Posts Tagged 'echinoderms'

Little evidence of adaptation potential to ocean acidification in sea urchins living in “future ocean” conditions at a CO2 vent

Ocean acidification (OA) can be detrimental to calcifying marine organisms, with stunting of invertebrate larval development one of the most consistent responses. Effects are usually measured by short‐term, within‐generation exposure, an approach that does not consider the potential for adaptation. We examined the genetic response to OA of larvae of the tropical sea urchin Echinometra sp. C. raised on coral reefs that were either influenced by CO2 vents (pH ~ 7.9, future OA condition) or nonvent control reefs (pH 8.2). We assembled a high quality de novo transcriptome of Echinometra embryos (8 hr) and pluteus larvae (48 hr) and identified 68,056 SNPs. We tested for outlier SNPs and functional enrichment in embryos and larvae raised from adults from the control or vent sites. Generally, highest FST values in embryos were observed between sites (intrinsic adaptation, most representative of the gene pool in the spawned populations). This comparison also had the highest number of outlier loci (40). In the other comparisons, classical adaptation (comparing larvae with adults from the control transplanted to either the control or vent conditions) and reverse adaptation (larvae from the vent site returned to the vent or explanted at the control), we only observed modest numbers of outlier SNPs (6–19) and only enrichment in two functional pathways. Most of the outliers detected were silent substitutions without adaptive potential. We conclude that there is little evidence of realized adaptation potential during early development, while some potential (albeit relatively low) exists in the intrinsic gene pool after more than one generation of exposure.

Continue reading ‘Little evidence of adaptation potential to ocean acidification in sea urchins living in “future ocean” conditions at a CO2 vent’

Role of seaweeds in neutralizing the impact of seawater acidification- A laboratory study with beached shells of certain bivalves and spines of a sea urchin

Ocean acidification is one of the major impacts of climate change in sea which is manifested by the decrease in hydrogen ion concentration (pH) of seawater mainly due to increased uptake of CO2 and reduction in carbonate ions. This is a report on the dissolution rate of dead shells of four marine bivalves and spines of a sea urchin when treated with different levels of CO2 dissolved in seawater for 48 hours which was measured gravimetrically. Dissolution of dead shells expressed as reduction in shell weight was directly proportional to the concentration of dissolved CO2. Live thallus of green seaweed Chaetomorpha antennina did reduce the magnitude of dissolution rates (P<0.05) of all the shells and spines considerably as well as the change in pH of ambient seawater due to the addition of CO2. The remedial property of seaweeds was more effective at lower concentrations of dissolved CO2. The induced change in pH was restored by green seaweed only at concentrations above 250 ppm. Although we noticed strong impact of dissolved CO2 on the dead shells of Mactrinula plicataria even at 100 ppm level, the remedial action by the green seaweed was maximum in Siliqua radiata followed by Perna viridis. Results of this laboratory study shows the positive role of seaweeds in neutralizing the acidification impacts.

Continue reading ‘Role of seaweeds in neutralizing the impact of seawater acidification- A laboratory study with beached shells of certain bivalves and spines of a sea urchin’

Sea urchin reproductive performance in a changing ocean: poor males improve while good males worsen in response to ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to be a major driver of ocean biodiversity change. At projected rates of change, sensitive marine taxa may not have time to adapt. Their persistence may depend on pre-existing inter-individual variability. We investigated individual male reproductive performance under present-day and OA conditions using two representative broadcast spawners, the sea urchins Lytechinus pictus and Heliocidaris erythrogramma. Under the non-competitive individual ejaculate scenario, we examined sperm functional parameters (e.g. swimming speed, motility) and their relationship with fertilization success under current and near-future OA conditions. Significant inter-individual differences in almost every parameter measured were identified. Importantly, we observed strong inverse relationships between individual fertilization success rate under current conditions and change in fertilization success under OA. Individuals with a high fertilization success under current conditions had reduced fertilization under OA, while individuals with a low fertilization success under current conditions improved. Change in fertilization success ranged from −67% to +114% across individuals. Our results demonstrate that while average population fertilization rates remain similar under OA and present-day conditions, the contribution by different males to the population significantly shifts, with implications for how selection will operate in a future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Sea urchin reproductive performance in a changing ocean: poor males improve while good males worsen in response to ocean acidification’

Shifts in seawater chemistry disrupt trophic links within a simple shoreline food web

Marine intertidal systems have long served as focal environments for ecological research, yet these environments are changing due to the entry of human-produced carbon dioxide into seawater, which causes ‘ocean acidification’ (OA). One component of OA is a decline in seawater pH, an alteration known to disrupt organism behaviors underlying predator–prey interactions. To date, however, studies examining OA’s effects on feeding relationships consider predominantly simple direct interactions between consumers and their food sources. Here, we extended these established approaches to test how decreased seawater pH might alter cascading effects that span tiered linkages in trophic networks. We employed a model shoreline food web incorporating a sea star predator (Leptasterias hexactis), an herbivorous snail prey (Tegula funebralis), and a common macroalgal resource for the prey (Mazzaella flaccida). Results demonstrate direct negative effects of low pH on anti-predator behavior of snails, but also weakened indirect interactions, driven by increased snail consumption of macroalgae even as sea stars ate more snails. This latter outcome arose because low pH induced ‘foolhardy’ behaviors in snails, whereby their flight responses were supplanted by other activities that allowed for foraging. These findings highlight the potential for human-induced changes in seawater chemistry to perturb prey behaviors and trophic dynamics with accompanying community-level consequences.

Continue reading ‘Shifts in seawater chemistry disrupt trophic links within a simple shoreline food web’

Ocean warming and acidification pose synergistic limits to the thermal niche of an economically important echinoderm

Highlights

• CO2-induced acidification reduced the thermal tolerance in the sea urchin L. albus.

• This reduction was achieved by increasing the critical thermal minimum at 15 and 20 °C.

• This reduction was also achieved by decreasing the critical thermal maximum at 20 °C.

• CO2-induced acidification and warming increase HSP70 transcription levels.

• CO2-induced acidification and warming may have implications on community structure.

Abstract

It is critical to understand how abiotic factors may interact to constrain the distribution and productivity of marine flora and fauna in order to make robust projections of the impacts of climate change. We evaluated the effects of projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) on the thermal tolerance of an important living marine resource, the sea urchin Loxechinus albus, a benthic shallow water coastal herbivore inhabiting part of the Pacific coast of South America. After exposing young juveniles for a medium-term period (1-month) to contrasting pCO2 (~500 and 1400 μatm) and temperature (~15 and 20 °C) levels, critical thermal maximum (CTmax) and minimum (CTmin) as well as thermal tolerance polygons were assessed based on self-righting success as an end point. Transcription of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), a chaperone protecting cellular proteins from environmental stress, was also measured. Exposure to elevated pCO2 significantly reduced thermal tolerance by increasing CTmin at both rearing temperatures and decreasing CTmax at 20 °C. There was also a strong synergistic effect of OA × OW on HSP70 transcription levels which were 75-fold higher than in control conditions. If this species is unable to adapt to elevated pCO2 in the future, the reduction in thermal tolerance and HSP response suggests that near-future warming and OA will disrupt their performance and reduce their distribution with ecological and economic consequences. Given the wider latitudinal range (6 to 56°S) and environmental tolerance of L. albus compared to other members of this region’s benthic invertebrate community, OW and OA may cause substantial changes to the coastal fauna along the Chilean coast.

Continue reading ‘Ocean warming and acidification pose synergistic limits to the thermal niche of an economically important echinoderm’

An ecotoxicological study on physiological responses of Archaster typicus to salinity, thermal and ocean acidification stressors

Environmental biomarkers, also known as early warning signals, have increasingly
become a subject of interest in environmental studies. The common sea star, Archaster typicus, found in shallow sandy habitats associated with coral reefs in Singapore, was utilised to study the effects of varying treatment conditions of salinity, temperature and pH. Treatment conditions were derived from predicted future scenarios of thermal and ocean acidification conditions. Experiments were conducted to determine physiological responses of sea stars that were subjected to treatments over 24h (acute) and 120h (chronic) exposures. The biomarker responses examined included righting behaviour (time taken to right after being overturned), burrowing time and feeding responses (time
taken to close stomach/mouth plate) in experimental sea stars. To validate results of physiological biomarkers, two other biomarker responses were measured from coelomic fluid extracted from the experimental sea stars. These were the cellular lysosome integrity response (Neutral Red Retention time, NRRT) and the biochemical Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assay. In acute exposure experiments, results indicated that sea stars exhibited significant differences in physiological responses under various salinity, temperature and pH treatments. At chronic exposure regimes, lethal effects were more evident, with higher mortality rates observed in all salinity and temperature treatment regimes. Results from salinity treatments showed that physiological responses in sea stars were significantly impaired at treatments of 15‰ and 50‰ salinities. Significant results were observed in NRRT and burrowing behavioural assays in temperature treatments. Treatments with pH of 7.4 and 7.2 at the acute exposure duration resulted in a significant impairment of righting ability. The acute and chronic effects of salinity fluctuations, ocean warming and acidification on A
2 typicus were most consistently observed in the righting and burrowing behaviour assays. This indication of reduced fitness together with reduced cellular responses show a reduction in survival ability in the sea star under low salinity, high temperature and low pH conditions. Further studies could thus help us understand the effects of global warming on the physiology of organisms in various shallow water habitats.

Continue reading ‘An ecotoxicological study on physiological responses of Archaster typicus to salinity, thermal and ocean acidification stressors’

Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios

Highlights

• Impact of different acidification scenarios by enrichment of CO2 on contaminants of emerging concern.

• Toxicity of a cocaine byproduct in different scenarios of ocean acidification.

• Combined effects of crack cocaine and low pH on reproduction of sea urchin.

• Hazards and risks of illicit drugs pose to public health and the environment.

Abstract

This study has as main objective assessing the toxicity of crack-cocaine combined with different scenarios of ocean acidification on fertilization rate and embryo-larval development of Echinometra lucunter sea urchin. Effects on early life stages were assessed at five different concentrations (6,25 mg.L-1; 12,5 mg.L-1; 25 mg.L-1; 50 mg.L-1 and 100 mg.L-1) of crack-cocaine at four different pH values (8.5; 8.0; 7.5; 7.0). The pH values were achieved using two different methodologies: adding hydrochloric acid (HCl) and injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). The fertilization test did not show significant differences (p≤0.05) compared with control sample at pH values 8.5; 8.0 and 7.5. Results of embryo-larval assays showed a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of crack-cocaine at pH values tested (8.5, 8.0, 7.5) as 58.83, 10.67 and 11.58 mg/L-1 for HCl acidification and 58.83, 23.28 and 12.57 mg/L-1 for CO2 enrichment. At pH 7.0 the effects observed in fertilization rate and embryo development were associated with the acidification. This study is the first ecotoxicological assessment of illicit drug toxicity in aquatic ecosystems at different ocean acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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