Posts Tagged 'individualmodeling'

A competitive advantage of middle-sized diatoms from increasing seawater CO2

Diatoms, one of the most important phytoplankton groups, fulfill their carbon demand from seawater mainly by obtaining passively diffused carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or actively consuming intracellular energy to acquire bicarbonate (HCO3). An anthropogenically induced increase in seawater CO2 reduces the HCO3 requirement of diatoms, potentially saving intracellular energy and benefitting their growth. This effect is commonly speculated to be most remarkable in larger diatoms that are subject to a stronger limitation of CO2 supply because of their smaller surface-to-volume ratios. However, we constructed a theoretical model for diatoms and revealed a unimodal relationship between the simulated growth rate response (GRR, the ratio of growth rates under elevated and ambient CO2) and cell size, with the GRR peaking at a cell diameter of ∼7 μm. The simulated GRR of the smallest diatoms was low because the CO2 supply was nearly sufficient at the ambient level, while the decline of GRR from a cell diameter of 7 μm was simulated because the contribution of seawater CO2 to the total carbon demand greatly decreased and diatoms became less sensitive to CO2 increase. A collection of historical data in CO2 enrichment experiments of diatoms also showed a roughly unimodal relationship between maximal GRR and cell size. Our model further revealed that the “optimal” cell size corresponding to peak GRR enlarged with the magnitude of CO2 increase but diminished with elevating cellular carbon demand, leading to projection of the smallest optimal cell size in the equatorial Pacific upwelling zone. Last, we need to emphasize that the size-dependent effects of increasing CO2 on diatoms are multifaceted, while our model only considers the inorganic carbon supply from seawater and optimal allocation of intracellular energy. Our study proposes a competitive advantage of middle-sized diatoms and can be useful in projecting changes in the diatom community in the future acidified high-CO2 ocean.

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Multiscale mechanical consequences of ocean acidification for cold-water corals

Ocean acidification is a threat to deep-sea corals and could lead to dramatic and rapid loss of the reef framework habitat they build. Weakening of structurally critical parts of the coral reef framework can lead to physical habitat collapse on an ecosystem scale, reducing the potential for biodiversity support. The mechanism underpinning crumbling and collapse of corals can be described via a combination of laboratory-scale experiments and mathematical and computational models. We synthesise data from electron back-scatter diffraction, micro-computed tomography, and micromechanical experiments, supplemented by molecular dynamics and continuum micromechanics simulations to predict failure of coral structures under increasing porosity and dissolution. Results reveal remarkable mechanical properties of the building material of cold-water coral skeletons of 462 MPa compressive strength and 45–67 GPa stiffness. This is 10 times stronger than concrete, twice as strong as ultrahigh performance fibre reinforced concrete, or nacre. Contrary to what would be expected, CWCs retain the strength of their skeletal building material despite a loss of its stiffness even when synthesised under future oceanic conditions. As this is on the material length-scale, it is independent of increasing porosity from exposure to corrosive water or bioerosion. Our models then illustrate how small increases in porosity lead to significantly increased risk of crumbling coral habitat. This new understanding, combined with projections of how seawater chemistry will change over the coming decades, will help support future conservation and management efforts of these vulnerable marine ecosystems by identifying which ecosystems are at risk and when they will be at risk, allowing assessment of the impact upon associated biodiversity.

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Influence of climate on seawater quality and green mussel production

This study aimed to investigate the relationships between atmospheric parameters, seawater quality and green mussel production which were cultured in pond, estuary and coastal areas. Seawater and mussel samples were collected from mussel farms in the inner Gulf of Thailand from January to December 2019. Climate data were obtained from the Thai Meteorological Department. The correlations between selected atmospheric and seawater parameters were developed using linear and non-linear models. The influence of seawater quality on mussel production was evaluated using principal component analysis and stepwise multiple linear regression. The effects of atmospheric variation on green mussel productivity were simulated. The results showed that high air temperature and rainfall caused an increase in seawater temperature and a decrease in salinity, respectively. It was observed that the most influential factors affecting mussel production were nutrients and dissolved oxygen in ponds, temperature and salinity in estuaries, and nutrients and pH in coastal areas. The simulation indicated that mussel production can deteriorate when air temperature reaches 34°C and rainfall is higher than 200 mm per month. Our results suggest that under climate change events, locations with less riverine influence can provide higher mussel productivity. These results can be used as a guideline for farmers during a climate change event.

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Ocean futures for the world’s largest yellowfin tuna population under the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification

The impacts of climate change are expected to have profound effects on the fisheries of the Pacific Ocean, including its tuna fisheries, the largest globally. This study examined the combined effects of climate change on the yellowfin tuna population using the ecosystem model SEAPODYM. Yellowfin tuna fisheries in the Pacific contribute significantly to the economies and food security of Pacific Island Countries and Territories and Oceania. We use an ensemble of earth climate models to project yellowfin populations under a high greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC RCP8.5) scenario, which includes, the combined effects of a warming ocean, increasing acidification and changing ocean chemistry. Our results suggest that the acidification impact will be smaller in comparison to the ocean warming impact, even in the most extreme ensemble member scenario explored, but will have additional influences on yellowfin tuna population dynamics. An eastward shift in the distribution of yellowfin tuna was observed in the projections in the model ensemble in the absence of explicitly accounting for changes in acidification. The extent of this shift did not substantially differ when the three-acidification induced larval mortality scenarios were included in the ensemble; however, acidification was projected to weaken the magnitude of the increase in abundance in the eastern Pacific. Together with intensive fishing, these potential changes are likely to challenge the global fishing industry as well as the economies and food systems of many small Pacific Island Countries and Territories. The modelling framework applied in this study provides a tool for evaluating such effects and informing policy development.

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Dynamic energy budget modeling of Atlantic surfclam, Spisula solidissima, under future ocean acidification and warming

Highlights

  • Surfclams were exposed to OA levels inducing effects on physiological rates
  • A DEB model was calibrated integrating effects on ingestion and maintenance costs
  • The model was validated on Georges Bank and Mid-Atlantic Bight population data
  • Effects of future OA and warming conditions projected by RCP scenarios were simulated
  • Under high pCO2 emissions, DEB projects effects on growth and reproduction by 2100

Abstract

A dynamic energy budget (DEB) model integrating pCO2 was used to describe ocean acidification (OA) effects on Atlantic surfclam, Spisula solidissima, bioenergetics. Effects of elevated pCO2 on ingestion and somatic maintenance costs were simulated, validated, and adapted in the DEB model based upon growth and biological rates acquired during a 12-week laboratory experiment. Temperature and pCO2 were projected for the next 100 years following the intergovernmental panel on climate change representative concentration pathways scenarios (2.6, 6.0, and 8.5) and used as forcing variables to project surfclam growth and reproduction. End-of-century water warming and acidification conditions resulted in simulated faster growth for young surfclams and more energy allocated to reproduction until the beginning of the 22nd century when a reduction in maximum shell length and energy allocated to reproduction was observed for the RCP 8.5 scenario.

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Modelling antifouling compounds of macroalgal holobionts in current and future pH conditions

Marine macroalgae are important ecosystem engineers in marine coastal habitats. Macroalgae can be negatively impacted through excessive colonization by harmful bacteria, fungi, microalgae, and macro-colonisers and thus employ a range of chemical compounds to minimize such colonization. Recent research suggests that environmental pH conditions potentially impact the functionality of such chemical compounds. Here we predict if and how naturally fluctuating pH conditions and future conditions caused by ocean acidification will affect macroalgal (antifouling) compounds and thereby potentially alter the chemical defence mediated by these compounds. We defined the relevant ecological pH range, analysed and scored the pH-sensitivity of compounds with antifouling functions based on their modelled chemical properties before assessing their distribution across the phylogenetic macroalgal groups, and the proportion of sensitive compounds for each investigated function. For some key compounds, we also predicted in detail how the associated ecological function may develop across the pH range. The majority of compounds were unaffected by pH, but compounds containing phenolic and amine groups were found to be particularly sensitive to pH. Future pH changes due to predicted average open ocean acidification pH were found to have little effect. Compounds from Rhodophyta were mainly pH-stable. However, key algal species amongst Phaeophyceae and Chlorophyta were found to rely on highly pH-sensitive compounds for their chemical defence against harmful bacteria, microalgae, fungi, and biofouling by macro-organisms. All quorum sensing disruptive compounds were found the be unaffected by pH, but the other ecological functions were all conveyed in part by pH-sensitive compounds. For some ecological keystone species, all of their compounds mediating defence functions were found to be pH-sensitive based on our calculations, which may not only affect the health and fitness of the host alga resulting in host breakdown but also alter the associated ecological interactions of the macroalgal holobiont with micro and macrocolonisers, eventually causing ecosystem restructuring and the functions (e.g. habitat provision) provided by macroalgal hosts. Our study investigates a question of fundamental importance because environments with fluctuating or changing pH are common and apply not only to coastal marine habitats and estuaries but also to freshwater environments or terrestrial systems that are subject to acid rain. Hence, whilst warranting experimental validation, this investigation with macroalgae as model organisms can serve as a basis for future investigations in other aquatic or even terrestrial systems.

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The impact of oyster aquaculture on the estuarine carbonate system

Many studies have examined the vulnerability of calcifying organisms, such as the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), to externally forced ocean acidification, but the opposite interaction whereby oysters alter their local carbonate conditions has received far less attention. We present an exploratory model for isolating the impact that net calcification and respiration of aquacultured eastern oysters can have on calcite and aragonite saturation states, in the context of varying temperature, ocean-estuary mixing, and air-sea gas exchange. We apply the model to the Damariscotta River Estuary in Maine which has experienced rapid expansion of oyster aquaculture in the last decade. Our model uses oyster shell growth over the summer season and a previously derived relationship between net calcification and respiration to quantify impacts of net oyster calcification and gross metabolism on carbonate saturation states in open tidal waters. Under 2018 industry size and climate conditions, we estimate that oysters can lower carbonate saturation states by up to 5% (i.e., 0.17 and 0.11 units on calcite and aragonite saturation states, respectively) per day in late summer, with an average of 3% over the growing season. Perturbations from temperature and air-sea exchange are similar in magnitude. Under 2050 climate conditions and 2018 industry size, calcite saturation state will decrease by up to an additional 0.54 units. If the industry expands 3-fold by 2050, the calcite and aragonite saturation states may decrease by 0.73 and 0.47 units, respectively, on average for the latter half of the growing season when compared to 2018 climate conditions and industry size. Collectively, our results indicate that dense aggregations of oysters can have a significant role on estuarine carbonate chemistry.

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Chemical speciation models based upon the pitzer activity coefficient equations, including the propagation of uncertainties: artificial seawater from 0 to 45 °C

Accurate chemical speciation models of solutions containing the ions of seawater have applications in the calculation of carbonate system equilibria and trace metal speciation in natural waters, and the determination of pH. Existing models, based on the Pitzer formalism for the calculation of activity coefficients, do not yet agree with key experimental data (potentiometric determinations of H+ and Cl activity products in acidified artificial seawaters) and, critically, do not include uncertainty estimates. This hampers applications of the models, and also their further development (for which the uncertainty contributions of individual ion interactions and equilibrium constants need to be known). We have therefore implemented the models of Waters and Millero (Mar. Chem. 149, 8-22, 2013) and Clegg and Whitfield (Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 59, 2403-2421, 1995) for artificial seawater, within a generalised treatment of uncertainties, as a first step towards a more complete model of standard seawater and pH buffers. This addition to the model enables both the total uncertainty of any model-calculated quantity (e.g., pH, speciation) to be estimated, and also the contributions of all interaction parameters and equilibrium constants. Both models have been fully documented (and some corrections made). Estimates of the variances and covariances of the interaction parameters were obtained by Monte Carlo simulation, with simplifying assumptions. The models were tested against measured electromotive forces (EMFs) of cells containing acidified artificial seawaters. The mean offsets (measured – calculated) at 25 °C for the model of Waters and Millero are: 0.046 ± 0.11 mV (artificial seawater without sulphate, 0.280 mol kg−1 to 0.879 mol kg−1 ionic strength); and − 0.199 ± 0.070 mV (artificial seawater, salinities 5 to 45). Results are similar at other temperatures. These differences compare with an overall uncertainty in the measured EMFs of about 0.04 mV. Total uncertainties for calculated EMFs of the solutions were dominated by just a few contributions: mainly H+-Cl, Na+-Cl, and H+-Na+-Cl ionic interactions, and the thermodynamic dissociation constant of HSO4. This makes it likely that the accuracy of the models can readily be improved, and recommendations for further work are made. It is shown that standard EMFs used in the calibration of the marine ‘total’ pH scale can be accurately predicted with only slight modification to the original models, suggesting that they can contribute to the extension of the scale to lower salinities.

Continue reading ‘Chemical speciation models based upon the pitzer activity coefficient equations, including the propagation of uncertainties: artificial seawater from 0 to 45 °C’

On the effects of temperature and pH on tropical and temperate holothurians

Ocean acidification and increased ocean heat content has direct and indirect effects on marine organisms such as holothurians (sea cucumbers) that are vulnerable to changes in pH and temperature. These environmental factors have the potential to influence organismal performance and fitness at different life stages. Tropical and temperate holothurians are more vulnerable to temperature and pH than those from colder water environments. The high level of environmental variation observed in the oceans could influence organismal responses and even produce a wide spectrum of compensatory physiological mechanisms. It is possible that in these areas, larval survival will decline by up to 50% in response to a reduction of 0.5 pH units. Such reduction in pH may trigger low intrinsic growth rates and affect the sustainability of the resource. Here we describe the individual and combined effects that temperature and pH could produce in these organisms. We also describe how these effects can scale from individuals to the population level by using age-structured spatial models in which depensation can be integrated. The approach shows how physiology can improve the conservation of the resource based on the restriction of growth model parameters and by including a density threshold, below which the fitness of the population, specifically intrinsic growth rate, decreases.

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Evaluation of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of Florida stone crab larvae on the West Florida Shelf

Ocean acidification and ocean warming are the two components of climate change that impacts marine life the most. The commercially important Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria, is one of the species that is going to be affected by those changes. In this study we investigated the impacts of climate change on the distribution of the stone crab larvae on the West Florida Shelf. To understand the dispersion of the larvae, we coupled SLIM3D, a multi-scale ocean model, with a larval dispersal model. We then conducted a connectivity study and evaluated the impacts of climate change analyzing three different scenarios, one presenting the dispersion of the larvae for present conditions and the two others presenting the dispersion for mild and extreme climate change. The results show a clear impact of climate change on larval dispersal and on the subsequent crabs distribution. In the future, climate change could result in stone crabs moving north or to deeper waters. The second impact would be the increase in the number of larvae settling in the non-fishing zone, where the water depth exceeds 30 m. The distance traveled by larvae is going to decrease, resulting in an increase of self-recruitment and decrease of the size of sub-populations. The last impact we identified is the possibility of a shift of the spawning period earlier in the season. We also evaluated that the habitats in the non-fishing zone cannot serve as a significant source of larvae for the habitats in the fishing zone since there is very little exchange between the two zones. Overall, this work could help local authorities to better understand M. mercenaria and to take actions regarding the fishery management and its future considering the upcoming changes in the ocean conditions.

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Carbonate chemistry in the microenvironment within cyanobacterial aggregates under present-day and future pCO2 levels

Photosynthesis and respiration cause distinct chemical microenvironments within cyanobacterial aggregates. Here, we used microsensors and a diffusion–reaction model to characterize gradients in carbonate chemistry and investigate how these are affected by ocean acidification in Baltic vs. Pacific aggregates (Nodularia and Dolichospermum vs. Trichodesmium). Microsensor measurements of O2 and pH were performed under in situ and expected future pCO2 levels on Nodularia and Dolichospermum aggregates collected in the Baltic Sea. Under in situ conditions, O2 and pH levels within the aggregates covered ranges of 80–175% air saturation and 7.7–9.4 in dark and light, respectively. Carbon uptake in the light was predicted to reduce HCO3 by 100–150 μmol L−1 and CO2 by 3–6 μmol L−1 in the aggregate center compared to outside, inducing strong CO2 depletion (down to 0.5 μmol L−1 CO2 remaining in the center) even when assuming that HCO3 covered 80–90% of carbon uptake. Under ocean acidification conditions, enhanced CO2 availability allowed for significantly lower activity of carbon concentrating mechanisms, including a reduction of the contribution of HCO3 to carbon uptake by up to a factor of 10. The magnification of proton gradients under elevated pCO2 that was predicted based on a lower buffer capacity was observed in measurements despite a concurrent decrease in photosynthetic activity. In summary, we provide a quantitative image of the inorganic carbon environment in cyanobacterial aggregates under present-day and expected future conditions, considering both the individual and combined effects of the chemical and biological processes that shape these environments.

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Modelling ocean acidification effects with life stage-specific responses alters spatiotemporal patterns of catch and revenues of American lobster, Homarus americanus

Ocean acidification (OA) affects marine organisms through various physiological and biological processes, yet our understanding of how these translate to large-scale population effects remains limited. Here, we integrated laboratory-based experimental results on the life history and physiological responses to OA of the American lobster, Homarus americanus, into a dynamic bioclimatic envelope model to project future climate change effects on species distribution, abundance, and fisheries catch potential. Ocean acidification effects on juvenile stages had the largest stage-specific impacts on the population, while cumulative effects across life stages significantly exerted the greatest impacts, albeit quite minimal. Reducing fishing pressure leads to overall increases in population abundance while setting minimum size limits also results in more higher-priced market-sized lobsters (> 1 lb), and could help mitigate the negative impacts of OA and concurrent stressors (warming, deoxygenation). However, the magnitude of increased effects of climate change overweighs any moderate population gains made by changes in fishing pressure and size limits, reinforcing that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is most pressing and that climate-adaptive fisheries management is necessary as a secondary role to ensure population resiliency. We suggest possible strategies to mitigate impacts by preserving important population demographics.

Continue reading ‘Modelling ocean acidification effects with life stage-specific responses alters spatiotemporal patterns of catch and revenues of American lobster, Homarus americanus’

Ocean acidification reduces the growth of two Southern Ocean phytoplankton

Model projections for the Southern Ocean indicate that light, iron (Fe) availability, temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) will change concurrently in the future. We investigated the physiological responses of Southern Ocean phytoplankton to multiple variables by culturing the haptophyte Phaeocystis antarctica and the diatom Chaetoceros flexuosus under various combinations of light, Fe, temperature and CO2. Using statistical models, the influence of each environmental variable was analysed for each physiological response, ultimately predicting how ‘future’ conditions (high temperature and high CO2) influenced the two phytoplankton species. Under future conditions, cellular chlorophyll a and carbon to nitrogen molar ratios were modelled to increase for both species, in all light and Fe treatments, but at times were inconsistent with measured values. Measured and modelled values of the photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) declined in cultures of P. antarctica due to concurrent increases in temperature and CO2, under all light and Fe treatments. The trends in Fv/Fm for C. flexuosus were less clear. Our model and observations suggest that when temperature and CO2 are concurrently increased, the growth of both species remains largely unchanged. This modelling analysis reveals that high CO2 exerts a strong negative influence on the growth of both phytoplankton, and any ‘future’ increase in growth can be attributed to the positive effect of warming rather than a CO2 fertilisation effect.

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Predictive model for gross community production rate of coral reefs using ensemble learning methodologies

Coral reefs play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the marine ecosystem. Various marine organisms depend on coral reefs for their existence and their natural processes. Coral reefs provide the necessary habitat for reproduction and growth for various exotic species of the marine ecosystem. In this article, we discuss the most important parameters which influence the lifecycle of coral and coral reefs such as ocean acidification, deoxygenation and other physical parameters such as flow rate and surface area. Ocean acidification depends on the amount of dissolved Carbon dioxide (CO2). This is due to the release of H+ ions upon the reaction of the dissolved CO2 gases with the calcium carbonate compounds in the ocean. Deoxygenation is another problem that leads to hypoxia which is characterized by a lesser amount of dissolved oxygen in water than the required amount for the existence of marine organisms. In this article, we highlight the importance of physical parameters such as flow rate which influence gas exchange, heat dissipation, bleaching sensitivity, nutrient supply, feeding, waste and sediment removal, growth and reproduction. In this paper, we also bring out these important parameters and propose an ensemble machine learning-based model for analyzing these parameters and provide better rates that can help us to understand and suitably improve the ocean composition which in turn can eminently improve the sustainability of the marine ecosystem, mainly the coral reefs

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Seasonality and life history complexity determine vulnerability of Dungeness crab to multiple climate stressors

Abstract

Scaling climate change impacts from individual responses to population-level vulnerability is a pressing challenge for scientists and society. We assessed vulnerability of the most valuable fished species in the Northwest U.S.—Dungeness crab—to climate stressors using a novel combination of ocean, population, and larval transport models with stage-specific consequences of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming. Integration across pelagic and benthic life stages revealed increased population-level vulnerability to each stressor by 2100 under RCP 8.5. Under future conditions, chronic vulnerability to low pH emerged year-round for all life stages, whereas vulnerability to low oxygen continued to be acute, developing seasonally and impacting adults, which are critical to population growth. Our results demonstrate how ontogenetic habitat shifts and seasonal ocean conditions interactively impact population-level vulnerability. Because most valuable U.S. fisheries rely on species with complex life cycles in seasonal seas, chronic and acute perspectives are necessary to assess population-level vulnerability to climate change.

Plain Language Summary

The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere by human activities is altering ocean conditions including pH, oxygen, and temperature. One way to understand how these changing conditions will affect ecologically, economically, and culturally important marine species is to scale individual responses from laboratory experiments to population-level impacts. In this study, we assessed the vulnerability of Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries in the NW USA, to stressful conditions based on the predicted habitat exposure and response of each life stage (eggs, larvae, juveniles, and adults). The degree of vulnerability was determined by the seasonality of the ocean conditions in combination with the crab’s complex life cycle. This approach revealed that Dungeness crab life stages and populations will be more vulnerable to low pH, low oxygen, and high temperature in the future (year 2100) under an aggressive CO2 emissions scenario. Based on these results, we recommend that fishery managers incorporate changing conditions into their decision-making to protect vulnerable life stages in areas prone to stressful conditions (e.g., adult crabs in hypoxic areas). Our approach can be adapted for many other economically and ecologically important marine species in order to inform conservation and management strategies.

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The primary controls on U/Ca and minor element proxies in a cold-water coral cultured under decoupled carbonate chemistry conditions

Culture experiments are uniquely suited for uncovering the fundamental factors controlling skeletal geochemistry because it is possible to explore conditions beyond what is found in the modern ocean and to decouple parameters that co-vary in nature. We cultured juvenile individuals of a cold-water coral (Balanophyllia elegans) in a set of experiments that decoupled carbonate chemistry parameters over a wide range of pH, DIC, and [CO32-] values. Using a multi-element mixed spike isotope dilution method we then analyzed cultured skeletons for U/Ca, which has been proposed as a potential proxy for seawater pH and [CO32-], as well as Sr/Ca, and Mg/Ca.

We find that U/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios in cultured B. elegans are most strongly correlated with solution DIC and not pH or [CO32-]. We also confirm previous observations that Metal/Calcium (Me/Ca) ratios follow the same correlated relationships between and among individuals across different experimental conditions. Interpretation of these robust Me/Ca patterns within the framework of a geochemical model of biomineralization allows us to identify two “rules” of skeletal growth for B. elegans. First, changes in seawater exchange rates can explain variability in B. elegans Me/Ca ratios, correlations between these ratios, and sensitivity of Me/Ca to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. Second, our model best fits our data if we assume that calcifying fluid pH for B. elegans remains constant across widely varying experimental seawater compositions. Our study has implications for the recently developed Sr-U paleothermometer because it refines our understanding of the environmental parameters affecting this proxy. Our model further demonstrates that while U/Ca is not a robust indicator of seawater pH or [CO32-]. Instead, U/Ca may record how calcifying fluid [CO32-] responds to changes in the environment or calcification dynamics, which may be useful in evaluating how corals respond to changes like ocean acidification. Measurements of U/Ca and additional Me/Ca ratios in other coral species, evaluated within a similar framework, may elucidate how those species respond to environmental change.

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Simulating fish population responses to elevated CO2: a case study using winter flounder

Scaling experimentally derived effects of CO2 on marine fauna to population responses is critical for informing management about potential ecological ramifications of ocean acidification. We used an individual-based model of winter flounder to extrapolate laboratory-derived effects of elevated CO2 assumed for early life stages of fish to long-term population dynamics. An offspring module with detailed hourly to daily representations of spawning, growth, and mortality that incorporates potential elevated CO2 effects was linked to an annual time-step parent module. We calibrated the model using a 40 yr reference simulation (1977 to 2016) that included gradual warming and then performed ‘Retrospective’ simulations that assumed a suite of elevated CO2 effects by changing fertilization rate, mortality rate of embryos due to developmental malformations, larval growth rate, and size-at-settlement. ‘Recovery’ simulations that started at low population size were then used to further explore possible interactions between the effects of CO2 and warming on population productivity. Warming had a major negative effect on the simulated winter flounder population abundance, and reduced larval growth had the largest single impact among the CO2 effects tested. When a combination of the assumed CO2 effects was imposed together, average annual recruitment and spawning stock biomass were reduced by half. In the Recovery simulations, inclusion of CO2 effects amplified the progressively decreasing population productivity with warming. Our analysis is speculative and a first step towards addressing the need for extrapolating from laboratory effects of ocean acidification to broader, ecologically relevant scales.

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Scaling the effects of ocean acidification on coral growth and coral–coral competition on coral community recovery

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, PocilloporaAcroporaMontipora 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.

Continue reading ‘Scaling the effects of ocean acidification on coral growth and coral–coral competition on coral community recovery’

Morphological response accompanying size reduction of belemnites during an Early Jurassic hyperthermal event modulated by life history

One of the most common responses of marine ectotherms to rapid warming is a reduction in body size, but the underlying reasons are unclear. Body size reductions have been documented alongside rapid warming events in the fossil record, such as across the Pliensbachian-Toarcian boundary (PToB) event (~ 183 Mya). As individuals grow, parallel changes in morphology can indicate details of their ecological response to environmental crises, such as changes in resource acquisition, which may anticipate future climate impacts. Here we show that the morphological growth of a marine predator belemnite species (extinct coleoid cephalopods) changed significantly over the PToB warming event. Increasing robustness at different ontogenetic stages likely results from indirect consequences of warming, like resource scarcity or hypercalcification, pointing toward varying ecological tolerances among species. The results of this study stress the importance of taking life history into account as well as phylogeny when studying impacts of environmental stressors on marine organisms.

Continue reading ‘Morphological response accompanying size reduction of belemnites during an Early Jurassic hyperthermal event modulated by life history’

Environmental legacy effects and acclimatization of a crustose coralline alga to ocean acidification

Prior exposure to variable environmental conditions is predicted to influence the resilience of marine organisms to global change. We conducted complementary 4-month field and laboratory experiments to understand how a dynamic, and sometimes extreme, environment influences growth rates of a tropical reef-building crustose coralline alga and its responses to ocean acidification (OA). Using a reciprocal transplant design, we quantified calcification rates of the Caribbean coralline Lithophyllum sp. at sites with a history of either extreme or moderate oxygen, temperature, and pH regimes. Calcification rates of in situ corallines at the extreme site were 90% lower than those at the moderate site, regardless of origin. Negative effects of corallines originating from the extreme site persisted even after transplanting to more optimal conditions for 20 weeks. In the laboratory, we tested the separate and combined effects of stress and variability by exposing corallines from the same sites to either ambient (Amb: pH 8.04) or acidified (OA: pH 7.70) stable conditions or variable (Var: pH 7.80-8.10) or acidified variable (OA-Var: pH 7.45-7.75) conditions. There was a negative effect of all pH treatments on Lithophyllum sp. calcification rates relative to the control, with lower calcification rates in corallines from the extreme site than from the moderate site in each treatment, indicative of a legacy effect of site origin on subsequent response to laboratory treatment. Our study provides ecologically relevant context to understanding the nuanced effects of OA on crustose coralline algae, and illustrates how local environmental regimes may influence the effects of global change.

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