Posts Tagged 'crustaceans'

Environmental controls on pteropod ecology and physiology along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Pteropods (pelagic snails) are ubiquitous zooplankton in the Southern Ocean and abundant along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet. They are important prey for higher trophic levels, grazers of phytoplankton, and contribute to particulate organic and inorganic carbon export. Pteropods are heralded as bioindicators of ecosystem health due to the vulnerability of their aragonitic shells under ocean acidification conditions, which could greatly affect their abundances in the future. Despite their importance within Antarctic food webs, few studies have analyzed the effects of climate change on pteropod physiology and biogeography in the Southern Ocean. I utilized zooplankton net tows and sediment trap samples collected as part of the Palmer Antarctica Long Term Ecological Research (PAL LTER) program to determine long-term changes in pteropod biogeography and phenology (life history). I also conducted shipboard experiments on PAL LTER research cruises to analyze the effects of shifting temperature and food conditions on pteropod metabolism. Lastly, to examine WAP pteropod feeding ecology, I utilized high-throughput sequencing techniques and analyzed pteropod gut contents at an unprecedented taxonomic resolution. Pteropod populations along the WAP from 1993-2017 either remained stable (shelled pteropods) or increased (non-shelled pteropods) and were most strongly controlled by La Niña conditions the year prior, which led to warmer, ice-free waters. There was a weak relationship between pteropod abundance and carbonate chemistry, and no detectable long-term trend in carbonate chemistry parameters (i.e., aragonite saturation), thus ocean acidification is not presently a factor influencing WAP pteropod abundance. More open-water areas the year prior also increased growth rates of the shelled pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, and caused earlier time of appearance in the PAL LTER sediment trap. There was considerable interannual variability in the time of appearance of a new pteropod cohort, which ranged from year day 22 to 255, but no long-term, directional change in time of appearance or growth rate. The effects of warming seawater temperatures and shifting food availability on L. h. antarctica metabolism revealed that highest respiration and usually highest excretion rates occurred under higher temperatures, but the effect of food concentration was more limited. The proportion of dissolved organic matter to total organic and inorganic dissolved constituents was high and the metabolic ratios of C, N, and P were all below the canonical Redfield ratio, which can directly affect phytoplankton growth and bacterial production in the WAP. Analysis of L. h. antarctica gut contents revealed its microbiome for the first time with Mollicutes bacteria the most abundant prokaryote. Pteropods were mainly herbivorous in summer, consuming predominantly diatoms but also supplementing their diet with microzooplankton such as ciliates. My dissertation shows that pteropods along the WAP are sensitive to changes in the environment from daily to interannual time scales. These insights into the metabolic and ecologic responses of pteropods to ocean variability increase our understanding of the role of zooplankton in biogeochemical cycles and help predict future responses to climate change.

Continue reading ‘Environmental controls on pteropod ecology and physiology along the Western Antarctic Peninsula’

A regional vulnerability assessment for the Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) to changing ocean conditions: insights from model projections and empirical experiments

Among global coastal regions, the Northern California Current System (N-CCS) is already experiencing effects from ocean acidification and hypoxia during the summer, primarily due to the region’s seasonal upwelling, current systems, and high productivity. Oxygen, pH, and temperature conditions are expected to become more stressful with continued fossil fuel emissions under global climate change, posing a serious threat to the region’s fisheries. N-CCS fishing communities rely heavily on the economically and culturally important Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister). The fishery is currently sustainably managed, but potential negative impacts from changing ocean conditions on Dungeness crab life stages and populations could have adverse effects for the fishery and the communities that rely on it. To quantify the vulnerability of Dungeness crab life stages and populations to predicted future conditions, both model projections and empirical experiments need to be employed. A semi-quantitative, life stage-specific framework was adapted here to assess the vulnerability of Dungeness crab to low pH, low dissolved oxygen, and high temperature under present and future projected conditions in the seasonally dynamic N-CCS. This was achieved using a combination of regional ocean models, species distribution maps, larval transport models, a population matrix model, and a literature review. This multi-faceted approach revealed that crab vulnerability to the three climate stressors will increase in the future (year 2100) under the most intense emissions scenario, with vulnerability to low oxygen being the most severe to the N-CCS population overall. Increases in vulnerability were largely driven by the adult life stage, which contributes the most to population growth. Empirical experiments demonstrated that adult crab respiration rates increase exponentially with temperature, potentially making this life stage more susceptible to hypoxia in the future. Together, this work provides novel insights into the effects of changing ocean conditions on Dungeness crab populations, which may help inform fishery management strategies.

Continue reading ‘A regional vulnerability assessment for the Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) to changing ocean conditions: insights from model projections and empirical experiments’

Growth, biochemical, antioxidants, metabolic enzymes and hemocytes population of the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei exposed to acidified seawater


• CO2 driven ocean acidification (CDOA) might inhibit the growth of L. vannamei.

• CDOA will inhibit the biochemical, chitin and minerals in L. vannamei.

• CDOA will produce oxidative and metabolic stress in L. vannamei.

• CDOA can reduce the hemocytes level in L. vannamei.


Acidification in the marine environment has become a global issue that creates serious threats to marine organisms. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of CO2 driven acidification on the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei post-larvae (PL). L. vannamei PL were exposed to six different CO2 driven acidified seawater, such as pH 8.20 (control), pH 7.8 (IPCC-predicted ocean pH by 2100), 7.6, 7.4, 7.2 and 7.0 with corresponding pCO2 level of 380.66, 557.53, 878.55, 1355.48, 2129.46, and 3312.12 μatm for seven weeks. At the end of the acidification experiment, results revealed that survival, growth, feed index, biochemical constitutes, chitin, minerals (Na, K, and Ca), and hemocyte populations of shrimps were found to be significantly decreased in CO2 driven acidified seawater which indicates the negative impacts of acidified seawater on these parameters in L. vannamei. Further, the level of antioxidants, lipid peroxidation, and metabolic enzymes were significantly higher in the muscle of shrimps exposed to acidified seawater suggests that the L. vannamei under oxidative stress and metabolic stress. Among these various acidified seawater experiment, pH 7.6 to 7.0 produced a significantly adverse effect on shrimps. Hence, the present study concluded that the elevated level of seawater acidification can produce harmful effects on L. vannamei PL which leads to potential threats to shrimp species in the marine environment.

Continue reading ‘Growth, biochemical, antioxidants, metabolic enzymes and hemocytes population of the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei exposed to acidified seawater’

Ocean acidification alters the responses of invertebrates to wound-activated infochemicals produced by epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica


• First time evaluation of the effect of infochemicals produced at two pH by the epiphytic community and by selected diatoms.

• O.A. alters the fine-tuned chemical cross-talks between seagrass epiphytes and associated invertebrates.

• Algae play their roles at different concentrations and convey different messages to associated animal communities.

• O.A. has consequences on the structure of associated communities and food webs of seagrass ecosystems.


Ocean acidification (OA) influences the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by seagrass leaves and their associated epiphytes. We hypothesize that the perception of “odour” produced by seagrass leaf epiphytes will change with seawater acidification, affecting the behaviour of seagrass-associated invertebrates. To test this hypothesis, we collected epiphytes from leaves of Posidonia oceanica growing at two pH conditions (7.7 and 8.1) and identified the most abundant genera of diatoms. We tested the VOCs produced at pH 8.1 by the epiphytic communities in toto, as well as those produced by selected diatoms, on various invertebrates. A complex set of species-specific and concentration-dependent chemotactic reactions was recorded, according to the pH of seawater. In particular, VOCs produced by individual diatoms triggered contrasting reactions in invertebrates, depending on the pH. The perception of epiphyte VOCs is likely to vary due to alteration of species ability to perceive and/or interpret chemical cues as infochemicals or due to changes in the structure of VOCs themselves. Thus, OA alters the fine-tuned chemical cross-talks between seagrass epiphytes and associated invertebrates, with potential consequences for the structure of communities and food webs of seagrass ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters the responses of invertebrates to wound-activated infochemicals produced by epiphytes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica’

Chemical exposure due to anthropogenic ocean acidification increases risks for estuarine calcifiers in the Salish Sea: biogeochemical model scenarios

Ocean acidification (OA) is projected to have profound impacts on marine ecosystems and resources, especially in estuarine habitats. Here, we describe biological risks under current levels of exposure to anthropogenic OA in the Salish Sea, an estuarine system that already experiences inherently low pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar) conditions. We used the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State Department of Ecology Salish Sea biogeochemical model (SSM) informed by a selection of OA-related biological thresholds of ecologically and economically important calcifiers, pteropods, and Dungeness crabs. The SSM was implemented to assess current exposure and associated risk due to reduced Ωar and pH conditions with respect to the magnitude, duration, and severity of exposure below the biological thresholds in the Salish Sea in comparison to the pre-industrial era. We further investigated the individual effects of atmospheric CO2 uptake and nutrient-driven eutrophication on changes in chemical exposure since pre-industrial times. Our model predicts average decreases in Ωar and pH since pre-industrial times of about 0.11 and 0.06, respectively, in the top 100 m of the water column of the Salish Sea. These decreases predispose pelagic calcifiers to increased duration, intensity, and severity of exposure. For pteropods, present-day exposure is below the thresholds related to sublethal effects across the entire Salish Sea basin, while mortality threshold exposure occurs on a spatially limited basis. The greatest risk for larval Dungeness crabs is associated with spatially limited exposures to low calcite saturation state in the South Sound in the springtime, triggering an increase in internal dissolution. The main anthropogenic driver behind the predicted impacts is atmospheric CO2 uptake, while nutrient-driven eutrophication plays only a marginal role over spatially and temporally limited scales. Reduction of CO2 emissions can help sustain biological species vital for ecosystem functions and society.

Continue reading ‘Chemical exposure due to anthropogenic ocean acidification increases risks for estuarine calcifiers in the Salish Sea: biogeochemical model scenarios’

The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine

Increased greenhouse gas emissions have caused rapid ocean warming (OW) and reduced ocean pH via acidification (OA). Both OW and OA will likely impact marine crustaceans, but they are often examined in isolation. We conducted an environmental-stressor experiment to understand how exposure to current summer conditions (16 °C, pH 8.0), OW only (20 °C, pH 8.0), OA only (16 °C, pH 7.6), or both acidification and warming, OAW (20 °C, pH 7.6), differentially influence thermal physiology and immune response of female subadults of the American lobster, Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837. Following a 42 d exposure, cardiac performance was assessed during an acute thermal stress, and lobsters were subjected to a subsequent 21 d pathogen challenge with the bacterium Aerococcus viridans var. homari, the causative agent of gaffkemia. Lobsters under OAW had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.02) Arrhenius break temperatures (ABT), an indicator of thermal limits of capacity, compared to lobsters exposed to all other treatments, suggesting these stressors act synergistically to reduce physiological performance. Individuals from the OW and OAW treatments also had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.035) total hemocyte counts (THCs), an indicator of immune response, and showed a reduced median time to death (by up to 5 d sooner) post A. viridans injection compared to lobsters exposed to current summer conditions. Moreover, nearly twice as many lobsters exposed to OAW lost at least one claw during the pathogen challenge compared to all other treatment groups, potentially increasing the risk of mortality due to secondary infection. Together, these results suggest that OAW will impact the physiology and immune response of subadult H. americanus, potentially influencing successful recruitment to the fishery.

Continue reading ‘The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine’

Ocean warming increases availability of crustacean prey via riskier behavior

Marine prey and predators will respond to future climate through physiological and behavioral adjustments. However, our understanding of how such direct effects may shift the outcome of predator–prey interactions is still limited. Here, we investigate the effects of ocean warming and acidification on foraging behavior and biomass of a common prey (shrimps, Palaemon spp.) tested in large mesocosms harboring natural resources and habitats. Acidification did not alter foraging behavior in prey. Under warming, however, prey showed riskier behavior by foraging more actively and for longer time periods, even in the presence of a live predator. No effects of longer-term exposure to climate stressors were detected on prey biomass. Our findings suggest that ocean warming may increase the availability of some prey to predators via a behavioral pathway (i.e., increased risk-taking by prey), likely by elevating metabolic demand of prey species.

Continue reading ‘Ocean warming increases availability of crustacean prey via riskier behavior’

Impacts of ocean acidification on intertidal macroalgae and algivore preference

Ocean acidification, a facet of global climate change, has the potential to induce changes in marine macroalgae that modify their existing interactions with algivorous invertebrates. In this study, I examined the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (pCO2) on several species of intertidal macroalgae (Phaeophyta, Rhodophyta) and evaluated the present-day and predicted future preferences of algivores (Pugettia producta and Tegula funebralis) by assessing grazing rates on untreated algal tissue and on algae exposed to high-pCO2 seawater. Both red and brown algae grew faster in elevated pCO2 than in ambient seawater, and algae in intermediate pCO2 generated more new growth overall than those in highly elevated pCO2. The effect of pCO2 on the carbon and nitrogen contents of algae depended on species identity, and C:N ratios decreased slightly with increasing pCO2 for four of the five species studied. Total phenolic content in each alga was unaffected by pCO2 treatment, although similar (distinct) levels between untreated species became distinct (similar) when those same species were compared after highpCO2 treatment. Algivores demonstrated contrasting responses to changes in their food sources; P. producta, a specialist crab grazer, did not modify its preference for the brown alga Egregia menziesii when offered high-pCO2 treated individuals, but the generalist snail T. funebralis adjusted its feeding behavior to choose algae with low phenolic contents, which created different patterns of preference for untreated and pCO2-treated algae. C:N ratios of algae did not appear to be a strong driver of preference for either grazer in feeding experiments. These results indicate that algae may be well-equipped to benefit from moderate increases in seawater pCO2, but they exhibit species-specific rates of growth and phenolic production, which in turn affect their appeal to a generalist algivore. Intertidal algal communities will therefore face altered patterns of predation under future ocean acidification conditions as generalist algivores adjust to new variation in algal palatability.

Read more

Toward a mechanistic understanding of marine invertebrate behavior at elevated CO2

Elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can alter ecologically important behaviors in a range of marine invertebrate taxa; however, a clear mechanistic understanding of these behavioral changes is lacking. The majority of mechanistic research on the behavioral effects of elevated CO2 has been done in fish, focusing on disrupted functioning of the GABAA receptor (a ligand-gated ion channel, LGIC). Yet, elevated CO2 could induce behavioral alterations through a range of mechanisms that disturb different components of the neurobiological pathway that produces behavior, including disrupted sensation, altered behavioral choices and disturbed LGIC-mediated neurotransmission. Here, we review the potential mechanisms by which elevated CO2 may affect marine invertebrate behaviors. Marine invertebrate acid–base physiology and pharmacology is discussed in relation to altered GABAA receptor functioning. Alternative mechanisms for behavioral change at elevated CO2 are considered and important topics for future research have been identified. A mechanistic understanding will be important to determine why there is variability in elevated CO2-induced behavioral alterations across marine invertebrate taxa, why some, but not other, behaviors are affected within a species and to identify which marine invertebrates will be most vulnerable to rising CO2 levels.

Continue reading ‘Toward a mechanistic understanding of marine invertebrate behavior at elevated CO2’

The effects of elevated temperature and PCO2 on the energetics and haemolymph pH homeostasis of juveniles of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus

Regulation of extracellular acid–base balance, while maintaining energy metabolism, is recognised as an important aspect when defining an organism’s sensitivity to environmental changes. This study investigated the haemolymph buffering capacity and energy metabolism (oxygen consumption, haemolymph [l-lactate] and [protein]) in early benthic juveniles (carapace length <40 mm) of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, exposed to elevated temperature and PCO2. At 13°C, H. gammarus juveniles were able to fully compensate for acid–base disturbances caused by the exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 at levels associated with ocean acidification and carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) leakage scenarios, via haemolymph [HCO3−] regulation. However, metabolic rate remained constant and food consumption decreased under elevated PCO2, indicating reduced energy availability. Juveniles at 17°C showed no ability to actively compensate haemolymph pH, resulting in decreased haemolymph pH particularly under CCS conditions. Early benthic juvenile lobsters at 17°C were not able to increase energy intake to offset increased energy demand and therefore appear to be unable to respond to acid–base disturbances due to increased PCO2 at elevated temperature. Analysis of haemolymph metabolites suggests that, even under control conditions, juveniles were energetically limited. They exhibited high haemolymph [l-lactate], indicating recourse to anaerobic metabolism. Low haemolymph [protein] was linked to minimal non-bicarbonate buffering and reduced oxygen transport capacity. We discuss these results in the context of potential impacts of ongoing ocean change and CCS leakage scenarios on the development of juvenile H. gammarus and future lobster populations and stocks.

Continue reading ‘The effects of elevated temperature and PCO2 on the energetics and haemolymph pH homeostasis of juveniles of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,376,304 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book