Posts Tagged 'fish'

Sperm characteristics of wild and captive lebranche mullet Mugil liza (Valenciennes, 1836), subjected to sperm activation in different pH and salinity conditions


•Spermatology of Mugil liza in the wild and captive states.
•Morphometry and effects of pH and salinity on sperm motility.
•Optimize the “in vitro” handling of spermatozoa.


In this article we describe basic aspects of the sperm biology of lebranche mullet (Mugil liza) in the wild and in captivity, in particular assessing the effects of salinity (0, 10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 50 and 60 g L-1) and pH (6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) on sperm motility. Our results indicate that the highest percentage of motility was recorded with salinity 34.6 g L-1 (95 ± 10%) and the longest motility time was obtained with a salinity of 34.8 g L-1 (189 ± 15 s). Variations in the salinity between 30 and 35 g L-1 did not produce any significant alterations in sperm motility; however salinities of 20 and 50 g L-1 produced a significant loss of sperm motility. The highest percentage of motility was obtained at pH 8.5 (93 ± 12%), and the longest motility period at pH 8.7 (218 ± 13 s), while pH lower than or equal to 7 and equal to 10 both produced a significant loss in sperm motility. A positive correlation was found between pH/salinity and the motility percentage (R2 = 0.94 and R2 = 0.97) and motility time (R2 = 0.86 and R2 = 0.98). In seminal and morphometric parameters, statistically significant differences were observed in semen volume, sperm density, plasma membrane integrity and sperm morphometry between the groups studied, showing that the characteristics of the fish have a direct influence on sperm quality. The information generated in this research will be useful for developing biotechnology tools for the effective management of Mugil liza gametes. Continue reading ‘Sperm characteristics of wild and captive lebranche mullet Mugil liza (Valenciennes, 1836), subjected to sperm activation in different pH and salinity conditions’

Aquatic acidification: a mechanism underpinning maintained oxygen transport and performance in fish experiencing elevated carbon dioxide conditions

Aquatic acidification, caused by elevating levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), is increasing in both freshwater and marine ecosystems worldwide. However, few studies have examined how acidification will affect oxygen (O2 ) transport and, therefore, performance in fishes. Although data are generally lacking, the majority of fishes investigated in this meta-analysis exhibited no effect of elevated CO2 at the level of O2 uptake, suggesting that they are able to maintain metabolic performance during a period of acidosis. Notably, the mechanisms that fish employ to maintain performance and O2 uptake have yet to be verified. Here, we summarize current data related to one recently proposed mechanism underpinning the maintenance of O2 uptake during exposure to aquatic acidification, and reveal knowledge gaps that could be targeted for future research. Most studies have examined O2 uptake rates while fishes were resting and did not calculate aerobic scope, even though aerobic scope can aid in predicting changes to whole-animal metabolic performance. Furthermore, research is lacking on different age classes, freshwater species and elasmobranchs, all of which might be impacted by future acidification conditions. Finally, this Review further seeks to emphasize the importance of developing collaborative efforts between molecular, physiological and ecological approaches in order to provide more comprehensive predictions as to how future fish populations will be affected by climate change.

Continue reading ‘Aquatic acidification: a mechanism underpinning maintained oxygen transport and performance in fish experiencing elevated carbon dioxide conditions’

Sand smelt ability to cope and recover from ocean’s elevated CO2 levels


• Sand smelt larvae were exposed to short and long-term acidification scenarios.
• Cope and recover were assessed at behavioural, morphometric and biochemical levels.
• Exposure to high pCO2 induces different responses at distinct exposure times.
• Contrary to biochemical and morphometric responses, lateralization was unaffected.
• Larvae were not able to recover from acidified scenarios within the study period.


Considered a major environmental concern, ocean acidification has induced a recent research boost into effects on marine biodiversity and possible ecological, physiological, and behavioural impacts. Although the majority of literature indicate negative effects of future acidification scenarios, most studies are conducted for just a few days or weeks, which may be insufficient to detect the capacity of an organism to adjust to environmental changes through phenotypic plasticity. Here, the effects and the capacity of sand smelt larvae Atherina presbyter to cope and recover (through a treatment combination strategy) from short (15 days) and long-term exposure (45 days) to increasing pCO2 levels (control: ~515 μatm, pH = 8.07; medium: ~940 μatm, pH = 7.84; high: ~1500 μatm, pH = 7.66) were measured, addressing larval development traits, behavioural lateralization, and biochemical biomarkers related with oxidative stress and damage, and energy metabolism and reserves. Although behavioural lateralization was not affected by high pCO2 exposure, morphometric changes, energetic costs, and oxidative stress damage were impacted differently through different exposures periods. Generally, short-time exposures led to different responses to either medium or high pCO2 levels (e.g. development, cellular metabolism, or damage), while on the long-term the response patterns tend to become similar between them, with both acidification scenarios inducing DNA damage and tending to lower growth rates. Additionally, when organisms were transferred to lower acidified condition, they were not able to recover from the mentioned DNA damage impacts.

Overall, results suggest that exposure to future ocean acidification scenarios can induce sublethal effects on early life-stages of fish, but effects are dependent on duration of exposure, and are likely not reversible. Furthermore, to improve our understanding on species sensitivity and adaptation strategies, results reinforce the need to use multiple biological endpoints when assessing the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms.

Continue reading ‘Sand smelt ability to cope and recover from ocean’s elevated CO2 levels’

Diel CO2 cycles do not modify juvenile growth, survival and otolith development in two coral reef fish under ocean acidification

Recent studies show that daily variation in pCO2 levels can modify the life-history and calcification responses of marine organisms to ocean acidification. The early life stages of coral reef fish exhibit varied growth, survival and otolith development responses to elevated pCO2 , yet no studies to date have considered the substantial diel pCO2 cycles that occur in shallow reef habitats. Here, we reared three clutches of juvenile Acanthochromis polyacanthus and Amphiprion percula under control (500 µatm), stable, elevated (1000 µatm) and diel cycling, elevated (1000 ± 300 and 1000 ± 500 µatm) pCO2 for 11 and 6 weeks, respectively. Survival was unaffected by exposure to either elevated stable or diel cycling pCO2 conditions in both species. For A. polyacanthus there was a non-significant trend of decreased standard length and wet weight under stable, elevated pCO2 conditions, whereas values in both the diel cycling treatments were closer to those observed under control conditions. A similar non-significant trend was observed for Am. percula, except that exposure to stable, elevated pCO2 conditions resulted in slightly longer and heavier fish. Finally, otolith size, shape and symmetry in both species were unaffected by exposure to either elevated stable or diel cycling pCO2 conditions. Overall, our results suggest that the growth, survival and otolith development of juvenile coral reef fishes under ocean acidification is unlikely to be affected, in isolation, by diel cycles in pCO2 .

Continue reading ‘Diel CO2 cycles do not modify juvenile growth, survival and otolith development in two coral reef fish under ocean acidification’

Effects of CO2-induced ocean acidification on the early development, growth, survival and skeletogenesis of the estuarine-dependant sciaenid Argyrosomus japonicus

Although it is increasingly accepted that ocean acidification poses a considerable threat to marine organisms, little is known about the likely response of fishes to this phenomenon. While initial research concluded that adult fishes may be tolerant to changes predicted in the next 300 years, the response of early life stages to end-of-century CO2 levels (~ 1100 qatm according to the IPCC RCP 8.5) remains unclear. To date, literature on the early growth and survival of fishes has yielded conflicting results, suggesting that vulnerability may be species dependant. The paucity of ocean acidification research on fishes is particularly evident when one considers larval skeletogenesis, with no robust studies on its impacts on bone and cartilage development. This study addresses the early life embryogenesis, hatching success, growth, skeletogenesis and survival of an estuarine-dependant species. Dusky kob (Argyrosomus japonicus) were reared in a control (pCO2 = 327.50 ± 80.07 qatm at pH 8.15), intermediate (pCO2 477.40 ± 59.46 qatm at pH 8.03) and high pCO2 treatment (pCO2 910.20 ± 136.45 qatm at pH 7.78) from egg to 29 days post-hatch (dph). Sixty individuals from each treatment were sacrificed at the egg stage and at 2, 6, 13, 18, 21 and 26 dph, measured and stained using an acid-free double- staining solution to prevent the deterioration of calcified matrices in fragile larval skeletons. The proportion of bone and cartilage was quantified at each stage using a novel pixel-counting method. Growth and skeletal development were identical between treatments until the onset of metamorphosis (21 dph). However, from the metamorphosis stage, the growth and skeletal development rate was significantly faster in the intermediate treatment and significantly slower in the high treatment when compared to the control treatment. By 26 dph, A. japonicus reared in high pCO2 were, on average, 47.2% smaller than the control treatment, and the relative proportion of bone in the body was 45.3% lower in the high pCO2 treatment when compared with the control. In addition, none of the fish in the high pCO2 treatment survived after 26 dph. It appears that the combination of the increased energy requirements during metamorphosis and the increased energy cost associated with acid-base regulation may account for reduced growth, skeletogenesis and poor survival in high pCO2. Regardless of the driver, the results of this study suggest that the pCO2 levels predicted for the end of the century may have negative effects on the growth, skeletal development, and survival during metamorphosis.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2-induced ocean acidification on the early development, growth, survival and skeletogenesis of the estuarine-dependant sciaenid Argyrosomus japonicus’

Ecological complexity buffers the impacts of future climate on marine consumers

Ecological complexity represents a network of interacting components that either propagate or counter the effects of environmental change on individuals and communities1,2,3. Yet, our understanding of the ecological imprint of ocean acidification (elevated CO2) and climate change (elevated temperature) is largely based on reports of negative effects on single species in simplified laboratory systems4,5. By combining a large mesocosm experiment with a global meta-analysis, we reveal the capacity of consumers (fish and crustaceans) to resist the impacts of elevated CO2. While individual behaviours were impaired by elevated CO2, consumers could restore their performances in more complex environments that allowed for compensatory processes. Consequently, consumers maintained key traits such as foraging, habitat selection and predator avoidance despite elevated CO2 and sustained their populations. Our observed increase in risk-taking under elevated temperature, however, predicts greater vulnerability of consumers to predation. Yet, CO2 as a resource boosted the biomass of consumers through species interactions and may stabilize communities by countering the negative effects of elevated temperature. We conclude that compensatory dynamics inherent in the complexity of nature can buffer the impacts of future climate on species and their communities.

Continue reading ‘Ecological complexity buffers the impacts of future climate on marine consumers’

Reproductive trade-offs in a temperate reef fish under high pCO2 levels


•Reproductive activity in two-spotted goby is stimulated under high  pCO2  levels.
•Females under high  pCO2  levels produce more eggs.
•Larvae of parental pairs under high  pCO2  levels hatch smaller.
•Different energy allocation strategies are used by females under .
•High  pCO2  levels.


Fishes are currently facing novel types of anthropogenic stressors that have never experienced in their evolutionary history, such as ocean acidification. Under these stressful conditions, energetically costly processes, such as reproduction, may be sacrificed for increased chances of survival. This trade-off does not only affect the organism itself but may result in reduced offspring fitness. In the present study, the effects of exposure to high  pCO2 levels were tested on the reproductive performance of a temperate species, the two-spotted goby, Gobiusculus flavescens. Breeding pairs were kept under control (∼600 μatm, pH∼ 8.05) and high  pCO2  levels (∼2300 μatm, pH∼ 7.60) conditions for a 4-month period. Additionally, oxidative stress and energy metabolism-related biomarkers were measured. Results suggest that reproductive activity is stimulated under high  pCO2  levels. Parental pairs in the simulated ocean acidification conditions exhibited increased reproductive output, with 50% more clutches and 44% more eggs per clutch than pairs under control conditions. However, there was an apparent trade-off between offspring number and size, as larvae of parental pairs under high  pCO2  levels hatched significantly smaller, suggesting differences in parental provisioning, which could be related to the fact that these females produce more eggs. Moreover, results support the hypothesis of different energy allocation strategies used by females under high  pCO2  conditions. These changes might, ultimately, affect individual fitness and population replenishment.

Continue reading ‘Reproductive trade-offs in a temperate reef fish under high pCO2 levels’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book