Posts Tagged 'growth'

Combined effects of ocean acidification and temperature on larval and juvenile growth, development and swimming performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Ocean acidification and ocean warming (OAW) are simultaneously occurring and could pose ecological challenges to marine life, particularly early life stages of fish that, although they are internal calcifiers, may have poorly developed acid-base regulation. This study assessed the effect of projected OAW on key fitness traits (growth, development and swimming ability) in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) larvae and juveniles. Starting at 2 days post-hatch (dph), larvae were exposed to one of three levels of PCO2 (650, 1150, 1700 μatm; pH 8.0, 7.8, 7.6) at either a cold (15°C) or warm (20°C) temperature. Growth rate, development stage and critical swimming speed (Ucrit) were repeatedly measured as sea bass grew from 0.6 to ~10.0 (cold) or ~14.0 (warm) cm body length. Exposure to different levels of PCO2 had no significant effect on growth, development or Ucrit of larvae and juveniles. At the warmer temperature, larvae displayed faster growth and deeper bodies. Notochord flexion occurred at 0.8 and 1.2 cm and metamorphosis was completed at an age of ~45 and ~60 days post-hatch for sea bass in the warm and cold treatments, respectively. Swimming performance increased rapidly with larval development but better swimmers were observed in the cold treatment, reflecting a potential trade-off between fast grow and swimming ability. A comparison of the results of this and other studies on marine fish indicates that the effects of OAW on the growth, development and swimming ability of early life stages are species-specific and that generalizing the impacts of climate-driven warming or ocean acidification is not warranted.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of ocean acidification and temperature on larval and juvenile growth, development and swimming performance of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)’

Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the growth and welfare of Juvenile tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid


• High CO2 impair the growth performance and health of hybrid grouper, TGGG juveniles.

• Blood haematological and biochemical indicate TGGG juveniles are unwell when being cultured in high CO2.

• The release of glucose and cortisol in stress condition (high CO2) may include a disturbance of the metabolic balance which inhibit growth and affect the gill structure.

• The stressor (high CO2) may increase the susceptibility to disease in fish as indicated by the swollen gill structure in TGGG juveniles.


Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean are predicted to affect vital physiological functions and possibly reduce growth of marine fish. Yet, studies on the impacts on marine fish with the increasing CO2 is still limited. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the elevated CO2 effect on the growth and welfare (condition factor, blood parameters, stress analysis, gill histology) of newly developed commercially important marine fish, tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid or TGGG. TGGG juveniles were exposed for 120 days in a laboratory condition of CO2 groups: 390 μatm (control-current CO2), 610 μatm (moderate) and 1010 μatm (high) consistent with projections for CO2 concentrations in the ocean over the next 50–100 years. The experiments were done in triplicate (20 fish/tank; N = 180, total length = 20.0 ± 0.5 cm, weight = 94.0 ± 3.0 g). Results showed that the lowest specific growth rate (SGR) (0.65 ± 0.05% day−1) and condition factor (1.12 ± 0.01) were observed in high CO2. Unfavourable blood haematological and biochemical parameters were observed in high CO2 group. The highest stress level measured by glucose (102 ± 8 mg dL−1) and cortisol concentration (1.0 ± 0.1 ng mL−1) were also observed in the high CO2. Gill lesions were histologically observed in high CO2 treatment. The results suggested that high CO2 negatively affected the growth and welfare of TGGG. Outputs of this study would offers a simple tool to evaluate the potential risk of elevated CO2 to an important commercial marine grouper.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the growth and welfare of Juvenile tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) × giant grouper (E. lanceolatus) hybrid’

Restoring the flat oyster Ostrea angasi in the face of a changing climate

Across the globe, restoration efforts are stemming the loss of native oyster reefs and the ecosystem services they provide, but these efforts will need to consider climate change in order to be sustainable. South-eastern Australia is the focus of restoring the once abundant oyster Ostrea angasi. This region is also a climate change ‘hot spot’ where the ocean is warming rapidly, with the potential to be exacerbated by marine heatwaves and coastal acidification. In this study, the impact of near-future (~2050) elevated temperature and pCO2 on O. angasi was determined and considered in context with concerns for the long-term sustainability of oyster reef restoration efforts. Oysters were exposed to ambient and elevated pCO2 concentrations (mean ± SE: 408 ± 19.8 and 1070 ± 53.4 µatm) and ambient and elevated temperatures (22.78 ± 0.17 and 25.73 ± 0.21°C) for 10 wk in outdoor flow-through mesocosms. Shell growth, condition index, standard metabolic rate (SMR), extracellular pH and survival were measured. Elevated temperature caused high mortality (36%) and decreased the condition of oysters (33%). Elevated pCO2 increased SMR almost 4-fold and lowered the extracellular pH of O. angasi by a mean 0.29 pH units. In combination, elevated pCO2 and temperature ameliorated effects on SMR and survivorship of oysters. O. angasi appears to be living near the limits of its thermal tolerance. Restoration projects will need to account for the temperature sensitivity of this species and its changing habitat to ‘climate proof’ long-term restoration efforts.

Continue reading ‘Restoring the flat oyster Ostrea angasi in the face of a changing climate’

Deconvolving the long-term impacts of ocean acidification and warming on coral biomineralisation


• Evaluation of temperature and pH effects in coral carbonate chemistry over 1939-2013.

• Coral calcifying fluid pH influenced by both, seawater pH and temperature.

• Temperature principal influence on calcifying fluid pH on seasonal scales.

• Long-term changes in calcifying fluid pH mainly influenced by seawater pH.

• Decline in carbonate ion and calcification consistent with ocean acidification.


Identifying the long-term effects of ocean acidification (OA) and global warming on coral calcification has proven elusive yet has major implications for the continuing viability of coral reefs in the face of climate change. Here we address this question using seasonally and annually resolved boron proxies (11B/10B and B/Ca) of calcifying fluid (cf) pHcf and carbonate ion concentrations ([CO]cf) preserved in a long-lived Porites coral from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). From 1939 to 2013 we find that the coral pHcf closely followed the decline in seawater pH of ∼0.1 units, but at a reduced rate of ∼60%, indicative of biological buffering. Of the decline in pHcf ∼82% is attributed to OA and ∼17% to the ∼0.5 °C long-term warming observed over this period. This long-term warming induced change in pHcf is consistent with the much larger seasonally modulated changes in pHcf where ∼4 to 6 °C seasonal changes in temperatures are accompanied by relatively large antithetic ∼0.1 changes in pHcf. Furthermore, we find that although the supply of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) of the coral cf has remained at constant elevated levels of ∼1.5 × seawater, there has been a significant long-term decline (4 to 11%) in the [CO]cf, due primarily to the OA-induced change in pHcf. This decline in [CO]cf, a critical parameter controlling calcification, is thus likely responsible for the ∼15% decline in coral calcification observed since 1939 and across the GBR generally.

Continue reading ‘Deconvolving the long-term impacts of ocean acidification and warming on coral biomineralisation’

The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits from ocean acidification under constant and dynamic light

Compared to the rest of the globe, the Arctic Ocean is affected disproportionately by climate change. Despite these fast environmental changes, we currently know little about the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on marine key species in this area. Moreover, the existing studies typically test the effects of OA under constant, hence artificial light fields. In this study, the abundant Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla was acclimated to current (400 μatm) and future (1000 μatm) pCO2 levels under a constant as well as dynamic light, simulating natural light fields as experienced in the upper mixed layer. To describe and understand the responses to these drivers, growth, particulate organic carbon (POC) production, elemental composition, photophysiology and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were analysed. M. pusilla was able to benefit from OA on various scales, ranging from an increase in growth rates to enhanced photosynthetic capacity, irrespective of the light regime. These beneficial effects were, however, not reflected in the POC production rates, which can be explained by energy partitioning towards cell division rather than biomass build-up. In the dynamic light regime, M. pusilla was able to optimise its photophysiology for effective light usage during both low and high light periods. This effective photoacclimation, which was achieved by modifications to photosystem II (PSII), imposed high metabolic costs leading to a reduction in growth and POC production rates when compared to constant light. There were no significant interactions observed between dynamic light and OA, indicating that M. pusilla was able maintain effective photoacclimation without increased photoinactivation under high pCO2. Based on these findings, physiologically plastic M. pusilla may exhibit a robust positive response to future Arctic Ocean conditions.

Continue reading ‘The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits from ocean acidification under constant and dynamic light’

Positive genetic associations among fitness traits support evolvability of a reef‐building coral under multiple stressors

Climate change threatens organisms in a variety of interactive ways that requires simultaneous adaptation of multiple traits. Predicting evolutionary responses requires an understanding of the potential for interactions among stressors and the genetic variance and covariance among fitness‐related traits that may reinforce or constrain an adaptive response. Here we investigate the capacity of Acropora millepora, a reef‐building coral, to adapt to multiple environmental stressors: rising sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, and increased prevalence of infectious diseases. We measured growth rates (weight gain), coral color (a proxy for Symbiodiniaceae density), and survival, in addition to nine physiological indicators of coral and algal health in 40 coral genets exposed to each of these three stressors singly and combined. Individual stressors resulted in predicted responses (e.g., corals developed lesions after bacterial challenge and bleached under thermal stress). However, corals did not suffer substantially more when all three stressors were combined. Nor were trade‐offs observed between tolerances to different stressors; instead, individuals performing well under one stressor also tended to perform well under every other stressor. An analysis of genetic correlations between traits revealed positive covariances, suggesting that selection to multiple stressors will reinforce rather than constrain the simultaneous evolution of traits related to holobiont health (e.g., weight gain and algal density). These findings support the potential for rapid coral adaptation under climate change and emphasize the importance of accounting for corals’ adaptive capacity when predicting the future of coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Positive genetic associations among fitness traits support evolvability of a reef‐building coral under multiple stressors’

Acidification diminishes diatom silica production in the Southern Ocean

Diatoms, large bloom-forming marine microorganisms, build frustules out of silicate, which ballasts the cells and aids their export to the deep ocean. This unique physiology forges an important link between the marine silicon and carbon cycles. However, the effect of ocean acidification on the silicification of diatoms is unclear. Here we show that diatom silicification strongly diminishes with increased acidity in a natural Antarctic community. Analyses of single cells from within the community reveal that the effect of reduced pH on silicification differs among taxa, with several species having significantly reduced silica incorporation at CO2 levels equivalent to those projected for 2100. These findings suggest that, before the end of this century, ocean acidification may influence the carbon and silicon cycle by both altering the composition of the diatom assemblages and reducing cell ballasting, which will probably alter vertical flux of these elements to the deep ocean.

Continue reading ‘Acidification diminishes diatom silica production in the Southern Ocean’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book