Posts Tagged 'echinoderms'

Residing at low pH matters, resilience of the egg jelly coat of sea urchins living at a CO2 vent site

The sea urchin egg jelly coat is important in fertilisation as a source of sperm activating compounds, in species-specific gamete recognition and in increasing egg target size for sperm. The impact of ocean acidification (− 0.3 to 0.5 pHT units) on the egg jelly coat of Arbacia lixula was investigated comparing populations resident in a control (pHT 8.00) and a CO2 vent site (mean pHT 7.69) in Ischia. Measurements of egg and jelly coat size showed no significant differences between sea urchins from the different sites; however, sensitivity of the jelly coat to decreased pH differed depending on the origin of the population. Acidification to pHT 7.7 and 7.5 significantly decreased egg jelly coat size of control urchins by 27 and 23%, respectively. In contrast, the jelly coat of the vent urchins was not affected by acidification. For the vent urchins, there was a significant positive relationship between egg and jelly coat size, a relationship not seen for the eggs of females from the control site. As egg and jelly coat size was similar between both populations, vent A. lixula jelly coats are likely to be chemically fine-tuned for the low pH environment. That the egg jelly coat of sea urchins from the vent site was robust to low pH shows intraspecific variation in this trait, and that this difference may be a maternal adaptive strategy or plastic response. If this is a common response in sea urchins, this would facilitate the maintenance of gamete function, facilitating fertilisation success in a low pH ocean.

Continue reading ‘Residing at low pH matters, resilience of the egg jelly coat of sea urchins living at a CO2 vent site’

Ocean acidification modulates the incorporation of radio-labeled heavy metals in the larvae of the Mediterranean sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus

Highlights

• The radionuclide method allowed accurate tracing of the metal incorporation within this microscopic planktonic species.
• Metal incorporation in sea urchin larvae strongly correlates with the indirect delaying effect of acidification on larval size.
• Independently of the size effect, acidification directly affects the incorporation behavior of four metals (Mn, Ag, Se, Zn).
• The nature of the modulation is specific to each metallic element (see graphical abstract).
• Relationships between speciation, bioaccumulation and toxicity in the context of changing seawater pH requires more research.

Abstract

The marine organisms which inhabit the coastline are exposed to a number of anthropogenic pressures that may interact. For instance, the accumulation of toxic metals present in coastal waters is expected to be modified by ocean acidification through e.g. changes in physiological performance and/or elements availability. Changes in bioaccumulation due to lowering pH are likely to be differently affected depending on the nature (essential vs. non-essential) and speciation of each element. The Mediterranean is of high concern for possible cumulative effects due to strong human influences on the coastline.

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ocean acidification (from pH 8.1 down to −1.0 pH units) on the incorporation kinetics of six trace metals (Mn, Co, Zn, Se, Ag, Cd, Cs) and one radionuclide (241Am) in the larvae of an economically- and ecologically-relevant sea urchin of the Mediterranean coastline: Paracentrotus lividus. The radiolabelled metals and radionuclides added in trace concentrations allowed precise tracing of their incorporation in larvae during the first 74 h of their development.

Independently of the expected indirect effect of pH on larval size/developmental rates, Paracentrotus lividus larvae exposed to decreasing pHs incorporated significantly more Mn and Ag and slightly less Cd. The incorporation of Co, Cs and 241Am was unchanged, and Zn and Se exhibited complex incorporation behaviors. Studies such as this are necessary prerequisites to the implementation of metal toxicity mitigation policies for the future ocean. We discuss possible reasons and mechanisms for the specific effect of pH on each metals.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification modulates the incorporation of radio-labeled heavy metals in the larvae of the Mediterranean sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus’

A SLC4 family bicarbonate transporter is critical for intracellular pH regulation and biomineralization in sea urchin embryos

Efficient pH regulation is a fundamental requisite of all calcifying systems in animals and plants but with the underlying pH regulatory mechanisms remaining largely unknown. Using the sea urchin larva this work identified the SLC4 HCO3 transporter family member SpSlc4a10 to be critically involved in the formation of an elaborate calcitic endoskeleton. SpSlc4a10 is specifically expressed by calcifying primary mesenchyme cells with peak expression during de novo formation of the skeleton. Knock-down of SpSlc4a10 led to pH regulatory defects accompanied by decreased calcification rates and skeleton deformations. Reductions in seawater pH, resembling ocean acidification scenarios, led to an increase in SpSlc4a10 expression suggesting a compensatory mechanism in place to maintain calcification rates. We propose a first pH regulatory and HCO3 concentrating mechanism that is fundamentally linked to the biological precipitation of CaCO3. This knowledge will help understanding biomineralization strategies in animals and their interaction with a changing environment.

Continue reading ‘A SLC4 family bicarbonate transporter is critical for intracellular pH regulation and biomineralization in sea urchin embryos’

The duality of ocean acidification as a resource and a stressor

Ecologically dominant species often define ecosystem states, but as human disturbances intensify, their subordinate counterparts increasingly displace them. We consider the duality of disturbance by examining how environmental drivers can simultaneously act as a stressor to dominant species and as a resource to subordinates. Using a model ecosystem, we demonstrate that CO2‐driven interactions between species can account for such reversals in dominance; i.e., the displacement of dominants (kelp forests) by subordinates (turf algae). We established that CO2 enrichment had a direct positive effect on productivity of turfs, but a negligible effect on kelp. CO2 enrichment further suppressed the abundance and feeding rate of the primary grazer of turfs (sea urchins), but had an opposite effect on the minor grazer (gastropods). Thus, boosted production of subordinate producers, exacerbated by a net reduction in its consumption by primary grazers, accounts for community change (i.e., turf displacing kelp). Ecosystem collapse, therefore, is more likely when resource enrichment alters competitive dominance of producers, and consumers fail to compensate. By recognizing such duality in the responses of interacting species to disturbance, which may stabilize or exacerbate change, we can begin to understand how intensifying human disturbances determine whether or not ecosystems undergo phase shifts.

Continue reading ‘The duality of ocean acidification as a resource and a stressor’

Effects of natural current pH variability on the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus larvae development and settlement

Highlights

• We assessed the sensitivities of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus during its larvae development and settlement undergoing two different daily pH frequencies.
• Experimental climatic scenarios covered present natural variability.
• Responses on different life stages of species were investigated.
• Larvae development was slightly enhanced by moderated fluctuating pH regimes.
• Our results highlight the importance of considering the natural current variability of pH in the species’ niche to a better understanding of future scenarios.

Abstract

One of the most important environmental factors controlling the distribution, physiology, morphology and behaviour of marine invertebrates is ocean pH. In the last decade, the effects of decreasing ocean pH as a result of climate change processes (i.e. ocean acidification) on marine organisms have been target of much research. However, the effects of natural pH variability in the species’ niche have been largely neglected. Marine coastal habitats are characterized by a high environmental variability and, in some cases, organisms are already coping with pH values predicted by the end of the century. It is thought that because of adaptation or acclimation to natural environmental variability, intertidal species may have some resilience to future changes. In this study, we explored the sensitivities of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus during its larvae development and settlement undergoing two different daily pH frequencies (12 h fluctuation from 7.7 to 8.1 units of pH, and constant pH treatment of 8.1 units of pH) that have been currently recorded in the sampling region (Canary Islands). Results showed that, despite larvae development was slightly enhanced by moderated fluctuating pH regimes, P. lividus larva was able to develop normally in both, fluctuating and constant, pH environments. Results of the settlement experiment showed very clear patterns since postlarvae settlement was only successful when a covering of algae was added, regardless of the pH fluctuation applied.

Continue reading ‘Effects of natural current pH variability on the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus larvae development and settlement’

Robustness of larval development of intertidal sea urchin species to simulated ocean warming and acidification

Highlights

• We assessed combined effects of ocean temperature and pH on sea urchin fertilization and early development stages.
• Experimental climatic scenarios covered present and future natural variability.
• Responses on different life stages of four species were investigated.
• Intertidal species seem to be more resilient to near-future climate change scenarios than subtidal species.
• Findings provide a general view of the responses of sea urchins to future scenarios.

Abstract

Ocean warming and acidification are the two most significant side effects of carbone dioxide emissions in the world’s oceans. By changing water, temperature and pH are the main environmental factors controlling the distribution, physiology, morphology and behaviour of marine invertebrates. This study evaluated the combined effects of predicted high temperature levels, and predicted low pH values, on fertilization and early development stages of the sea urchins Arbacia lixula, Paracentrotus lividus, Sphaerechinus granularis and Diadema africanum. Twelve treatments, combining different temperatures (19, 21, 23 and 25 °C) and pH values (8.1, 7.7 and 7.4 units), were tested in laboratory experiments. All of the tested temperatures and pH values were within the open coast seawater range expected within the next century. We examined fertilization rate, cleavage rate, 3-day larvae survival, and development of the different sea urchin species at set time intervals after insemination. Our results highlight the susceptibility of subtidal species to environmental changes, and the robustness of intertidal species to ocean warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Robustness of larval development of intertidal sea urchin species to simulated ocean warming and acidification’

Trans‐life cycle acclimation to experimental ocean acidification affects gastric pH homeostasis and larval recruitment in the sea star Asterias rubens

Aim
Experimental simulation of near‐future ocean acidification (OA) has been demonstrated to affect growth and development of echinoderm larval stages through energy allocation towards ion and pH compensatory processes. To date, it remains largely unknown how major pH regulatory systems and their energetics are affected by trans‐generational exposure to near‐future acidification levels.

Methods
Here we used the common sea star Asterias rubens in a reciprocal transplant experiment comprising different combinations of OA scenarios, in order to study trans‐generational plasticity using morphological and physiological endpoints.

Results
Acclimation of adults to pHT 7.2 (pCO2 3500μatm) led to reductions in feeding rates, gonad weight, and fecundity. No effects were evident at moderate acidification levels (pHT 7.4; pCO2 2000μatm). Parental pre‐acclimation to pHT 7.2 for 85 days reduced developmental rates even when larvae were raised under moderate and high pH conditions, whereas pre‐acclimation to pHT 7.4 did not alter offspring performance. Microelectrode measurements and pharmacological inhibitor studies carried out on larval stages demonstrated that maintenance of alkaline gastric pH represents a substantial energy sink under acidified conditions that may contribute up to 30% to the total energy budget.

Conclusion
Parental pre‐acclimation to acidification levels that are beyond the pH that is encountered by this population in its natural habitat (e.g. pHT 7.2) negatively affected larval size and development, potentially through reduced energy transfer. Maintenance of alkaline gastric pH and reductions in maternal energy reserves probably constitute the main factors for a reduced juvenile recruitment of this marine keystone species under simulated OA.

Continue reading ‘Trans‐life cycle acclimation to experimental ocean acidification affects gastric pH homeostasis and larval recruitment in the sea star Asterias rubens’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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