Posts Tagged 'fish'

Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C

Rapid climate change in the Northeast Atlantic and Arctic poses a threat to some of the world’s largest fish populations. Impacts of warming and acidification may become accessible through mechanism-based risk assessments and projections of future habitat suitability. We show that ocean acidification causes a narrowing of embryonic thermal ranges, which identifies the suitability of spawning habitats as a critical life-history bottleneck for two abundant cod species. Embryonic tolerance ranges linked to climate simulations reveal that ever-increasing CO2 emissions [Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5] will deteriorate suitability of present spawning habitat for both Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) by 2100. Moderate warming (RCP4.5) may avert dangerous climate impacts on Atlantic cod but still leaves few spawning areas for the more vulnerable Polar cod, which also loses the benefits of an ice-covered ocean. Emissions following RCP2.6, however, support largely unchanged habitat suitability for both species, suggesting that risks are minimized if warming is held “below 2°C, if not 1.5°C,” as pledged by the Paris Agreement.

Continue reading ‘Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C’

Effects of ocean acidification and solar ultraviolet radiation on physiology and toxicity of dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi


• Combined OA and solar UVR were investigated on the HAB-forming dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi using outdoors incubations.

• This is the first study to consider the combined effects of OA and UVR on the toxicity of K. mikimotoi.

• OA and UVR resulted in decreased pigment contents and increased UV-absorbing compounds and hemolytic activity.

• The combination of OA and UVR had little effect on growth rates and toxicity of K. mikimotoi.


A batch culture experiment was conducted to study the interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) and solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280–400 nm) on the harmful dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi. Cells were incubated in 7-days trials under four treatments. Physiological (growth, pigments, UVabc) and toxicity (hemolytic activity and its toxicity to zebrafish embryos) response variables were measured in four treatments, representing two factorial combinations of CO2 (400 and 1000 μatm) and solar irradiance (with or without UVR). Toxic species K. mikimotoi showed sustained growth in all treatments, and there was not statistically significant difference among four treatments. Cell pigment content decreased, but UVabc and hemolytic activity increased in all HC treatments and PAB conditions. The toxicity to zebrafish embryos of K. mikimotoi was not significantly different among four treatments. All HC and UVR conditions and the combinations of HC*UVR (HC-PAB) positively affected the UVabc, hemolytic activity in comparison to the LC*P (LC-P) treatment, and negatively affected the pigments. Ocean acidification (OA) was probably the main factor that affected the chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and UVabc, but UVR was the main factor that affected the carotenoid (Caro) and hemolytic activity. There were no significant interactive effects of OA*UVR on growth, toxicity to zebrafish embryos. If these results are extrapolated to the natural environment, it can be hypothesized that this strain (DP-C32) of K. mikimotoi cells have the efficient mechanisms to endure the combination of ocean acidification and solar UVR. It is assumed that this toxic strain could form harmful bloom and enlarge the threatening to coastal communities, marine animals, even human health under future conditions.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification and solar ultraviolet radiation on physiology and toxicity of dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi’

Can larvae of a marine fish adapt to ocean acidification? Evaluating the evolutionary potential of California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis)

Ocean acidification can reduce the growth and survival of marine species during their larval stages. However, if populations have the genetic capacity to adapt and increase their tolerance of low pH and high pCO2 levels, this may offset the harmful effects of ocean acidification. By combining controlled breeding experiments with laboratory manipulations of seawater chemistry, we evaluated genetic variation in tolerance of ocean acidification conditions for a nearshore marine fish, the California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis). Our results indicated that acidification conditions increased overall mortality rates of grunion larvae, but did not have a significant effect on growth. Groups of larvae varied widely with respect to mortality and growth rates in both ambient and acidified conditions. We demonstrate that the potential to evolve in response to ocean acidification is best described by considering additive genetic variation in fitness‐related traits under both ambient and acidified conditions, and by evaluating the genetic correlation between traits expressed in these environments. We used a multivariate animal model to estimate additive genetic (co)variance in larval growth and mortality rates under both ambient and acidified conditions (low pH/high pCO2). Our results suggest appreciable genetic variation in larval mortality rates (h2Ambient = 0.120; h2Acidified = 0.183; rG = 0.460), but less genetic variation in growth (h2Ambient = 0.092; h2Acidified = 0.101; rG = 0.135). Maternal effects on larval mortality rates accounted for 26‐36% of the variation in phenotypes, but maternal effects accounted for only 8% of the variation in growth. Collectively, our estimates of genetic variation and covariation suggest that populations of California Grunion have the capacity to adapt relatively quickly to long‐term changes in ocean chemistry.

Continue reading ‘Can larvae of a marine fish adapt to ocean acidification? Evaluating the evolutionary potential of California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis)’

Robust quantification of fish early life CO2 sensitivities via serial experimentation

Despite the remarkable expansion of laboratory studies, robust estimates of single species CO2 sensitivities remain largely elusive. We conducted a meta-analysis of 20 CO2 exposure experiments conducted over 6 years on offspring of wild Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) to robustly constrain CO2 effects on early life survival and growth. We conclude that early stages of this species are generally tolerant to CO2 levels of approximately 2000 µatm, likely because they already experience these conditions on diel to seasonal timescales. Still, high CO2 conditions measurably reduced fitness in this species by significantly decreasing average embryo survival (−9%) and embryo+larval survival (−13%). Survival traits had much larger coefficients of variation (greater than 30%) than larval length or growth (3–11%). CO2 sensitivities varied seasonally and were highest at the beginning and end of the species’ spawning season (April–July), likely due to the combined effects of transgenerational plasticity and maternal provisioning. Our analyses suggest that serial experimentation is a powerful, yet underused tool for robustly estimating small but true CO2 effects in fish early life stages.

Continue reading ‘Robust quantification of fish early life CO2 sensitivities via serial experimentation’

Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is an important prey species in the Arctic ecosystem, yet its habitat is changing rapidly: climate change, through rising seawater temperatures and CO2 concentrations, is projected to be most pronounced in Arctic waters. This study aimed to investigate the influence of ocean acidification and warming on maximum performance parameters of B. saida as indicators for the species’ acclimation capacities under environmental conditions projected for the end of this century. After 4 months at four acclimation temperatures (0, 3, 6, 8°C) each combined with two PCO2 levels (390 and 1170 µatm), aerobic capacities and swimming performance of B. saida were recorded following a Ucrit protocol. At both CO2 levels, standard metabolic rate (SMR) was elevated at the highest acclimation temperature indicating thermal limitations. Maximum metabolic rate (MMR) increased continuously with temperature, suggesting an optimum temperature for aerobic scope for exercise (ASex) at 6°C. Aerobic swimming performance (Ugait) increased with acclimation temperature irrespective of CO2 levels, while critical swimming speed (Ucrit) did not reveal any clear trend with temperature. Hypercapnia evoked an increase in MMR (and thereby ASex). However, swimming performance (both Ugait and Ucrit) was impaired under elevated near-future PCO2 conditions, indicating reduced efficiencies of oxygen turnover. The contribution of anaerobic metabolism to swimming performance was very low overall, and further reduced under hypercapnia. Our results revealed high sensitivities of maximum performance parameters (MMR, Ugait, Ucrit) of B. saida to ocean acidification. Impaired swimming capacity under ocean acidification may reflect reduced future competitive strength of B. saida.

Continue reading ‘Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions’

Bioaccumulation and ecotoxicological responses of juvenile white seabream (Diplodus sargus) exposed to triclosan, warming and acidification


• TCS was primarily bioaccumulated by fish muscle, followed by liver and brain.
• Climate change significantly reduced TCS bioaccumulation in all fish tissues.
• TCS and TCS + acidification increased LPO and inhibited HSP70/HSC70 synthesis.
• AChE activity was inhibited by TCS alone or combined with both abiotic stressors.
• VTG content was further diminished by TCS co-exposed with both abiotic stressors.


Triclosan (TCS) is a synthetic microbial compound widely used in the formulation of various personal care products. Its frequent detection in marine ecosystems, along with its physical and chemical properties, suggest that TCS can be highly persistent, being easily bioaccumulated by biota and, therefore, eliciting various toxicological responses. Yet, TCS’s mechanisms of bioaccumulation and toxicity still deserve further research, particularly focusing on the interactive effects with climate change-related stressors (e.g. warming and acidification), as both TCS chemical behaviour and marine species metabolism/physiology can be strongly influenced by the surrounding abiotic conditions. Hence, the aim of this study was to assess TCS bioaccumulation and ecotoxicological effects (i.e. animal fitness indexes, antioxidant activity, protein chaperoning and degradation, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption) in three tissues (i.e. brain, liver and muscle) of juvenile Diplodus sargus exposed to the interactive effects of TCS dietary exposure (15.9 μg kg−1 dw), seawater warming (ΔTºC = +5 °C) and acidification (ΔpCO2 ∼ +1000 μatm, equivalent to ΔpH = −0.4 units). Muscle was the primary organ of TCS bioaccumulation, and climate change stressors, particularly warming, significantly reduced TCS bioaccumulation in all fish tissues. Furthermore, the negative ecotoxicological responses elicited by TCS were significantly altered by the co-exposure to acidification and/or warming, through either the enhancement (e.g. vitellogenin content) or counteraction/inhibition (e.g. heat shock proteins HSP70/HSC70 content) of molecular biomarker responses, with the combination of TCS plus acidification resulting in more severe alterations. Thus, the distinct patterns of TCS tissue bioaccumulation and ecotoxicological responses induced by the different scenarios emphasized the need to further understand the interactive effects between pollutants and abiotic conditions, as such knowledge enables a better estimation and mitigation of the toxicological impacts of climate change in marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Bioaccumulation and ecotoxicological responses of juvenile white seabream (Diplodus sargus) exposed to triclosan, warming and acidification’

Effects of ocean acidification on the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate and fish larvae: a review

Most marine organisms present an indirect lifecycle where a planktonic larval stage reaches competency before settling to the substrate and metamorphosing. Despite the critical importance of these early life history stages, little is known about how global change-related stressors, in particular ocean acidification (OA), affect marine larval settlement and metamorphosis. To date, 48 studies have investigated the effects of OA on larval settlement, focussing mostly on tropical corals (16), echinoderms (11) and fish (8). Most studies show negative effects of OA during settlement and post-settlement processes. For instance, reduced settlement is typically seen along natural pH gradients and in experimentally lowered pH treatments. This generally results in reduced settlement selectivity and metamorphosis and poorer post-settlement fitness. Carryover effects of OA exposure can also occur, with larval environmental history influencing early post-settlement performance. We conclude that OA may (1) alter larval supply for settlement by altering horizontal swimming behaviour or vertical migration; (2) directly influence settlement success through changes in the nature and distribution of suitable settlement substrates (e.g. biofilm, crustose coralline algae); and (3) mediate carryover effects at settlement by altering larval development or larval energy budgets. In contrast to fish larvae, there is little evidence for most invertebrate larvae that their perception of settlement cues is directly influenced by reduced pH. A summation of how OA affects the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrates is timely, since altered settlement rates will influence the future distributions, abundances and ecology of marine benthic communities.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on the settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate and fish larvae: a review’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book