Posts Tagged 'fish'

Effects of high pCO2 on early life development of pelagic spawning marine fish

The present study investigated the effect of elevated pCO2 on the development of early stages of the pelagic spawning marine fish Solea senegalensis, Diplodus sargus and Argyrosomus regius. Eggs and larvae were reared under control (pH 8.0, ~570 μatm) and two elevated pCO2 conditions (pH 7.8, ~1100 μatm; pH 7.6, ~1900 μatm) until mouth opening (3 days post-hatching). Egg size did not change with exposure to elevated pCO2, but hatching rate was significantly reduced under high pCO2 for all three species. Survival rate was not affected by exposure to increased pCO2, but growth rate was differently affected across species, with A. regius growing faster in the mid-level pCO2 treatment compared with control conditions. S. senegalensis and A. regius hatched with smaller yolk sacs under increased pCO2 but endogenous reserves of D. sargus were not affected. Otoliths were consistently larger under elevated pCO2 conditions for all the three species. Differences among egg batches and a significant interaction between batch and pCO2 suggest that other factors, such as egg quality, can influence the response to increased pCO2. Overall, the results support the occurrence of a species-specific response to pCO2, but highlight the need for cautious analysis of potential sensitivity of species from unreplicated observations.

Continue reading ‘Effects of high pCO2 on early life development of pelagic spawning marine fish’

Ocean acidification dampens physiological stress response to warming and contamination in a commercially-important fish (Argyrosomus regius)


• Atmospheric and water conditions/contaminants influence animal physiology status.
• Scarcely studied multi-stressor effects were extricated via full-factorial design.
• Warming stimulated mercury accumulation, but was offset by acidification.
• Co-occurring acidification countered oxidative stress elicited by other stressors.
• Enhanced mitigation pathways or chemical dynamics may underpin stressor antagonism.


Increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emissions are changing ocean temperature and carbonate chemistry (warming and acidification, respectively). Moreover, the simultaneous occurrence of highly toxic and persistent contaminants, such as methylmercury, will play a key role in further shaping the ecophysiology of marine organisms. Despite recent studies reporting mostly additive interactions between contaminant and climate change effects, the consequences of multi-stressor exposure are still largely unknown. Here we disentangled how Argyrosomus regius physiology will be affected by future stressors, by analysing organ-dependent mercury (Hg) accumulation (gills, liver and muscle) within isolated/combined warming (ΔT = 4 °C) and acidification (ΔpCO2 = 1100 μatm) scenarios, as well as direct deleterious effects and phenotypic stress response over multi-stressor contexts. After 30 days of exposure, although no mortalities were observed in any treatments, Hg concentration was enhanced under warming conditions, especially in the liver. On the other hand, elevated CO2 decreased Hg accumulation and consistently elicited a dampening effect on warming and contamination-elicited oxidative stress (catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione-S-transferase activities) and heat shock responses. Thus, potentially unpinned on CO2-promoted protein removal and ionic equilibrium between hydrogen and reactive oxygen species, we found that co-occurring acidification decreased heavy metal accumulation and contributed to physiological homeostasis. Although this indicates that fish can be physiologically capable of withstanding future ocean conditions, additional experiments are needed to fully understand the biochemical repercussions of interactive stressors (additive, synergistic or antagonistic).

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification dampens physiological stress response to warming and contamination in a commercially-important fish (Argyrosomus regius)’

Differences in neurochemical profiles of two gadid species under ocean warming and acidification


Exposure to future ocean acidification scenarios may alter the behaviour of marine teleosts through interference with neuroreceptor functioning. So far, most studies investigated effects of ocean acidification on the behaviour of fish, either isolated or in combination with environmental temperature. However, only few physiological studies on this issue were conducted despite the putative neurophysiological origin of the CO2-induced behavioural changes. Here, we present the metabolic consequences of long-term exposure to projected ocean acidification (396–548 μatm PCO2 under control and 915–1272 μatm under treatment conditions) and parallel warming in the brain of two related fish species, polar cod (Boreogadus saida, exposed to 0 °C, 3 °C, 6 °C and 8 °C) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua, exposed to 3 °C, 8 °C, 12 °C and 16 °C). It has been shown that B. saida is behaviourally vulnerable to future ocean acidification scenarios, while G. morhua demonstrates behavioural resilience.


We found that temperature alters brain osmolyte, amino acid, choline and neurotransmitter concentrations in both species indicating thermal responses particularly in osmoregulation and membrane structure. In B. saida, changes in amino acid and osmolyte metabolism at the highest temperature tested were also affected by CO2, possibly emphasizing energetic limitations. We did not observe changes in neurotransmitters, energy metabolites, membrane components or osmolytes that might serve as a compensatory mechanism against CO2 induced behavioural impairments. In contrast to B. saida, such temperature limitation was not detected in G. morhua; however, at 8 °C, CO2 induced an increase in the levels of metabolites of the glutamate/GABA-glutamine cycle potentially indicating greater GABAergic activity in G.morhua. Further, increased availability of energy-rich substrates was detected under these conditions.


Our results indicate a change of GABAergic metabolism in the nervous system of Gadus morhua close to the optimum of the temperature range. Since a former study showed that juvenile G. morhua might be slightly more behaviourally resilient to CO2 at this respective temperature, we conclude that the observed change of GABAergic metabolism could be involved in counteracting OA induced behavioural changes. This may serve as a fitness advantage of this respective species compared to B. saida in a future warmer, more acidified polar ocean.

Continue reading ‘Differences in neurochemical profiles of two gadid species under ocean warming and acidification’

Dietary Zn and the subsequent organotropism in fish: no influence of food quality, frequency of feeding and environmental conditions (pH and temperature)

Trophic transfer of Zn in fish is affected by the type of food and environmental variables such as temperature. However, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the effects of such factors on Zn organotropism. For this reason, a series of experimental studies have investigated how the distribution and the concentration of Zn is affected by some environmentally-relevant factors (food quality, food availability, water pH, and temperature) in turbot Scophthalmus maximus using radiotracer techniques. In three different experiments, Zn distribution in seven body compartments of juvenile turbot and the calculation of Zn concentration index (IC) for each compartment were compared. Its distribution as well as its concentration in the body compartments of juvenile turbots were not affected by the experimental conditions tested. This apparent consistency in the Zn organotropism can be explained by the ability of the fish to maintain Zn homeostasis at non-toxic Zn concentrations in their diet. These results are important to better understand the trophic transfer of Zn in fish under realistic environmental conditions.

Continue reading ‘Dietary Zn and the subsequent organotropism in fish: no influence of food quality, frequency of feeding and environmental conditions (pH and temperature)’

Ocean acidification does not impair predator recognition but increases juvenile growth in a temperate wrasse off CO2 seeps


  • CO2 effects on the ocellated wrasse predator cue recognition were assessed.
  • Behavioural and otolith analyses were performed on Symphodus ocellatus from CO2 seeps.
  • Predation risk perception by the ocellated wrasse juveniles was unaffected by CO2.
  • High CO2 levels enhanced the S. ocellatus post-settlement growth.


Fish behavioural effects under Ocean Acidification (OA) rely on changes expected to occur in brain function, which can be reversed by gabazine, a GABA-A antagonist. Here, using standard two-channel choice flume, we assessed OA effects on the predator recognition ability of both gabazine-treated and -untreated Symphodus ocellatus post-settlers living off CO2 seeps in the Mediterranean Sea. To estimate the post-settlers background predation risk we evaluated the density of their predator in the wild and through otolith aging techniques we assessed their post-settlement growth. Results showed that: 1) post-settlers predator recognition was unaffected under OA; 2) post-settlers living in elevated CO2 were on average 15% bigger in size than those from ambient conditions. Our results support fish behavioural tolerance to OA, potentially mediated by pre-exposure to high-risk predation levels, and speculate that by increasing body size, juvenile fish might more efficiently avoid their predators.
Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification does not impair predator recognition but increases juvenile growth in a temperate wrasse off CO2 seeps’

Environmental drivers of coral reef carbonate production and bioerosion: a multi-scale analysis

The resilience of coral reefs depends on the balance between reef growth and reef breakdown, and their responses to changing environmental conditions. Across the 2500-km Hawaiian Archipelago, we quantified rates of carbonate production, bioerosion, and net accretion at regional, island, site, and within-site spatial scales and tested how these rates respond to environmental conditions across different spatial scales. Overall, there were four major outcomes from this study: (1) bioerosion rates were generally higher in the populated Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) than the remote, protected Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), while carbonate production rates did not vary significantly between the two regions; (2) variability in carbonate production, bioerosion, and net accretion rates was greatest at the smallest within-reef spatial scale; (3) carbonate production and bioerosion rates were associated with distinct sets of environmental parameters; and (4) the strongest correlates of carbonate production, bioerosion, and net accretion rates were different between the MHI region and the NWHI region: in the MHI, the dominant correlates were percent cover of macroalgae and herbivorous fish biomass for carbonate production and bioerosion, respectively, whereas in the NWHI, the top correlates were total alkalinity and benthic cover. This study highlights the need to understand accretion and erosion processes as well as local environmental conditions to predict net coral reef responses to future environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Environmental drivers of coral reef carbonate production and bioerosion: a multi-scale analysis’

Maximum thermal limits of coral reef damselfishes are size-dependent and resilient to near-future ocean acidification

Theoretical models predict that ocean acidification, caused by increased dissolved CO2, will reduce the maximum thermal limits of fishes, thereby increasing their vulnerability to rising ocean temperatures and transient heatwaves. Here, we test this prediction in three species of damselfishes on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Maximum thermal limits were quantified using critical thermal maxima (CTmax) tests following acclimation to either present-day or end-of-century levels of CO2 for coral reef environments (∼500 or ∼1,000 µatm, respectively). While species differed significantly in their thermal limits, whereby Dischistodus perspicillatus exhibited greater CTmax (37.88±0.03oC; N=47) than Dascyllus aruanus (37.68±0.02oC; N=85) and Acanthochromis polyacanthus (36.58±0.02oC; N=63), end-of-century CO2 had no effect (D. aruanus) or a slightly positive effect (increase in CTmax of 0.16oC in D. perspicillatus and 0.21oC in A. polyacanthus) on CTmax. Contrary to expectations, smaller individuals were equally as resilient to CO2 as larger conspecifics, and CTmax was higher at smaller body sizes in two species. These findings suggest that ocean acidification will not impair the maximum thermal limits of reef fishes, and they highlight the critical role of experimental biology in testing predictions of theoretical models forecasting the consequences of environmental change.

Continue reading ‘Maximum thermal limits of coral reef damselfishes are size-dependent and resilient to near-future ocean acidification’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,040,101 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book