Posts Tagged 'echinoderms'

Ocean acidification impacts spine integrity but not regenerative capacity of spines and tube feet in adult sea urchins

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has resulted in a change in seawater chemistry and lowering of pH, referred to as ocean acidification. Understanding how different organisms and processes respond to ocean acidification is vital to predict how marine ecosystems will be altered under future scenarios of continued environmental change. Regenerative processes involving biomineralization in marine calcifiers such as sea urchins are predicted to be especially vulnerable. In this study, the effect of ocean acidification on regeneration of external appendages (spines and tube feet) was investigated in the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus exposed to ambient (546 µatm), intermediate (1027 µatm) and high (1841 µatm) partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) for eight weeks. The rate of regeneration was maintained in spines and tube feet throughout two periods of amputation and regrowth under conditions of elevated pCO2. Increased expression of several biomineralization-related genes indicated molecular compensatory mechanisms; however, the structural integrity of both regenerating and homeostatic spines was compromised in high pCO2 conditions. Indicators of physiological fitness (righting response, growth rate, coelomocyte concentration and composition) were not affected by increasing pCO2, but compromised spine integrity is likely to have negative consequences for defence capabilities and therefore survival of these ecologically and economically important organisms.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification impacts spine integrity but not regenerative capacity of spines and tube feet in adult sea urchins’

Effects of ocean acidification on juveniles sea urchins: Predator-prey interactions

Increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere during the last decades has led to a significant decrease in ocean pH. Organisms that need carbonate to build their calcareous skeletons could be severely affected. In this study we focused on the effects of ocean acidification on juveniles of the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus and Diadema africanum. We assessed the effects of decreased pH on two skeletal structures, spines and test, and their impacts on species performance to avoid predation events in the field. Juveniles of both study species were exposed for 100 days to two treatments of pH: a pH of 8.0 (413.2 μatm) and pH of 7.6 (1349 μatm). Our results showed that D. africanum juveniles from the acidic treatment were more predated than those kept in the control treatment. These differences were not observed between treatments in P. lividus. Diadema africanum may be more sensitive to the indirect effects of ocean acidification on predator avoidance than P. lividus. However juveniles reared in a pH of 7.6 showed changes in shape in skeletal structures in both species. Considering these results in future scenarios, P lividus may be considered a “winning species”, and D. africanum a “losing species” in the climate change stake.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on juveniles sea urchins: Predator-prey interactions’

Effect of pH on temperature controlled degradation of reactive oxygen species, heat shock protein expression, and mucosal immunity in the sea cucumber Isostichopus badionotus

This study evaluated the effect of pH on the activity of antioxidant and immune enzymes in the sea cucumber Isostichopus badionotus exposed to different temperatures. The organisms (530 ±110 g) were exposed to 16, 20, 24, 28, 30, 34 and 36°C for 6 h to evaluate thermal limits at two water pH values (treatment = 7.70; control = 8.17). For the thermal tolerance experiment, the organisms were exposed to sublethal temperature of 34°C for 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 h. I. badionotus showed signs of thermal stress by synthesizing heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) at the cold (16°C) and warm thermal limits (34°C). The glutathione peroxidase (GPx) showed a negative correlation with superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in modulating the effect of oxidative stress at different temperature levels. Specifically, GPx activity was maximal at the extremes of the cold and warm temperatures (16, 20, and 36°C) tested, while contrarily, the SOD activity increased significantly in the narrow range of temperature between 28 and 30°C, as a part of a reaction to offset oxidative damage. The effect of pH on the expression of hsp70 was not significant, whereas the antioxidant enzymes activity was stimulated at pH 7.70. Mucosal immunity, evidenced by the activation of the phenoloxidase (PO) system, increased above the basal level at pH 7.70 and at 28, 30, and 34°C. Independent of pH, the temperature of 34°C was identified as the 12 h-sublethal upper limit for I. badionotus.

Continue reading ‘Effect of pH on temperature controlled degradation of reactive oxygen species, heat shock protein expression, and mucosal immunity in the sea cucumber Isostichopus badionotus’

Altered epiphyte community and sea urchin diet in Posidonia oceanica meadows in the vicinity of submarine volcanic CO2 vents

Ocean acidification (OA) predicted for 2100 is expected to shift seagrass epiphyte communities towards the dominance of more tolerant non-calcifying taxa. However, little is known about the indirect effects of such changes on food provision to key seagrass consumers. We found that epiphyte communities of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica in two naturally acidified sites (i.e. north and south sides of a volcanic CO2 vent) and in a control site away from the vent at the Ischia Island (NW Mediterranean Sea) significantly differed in composition and abundance. Such differences involved a higher abundance of non-calcareous crustose brown algae and a decline of calcifying polychaetes in both acidified sites. A lower epiphytic abundance of crustose coralline algae occurred only in the south side of the vents, thus suggesting that OA may alter epiphyte assemblages in different ways due to interaction with local factors such as differential fish herbivory or hydrodynamics. The OA effects on food items (seagrass, epiphytes, and algae) indirectly propagated into food provision to the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, as reflected by a reduced P. oceanica exploitation (i.e. less seagrass and calcareous epiphytes in the diet) in favour of non-calcareous green algae in both vent sites. In contrast, we detected no difference close and outside the vents neither in the composition of sea urchin diet nor in the total abundance of calcareous versus non-calcareous taxa. More research, under realistic scenarios of predicted pH reduction (i.e. ≤ 0.32 units of pH by 2100), is still necessary to better understand cascading effects of this altered urchin exploitation of food resources under acidified conditions on ecosystem diversity and function.

Continue reading ‘Altered epiphyte community and sea urchin diet in Posidonia oceanica meadows in the vicinity of submarine volcanic CO2 vents’

Paternal identity influences response of Acanthaster planci embryos to ocean acidification and warming

The crown-of-thorns sea star Acanthaster planci is a key predator of corals and has had a major influence on the decrease in coral cover across the Indo-Pacific. To understand how this species may adapt to ocean warming and acidification, this study used a quantitative genetic approach to examine the response in offspring of 24 half-sib A. planci families raised in fully crossed treatment combinations of temperature (27, 29 and 31 °C) and pCO2 (450 and 900 ppm) to the gastrulation stage (26 h post-fertilisation). Interactions between genotype and environment were tested using a permutational multivariate ANOVA and restricted error maximum likelihood calculations of variance. High temperature (31 °C) significantly reduced normal (symmetrical, intact) development by ~15% at the 16-cell stage. Increased temperature (from 29 to 31 °C) reduced normal gastrulation from ~65 to ~30%. The extent to which each genotype was affected depended on sire identity, which explained 15% of variation. pCO2 did not significantly influence development at gastrulation. To explore the importance of individual mating pairs, response ratios were calculated for offspring of each family across all treatments. Response ratios demonstrated that the majority of genotypes experienced the highest percentage of normal development to gastrulation in the control treatment, and that family (sire × dam) is important in determining the response to ocean warming and acidification. A positive genetic correlation (overall r*G = 0.76) from sire × environment interactions, however, indicated that individuals which develop ‘better’ at both high temperature and high pCO2 may cope better with near-future predicted warm and acidified conditions for eastern Australia.

Continue reading ‘Paternal identity influences response of Acanthaster planci embryos to ocean acidification and warming’

A comparison of MgCO3 in individual sub-components of major skeletal structures of the common temperate sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus

The major skeletal structures (test, spines, Aristotle’s lantern) of a common regular sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus were analyzed for Mg-calcite composition to determine their relative vulnerability to ocean acidification. Percentage of MgCO3 in the test and several sub-components of the Aristotle’s lantern were generally similar to one another (mean range = 10.1-11.0 mol % MgCO3), and would be the most vulnerable to partial dissolution. Also vulnerable would be the teeth (mean = 8.8 mol % MgCO3) of the lantern. Primary spines (mean = 3.7 mol % MgCO3) are potentially the most resistant to dissolution, with significantly lower MgCO3 percentages than all other skeletal structures. Our results suggest that in near-future predicted levels of ocean acidification adult regular echinoids will retain their ability to defend themselves with their spines. However, feeding efficiency may be compromised should dissolution weaken the lantern and its associated teeth, decreasing grazing efficiency and/or increasing the energy investment of tooth replacement.

Continue reading ‘A comparison of MgCO3 in individual sub-components of major skeletal structures of the common temperate sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus’

Ocean acidification reduces spine mechanical strength in euechinoid but not in cidaroid sea urchins

Echinoderms are considered as particularly sensitive to ocean acidification (OA) as their skeleton is made of high-magnesium calcite, one of the most soluble forms of calcium carbonate. Recent studies have investigated effects of OA on the skeleton of “classical” sea urchins (euechinoids) but the impact of etching on skeleton mechanical properties is almost unknown. Furthermore, the integrity of the skeleton of cidaroids has never been assessed although their extracellular fluid is undersaturated with respect to their skeleton and the skeleton of their primary spines is in direct contact with seawater. In this study, we compared the dissolution of test plates and spines as well as the spine mechanical properties (two-points bending tests) in a cidaroid (Eucidaris tribuloides) and a euechinoid (Tripneustes ventricosus) submitted to a 5-weeks acidification experiment (pHT 8.1, 7.7, 7.4). Test plates of both species were not affected by dissolution. Spines of E. tribuloides showed no mechanical effects at pHSW-T 7.4 despite traces of corrosion on secondary spines. On the contrary, spines of the T. ventricosus were significantly etched at both pHSW-T 7.7 and 7.4 and their fracture force reduced by 16 to 35%, respectively. This increased brittleness is probably of little significance with regards to predation protection but has consequences in terms of energy allocation.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification reduces spine mechanical strength in euechinoid but not in cidaroid sea urchins’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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