Pseudo-nitzschia australis (Frenguelli), a toxigenic pennate diatom capable of producing the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), was examined in unialgal laboratory cultures to quantify its physiological response to ocean acidification (OA) – the decline in pH resulting from increasing partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in the oceans. Toxic blooms of P. australis are common in the coastal waters of eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS), including those of the California Current System (CCS) off the west coast of the United States where increased pCO2 and decreased seawater pH are well-known. This study determined the production of dissolved (dDA) and particulate DA (pDA), the rates of growth and nutrient (nitrate, silicate and phosphate) utilization, cellular elemental ratios of carbon and nitrogen, and the photosynthetic response to declining pH during the exponential and stationary growth phases of a strain of P. australis isolated during a massive toxic bloom that persisted for months along much of the U.S. west coast during 2015. Our controlled lab studies showed that DA production significantly increased as pCO2 increased, and total DA (pDA + dDA) normalized to cell density was 2.7 fold greater at pH 7.8 compared to pH 8.1 (control) during nutrient-limited stationary growth. However, exponential growth rates did not increase with declining pH, but remained constant until pH of 7.8 was reached, and then specific growth rates declined by ca. 30%. The toxin results demonstrate that despite minimal effects of OA observed during the nutrient-replete exponential growth phase, the enhancement of DA production, notably the 3-fold increase in particulate DA per cell, with declining pH from 8.1 to 7.8 during the nutrient-depleted stationary phase, supports the hypothesis that increasing pCO2 will result in greater toxic risk to coastal ecosystems from elevated ambient concentrations of particulate DA. The ecological consequences of decreasing silicate uptake rates and increasing cellular carbon quotas with declining pH may potentially ameliorate some negative impacts of OA on Pseudo-nitzschia growth in natural systems.
Ocean warming is altering the biogeographical distribution of marine organisms. In the tropics, rising sea surface temperatures are restructuring coral reef communities with sensitive species being lost. At the biogeographical divide between temperate and tropical communities, warming is causing macroalgal forest loss and the spread of tropical corals, fishes and other species, termed “tropicalization”. A lack of field research into the combined effects of warming and ocean acidification means there is a gap in our ability to understand and plan for changes in coastal ecosystems. Here, we focus on the tropicalization trajectory of temperate marine ecosystems becoming coral-dominated systems. We conducted field surveys and in situ transplants at natural analogues for present and future conditions under (i) ocean warming and (ii) both ocean warming and acidification at a transition zone between kelp and coral-dominated ecosystems. We show that increased herbivory by warm-water fishes exacerbates kelp forest loss and that ocean acidification negates any benefits of warming for range extending tropical corals growth and physiology at temperate latitudes. Our data show that, as the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming ratchet up, marine coastal ecosystems lose kelp forests but do not gain scleractinian corals. Ocean acidification plus warming leads to overall habitat loss and a shift to simple turf-dominated ecosystems, rather than the complex coral-dominated tropicalized systems often seen with warming alone. Simplification of marine habitats by increased CO2 levels cascades through the ecosystem and could have severe consequences for the provision of goods and services.
Ocean acidification (OA) is negatively affecting calcification in a wide variety of marine organisms. These effects are acute for many tropical scleractinian corals under short-term experimental conditions, but it is unclear how these effects interact with ecological processes, such as competition for space, to impact coral communities over multiple years. This study sought to test the use of individual-based models (IBMs) as a tool to scale up the effects of OA recorded in short-term studies to community-scale impacts, combining data from field surveys and mesocosm experiments to parameterize an IBM of coral community recovery on the fore reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Focusing on the dominant coral genera from the fore reef, Pocillopora, Acropora, Montipora and Porites, model efficacy first was evaluated through the comparison of simulated and empirical dynamics from 2010–2016, when the reef was recovering from sequential acute disturbances (a crown-of-thorns seastar outbreak followed by a cyclone) that reduced coral cover to ~0% by 2010. The model then was used to evaluate how the effects of OA (1,100–1,200 µatm pCO2) on coral growth and competition among corals affected recovery rates (as assessed by changes in % cover y−1) of each coral population between 2010–2016. The model indicated that recovery rates for the fore reef community was halved by OA over 7 years, with cover increasing at 11% y−1 under ambient conditions and 4.8% y−1 under OA conditions. However, when OA was implemented to affect coral growth and not competition among corals, coral community recovery increased to 7.2% y−1, highlighting mechanisms other than growth suppression (i.e., competition), through which OA can impact recovery. Our study reveals the potential for IBMs to assess the impacts of OA on coral communities at temporal and spatial scales beyond the capabilities of experimental studies, but this potential will not be realized unless empirical analyses address a wider variety of response variables representing ecological, physiological and functional domains.
Increasing temperature and CO2 concentration are among the most important factors affecting marine ecosystems under climate change. We investigated the morphological, biochemical, and physiological trait responses of seedlings of the tropical seagrass Enhalus acoroides under experimental conditions. Trait responses were greater under temperature effects than increasing CO2 concentration. Seedlings under rising temperatures showed enhanced leaf growth, lower leaf nutrient content, and stimulated down-regulating mechanisms in terms of photo-physiology. Increasing CO2 concentrations did not show any significant effects independently. There was a significant interaction for some of the trait responses considered, such as leaf number and carbon content in the roots, and trends of higher starch concentrations in the leaves and lower rETRmax under combined enriched CO2 and high temperature, even though none of these interactions were synergistic. Understanding the single and interactive trait responses of seagrass seedlings to increasing temperature and CO2 concentration is of importance to determine the relative responses of early life stages of seagrasses, which may differ from adult plants, in order to form a more holistic view of seagrass ecosystem health under climate change.
- Skeletonema costatum was tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations.
- The high benzo(a)pyrene concentration remarkably inhibited growth and photosynthesis.
- Negative effects of ocean acidification were detected at the high benzo(a)pyrene level.
The combined effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and seawater acidification are poorly understood. Hence, we exposed the bloom-forming diatom Skeletonema costatum to four concentrations (0, 0.1, 1 and 10 μg L-1) of benzo(a)pyrene and two pCO2 levels (400 and 1000 μatm) to investigate its physiological performance. The growth and photosynthesis of S. costatum were tolerant to low and moderate benzo(a)pyrene concentrations regardless of the pCO2 level. However, the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration had remarkably adverse effects on most parameters, decreasing the growth rate by 69%. Seawater acidification increased the sensitivity to high light stress, as shown by the lower relative maximum electron transport rate and light saturation point at the highest benzo(a)pyrene concentration. Our results suggested that benzo(a)pyrene could be detrimental to diatoms at a habitat-relevant level, and seawater acidification might further decrease its light tolerance, which would have important ramifications for the community structure and primary production in coastal waters.
- P. fraudulenta and P. australis strains were able to acclimate and maintain high growth rates at current pH (8.07) and projected pH in 2100 (7.77) compared to the lowest pH level (7.40).
- Domoic acid content was significantly higher for all P. australis toxic strains acclimated at the ambient pH level (8.07), and lowest at pH (7.77).
- Strong inter- and intra-specific variation related to the geographical area and the culturing history of Pseudo-nitzschia strains.
This paper present the effects of ocean acidification on growth and domoic acid (DA) content of several strains of the toxic Pseudo-nitzschia australis and the non-toxic P. fraudulenta. Three strains of each species (plus two subclones of P. australis) were acclimated and grown in semi-continuous cultures at three pH levels: 8.07, 7.77, and 7.40, in order to simulate changes of seawater pH from present to plausible future levels. Our results showed that lowering pH from current level (8.07) to predicted pH level in 2100 (7.77) did not affect the mean growth rates of some of the P. australis strains (FR-PAU-17 and L3-100), but affected other strains either negatively (L3-30) or positively (L3.4). However, the growth rates significantly decreased with pH lowered to 7.40 (by 13% for L3-100, 43% for L3-30 and 16% for IFR-PAU-17 compared to the rates at pH 8.07). In contrast, growth rates of the non-toxic P. fraudulenta strains were not affected by pH changing from 8.07 to 7.40.
The P. australis strains produced DA at all pH levels tested, and the highest particulate DA concentration normalized to cell abundance (pDA) was found at pH 8.07. Total DA content (pDA and dissolved DA) was significantly higher at current pH (8.07) compared to pH (7.77), exept for one strain (L 3.4) where no difference was found. At lower pH levels 7.77 – 7.40, total DA content was similar, except for strains IFR-PAU-17 and L3-100 which had the lowest content at the pH 7.77. The diversity in the responses in growth and DA content highlights the inter- and intra-specific variation in Pseudo-nitzschia species in response to ocean acidification. When exploring environmental responses of Pseudo-nitzschia using cultured cells, not only strain-specific variation but also culturing history should be taken into consideration, as the light levels under which the subclones were cultured, afterwards affected both maximum growth rates and DA content.
- Larval white seabass were lab-exposed to elevated CO2 levels simulating future ocean acidification (OA).
- Exposure to OA did not induce any changes in ion-transporting capacity, aerobic respiration rate, or total length of larval white seabass.
- Retroactive analysis of the water in broodstock tanks revealed the parents had been chronically exposed to elevated CO2 levels, which may have affected the physiology of the larvae and conferred the observed resilience.
Ocean acidification (OA) has been proposed to increase the energetic demand for acid-base regulation at the expense of larval fish growth. Here, white seabass (Atractoscion nobilis) eggs and larvae were reared at control (542 ± 28 μatm) and elevated pCO2 (1,831 ± 105 μatm) until five days post-fertilization (dpf). Skin ionocytes were identified by immunodetection of the Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) enzyme. Larvae exposed to elevated pCO2 possessed significantly higher skin ionocyte number and density compared to control larvae. However, when ionocyte size was accounted for, the relative ionocyte area (a proxy for total ionoregulatory capacity) was unchanged. Similarly, there were no differences in relative NKA abundance, resting O2 consumption rate, and total length between control and treatment larvae at 5 dpf, nor in the rate at which relative ionocyte area and total length changed between 2–5 dpf. Altogether, our results suggest that OA conditions projected for the next century do not significantly affect the ionoregulatory capacity or energy consumption of larval white seabass. Finally, a retroactive analysis of the water in the recirculating aquarium system that housed the broodstock revealed the parents had been exposed to average pCO2 of ~1,200 μatm for at least 3.5 years prior to this experiment. Future studies should investigate whether larval white seabass are naturally resilient to OA, or if this resilience is the result of parental chronic acclimation to OA, and/or from natural selection during spawning and fertilization in elevated pCO2.
Elemental ratios in biogenic marine calcium carbonates are widely used in geobiology, environmental science, and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. It is generally accepted that the elemental abundance of biogenic marine carbonates reflects a combination of the abundance of that ion in seawater, the physical properties of seawater, the mineralogy of the biomineral, and the pathways and mechanisms of biomineralization. Here we report measurements of a suite of nine elemental ratios (Li/Ca, B/Ca, Na/Ca, Mg/Ca, Zn/Ca, Sr/Ca, Cd/Ca, Ba/Ca, and U/Ca) in 18 species of benthic marine invertebrates spanning a range of biogenic carbonate polymorph mineralogies (low-Mg calcite, high-Mg calcite, aragonite, mixed mineralogy) and of phyla (including Mollusca, Echinodermata, Arthropoda, Annelida, Cnidaria, Chlorophyta, and Rhodophyta) cultured at a single temperature (25°C) and a range of pCO2 treatments (ca. 409, 606, 903, and 2856 ppm). This dataset was used to explore various controls over elemental partitioning in biogenic marine carbonates, including species-level and biomineralization-pathway-level controls, the influence of internal pH regulation compared to external pH changes, and biocalcification responses to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. The dataset also enables exploration of broad scale phylogenetic patterns of elemental partitioning across calcifying species, exhibiting high phylogenetic signals estimated from both uni- and multivariate analyses of the elemental ratio data (univariate: λ = 0–0.889; multivariate: λ = 0.895–0.99). Comparing partial R2 values returned from non-phylogenetic and phylogenetic regression analyses echo the importance of and show that phylogeny explains the elemental ratio data 1.4–59 times better than mineralogy in five out of nine of the elements analyzed. Therefore, the strong associations between biomineral elemental chemistry and species relatedness suggests mechanistic controls over element incorporation rooted in the evolution of biomineralization mechanisms.
Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are driving rapid changes in ocean conditions. Shallow-water coral reefs are experiencing the brunt of these changes, including intensifying marine heatwaves (MHWs) and rapid ocean acidification (OA). Consequently, coral reefs are in broad-scale decline, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. Ensuring survival of coral reefs in the 21st century will thus require a new management approach that incorporates robust understanding of reef-scale climate change, the mechanisms by which these changes impact corals, and their potential for adaptation. In this thesis, I extract information from within coral skeletons to 1) Quantify the climate changes occurring on coral reefs and the effects on coral growth, 2) Identify differences in the sensitivity of coral reefs to these changes, and 3) Evaluate the adaptation potential of the keystone reef-building coral, Porites. First, I develop a mechanistic Porites growth model and reveal the physicochemical link between OA and skeletal formation. Ishow that the thickening (densification) of coralskeletal framework is most vulnerable to OA and that, under 21st century climate model projections, OA will reduce Porites skeletal density globally, with greatest impact in the Coral Triangle. Second, I develop an improved metric of thermal stress, and use a skeletal bleaching proxy to quantify coral responses to intensifying heatwaves in the central equatorial Pacific (CEP) since 1982. My work reveals a long history of bleaching in the CEP, and reef-specific differences in thermal tolerance linked to past heatwave exposure implying that, over time, reef communities have adapted to tolerate their unique thermal regimes. Third, I refine the Sr-U paleo-thermometer to enable monthly-resolved sea surface temperatures (SST) generation using laser ablation ICPMS. I show that laser Sr-U accurately captures CEP SST, including the frequency and amplitude of MHWs. Finally, I apply laser Sr-U to reconstruct the past 100 years of SST at Jarvis Island in the CEP, and evaluate my proxy record of bleaching severity in this context. I determine that Porites coral populations on Jarvis Island have not yet adapted to the pace of anthropogenic climate change.
Quantifying the strength of non-trophic interactions exerted by foundation species is critical to understanding how natural communities respond to environmental stress. In the case of ocean acidification (OA), submerged marine macrophytes, such as seagrasses, may create local areas of elevated pH due to their capacity to sequester dissolved inorganic carbon through photosynthesis. However, although seagrasses may increase seawater pH during the day, they can also decrease pH at night due to respiration. Therefore, it remains unclear how consequences of such diel fluctuations may unfold for organisms vulnerable to OA. We established mesocosms containing different levels of seagrass biomass (Zostera marina) to create a gradient of carbonate chemistry conditions and explored consequences for growth of juvenile and adult oysters (Crassostrea gigas), a non-native species widely used in aquaculture that can co-occur, and is often grown, in proximity to seagrass beds. In particular, we investigated whether increased diel fluctuations in pH due to seagrass metabolism affected oyster growth. Seagrasses increased daytime pH up to 0.4 units but had little effect on nighttime pH (reductions less than 0.02 units). Thus, both the average pH and the amplitude of diel pH fluctuations increased with greater seagrass biomass. The highest seagrass biomass increased oyster shell growth rate (mm day−1) up to 40%. Oyster somatic tissue weight and oyster condition index exhibited a different pattern, peaking at intermediate levels of seagrass biomass. This work demonstrates the ability of seagrasses to facilitate oyster calcification and illustrates how non-trophic metabolic interactions can modulate effects of environmental change.
In marine ecosystems, fluctuations in surface-seawater carbon dioxide (CO2), significantly influence the whole metabolism of marine algae, especially during the early stages of macroalgal development. In this study, the response of the green alga Ulva fasciata for elevating ocean acidification was investigated using four levels of pCO2 ∼280, 550, 750 and 1050 µatm. Maximum growth rate (6.6 % day-1), protein (32.43 %DW) and pigment (2.9 mg/g) accumulation were observed at pCO2-550 with an increase of ∼2-fold compared to control. On the other hand, lipid and carbohydrate contents recorded their maximum production (4.23 and 46.96 %DW, respectively) at pCO2-750 while control showed 3.70 and 42.37 %DW, respectively. SDS-PAGE showed the presence of unique bands in response to pCO2, especially at 550 µatm. Dominant associated bacteria was shifted from Halomonas hydrothermalis of control to Vibrio toranzoniae at pCO2-1050. These findings suggest that ocean acidification at 550 µatm might impose noticeable effects on growth, protein, pigments, and protein profile of U. fasciata, which could be a good source for fish farming. While, pCO2-750 was recommended for energetic purpose, due to its high lipid and carbohydrate contents.
Assessing the vulnerability of marine invertebrates to ocean acidification (OA) requires an understanding of critical thresholds at which developmental, physiological, and behavioral traits are affected. To identify relevant thresholds for echinoderms, we undertook a three-step data synthesis, focused on California Current Ecosystem (CCE) species. First, literature characterizing echinoderm responses to OA was compiled, creating a dataset comprised of >12,000 datapoints from 41 studies. Analysis of this data set demonstrated responses related to physiology, behavior, growth and development, and increased mortality in the larval and adult stages to low pH exposure. Second, statistical analyses were conducted on selected pathways to identify OA thresholds specific to duration, taxa, and depth-related life stage. Exposure to reduced pH led to impaired responses across a range of physiology, behavior, growth and development, and mortality endpoints for both larval and adult stages. Third, through discussions and synthesis, the expert panel identified a set of eight duration-dependent, life stage, and habitat-dependent pH thresholds and assigned each a confidence score based on quantity and agreement of evidence. The thresholds for these effects ranged within pH from 7.20 to 7.74 and duration from 7 to 30 days, all of which were characterized with either medium or low confidence. These thresholds yielded a risk range from early warning to lethal impacts, providing the foundation for consistent interpretation of OA monitoring data or numerical ocean model simulations to support climate change marine vulnerability assessments and evaluation of ocean management strategies. As a demonstration, two echinoderm thresholds were applied to simulations of a CCE numerical model to visualize the effects of current state of pH conditions on potential habitat.
Ocean acidification is changing the fate of marine organisms. It is essential to predict the biological responses and evolutionary processes driven by ocean acidification, to maintain the equilibrium of the marine ecosystem and to facilitate aquaculture. However, how marine organisms, particularly the marine fish species, respond to ocean acidification, is still poorly understood. Consequences of ocean acidification on finfish aquaculture are largely not well known. We studied the effects of ocean acidification for 7 days on growth, behaviour and gene expression profiles in the brain, gill and kidney of Asian seabass juveniles. Results showed that growth and behaviour were not affected by short-term ocean acidification. We found tissue-specific differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involving many molecular processes, such as organ development, growth, muscle development, ion homeostasis and neurogenesis and development, as well as behaviours. Most of the DEGs, which were functionally enriched in ion homeostasis, were related to calcium transport, followed by sodium/potassium channels. We found that genes associated with neurogenesis and development were significantly enriched, implying that ocean acidification has also adversely affected the neural regulatory mechanism. Our results indicate that although the short-term ocean acidification does not cause obvious phenotypic and behavioural changes, it causes substantial changes of gene expressions in all three analysed tissues. All these changes of gene expressions may eventually affect physiological fitness. The DEGs identified here should be further investigated to discover DNA markers associated with adaptability to ocean acidification to improve fish’s capability to adapt to ocean acidification.
Acidification of the ocean due to high atmospheric CO2 levels may increase the resilience of diatoms causing dramatic shifts in abiotic and biotic cycles with lasting implications on marine ecosystems. Here, we report a potential bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of a coastal and centric model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana under elevated CO2. Specifically, we have discovered, through EGFP-tagging, a plastid membrane localized putative Na+(K+)/H+ antiporter that is significantly upregulated at >800 ppm CO2, with a potentially important role in maintaining pH homeostasis. Notably, transcript abundance of this antiporter gene was relatively low and constant over the diel cycle under contemporary CO2 conditions. In future acidified oceanic conditions, dramatic oscillation with >10-fold change between nighttime (high) and daytime (low) transcript abundances of the antiporter was associated with increased resilience of T. pseudonana. By analyzing metatranscriptomic data from the Tara Oceans project, we demonstrate that phylogenetically diverse diatoms express homologs of this antiporter across the globe. We propose that the differential between night- and daytime transcript levels of the antiporter could serve as a bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of diatoms in response to high CO2 conditions in marine environments.
Antarctic krill Euphausia superba is a key species in the Southern Ocean, where its habitat is projected to undergo continued warming and increases in pCO2. Experiments during 2 summer field seasons at Palmer Station, Antarctica, investigated the independent and interactive effects of elevated temperature and pCO2 (decreased pH) on feeding, growth, acid-base physiology, metabolic rate, and survival of adult Antarctic krill. Ingestion and clearance rates of chlorophyll were depressed under low pH (7.7) compared to ambient pH (8.1) after a 48 h acclimation period, but this difference disappeared after a 21 d acclimation. Growth rates were negligible and frequently negative, but were significantly more negative at high (3°C, -0.03 mm d-1) compared to ambient temperature (0°C, -0.01 mm d-1) with no effect of pH. Modest elevations in tissue total CO2 and tissue pH were apparent at low pH but were short-lived. Metabolic rate increased with temperature but was suppressed at low pH in smaller but not larger krill. Although effects of elevated temperature and/or decreased pH were mostly sublethal, mortality was higher at high temperature/low pH (58%) compared to ambient temperature/pH or ambient temperature/low pH (>90%). This study identified 3 dominant patterns: (1) shorter-term effects were primarily pH-dependent; (2) krill compensated for lower pH relatively quickly; and (3) longer-term effects on krill growth and survival were strongly driven by temperature with little to no pH effect.
Effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the plant phenology and colonization/settlement pattern of the hydrozoan epibiont community of the leaves of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica have been studied at volcanic CO2 vents off Ischia (Italy). The study was conducted in shallow Posidonia stands (2.5–3.5 m depth), in three stations on the north and three on the south sides of the vent’s area (Castello Aragonese vents), distributed along a pH gradient. At each station, 10–15 P. oceanica shoots were collected every three months for one-year cycle (Sept 2009–2010). The shoot density of Posidonia beds in the most acidified stations along the gradient (pH < 7.4) was significantly higher than that in the control area (pH = 8.10). On the other hand, we recorded lower leaf lengths and widths in the acidified stations in the whole year of observations, compared to those in the control stations. However, the overall leaf surface (Leaf Area Index) available for epiphytes under ocean acidification conditions was higher on the south side and on both the most acidified stations because of the higher shoot density under OA conditions. The hydrozoan epibiont community on the leaf canopy accounted for seven species, three of which were relatively abundant and occurring all year around (Sertularia perpusilla, Plumularia obliqua, Clytia hemisphaerica). All hydroids species showed a clear tolerance to low pH levels, including chitinous and non-calcifying forms, likely favoured also by the absence of competition for substratum with the calcareous forms of epiphytes selected against OA.
This study evaluates the impacts of 16 different leachates of plastic-made packaging on marine species of different trophic levels (bacteria, algae, echinoderms). Standard ecotoxicological endpoints (inhibition of bioluminescence, inhibition of growth, embryo-toxicity) and alterations of ecologically significant parameters (i.e., echinoderms’ body-size) were measured following exposure under different pH water conditions: marine standard (pH 8.1) and two increasingly acidic conditions (pH 7.8 and 7.5) in order to evaluate possible variations induced by ocean acidification. The results obtained in this study evidence that the tested doses are not able to significantly affect bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) and algae (Phaeodactylum tricornutum). On the contrary, Paracentrotus lividus larvae were significantly affected by several packaging types (13 out of 16) with meaningless differences between pH conditions.
Multigenerational exposure is needed to assess the evolutionary potential of organisms in the rapidly changing seascape. Here, we investigate if there is a transgenerational effect of ocean acidification exposure on a calyptraeid gastropod such that long‐term exposure elevates offspring resilience. Larvae from wild type Crepidula onyx adults were reared from hatching until sexual maturity for over 36 months under three pH conditions (pH 7.3, 7.7, and 8.0). While the survivorship, growth, and respiration rate of F1 larvae were unaffected by acute ocean acidification (OA), long‐term and whole life‐cycle exposure significantly compromised adult survivorship, growth, and reproductive output of the slipper limpets. When kept under low pH throughout their life cycle, only 6% of the F1 slipper limpets survived pH 7.3 conditions after ~2.5 years and the number of larvae they released was ~10% of those released by the control. However, the F2 progeny from adults kept under the long‐term low pH condition hatched at a comparable size to those in medium and control pH conditions. More importantly, these F2 progeny from low pH adults outperformed F2 slipper limpets from control conditions; they had higher larval survivorship and growth, and reduced respiration rate across pH conditions, even at the extreme low pH of 7.0. The intragenerational negative consequences of OA during long‐term acclimation highlights potential carryover effects and ontogenetic shifts in stress vulnerability, especially prior to and during reproduction. Yet, the presence of a transgenerational effect implies that this slipper limpet, which has been widely introduced along the West Pacific coasts, has the potential to adapt to rapid acidification.
- Microalgae photosynthesis induces strongly H+ uptake reversing ocean acidification.
- Water alkalization through algal H+ uptake is independent from CO2 concentration.
- New management approaches for reversing ocean acidification using algal H+ uptake.
- Algal H+ uptake depends on essential nutrients, cell density and light intensity.
- Acidification of aquatic environment induces microalgal photosynthesis and growth.
The photosynthetic process in microalgae and the extracellular proton environment interact with each other. The photosynthetic process in microalgae induces a pH increase in the aquatic environment as a result of cellular protons uptake rather than as an effect of CO2 consumption. The photosynthetic water photolysis and the reduction/oxidation cycle of the plastoquinone pool provide lumen with protons. Weak bases act as “permeant buffers” in lumen during the photosynthetic procedure, converting the ΔpH to Δψ. This is possibly the main reason for continuous light-driven proton uptake from the aquatic environment through cytosol and stroma, into the lumen. The proton uptake rate and, therefore, the microalgal growth is proportional to the light intensity, cell concentration, and extracellular proton concentration. The low pH in microalgae cultures, without limitation factors related to light and nutrients, strongly induces photosynthesis (and proton uptake) and, consequently, growth. In contrast, the mitochondrial respiratory process, in the absence of photosynthetic activity, does not substantially alter the culture pH. Only after intensification of the respiratory process, using exogenous glucose supply leads to significantly reduced pH values in the culture medium, almost exclusively through proton output. Enhanced dissolution of atmospheric CO2 in water causes the phenomenon of ocean acidification, which prevents the process of calcification, a significant process for numerous phytoplankton and zooplankton organisms, as well for corals. The proposed interaction between microalgal photosynthetic activity and proton concentration in the aquatic environment, independently from the CO2 concentration, paves the way for new innovative management strategies for reversing the ocean acidification.
- This work focusses on the effect of a multi-stressor environment in sea urchin.
- Embryo-larval bioassays were used to determine growth and morphometric parameters.
- A lower water pH (7.6) reduced larval growth and caused deformities.
- Microplastics aggravate the effect of water acidification in sea urchin larvae.
- High temperatures caused an additional stress and reduced larvae stomach volume.
The aim of this work was to estimate the potential risk of the combined effect of global change factors (acidification, temperature increase) and microplastic (MP) pollution on the growth and development of the sea urchin P. lividus. Embryo-larval bioassays were conducted to determine growth and morphology after 48 h of incubation with MP (1000 and 3000 particles/mL); with filtered sea water at pH = 7.6; and with their combinations. A second experiment was conducted to study the effect of pH and MP in combination with a temperature increase of 4 °C compared to control (20 °C). We found that the inhibition of growth in embryos reared at pH = 7.6 was around 75%. Larvae incubated at 3000 MP particles/mL showed a 20% decrease in growth compared to controls. The exposure to MP also induced an increase in the postoral arm separation or rounded vertices. The combined exposure to a pH 7.6 and MP caused a significant decrease of larval growth compared to control, to MP and to pH 7.6 treatments. Morphological alterations were observed in these treatments, including the development of only two arms. Increasing the temperature resulted in an increased growth in control, in pH 7.6 and pH 7.6 + MP3000 treatments, but the relative stomach volume decreased. However, when growth parameters were expressed per Degree-Days the lower growth provoked by the thermal stress was evidenced in all treatments. In this work we demonstrated that MP could aggravate the effect of a decreased pH and that an increase in water temperature generated an additional stress on P. lividus larvae, manifested in a lower growth and an altered development. Therefore, the combined stress caused by ocean warming, ocean acidification, and microplastic pollution, could threaten sea urchin populations leading to a potential impact on coastal ecosystems.