Posts Tagged 'growth'

The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits synergistically from warming and ocean acidification (update)

In the Arctic Ocean, climate change effects such as warming and ocean acidification (OA) are manifesting faster than in other regions. Yet, we are lacking a mechanistic understanding of the interactive effects of these drivers on Arctic primary producers. In the current study, one of the most abundant species of the Arctic Ocean, the prasinophyte Micromonas pusilla, was exposed to a range of different pCO2 levels at two temperatures representing realistic current and future scenarios for nutrient-replete conditions. We observed that warming and OA synergistically increased growth rates at intermediate to high pCO2 levels. Furthermore, elevated temperatures shifted the pCO2 optimum of biomass production to higher levels. Based on changes in cellular composition and photophysiology, we hypothesise that the observed synergies can be explained by beneficial effects of warming on carbon fixation in combination with facilitated carbon acquisition under OA. Our findings help to understand the higher abundances of picoeukaryotes such as M. pusilla under OA, as has been observed in many mesocosm studies.

Continue reading ‘The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits synergistically from warming and ocean acidification (update)’

The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability

Atmospheric CO2 levels have been rapidly increasing since the 280 ppm (ppm-parts per million) found previous to the industrial revolution (IPCC 2014). In 2010 the atmospheric CO2 was ~380 ppm (IPCC 2014). In May 2018 the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported 411.21 ppm of CO2 at the surface ocean (Mooney 2018). These rapid changes in the atmosphere also affect ocean chemistry. Surface ocean pH has been rather stable before industrialization over the last 800 000 years, averaging 8.2 at the surface water. Since the industrial revolution, the pH has dropped ~0.1 units, so the present day value is ~8.1 (Gattuso, Hansson 2011; Riebesell et al. 2010). Based on business as-usual scenario, atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to approach 800 ppm by the end of the century, which means that pH would drop further 0.3 to 0.5 units and reach 7.8 pH units (Feely et al. 2009, IPCC report 2014). Finally, the changes in ocean chemistry are not happening everywhere at the same pace. For example, in areas where the water temperature is lower, like the Arctic Ocean, CO2 levels and concomitant acidification is increasing more rapidly (CO2 dissolves better in colder water). This makes the Arctic one of the most efficient areas for the sink of anthropogenic CO2 in the global ocean (Slagstad et al. 2011).

Continue reading ‘The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability’

Geographical CO2 sensitivity of phytoplankton correlates with ocean buffer capacity

Accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 is significantly altering ocean chemistry. A range of biological impacts resulting from this oceanic CO2 accumulation are emerging, however, the mechanisms responsible for observed differential susceptibility between organisms and across environmental settings remain obscure. A primary consequence of increased oceanic CO2 uptake is a decrease in the carbonate system buffer capacity, which characterizes the system’s chemical resilience to changes in CO2, generating the potential for enhanced variability in pCO2 and the concentration of carbonate [urn:x-wiley:13541013:media:gcb14324:gcb14324-math-0001], bicarbonate [urn:x-wiley:13541013:media:gcb14324:gcb14324-math-0002], and protons [H+] in the future ocean. We conducted a meta‐analysis of 17 shipboard manipulation experiments performed across three distinct geographical regions that encompassed a wide range of environmental conditions from European temperate seas to Arctic and Southern oceans. These data demonstrated a correlation between the magnitude of natural phytoplankton community biological responses to short‐term CO2 changes and variability in the local buffer capacity across ocean basin scales. Specifically, short‐term suppression of small phytoplankton (<10 μm) net growth rates were consistently observed under enhanced pCO2within experiments performed in regions with higher ambient buffer capacity. The results further highlight the relevance of phytoplankton cell size for the impacts of enhanced pCO2 in both the modern and future ocean. Specifically, cell size‐related acclimation and adaptation to regional environmental variability, as characterized by buffer capacity, likely influences interactions between primary producers and carbonate chemistry over a range of spatio‐temporal scales.

Continue reading ‘Geographical CO2 sensitivity of phytoplankton correlates with ocean buffer capacity’

High pCO2 levels affect metabolic rate, but not feeding behavior and fitness, of farmed giant mussel Choromytilus chorus

Benthic habitats such as intertidal areas, sandy or rocky shores, upwelling zones, and estuaries are characterized by variable environmental conditions. This high variability of environmental stressors such as temperature, salinity, and pH/ pCO2 levels have been shown to impose restrictions on organismal performance. The giant mussel Choromytilus chorus forms intertidal and subtidal mussel beds in estuarine zones associated with fjords occurring in southern Chile and is an important aquacultural resource in Patagonia. In this study, we estimated the sensitivity of physiological traits and energy balance of C. chorus juveniles exposed to 3 pCO2 treatments (500, 750, and 1200 µatm) for 30 d. Results showed that in acidified, high pCO2 conditions, C. chorus juveniles had increased metabolic rates; however, other physiological traits (clearance and ingestion rates, ammonia excretion, absorption efficiency, growth rate, biomass production, net calcification, and dissolution rates) were not affected. These results suggest that when subjected to acidification, the adaptive response of C. chorus triggers tradeoffs among physiological traits that favor sustained feeding and growth in order to combat increased metabolic stress. As has been reported for other marine organisms, chronic exposure to variable pH/ pCO2 in their native habitats, such as estuarine zones, could explain the differential acclimatization capacity of giant mussels to cope with the increase in pCO2. Additionally, the fact that the mussels did not suffer from mortality indicates that increased pCO2 levels may have chronic, but not lethal, effects on this species under these experimental conditions.

Continue reading ‘High pCO2 levels affect metabolic rate, but not feeding behavior and fitness, of farmed giant mussel Choromytilus chorus’

Population-specific responses in physiological rates of Emiliania huxleyi to a broad CO2 range

Although coccolithophore physiological responses to CO2-induced changes in seawater carbonate chemistry have been widely studied in the past, there is limited knowledge on the variability of physiological responses between populations from different areas. In the present study, we investigated the specific responses of growth, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic carbon (PIC) production rates of three populations of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi from three regions in the North Atlantic Ocean (Azores: six strains, Canary Islands: five strains, and Norwegian coast near Bergen: six strains) to a CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) range from 120 to 2630 µatm. Physiological rates of each population and individual strain increased with rising pCO2 levels, reached a maximum and declined thereafter. Optimal pCO2 for growth, POC production rates, and tolerance to low pH (i.e., high proton concentration) was significantly higher in an E. huxleyi population isolated from the Norwegian coast than in those isolated near the Azores and Canary Islands. This may be due to the large environmental variability including large pCO2 and pH fluctuations in coastal waters off Bergen compared to the rather stable oceanic conditions at the other two sites. Maximum growth and POC production rates of the Azores and Bergen populations were similar and significantly higher than that of the Canary Islands population. This pattern could be driven by temperature–CO2 interactions where the chosen incubation temperature (16 °C) was slightly below what strains isolated near the Canary Islands normally experience. Our results indicate adaptation of E. huxleyi to their local environmental conditions and the existence of distinct E. huxleyi populations. Within each population, different growth, POC, and PIC production rates at different pCO2 levels indicated strain-specific phenotypic plasticity. Accounting for this variability is important to understand how or whether E. huxleyi might adapt to rising CO2 levels.

Continue reading ‘Population-specific responses in physiological rates of Emiliania huxleyi to a broad CO2 range’

Interactive effect of nitrogen source and high CO2 concentration on the growth of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense and its toxicity to zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos


•The growth of A. tamarense was influenced more strongly by CO2 than by N sources.
•The toxicity of A. tamarense was influenced more strongly by the N than by CO2.
•The toxicity of A. tamarense associated with the cell density was best fitted using a logistic function.
•Zebrafish embryo had the detoxication systems to avoid the damage of A. tamarense.


The effects and interactive effects of different nitrogen (N) sources (ammonium, nitrate, and urea) and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations were investigated on Alexandrium tamarense, a harmful marine dinoflagellate, by measuring its growth (μ), extracellular carbonic anhydrase (CA), and its toxicity to zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo. The μ and CA were influenced more strongly by CO2 concentrations rather than by N sources; significant effects of CO2 on μ and CA were observed under low CO2 concentration (LC) conditions compared to high CO2 concentration (HC) conditions. The ammonium and nitrate media under LC conditions had the maximum μ and CA, which was inhibited under HC conditions. The embryotoxic effects were influenced more strongly by the N sources than by CO2 concentrations, thus excluding the lower deformation in urea under HC conditions. Moreover, the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione S-transferase (GST), and catalase (CAT) were detected in normal (untreated) zebrafish embryos, and among them, the level of SOD was the highest. In summary, this study provides a clear insight for understanding the effects and interactive effects of N sources and CO2 concentrations on the growth and toxicity of harmful dinoflagellates.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effect of nitrogen source and high CO2 concentration on the growth of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense and its toxicity to zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos’

A three-dimensional niche comparison of Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica: reconciling observations with projections (update)

Coccolithophore responses to changes in carbonate chemistry speciation such as CO2 and H+ are highly modulated by light intensity and temperature. Here, we fit an analytical equation, accounting for simultaneous changes in carbonate chemistry speciation, light and temperature, to published and original data for Emiliania huxleyi, and compare the projections with those for Gephyrocapsa oceanica. Based on our analysis, the two most common bloom-forming species in present-day coccolithophore communities appear to be adapted for a similar fundamental light niche but slightly different ones for temperature and CO2, with E. huxleyi having a tolerance to lower temperatures and higher CO2 levels than G. oceanica. Based on growth rates, a dominance of E. huxleyi over G. oceanica is projected below temperatures of 22 °C at current atmospheric CO2 levels. This is similar to a global surface sediment compilation of E. huxleyi and G. oceanica coccolith abundances suggesting temperature-dependent dominance shifts. For a future Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 climate change scenario (1000 µatm fCO2), we project a CO2 driven niche contraction for G. oceanica to regions of even higher temperatures. However, the greater sensitivity of G. oceanica to increasing CO2 is partially mitigated by increasing temperatures. Finally, we compare satellite-derived particulate inorganic carbon estimates in the surface ocean with a recently proposed metric for potential coccolithophore success on the community level, i.e. the temperature-, light- and carbonate-chemistry-dependent CaCO3 production potential (CCPP). Based on E. huxleyi alone, as there was interestingly a better correlation than when in combination with G. oceanica, and excluding the Antarctic province from the analysis, we found a good correlation between CCPP and satellite-derived particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) with an R2 of 0.73, p < 0.01 and a slope of 1.03 for austral winter/boreal summer and an R2 of 0.85, p < 0.01 and a slope of 0.32 for austral summer/boreal winter.

Continue reading ‘A three-dimensional niche comparison of Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica: reconciling observations with projections (update)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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