Posts Tagged 'fish'

Effects of multiple climate change stressors on gene expression in blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus)


  • Marine fishes will be exposed to multiple stressors under climate change.
  • Hypoxia and high pCO2 are both expected to cause shifts in energy metabolism.
  • No signs of energetic shifts were observed at transcriptomic or enzymatic levels.
  • Multiple stressor transcriptomes are not predictable based on responses to single stressors.
  • Blue rockfish may be relatively tolerant to intensified upwelling conditions.


Global climate change is predicted to increase the co-occurrence of high pCO2 and hypoxia in upwelling zones worldwide. Yet, few studies have examined the effects of these stressors on economically and ecologically important fishes. Here, we investigated short-term responses of juvenile blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) to independent and combined high pCO2 and hypoxia at the molecular level, using changes in gene expression and metabolic enzymatic activity to investigate potential shifts in energy metabolism. Fish were experimentally exposed to conditions associated with intensified upwelling under climate change: high pCO2 (1200 μatm, pH~7.6), hypoxia (4.0 mg O2/L), and a combined high pCO2/hypoxia treatment for 12 h, 24 h or two weeks. Muscle transcriptome profiles varied significantly among the three treatments, with limited overlap among genes responsive to both the single and combined stressors. Under elevated pCO2, blue rockfish increased expression of genes encoding proteins involved in the electron transport chain and muscle contraction. Under hypoxia, blue rockfish up-regulated genes involved in oxygen and ion transport and down-regulated transcriptional machinery. Under combined high pCO2 and hypoxia, blue rockfish induced a unique set of ionoregulatory and hypoxia-responsive genes not expressed under the single stressors. Thus, high pCO2 and hypoxia exposure appears to induce a non-additive transcriptomic response that cannot be predicted from single stressor exposures alone, further highlighting the need for multiple stressor studies at the molecular level. Overall, lack of a major shift in cellular energetics indicates that blue rockfish may be relatively resistant to intensified upwelling conditions in the short term.

Continue reading ‘Effects of multiple climate change stressors on gene expression in blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus)’

Influence of water quality parameters on the prevalence of Livoneca redmanii (Isopoda; Cymothoidae) infestation of Mediterranean Sea fishes, Egypt

The quality of water in the aquatic ecosystem is a very sensitive issue and is controlled by many physical and chemical factors. The deterioration of water quality has variable effect on parasitic population and their rate of infestation and consequently the negative impact can impede fish viability and productivity. The current study aimed to: i) Surveying the parasitic isopod infesting some of the edible fish species inhabit the Egyptian Mediterranean Sea water ii) Assess the seasonal variations in water quality parameters of Mediterranean coastal water of Egypt. iii) Investigating the effect of water quality parameters on the rate of parasitic isopod infestation among the examined fishes. Water samples during each season were analyzed for physico-chemical parameters using standard methods. The selected parameters namely: temperature, pH, salinity, oxidizable organic matter (OOM), ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and some heavy metals (Lead, Copper, Arsenic and Mercury). A total of 400 Mediterranean Sea fish of Tilapia zilli, Solea spp, Mugil capito and Sardinella species were examined for isopod parasites. Parasites were preserved and identified. The results revealed isolation of the isopod species Livoneca redmanii, with an infestation rate of 19% among the examined fish species with the highest rate among Mugil capito (36%) and reached its total maximum value during summer (32%). Correlation analysis revealed that infestation rates were highly correlated (positively) with certain water quality parameters, such as temperature, oxidzable organic matter (OOM) and nitrite. High water temperatures during summer and spring seasons, and high nitrite concentrations were significantly associated with high infestation rates in Tilapia zilli (R2=0.91, P=0.046 and R2 = 0.97, P=0.015). The findings suggested that deterioration of water quality with varying seasons was stressful to fish, and consequently increased the incidences of the parasitic Isopod (Livoneca redmanii) so considered as a predisposing agent to parasitism. The study recommended
periodical monitoring of water quality parameters in fish water resources and the need to take all measures by the responsible authorities to prevent pollution of these resources to minimized and control the prevalence of parasite
infestations particularly of isopods.

Continue reading ‘Influence of water quality parameters on the prevalence of Livoneca redmanii (Isopoda; Cymothoidae) infestation of Mediterranean Sea fishes, Egypt’

Combined effects of ocean acidification and temperature on larval and juvenile growth, development and swimming performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Ocean acidification and ocean warming (OAW) are simultaneously occurring and could pose ecological challenges to marine life, particularly early life stages of fish that, although they are internal calcifiers, may have poorly developed acid-base regulation. This study assessed the effect of projected OAW on key fitness traits (growth, development and swimming ability) in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) larvae and juveniles. Starting at 2 days post-hatch (dph), larvae were exposed to one of three levels of PCO2 (650, 1150, 1700 μatm; pH 8.0, 7.8, 7.6) at either a cold (15°C) or warm (20°C) temperature. Growth rate, development stage and critical swimming speed (Ucrit) were repeatedly measured as sea bass grew from 0.6 to ~10.0 (cold) or ~14.0 (warm) cm body length. Exposure to different levels of PCO2 had no significant effect on growth, development or Ucrit of larvae and juveniles. At the warmer temperature, larvae displayed faster growth and deeper bodies. Notochord flexion occurred at 0.8 and 1.2 cm and metamorphosis was completed at an age of ~45 and ~60 days post-hatch for sea bass in the warm and cold treatments, respectively. Swimming performance increased rapidly with larval development but better swimmers were observed in the cold treatment, reflecting a potential trade-off between fast grow and swimming ability. A comparison of the results of this and other studies on marine fish indicates that the effects of OAW on the growth, development and swimming ability of early life stages are species-specific and that generalizing the impacts of climate-driven warming or ocean acidification is not warranted.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of ocean acidification and temperature on larval and juvenile growth, development and swimming performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)’

Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the growth and welfare of Juvenile tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid


• High CO2 impair the growth performance and health of hybrid grouper, TGGG juveniles.

• Blood haematological and biochemical indicate TGGG juveniles are unwell when being cultured in high CO2.

• The release of glucose and cortisol in stress condition (high CO2) may include a disturbance of the metabolic balance which inhibit growth and affect the gill structure.

• The stressor (high CO2) may increase the susceptibility to disease in fish as indicated by the swollen gill structure in TGGG juveniles.


Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean are predicted to affect vital physiological functions and possibly reduce growth of marine fish. Yet, studies on the impacts on marine fish with the increasing CO2 is still limited. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the elevated CO2 effect on the growth and welfare (condition factor, blood parameters, stress analysis, gill histology) of newly developed commercially important marine fish, tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid or TGGG. TGGG juveniles were exposed for 120 days in a laboratory condition of CO2 groups: 390 μatm (control-current CO2), 610 μatm (moderate) and 1010 μatm (high) consistent with projections for CO2 concentrations in the ocean over the next 50–100 years. The experiments were done in triplicate (20 fish/tank; N = 180, total length = 20.0 ± 0.5 cm, weight = 94.0 ± 3.0 g). Results showed that the lowest specific growth rate (SGR) (0.65 ± 0.05% day−1) and condition factor (1.12 ± 0.01) were observed in high CO2. Unfavourable blood haematological and biochemical parameters were observed in high CO2 group. The highest stress level measured by glucose (102 ± 8 mg dL−1) and cortisol concentration (1.0 ± 0.1 ng mL−1) were also observed in the high CO2. Gill lesions were histologically observed in high CO2 treatment. The results suggested that high CO2 negatively affected the growth and welfare of TGGG. Outputs of this study would offers a simple tool to evaluate the potential risk of elevated CO2 to an important commercial marine grouper.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the growth and welfare of Juvenile tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid’

Neurobiological and behavioural responses of cleaning mutualisms to ocean warming and acidification

Cleaning interactions are textbook examples of mutualisms. On coral reefs, most fishes engage in cooperative interactions with cleaners fishes, where they benefit from ectoparasite reduction and ultimately stress relief. Furthermore, such interactions elicit beneficial effects on clients’ ecophysiology. However, the potential effects of future ocean warming (OW) and acidification (OA) on these charismatic associations are unknown. Here we show that a 45-day acclimation period to OW (+3 °C) and OA (980 μatm pCO2) decreased interactions between cleaner wrasses (Labroides dimidiatus) and clients (Naso elegans). Cleaners also invested more in the interactions by providing tactile stimulation under OA. Although this form of investment is typically used by cleaners to prolong interactions and reconcile after cheating, interaction time and client jolt rate (a correlate of dishonesty) were not affected by any stressor. In both partners, the dopaminergic (in all brain regions) and serotoninergic (forebrain) systems were significantly altered by these stressors. On the other hand, in cleaners, the interaction with warming ameliorated dopaminergic and serotonergic responses to OA. Dopamine and serotonin correlated positively with motivation to interact and cleaners interaction investment (tactile stimulation). We advocate that such neurobiological changes associated with cleaning behaviour may affect the maintenance of community structures on coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Neurobiological and behavioural responses of cleaning mutualisms to ocean warming and acidification’

Long-term effects of ocean acidification upon energetics and oxygen transport in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, Linnaeus)

The accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere and resulting ocean acidification represent a threat to marine ecosystems. While acid–base regulatory capacity is well developed in marine fish, allowing compensation of extra-cellular pH during short-term hypercapnia, the possible energetic costs of such regulation during long-term exposure remain to be established. In this study, juvenile European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) were exposed from 2 days post-hatching to three different ocean acidification scenarios: control (present condition, PCO2  = 520 µatm, pH 7.9), moderate acidification ( PCO2  = 950 µatm, pH 7.7), and high acidification ( PCO2  = 1490 µatm, pH 7.5). After 1.5 years of exposure, fish aerobic metabolic capacities, as well as elements of their oxygen extraction and transport chain, were measured. Compared to control, PCO2 treatments did not affect fish standard metabolic rate (SMR). However, the most severe acidification condition was associated with a significantly elevated maximum metabolic rate (MMR).This was supported by heavier gill system and higher blood haemoglobin concentration. A reduction of maximum cardiac frequency (fHmax) during incremental warming of anaesthetized fish was also observed in both acidification scenarios. On the other hand, the critical oxygen level (O2crit), the minimum oxygen level required to sustain SMR, did not differ among groups. The increased MMR, associated with maintained SMR, suggests that acid–base compensatory processes, although not increasing maintenance costs, may affect components of bass homeostasis, resulting in new internal physico-chemical conditions. The possibility that these alterations influence metabolic pathways and physiological functions involved in fish aptitude to maximally transport oxygen is discussed.

Continue reading ‘Long-term effects of ocean acidification upon energetics and oxygen transport in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, Linnaeus)’

Elevated temperature does not substantially modify the interactive effects between elevated CO2 and diel CO2 cycles on the survival, growth and behavior of a coral reef fish

Recent studies demonstrate that diel CO2 cycles, such as those prevalent in many shallow water habitats, can potentially modify the effects of ocean acidification conditions on marine organisms. However, whether the interaction between elevated CO2 and diel CO2 cycles is further modified by elevated temperature is unknown. To test this, we reared juvenile spiny damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, for 11 weeks in two stable (450 and 1000 μatm) and two diel- cycling elevated CO2 treatments (1000 ± 300 and 1000 ± 500 μatm) at both current-day (29°C) and projected future temperature (31°C). We measured the effects on survivorship, growth, behavioral lateralization, activity, boldness and escape performance (fast starts). A significant interaction between CO2 and temperature was only detected for survivorship. Survival was lower in the two cycling CO2 treatments at 31°C compared with 29°C but did not differ between temperatures in the two stable CO2 treatments. In other traits we observed independent effects of elevated CO2, and interactions between elevated CO2 and diel CO2 cycles, but these effects were not influenced by temperature. There was a trend toward decreased growth in fish reared under stable elevated CO2 that was counteracted by diel CO2 cycles, with fish reared under cycling CO2 being significantly larger than fish reared under stable elevated CO2. Diel CO2 cycles also mediated the negative effect of elevated CO2 on behavioral lateralization, as previously reported. Routine activity was reduced in the 1000 ± 500 μatm CO2 treatment compared to control fish. In contrast, neither boldness nor fast-starts were affected by any of the CO2 treatments. Elevated temperature had significant independent effects on growth, routine activity and fast start performance. Our results demonstrate that diel CO2 cycles can significantly modify the growth and behavioral responses of fish under elevated CO2 and that these effects are not altered by elevated temperature, at least in this species. Our findings add to a growing body of work that highlights the critical importance of incorporating natural CO2 variability in ocean acidification experiments to more accurately assess the effects of ocean climate change on marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Elevated temperature does not substantially modify the interactive effects between elevated CO2 and diel CO2 cycles on the survival, growth and behavior of a coral reef fish’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book