Posts Tagged 'fish'

Intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons (Kyphosidae) shown strong physiological homeostasis but shy personality: The cost of living in hypercapnic habitats

Tide pools habitats are naturally exposed to a high degree of environmental variability. The consequences of living in these extreme habitats are not well established. In particular, little it is known about of the effects of hypercanic seawater (i.e. high pCO2 levels) on marine vertebrates such as intertidal pool fish. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of increased pCO2 on the physiology and behavior in juveniles of the intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons. Two nominal pCO2 concentrations (400 and 1600 μatm) were used. We found that exposure to hypercapnic conditions did not affect oxygen consumption and absorption efficiency. However, the lateralization and boldness behavior was significantly disrupted in high pCO2 conditions. In general, a predator-risk cost of boldness is assumed, thus the increased occurrence of shy personality in juvenile fishes may result in a change in the balance of this biological interaction, with significant ecological consequences.

Continue reading ‘Intertidal pool fish Girella laevifrons (Kyphosidae) shown strong physiological homeostasis but shy personality: The cost of living in hypercapnic habitats’

Effect of elevated carbon dioxide on shoal familiarity and metabolism in a coral reef fish

Atmospheric CO2 is expected to more than double by the end of the century. The resulting changes in ocean chemistry will affect the behaviour, sensory systems and physiology of a range of fish species. Although a number of past studies have examined effects of CO2 in gregarious fishes, most have assessed individuals in social isolation, which can alter individual behaviour and metabolism in social species. Within social groups, a learned familiarity can develop following a prolonged period of interaction between individuals, with fishes preferentially associating with familiar conspecifics because of benefits such as improved social learning and greater foraging opportunities. However, social recognition occurs through detection of shoal-mate cues; hence, it may be disrupted by near-future CO2 conditions. In the present study, we examined the influence of elevated CO2 on shoal familiarity and the metabolic benefits of group living in the gregarious damselfish species the blue-green puller (Chromis viridis). Shoals were acclimated to one of three nominal CO2 treatments: control (450 µatm), mid-CO2 (750 µatm) or high-CO2 (1000 µatm). After a 4–7 day acclimation period, familiarity was examined using a choice test, in which individuals were given the choice to associate with familiar shoal-mates or unfamiliar conspecifics. In control conditions, individuals preferentially associated with familiar shoal-mates. However, this association was lost in both elevated-CO2 treatments. Elevated CO2 did not impact the calming effect of shoaling on metabolism, as measured using an intermittent-flow respirometry methodology for social species following a 17–20 day acclimation period to CO2 treatment. In all CO2 treatments, individuals exhibited a significantly lower metabolic rate when measured in a shoal vs. alone, highlighting the complexity of shoal dynamics and the processes that influence the benefits of shoaling.

Continue reading ‘Effect of elevated carbon dioxide on shoal familiarity and metabolism in a coral reef fish’

Painted goby larvae under high-CO2 fail to recognize reef sounds

Atmospheric CO2 levels have been increasing at an unprecedented rate due to anthropogenic activity. Consequently, ocean pCO2 is increasing and pH decreasing, affecting marine life, including fish. For many coastal marine fishes, selection of the adult habitat occurs at the end of the pelagic larval phase. Fish larvae use a range of sensory cues, including sound, for locating settlement habitat. This study tested the effect of elevated CO2 on the ability of settlement-stage temperate fish to use auditory cues from adult coastal reef habitats. Wild late larval stages of painted goby (Pomatoschistus pictus) were exposed to control pCO2 (532 μatm, pH 8.06) and high pCO2 (1503 μatm, pH 7.66) conditions, likely to occur in nearshore regions subjected to upwelling events by the end of the century, and tested in an auditory choice chamber for their preference or avoidance to nighttime reef recordings. Fish reared in control pCO2 conditions discriminated reef soundscapes and were attracted by reef recordings. This behaviour changed in fish reared in the high CO2 conditions, with settlement-stage larvae strongly avoiding reef recordings. This study provides evidence that ocean acidification might affect the auditory responses of larval stages of temperate reef fish species, with potentially significant impacts on their survival.

Continue reading ‘Painted goby larvae under high-CO2 fail to recognize reef sounds’

Role of potassium and pH on the initiation of sperm motility in the European eel

The role of potassium from the seminal plasma and/or the activation media was examined by selectively removing K+ from this media, and by testing the use of K+ channel inhibitors and a K-ionophore. Sperm motility was measured using a CASA system, intracellular K+ and pH were measured by flow cytometry, and sperm head area was measured by ASMA: Automated Sperm Morphometry Analyses. Sperm motility was notably inhibited by the removal of K+ from the seminal plasma and by treatment with the K+ ionophore valinomycin. This therefore indicates that a reduction of K+ levels in the quiescent stage inhibits further motility. The normal decrease in sperm head area induced by seawater activation was altered by the removal of K+ from the seminal plasma, and an increase in the pHi in the quiescent stage was also induced. Intracellular pH (pHi) was quantitatively measured for the first time in European eel spermatozoa, being 7.2 in the quiescent stage and 7.1 post-activation. Intracellular and external pH levels influenced sperm motility both in the quiescent stage and at activation. The alkalinization of the pHi (by NH4Cl) inhibited sperm motility activation, while acidification (by Na-acetate) did not have any effect. Our results indicate that a pH gradient between the sperm cell and the seminal plasma is necessary for sperm motility activation. The presence of the ion K+ in the seminal plasma (or in the extender medium) is necessary in order to maintain sperm volume, intracellular pH and sperm motility.

Continue reading ‘Role of potassium and pH on the initiation of sperm motility in the European eel’

The early life stages of an estuarine fish, the red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), are tolerant to high pCO2

Ocean acidification (OA) and other climate change induced environmental alterations are resulting in unprecedented rates of environmental deterioration. This environmental change is generally thought to be too fast for adaptation using typical evolutionary processes, and thus sensitivity may be dependent on the presence of existing tolerant genotypes and species. Estuaries undergo natural pCO2 fluctuations over a variety of time scales, and levels regularly exceed the predicted end of the century values. Interestingly, estuarine fish species have been overlooked in reference to the impacts of OA. Here, we use the estuarine red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) as a model to explore the hypothesis that early life stages of estuarine species have intrinsic tolerance to elevated pCO2. Our sensitivity endpoints included: survival, growth, yolk consumption, heart rate, and scototaxis. Survival was significantly decreased when exposed to 1300 μatm and 3000 μatm, and coincided with a significant increase in heart rate at the 3000 μatm exposure. However, these effects were less pronounced than the findings of previous studies on other marine fish species. Yolk depletion rate and standard length were not significantly affected by pCO2. Scototaxis behaviour was also not significantly affected by exposure to elevated levels of pCO2 under both acute and acclimated exposure scenarios. Overall, these results support the hypothesis that estuarine life history and habitat usage may play a critical role in determining sensitivity of fish species to OA. Furthermore, estuarine species may provide present-day insight into the physiological and ecological foundation of OA tolerance.

Continue reading ‘The early life stages of an estuarine fish, the red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), are tolerant to high pCO2’

Elevated CO2 does not exacerbate nutritional stress in larvae of a Pacific flatfish

Multiple aspects of climate change are expected to co-occur such that ocean acidification will take place in conjunction with warming and a range of trophic changes. Previous studies have demonstrated that nutritional condition plays a significant role in the responses of invertebrates to ocean acidification, but similar studies have yet to be conducted with marine fishes. In this study, we examined the potential interactive effects of elevated CO2 levels and nutritional stress on the growth and development of northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra). Separate experiments examined the effects of these two environmental stressors during the pre-flexion (3–31 days) and post-flexion (31–87 days) larval stages. In both stages, the larval feeding regime has a much larger impact on growth rates than did the CO2 level, and there was no observed interaction between stressors. By 31 days post-hatch, larvae in the high-feeding treatment were 84.2% heavier than the fish in the low-feeding treatments, but there was no significant effect of CO2 level on body size or condition. While overall growth rates were faster during the pre-flexion stage, the effects of food limitation were greater for post-flexion larvae undergoing metamorphosis, with the high-feeding treatment fish being 3.3 times as heavy as fish in the low-feeding treatments. These results have important implications for understanding the impacts of the multi-faceted nature of climate change on population productivity of commercial fish species in the North Pacific.

Continue reading ‘Elevated CO2 does not exacerbate nutritional stress in larvae of a Pacific flatfish’

Species-specific responses of juvenile rockfish to elevated pCO2: from behavior to genomics

In the California Current ecosystem, global climate change is predicted to trigger large-scale changes in ocean chemistry within this century. Ocean acidification—which occurs when increased levels of atmospheric CO2 dissolve into the ocean—is one of the biggest potential threats to marine life. In a coastal upwelling system, we compared the effects of chronic exposure to low pH (elevated pCO2) at four treatment levels (i.e., pCO2 = ambient [500], moderate [750], high [1900], and extreme [2800 μatm]) on behavior, physiology, and patterns of gene expression in white muscle tissue of juvenile rockfish (genus Sebastes), integrating responses from the transcriptome to the whole organism level. Experiments were conducted simultaneously on two closely related species that both inhabit kelp forests, yet differ in early life history traits, to compare high-CO2 tolerance among species. Our findings indicate that these congeners express different sensitivities to elevated CO2 levels. Copper rockfish (S. caurinus) exhibited changes in behavioral lateralization, reduced critical swimming speed, depressed aerobic scope, changes in metabolic enzyme activity, and increases in the expression of transcription factors and regulatory genes at high pCO2 exposure. Blue rockfish (S. mystinus), in contrast, showed no significant changes in behavior, swimming physiology, or aerobic capacity, but did exhibit significant changes in the expression of muscle structural genes as a function of pCO2, indicating acclimatization potential. The capacity of long-lived, late to mature, commercially important fish to acclimatize and adapt to changing ocean chemistry over the next 50–100 years is likely dependent on species-specific physiological tolerances.

Continue reading ‘Species-specific responses of juvenile rockfish to elevated pCO2: from behavior to genomics’


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