwelled water which is cold, salty, and low in aragonite. With a predicted increase in along-shore winds, California shelf waters will become more undersaturated in aragonite and lead to a decrease in pteropod and krill density.

Continue reading ‘Spatial patterns in aragonite saturation for the north central California shelf’

Effects of an aquaculture pesticide (diflubenzuron) on non-target shrimp populations: extrapolation from laboratory experiments to the risk of population decline


• Diflubenzuron (DFB) in salmon lice treatment can kill non-target crustaceans.

• We developed an age-structured model to assess effects of DFB on shrimp populations.

• The model predicts decline in shrimp abundance by 8%–99%, depending on DFB scenario.

• Environmental fluctuations contribute to the risk of shrimp population decline.

• Future environmental warming and ocean acidification may further impact populations.


Marine aquaculture production has lately experienced high economic growth, but also concerns related to production and environmental contamination. For the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry, the ectoparasitic crustacean salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) has become a major problem. A common method to control populations of salmon lice within farm cages is treatment by various pharmaceuticals. One of the pesticides used in medicated feed for salmon is diflubenzuron (DFB), which acts as a chitin synthesis inhibitor and thereby interferes with the moulting stages during the development of this crustacean. However, DFB from fish feed may also affect non-target crustaceans such as the northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis), which is an economically and ecologically important species. Nevertheless, the actual risk posed by this chemical to shrimp populations in nature is largely unknown. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that both larval and adult shrimp exposed to DFB through medicated fish feed have reduced survival compared to control. Moreover, the effects of DFB exposure are more severe under conditions of higher temperature and reduced pH (ocean acidification), which can be expected in a future environment. The aim of this study is to make the individual-level information from laboratory studies more relevant for risk assessment at the population level. We have developed a density-dependent age-structured population model representing a northern shrimp population located in a hypothetical Norwegian fjord containing a fish farm, under both ambient and future environments. Our model is based on thorough documentation of shrimp biology and toxicological effects from the laboratory experiments. Nevertheless, extrapolating the reported individual-level effects of DFB to the population level poses several challenges. Relevant information on shrimp populations in Norwegian fjords is sparse (such as abundances, survival and reproductive rates, and density-dependent processes). The degree of exposure to DFB at different distances from aquaculture farms is also uncertain. We have therefore developed a set of model scenarios representing different DFB application schemes and different degrees of exposure for the shrimp populations. The model predicts effects of DFB exposure on population-level endpoints such as long-term abundance, age structure and the probability of population decline below threshold abundances. These model predictions demonstrate how the risk of DFB to shrimp populations can be enhanced by factors such as the timing (season) of DFB applications, the percentage of the population affected, future environmental conditions and environmental stochasticity.

Continue reading ‘Effects of an aquaculture pesticide (diflubenzuron) on non-target shrimp populations: extrapolation from laboratory experiments to the risk of population decline’

Lipid biochemistry and physiology of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the present day and under future ocean acidification scenarios

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba, hereafter ‘krill’) are lipid-rich euphausiids with an important role in the Southern Ocean, including as the primary prey of Antarctic megafauna (whales, seals, penguins), fish, squid and seabirds. They contain high levels of nutritious long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3). The sheer abundance of krill in the Southern Ocean means that the ecosystem is largely driven by energy derived from krill lipids. In addition to their ecological importance, a Scotia Sea krill fishery harvests krill, including for commercial use of their LC-PUFA. The existence of this year-round krill fishery provides a unique opportunity to collect krill samples for research over large spatial and temporal scales, which is unfeasible using scientific research vessels.

In this thesis, fishery caught krill samples were used to investigate the fatty acid content and composition of krill, during all seasons and over consecutive years (2013 – 2016). This research (presented in Chapter 2) aimed to fill knowledge gaps on the seasonal diet of krill (particularly in winter) in the Scotia Sea region, using fatty acids as dietary biomarkers. Krill were primarily herbivorous in summer (higher levels of 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3, and low 18:1n-9c/18:1n-7c ratios) and became more omnivorous from autumn to spring (increasing ratios of 18:1n-9c/18:1n-7c and percentages of Σ 20:1 + 22:1 isomers). Seasonal proportions of herbivory and omnivory differed between years, and fatty acid composition differed between fishing locations. Selected samples were also used to investigate the composition of fatty acids in the structural (phospholipids) and storage lipids (triacylglycerols) of krill (Chapter 3). Triacylglycerol fatty acids (thought to better represent recent diet), reflected omnivorous feeding with highest percentages of flagellate biomarkers (18:4n-3) occurring in summer, diatom biomarkers (16:1n-7c) from autumn-spring, and greater carnivory (higher Σ 20:1 + 22:1 and 18:1n-9c/18:1n-7c ratios) in autumn. Phospholipid fatty acids were less variable and were higher in the essential membrane fatty acids 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3. Percentages of the major krill sterol, cholesterol, were significantly higher in winter and spring compared with summer and autumn. Results presented in Chapters 2 and 3 highlighted the dynamic nature of krill lipids, and the flexible diet of krill, which likely contributes to their huge biomass and success as one of the most abundant organisms on Earth.

Because krill are so important in the Southern Ocean food web, any decreases in krill biomass could result in a major ecological regime shift. Very little is known about how climate change will 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. Long-term laboratory studies are needed to understand how keystone species such as krill may respond to predicted future pCO2 levels. A long term experiment was conducted to test whether rising ocean pCO2 is likely to impact krill physiology and biochemistry (Chapters 4 and 5). Adult krill were exposed to near-future ocean acidification (1000 – 2000 μatm pCO2) for one year in the laboratory. Krill reared in near-future pCO2 conditions were able to survive, grow, store fat, mature, and maintain normal respiration rates. Haemolymph pH, lipid and fatty acid composition were also maintained at the same levels as krill in ambient pCO2 (400 μatm). Negative effects on physiology and lipid biochemistry were only observed in extreme pCO2 conditions (4000 μatm), which krill will not experience in the wild. These results place adult krill among the most resilient species in ocean acidification studies to date.

In summary, results in this thesis highlight the remarkable adaptability of krill in a changing environment, from short-term seasonal or annual scales, to longer-term decadal scales. Their flexible phenotype may aid their survival in an ocean that is rapidly changing with increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The data obtained in this thesis can be used for fisheries management to guide fishing activities, and in fisheries models to predict how krill biomass may be affected by climate change. Krill lipid energy fuels the Southern Ocean ecosystem and to date, lipid data has not been included in Antarctic ecosystem models. The large scale of lipid data in this study makes it ideal for inclusion in such models, and it has important implications for the health of the wider Southern Ocean ecosystem.

Continue reading ‘Lipid biochemistry and physiology of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the present day and under future ocean acidification scenarios’

Ocean acidification: synergistic inhibitory effects of protons and heavy metals on 45Ca uptake by lobster branchiostegite membrane vesicles

Previous work with isolated outer membrane vesicles of lobster branchiostegite epithelial cells has shown that 45Ca2+ uptake by these structures is significantly (p < 0.02) reduced by an incremental decrease in saline pH (increased proton concentration) and that this decrease is due to competitive inhibition between carrier-mediated transport of 45Ca2+ and hydrogen ions. The present paper extends these previous findings and describes the combined effects of pH and cationic heavy metals on branchiostegite uptake of 45Ca2+. Partially purified membrane vesicles of branchiostegite cells were produced by a homogenization/centrifugation method and were loaded with mannitol at pH 7.0. The time course of 1 mM 45Ca2+ uptake in a mannitol medium at pH 8.5 containing 100 µM verapamil (Ca2+ channel blocker) was hyperbolic and approached equilibrium at 30 min. This uptake was either significantly reduced (p < 0.05) by the addition of 5 µM Zn2+ or essentially abolished with the addition of 5 µM Cu2+. Increasing zinc concentrations (5–500 µM) reduced 1 mM 45Ca2+ uptake at pH 8.5 or 7.5 in a hyperbolic fashion with the remaining non-inhibited uptake due to apparent non-specific binding. Uptake of 1 mM 45Ca2+ at pH 8.5, 7.5, 7.5 + Zn2+, and 7.5 + Zn2+ + Cu2+ + Cd2+ in the presence of 100 µM verapamil displayed a stepwise reduction of 45Ca2+ uptake with the addition of each treatment until only non-specific isotope binding occurred with all cation inhibitors. 45Ca2+ influxes (15 s uptakes; 0.25–5.0 mM calcium + 100 µM verapamil) in the presence and absence of 10 µM Zn2+ were both hyperbolic functions of calcium concentration. The curve with Zn2+ displayed a transport Km twice that of the control (p < 0.05), while inhibitor and control curve Jmax values were not significantly different (p > 0.05), suggesting competitive inhibition between 45Ca2+ and Zn2+ influxes. Analysis of the relative inhibitory effects of increased proton or heavy metal interaction with 45Ca2+ uptake suggests that divalent metals may reduce the calcium transport about twice as much as a drop in pH, but together, they appear to abolish carrier-mediated transport.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification: synergistic inhibitory effects of protons and heavy metals on 45Ca uptake by lobster branchiostegite membrane vesicles’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book