Posts Tagged 'fish'

Reduced impact of ocean acidification on growth and swimming performance of newly hatched tropical sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum)

Sharks have been facing unprecedented pressure over the last decades, and ocean acidification may represent an additional threat, particularly during their most susceptible life stages. Hence, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of ocean acidification (control pCO2 ~ 400 μatm; high pCO2 ~ 900 μatm) on the growth, swimming performance and cholinergic system of juvenile white-spotted bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum). After 45 days of exposure, we observed that high CO2 did not affect most of the end-points studied. However, somatic growth rate and the percentage of time that sharks spent swimming was significantly reduced under high CO2 conditions. Moreover, AChE activity decreased in two of the seven brain macroareas analyzed, the telencephalon and optic lobes. As this near-threatened shark species showed small sub-lethal effects to high CO2 levels, we argue that within a longer time-frame they can potentially reduce individual performance with cascading consequences to shark population dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Reduced impact of ocean acidification on growth and swimming performance of newly hatched tropical sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum)’

Impacts of the changing ocean-sea ice system on the key forage fish Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and subsistence fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic—evaluating linked Climate, Ecosystem and Economic (CEE) models

This study synthesizes results from observations, laboratory experiments and models to showcase how the integration of scientific methods and indigenous knowledge can improve our understanding of (a) past and projected changes in environmental conditions and marine species; (b) their effects on social and ecological systems in the respective communities; and (c) support management and planning tools for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The study links climate-ecosystem-economic (CEE) models and discusses uncertainties within those tools. The example focuses on the key forage species in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Western Canadian Arctic), i.e., Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). Arctic cod can be trophically linked to sea-ice algae and pelagic primary producers and are key vectors for energy transfers from plankton to higher trophic levels (e.g., ringed seals, beluga), which are harvested by Inuit peoples. Fundamental changes in ice and ocean conditions in the region affect the marine ecosystem and fish habitat. Model simulations suggest increasing trends in oceanic phytoplankton and sea-ice algae with high interannual variability. The latter might be linked to interannual variations in Arctic cod abundance and mask trends in observations. CEE simulations incorporating physiological temperature limits data for the distribution of Arctic cod, result in an estimated 17% decrease in Arctic cod populations by the end of the century (high emission scenario), but suggest increases in abundance for other Arctic and sub-Arctic species. The Arctic cod decrease is largely caused by increased temperatures and constraints in northward migration, and could directly impact key subsistence species. Responses to acidification are still highly uncertain, but sensitivity simulations suggests an additional 1% decrease in Arctic cod populations due to pH impacts on growth and survival. Uncertainties remain with respect to detailed future changes, but general results are likely correct and in line with results from other approaches. To reduce uncertainties, higher resolution models with improved parameterizations and better understanding of the species’ physiological limits are required. Arctic communities should be directly involved, receive tools and training to conduct local, unified research and food chain monitoring while decisions regarding commercial fisheries will need to be precautionary and adaptive in light of the existing uncertainties.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of the changing ocean-sea ice system on the key forage fish Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and subsistence fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic—evaluating linked Climate, Ecosystem and Economic (CEE) models’

Identifying important species that amplify or mitigate the interactive effects of human impacts on marine food webs

Some species may have a larger role than others in the transfer of complex effects of multiple human stressors, such as changes in biomass, through marine food webs. We devised a novel approach to identify such species. We constructed annual interaction‐effect networks (IENs) of the simulated changes in biomass between species of the southeastern Australian marine system. Each annual IEN was composed of the species linked by either an additive (sum of the individual stressor response), synergistic (lower biomass compared with additive effects), or antagonistic (greater biomass compared with additive effects) response to the interaction effect of ocean warming, ocean acidification, and fisheries. Structurally, over the simulation period, the number of species and links in the synergistic IENs increased and the network structure became more stable. The stability of the antagonistic IENs decreased and became more vulnerable to the loss of species. In contrast, there was no change in the structural attributes of species linked by an additive response. Using indices common in food‐web and network theory, we identified the species in each IEN for which a change in biomass from stressor effects would disproportionately affect the biomass of other species via direct and indirect local, intermediate, and global predator–prey feeding interactions. Knowing the species that transfer the most synergistic or antagonistic responses in a food‐web may inform conservation under increasing multiple‐stressor impacts.

Continue reading ‘Identifying important species that amplify or mitigate the interactive effects of human impacts on marine food webs’

Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge

Highlights

• Ocean acidification (OA) is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem.

• OA can co-occur with other perturbations including salinity reduction and high ammonia.

• Interactive effects of these three stressers were evaluated on performance of European sea bass.

• Physiological, ion-osmoregulatory and gene-expression responses were modulated differentially under experimental conditions.

• Fish became more vulnerable to OA and ammonia toxicity at low salinities.

Abstract

In this era of global climate change, ocean acidification is becoming a serious threat to the marine ecosystem. Despite this, it remains almost unknown how fish will respond to the co-occurrence of ocean acidification with other conventional environmental perturbations typically salinity fluctuation and high ammonia threat. Therefore, the present work evaluated the interactive effects of elevated pCO2, salinity reduction and high environmental ammonia (HEA) on the ecophysiological performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Fish were progressively acclimated to seawater (32 ppt), to brackish water (10 ppt) and to hyposaline water (2.5 ppt). Following acclimation to different salinities for at least two weeks, fish were exposed to CO2-induced water acidification representing present-day (control pCO2, 400 μatm, LoCO2) and future (high pCO2, 1000 μatm, HiCO2) sea-surface CO2 level for 3, 7 and 21 days. At the end of each exposure period, fish were challenged with HEA for 6 h (1.18 mM representing 50% of 96 h LC50). Results show that, in response to the individual HiCO2 exposure, fish within each salinity compensated for blood acidosis. Fish subjected to HiCO2 were able to maintain ammonia excretion rate (Jamm) within control levels, suggesting that HiCO2 exposure alone had no impact on Jamm at any of the salinities. For 32 and 10 ppt fish, up-regulated expression of Na+/K+-ATPase was evident in all exposure groups (HEA, HiCO2 and HEA/HiCO2 co-exposed), whereas Na+/K+/2Cl− co-transporter was up-regulated mainly in HiCO2 group. Plasma glucose and lactate content were augmented in all exposure conditions for all salinity regimes. During HEA and HEA/HiCO2, Jamm was inhibited at different time points for all salinities, which resulted in a significant build-up of ammonia in plasma and muscle. Branchial expressions of Rhesus glycoproteins (Rhcg isoforms and Rhbg) were upregulated in response to HiCO2 as well as HEA at 10 ppt, with a more moderate response in 32 ppt groups. Overall, our findings denote that the adverse effect of single exposures of ocean acidification or HEA is exacerbated when present together, and suggests that fish are more vulnerable to these environmental threats at low salinities.

Continue reading ‘Physiological trade-offs, acid-base balance and ion-osmoregulatory plasticity in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) juveniles under complex scenarios of salinity variation, ocean acidification and high ammonia challenge’

Behavioural responses of fish groups exposed to a predatory threat under elevated CO2

Highlights

• Only a few studies assessed how ocean acidification affects the behaviour of fish in groups.

• Shelter use and group cohesion were assessed with or without a predatory treat at high CO2 levels.

• Fish group behaviour was not affected by elevated CO2 levels in the absence of the predator.

• Fish groups from elevated CO2 were bolder than control ones under a predatory treat.

• When a predator was present, group cohesion increased regardless of CO2 conditions.

Abstract

Most of the studies dealing with the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on fish behaviour tested individuals in isolation, even when the examined species live in shoals in the wild. Here we evaluated the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations (i.e. ∼900 μatm) on the shelter use and group cohesion of the gregarious damselfish Chromis viridis using groups of sub-adults exposed to a predatory threat. Results showed that, under predatory threat, fish reared at elevated CO2 concentrations displayed a risky behaviour (i.e. decreased shelter use), whereas their group cohesion was unaffected. Our findings add on increasing evidence to account for social dynamics in OA experiments, as living in groups may compensate for CO2-induced risky behaviour.

Continue reading ‘Behavioural responses of fish groups exposed to a predatory threat under elevated CO2’

Cuttlefish early development and behaviour under future high CO2 conditions

Atmospheric CO 2 levels are rising since the beginning of the Industrial Era, and concomitantly, the uptake of CO 2 by the oceans is increasing and changing the seawater chemistry, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification (OA). These changes can compromise key biological traits of many marine organisms, with potential cascading effects to population and ecosystem levels. Besides the significant neurological/physiological impairments, there is increasing evidence of detrimental OA effects on the behavioural ecology of certain marine taxa, including in cephalopods. Yet, the previous behavioural studies performed in these highly developed invertebrates were only focused on squids and the potential impacts in cuttlefish behaviour are still unknown. Within this context, the main objectives of this dissertation were to investigate OA effects in the development and behaviour of the common cuttlefish ( Sepia officinalis ) early-life stages – from early embryogenesis until 20 days after hatching, namely by exposing them to either present day ( ~ 400 μatm) and to the near-future levels of p CO 2 ( ~ 1000 μatm; ΔpH = 0.4). A comprehensive assessment of OA effects on cuttlefish development was performed by gauging embryogenesis duration, hatching success, early survival rate and body size measures (e.g. weight and length). Furthermore, different aspects of the cuttlefish behavioural ecology, including shelter-seeking, hunting behaviour and response to a visual alarm cue, were analysed to achieve a holistic overview of the OA impacts in cuttlefish early development. The present work did not find any evidence that OA future conditions compromise the cuttlefish embryonic development. The development time, hatching success, survival rate, and the length and weight of newly-hatched cuttlefish were similar between normocapnia and hypercapnia treatments. The Fulton’s Index was the only parameter that showed significant differences, with higher values to the hypercapnia treatment, which may be related with a denser cuttlebone. Concerning to the behaviours analysed, and in contrast with previous cephalopod studies, the results suggest a certain behavioural resilience of the cuttlefish hatchlings towards near-future acidification conditions. The behaviours of hunting, shelter-seeking and response to a visual alarm cue did not show significant differences between treatments. Their nekton-benthic (and active) lifestyle, their adaptability to the abiotic-fluctuating coastal environment and to the adverse conditions inside their eggs may favour the odds of the common cuttlefish recruits to endure the future acidified ocean. Nonetheless, this species is not only exposed to acidification in their natural environment, they may be also particularly susceptible to other anthropogenic pressure and other climate change-related variables. The cumulative effects of multiple stressors should be further addressed to accurately predict what the future reserves to this ecologically and economically important species.

Continue reading ‘Cuttlefish early development and behaviour under future high CO2 conditions’

A negative correlation between behavioural and physiological performance under ocean acidification and warming

Many studies have examined the average effects of ocean acidification and warming on phenotypic traits of reef fishes, finding variable, but often negative effects on behavioural and physiological performance. Yet the presence and nature of a relationship between these traits is unknown. A negative relationship between phenotypic traits could limit individual performance and even the capacity of populations to adapt to climate change. Here, we examined the relationship between behavioural and physiological performance of a juvenile reef fish under elevated CO2 and temperature in a full factorial design. Behaviourally, the response to an alarm odour was negatively affected by elevated CO2, but not elevated temperature. Physiologically, aerobic scope was significantly diminished under elevated temperature, but not under elevated CO2. At the individual level, there was no relationship between behavioural and physiological traits in the control and single-stressor treatments. However, a statistically significant negative relationship was detected between the traits in the combined elevated CO2 and temperature treatment. Our results demonstrate that trade-offs in performance between behavioural and physiological traits may only be evident when multiple climate change stressors are considered, and suggest that this negative relationship could limit adaptive potential to climate change.

Continue reading ‘A negative correlation between behavioural and physiological performance under ocean acidification and warming’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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