Posts Tagged 'growth'

Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification

Phytoplankton cells living in the surface waters of oceans are experiencing alterations in environmental conditions associated with global change. Given their importance in global primary productivity, it is of considerable concern to know how these organisms will perform physiologically under the changing levels of pH, temperatures, and nutrients predicted for future oceanic ecosystems. Here we show that the model diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, when grown at different temperatures (20 or 24 °C), pCO2 (400 or 1000 µatm), and nitrate concentrations (2.5 or 102.5 µmol l−1), displayed contrasting performance in its physiology. Elevated pCO2 (and hence seawater acidification) under the nitrate-limited conditions led to decreases in specific growth rate, cell size, pigment content, photochemical quantum yield of PSII, and photosynthetic carbon fixation. Furthermore, increasing the temperature exacerbated the negative effects of the seawater acidification associated with elevated pCO2 on specific growth rate and chlorophyll content under the N-limited conditions. These results imply that a reduced upward transport of nutrients due to enhanced stratification associated with ocean warming might act synergistically to reduce growth and carbon fixation by diatoms under progressive ocean acidification, with important ramifications for ocean productivity and the strength of the biological CO2 pump.

Continue reading ‘Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification’

Variability in the organic ligands released by Emiliania huxleyi under simulated ocean acidification conditions

The variability in the extracellular release of organic ligands by Emiliania huxleyi under four different pCO2 scenarios (225, 350, 600 and 900 μatm), was determined. Growth in the batch cultures was promoted by enriching them only with major nutrients and low iron concentrations. No chelating agents were added to control metal speciation. During the initial (IP), exponential (EP) and steady (SP) phases, extracellular release rates, normalized per cell and day, of dissolved organic carbon (DOCER), phenolic compounds (PhCER), dissolved combined carbohydrates (DCCHOER) and dissolved uronic acids (DUAER) in the exudates were determined.

The growth rate decreased in the highest CO2 treatment during the IP (<48 h), but later increased when the exposure was longer (more than 6 days). DOCER did not increase significantly with high pCO2. Although no relationship was observed between DCCHOER and the CO2 conditions, DCCHO was a substantial fraction of the freshly released organic material, accounting for 18% to 37%, in EP, and 14% to 23%, in SP, of the DOC produced. Growth of E. huxleyi induced a strong response in the PhCER and DUAER. While in EP, PhCER were no detected, the DUAER remained almost constant for all CO2 treatments. Increases in the extracellular release of these organic ligands during SP were most pronounced under high pCO2 conditions. Our results imply that, during the final growth stage of E. huxleyi, elevated CO2 conditions will increase its excretion of acid polysaccharides and phenolic compounds, which may affect the biogeochemical behavior of metals in seawater.

Continue reading ‘Variability in the organic ligands released by Emiliania huxleyi under simulated ocean acidification conditions’

Diverse CO2-induced responses in physiology and gene expression among eukaryotic phytoplankton

With rising atmospheric CO2, phytoplankton face shifts in ocean chemistry including increased dissolved CO2 and acidification that will likely influence the relative competitive fitness of different phytoplankton taxa. Here we compared the physiological and gene expression responses of six species of phytoplankton including a diatom, a raphidophyte, two haptophytes, and two dinoflagellates to ambient (~400 ppm) and elevated (~800 ppm) CO2. Dinoflagellates had significantly slower growth rates and higher, yet variable, chlorophyll a per cell under elevated CO2. The other phytoplankton tended to have increased growth rates and/or decreased chlorophyll a per cell. Carbon and nitrogen partitioning of cells shifted under elevated CO2 in some species, indicating potential changes in energy fluxes due to changes in carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCM) or photorespiration. Consistent with these phenotypic changes, gene set enrichment analyses revealed shifts in energy, carbon and nitrogen metabolic pathways, though with limited overlap between species in the genes and pathways involved. Similarly, gene expression responses across species revealed few conserved CO2-responsive genes within CCM and photorespiration categories, and a survey of available transcriptomes found high diversity in biophysical CCM and photorespiration expressed gene complements between and within the four phyla represented by these species. The few genes that displayed similar responses to CO2 across phyla were from understudied gene families, making them targets for further research to uncover the mechanisms of phytoplankton acclimation to elevated CO2. These results underscore that eukaryotic phytoplankton have diverse gene complements and gene expression responses to CO2 perturbations and highlight the value of cross-phyla comparisons for identifying gene families that respond to environmental change.

Continue reading ‘Diverse CO2-induced responses in physiology and gene expression among eukaryotic phytoplankton’

Biological responses of the marine diatom Chaetoceros socialis to changing environmental conditions: a laboratory experiment

Diatoms constitute a major group of phytoplankton, accounting for ~20% of the world’s primary production. It has been shown that iron (Fe) can be the limiting factor for phytoplankton growth, in particular, in the HNLC (High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll) regions. Iron plays thus an essential role in governing the marine primary productivity and the efficiency of biological carbon pump. Oceanic systems are undergoing continuous modifications at varying rates and magnitudes as a result of changing climate. The objective of our research is to evaluate how changing environmental conditions (dust deposition, ocean warming and acidification) can affect marine Fe biogeochemistry and diatom growth. Laboratory culture experiments using a marine diatom Chaetoceros socialis were conducted at two temperatures (13°C and 18°C) and under two pCO2 (carbon dioxide partial pressure) (400 μatm and 800 μatm) conditions. The present study clearly highlights the effect of ocean acidification on enhancing the release of Fe upon dust deposition. Our results also confirm that being a potential source of Fe, dust provides in addition a readily utilizable source of macronutrients such as dissolved phosphate (PO4) and silicate (DSi). However, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations may also have an adverse impact on diatom growth, causing a decrease in cell size and possible further changes in phytoplankton composition. Meanwhile, ocean warming may lead to the reduction of diatom production and cell size, inducing poleward shifts in the biogeographic distribution of diatoms. The changing climate has thus a significant implication for ocean phytoplankton growth, cell size and primary productivity, phytoplankton distribution and community composition, and carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si) and Fe biogeochemical cycles in various ways.

Continue reading ‘Biological responses of the marine diatom Chaetoceros socialis to changing environmental conditions: a laboratory experiment’

Individual and interactive effects of warming and CO2 on Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica, two dominant phytoplankton from the Ross Sea, Antarctica (update)

We investigated the effects of temperature and CO2 variation on the growth and elemental composition of cultures of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis antarctica, two ecologically dominant phytoplankton species isolated from the Ross Sea, Antarctica. To obtain thermal functional response curves, cultures were grown across a range of temperatures from 0 to 14 °C. In addition, a co-culturing experiment examined the relative abundance of both species at 0 and 6 °C. CO2 functional response curves were conducted from 100 to 1730 ppm at 2 and 8 °C to test for interactive effects between the two variables. The growth of both phytoplankton was significantly affected by temperature increase, but with different trends. Growth rates of P. subcurvata increased with temperature from 0 °C to maximum levels at 8 °C, while the growth rates of P. antarctica only increased from 0 to 2 °C. The maximum thermal limits of P. subcurvata and P. antarctica where growth stopped completely were 14 and 10 °C, respectively. Although P. subcurvata outgrew P. antarctica at both temperatures in the co-incubation experiment, this happened much faster at 6 than at 0 °C. For P. subcurvata, there was a significant interactive effect in which the warmer temperature decreased the CO2 half-saturation constant for growth, but this was not the case for P. antarctica. The growth rates of both species increased with CO2 increases up to 425 ppm, and in contrast to significant effects of temperature, the effects of CO2 increase on their elemental composition were minimal. Our results suggest that future warming may be more favorable to the diatom than to the prymnesiophyte, while CO2 increases may not be a major factor in future competitive interactions between Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica in the Ross Sea.

Continue reading ‘Individual and interactive effects of warming and CO2 on Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica, two dominant phytoplankton from the Ross Sea, Antarctica (update)’

Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2

Ocean acidification will likely have significant impacts on phytoplankton growth in marine ecosystems over the course of this century. Coastal waters, which can be strongly influenced by suspended sediments, can also be particularly sensitive to ocean acidification. While the individual effects of trace metal inputs and ocean acidification have each been well documented, the combined effects of high trace metal concentrations due to mobilization from sediments and high dissolved CO2 concentrations (low seawater pH) on the growth of marine phytoplankton are not known. In this study, a batch culture experiment was performed using the model organism Cochlodinium polykrikoides over 35 d under a range of CO2 concentrations (400, 800, and 1200 ppmv) following sediment additions. At high CO2, dissolved iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) concentrations increased over time. Dissolved Ni concentrations were significantly higher after 35 d at 1200 ppmv CO2 compared to the other treatments and corresponded to significant decreases in C. polykrikoides growth rates. In addition, a toxicity bioassay experiment was performed over 29 d under a range of Ni or cadmium (Cd) concentrations at ambient CO2. The growth responses of C. polykrikoides were dose-dependent and were significantly lower under increasing Ni or Cd concentrations. The findings suggest that a combination of elevated total dissolved Ni supplied from sediments and high CO2 conditions could suppress the growth rates and photosynthesis of C. polykrikoides in coastal marine ecosystems. This is the first study to examine the synergistic, toxic effects of lithogenic trace metals and CO2 on phytoplankton growth.

Continue reading ‘Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2’

The impact of elevated CO2 on Prochlorococcus and microbial interactions with ‘helper’ bacterium Alteromonas

Prochlorococcus is a globally important marine cyanobacterium that lacks the gene catalase and relies on ‘helper’ bacteria such as Alteromonas to remove reactive oxygen species. Increasing atmospheric CO2 decreases the need for carbon concentrating mechanisms and photorespiration in phytoplankton, potentially altering their metabolism and microbial interactions even when carbon is not limiting growth. Here, Prochlorococcus (VOL4, MIT9312) was co-cultured with Alteromonas (strain EZ55) under ambient (400p.p.m.) and elevated CO2 (800p.p.m.). Under elevated CO2, Prochlorococcus had a significantly longer lag phase and greater apparent die-offs after transfers suggesting an increase in oxidative stress. Whole-transcriptome analysis of Prochlorococcus revealed decreased expression of the carbon fixation operon, including carboxysome subunits, corresponding with significantly fewer carboxysome structures observed by electron microscopy. Prochlorococcus co-culture responsive gene 1 had significantly increased expression in elevated CO2, potentially indicating a shift in the microbial interaction. Transcriptome analysis of Alteromonas in co-culture with Prochlorococcus revealed decreased expression of the catalase gene, known to be critical in relieving oxidative stress in Prochlorococcus by removing hydrogen peroxide. The decrease in catalase gene expression was corroborated by a significant ~6-fold decrease in removal rates of hydrogen peroxide from co-cultures. These data suggest Prochlorococcus may be more vulnerable to oxidative stress under elevated CO2 in part from a decrease in ecosystem services provided by heterotrophs like Alteromonas. This work highlights the importance of considering microbial interactions in the context of a changing ocean.

Continue reading ‘The impact of elevated CO2 on Prochlorococcus and microbial interactions with ‘helper’ bacterium Alteromonas’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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