Posts Tagged 'fish'

Impact of ocean acidification on the early development and escape behavior of marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma)


  • No significantly negative growth effects were observed in larvae exposed higher pCO2.
  • Eye defects and abnormal development of brain were obvious in exposed larvae.
  • Escape behavior was vulnerable to ocean acidification.


Ocean acidification is predicted to affect a wide diversity of marine organisms. However, no studies have reported the effects of ocean acidification on Indian Ocean fish. We have used the Indian Ocean medaka (Oryzias melastigma) as a model species for a marine fish that lives in coastal waters. We investigated the impact of ocean acidification on the embryonic development and the stereotyped escape behavior (mediated by the Mauthner cell) in newly hatched larvae. Newly fertilized eggs of medaka were reared in seawater at three different partial pressures of carbon dioxide (pCO2): control at 450 μatm, moderate at 1160 μatm, and high at 1783 μatm. Hatching rates, embryonic duration, and larval malformation rates were compared and were not significantly different between the treatments and the control. In the high pCO2 group, however, the yolks of larvae were significantly smaller than in the control group, and the newly hatched larvae were significantly longer than the larvae in the control. In the moderate pCO2 group, the eye distance decreased significantly. No significantly negative growth effects were observed in the larvae when exposed to pCO2 levels that are predicted as a result of ocean acidification in the next 100–200 years. Larvae reared under control conditions readily produced C-start escape behavior to mechanosensory stimuli; however, in the moderate and high pCO2 experimental groups, the probabilities of C-start were significantly lower than those of the control group. Therefore, the sensory integration needed for the C-start escape behavior appears to be vulnerable to ocean acidification. Altered behavior in marine larval fish, particularly behaviors involved in escape from predation, could have potentially negative implications to fish populations, and, further, to the marine ecosystems at the levels of CO2 projected for the future.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on the early development and escape behavior of marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma)’

The influence of high pCO2 on otolith shape, chemical and carbon isotope composition of six coastal fish species in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent

Naturally acidified environments, such as CO2 vents, are important sites to evaluate the potential effects of increased ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and biota. Here we assessed the effect of high CO2/low pH on otolith shape and chemical composition of six coastal fish species (Chromis chromis, Coris julis, Diplodus vulgaris, Gobius bucchichi, Sarpa salpa, Symphodus ocellatus) in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent. Taking into consideration the major and trace elements found near the vent and the gradient of dissolved inorganic carbon, we compared the otolith chemical signatures of fish exposed long-term to elevated CO2 emissions and reduced pH (mean pH 7.8) against fish living in two control sites (mean pH 8.2). A number of element:Ca ratios (Na:Ca, Mg:Ca, Mn:Ca, Cu:Ca, Zn:Ca, Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca and Pb:Ca), along with isotope ratios, were measured in otoliths (δ13C and δ18O) and water (δ13CDIC) samples. Additionally, we performed otolith outline shape and morphometric analysis to evaluate the effect of high CO2/low pH. We observed species-specific responses with regards to both shape and chemical signatures. Significant differences among sites were found in otolith shape (elliptical Fourier descriptors) of G. bucchichi and D. vulgaris. Elemental and isotopic signatures were also significantly different in these site attached species, though not for the other four. Overall, the carbon isotopic composition seems a good proxy to follow pH gradient in naturally acidified area. Ultimately, besides improving our knowledge of the effects of high CO2/low pH on otoliths, the present results contribute to our understanding on their use as natural tags.

Continue reading ‘The influence of high pCO2 on otolith shape, chemical and carbon isotope composition of six coastal fish species in a Mediterranean shallow CO2 vent’

No effect of elevated carbon dioxide on reproductive behaviors in the three-spined stickleback

Ocean acidification, the reduction in ocean pH resulting from anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), has been predicted to alter the behavior of fishes. During experimental exposure to CO2 concentrations projected for the year 2100 (~1000 µatm), fish have been reported to display disturbances in activity, learning, behavioral lateralization, and even attraction to predator cues. Reproductive behaviors have received far less attention, despite an intensive research effort on ocean acidification and its ecological importance. Here, we investigate whether elevated levels of CO2 affect reproduction in breeding pairs of the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, a model species in behavioral, evolutionary ecology, and environmental toxicology. We found that males under both present day levels (400 µatm) and future levels (1000 µatm) of CO2 developed normal sexual ornaments, pursued normal nest building activities, exhibited similar levels of courtship behaviors and displacement fanning, and had the same mating probability. Moreover, fanning behavior during the paternal care period followed what is expected for the species for males from both treatments, and there was no effect of treatment on the numbers of offspring produced. This study is the first to investigate the effect of elevated CO2 on the complete breeding cycle in detail, studying an array of highly fitness-relevant traits. Our study showing surprising resilience of fish reproduction is an important contribution in order to realistically predict the impacts of future ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘No effect of elevated carbon dioxide on reproductive behaviors in the three-spined stickleback’

Responses of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity related genes to elevated CO2 levels in the brain of three teleost species

The continuous increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in ocean acidification has been reported to affect brain function in some fishes. During adulthood, cell proliferation is fundamental for fish brain growth and for it to adapt in response to external stimuli, such as environmental changes. Here we report the first expression study of genes regulating neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in brains of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), cinnamon anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus) and spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) exposed to elevated CO2. The mRNA expression levels of the neurogenic differentiation factor (NeuroD) and doublecortin (DCX) were upregulated in three-spined stickleback exposed to high-CO2 compared with controls, while no changes were detected in the other species. The mRNA expression levels of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) remained unaffected in the high-CO2 exposed groups compared to the control in all three species. These results indicate a species-specific regulation of genes involved in neurogenesis in response to elevated ambient CO2 levels. The higher expression of NeuroD and DCX mRNA transcripts in the brain of high-CO2–exposed three-spined stickleback, together with the lack of effects on mRNA levels in cinnamon anemonefish and spiny damselfish, indicate differences in coping mechanisms among fish in response to the predicted-future CO2 level.

Continue reading ‘Responses of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity related genes to elevated CO2 levels in the brain of three teleost species’

Diel CO2 cycles reduce severity of behavioural abnormalities in coral reef fish under ocean acidification

Elevated CO2 levels associated with ocean acidification (OA) have been shown to alter behavioural responses in coral reef fishes. However, all studies to date have used stable pCO2 treatments, not considering the substantial diel pCO2 variation that occurs in shallow reef habitats. Here, we reared juvenile damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, and clownfish, Amphiprion percula, at stable and diel cycling pCO2 treatments in two experiments. As expected, absolute lateralization of A. polyacanthus and response to predator cue of Am. percula were negatively affected in fish reared at stable, elevated pCO2 in both experiments. However, diel pCO2 fluctuations reduced the negative effects of OA on behaviour. Importantly, in experiment two, behavioural abnormalities that were present in fish reared at stable 750 µatm CO2 were largely absent in fish reared at 750 ± 300 µatm CO2. Overall, we show that diel pCO2 cycles can substantially reduce the severity of behavioural abnormalities caused by elevated CO2. Thus, past studies may have over-estimated the impacts of OA on the behavioural performance of coral reef fishes. Furthermore, our results suggest that diel pCO2 cycles will delay the onset of behavioural abnormalities in natural populations.

Continue reading ‘Diel CO2 cycles reduce severity of behavioural abnormalities in coral reef fish under ocean acidification’

Heritability of behavioural tolerance to high CO2 in a coral reef fish is masked by nonadaptive phenotypic plasticity

Previous studies have demonstrated limited potential for acclimation of adversely affected olfactory behaviours in reef fishes under elevated CO2, indicating that genetic adaptation will be required to maintain behavioural performance in the future. Adaptation depends on the presence of heritable phenotypic variation in the trait, which may differ between populations and environments. We used parent–offspring regressions to estimate the heritability (h2) of variation in behavioural tolerance to high CO2 (754 μatm) in both field-collected and laboratory-reared families of Acanthochromis polyacanthus. Tolerance to elevated CO2 was measured by determining the behavioural response of individuals to chemical alarm cues. Both populations exhibited high heritability of olfactory behaviour phenotype (father–mid-offspring h2 = 0.56 & 0.65, respectively) when offspring were acutely exposed to high CO2 for 4 days. However, there was no heritability in the behavioural phenotype when juveniles were chronically exposed to high CO2 for 6 weeks in the laboratory-reared families. Parental exposure to high CO2 during the breeding season did not alter this relationship between heritability and length of juvenile exposure to high CO2. These results demonstrate that variation in behavioural tolerance to high CO2 is heritable, but adaptive potential may be constrained by a loss of phenotypic variation when juveniles permanently experience a high-CO2 environment, as will occur with rising CO2levels in the ocean.

Continue reading ‘Heritability of behavioural tolerance to high CO2 in a coral reef fish is masked by nonadaptive phenotypic plasticity’

Numerical modeling of fish mortality at high CO2 concentrations representing acclimation

A mortality model was developed to predict the impact of high CO2 concentrations on marine fish. To allow for acclimation to a gradual increase of PCO2, the model includes acid–base regulation processes, such as respiration and ion-exchange at the gills. Because the physiological mechanism connecting a decrease in blood pH and mortality is not known, a statistical model was adopted. The mortality calculated for Japanese sillago experiencing a transient change of PCO2 compares moderately well with observations.

Continue reading ‘Numerical modeling of fish mortality at high CO2 concentrations representing acclimation’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,025,944 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book