Posts Tagged 'laboratory'

Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) may potentially modify the responses of aquatic organisms to other environmental stressors including metals. In this study, we investigated the effects of near-future OA (pCO2 1000 μatm) and mercury (Hg) on the development and reproduction of marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus under multigenerational life-cycle exposure. Metal accumulation as well as seven life history traits (survival rate, sex ratio, developmental time from nauplius to copepodite, developmental time from nauplius to adult, number of clutches, number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity) was quantified for each generation. Hg exposure alone evidently suppressed the number of nauplii/clutch, whereas single OA exposure negligibly affected the seven traits of copepods. However, OA exposure significantly alleviated the Hg inhibitory effects on number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity, which could be explained by the reduced Hg accumulation under OA. Such combined exposure also significantly shortened the development time. Thus, in contrast to earlier findings for other toxic metals, this study demonstrated that OA potentially mitigated the Hg toxicity to some important life traits in marine copepods during multigenerational exposure.

Continue reading ‘Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification’

High levels of solar radiation offset impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying and non-calcifying strains of Emiliania huxleyi

Coccolithophores, a globally distributed group of marine phytoplankton, showed diverse responses to ocean acidification (OA) and to combinations of OA with other environmental factors. While their growth can be enhanced and calcification be hindered by OA under constant indoor light, fluctuation of solar radiation with ultraviolet irradiances might offset such effects. In this study, when a calcifying and a non-calcifying strain of Emiliania huxleyi were grown at 2 CO2 concentrations (low CO2 [LC]: 395 µatm; high CO2 [HC]: 1000 µatm) under different levels of incident solar radiation in the presence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), HC and increased levels of solar radiation acted synergistically to enhance the growth in the calcifying strain but not in the non-calcifying strain. HC enhanced the particulate organic carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON) productions in both strains, and this effect was more obvious at high levels of solar radiation. While HC decreased calcification at low solar radiation levels, it did not cause a significant effect at high levels of solar radiation, implying that a sufficient supply of light energy can offset the impact of OA on the calcifying strain. Our data suggest that increased light exposure, which is predicted to happen with shoaling of the upper mixing layer due to progressive warming, could counteract the impact of OA on coccolithophores distributed within this layer.

Continue reading ‘High levels of solar radiation offset impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying and non-calcifying strains of Emiliania huxleyi’

Development of an economical, autonomous pHstat system for culturing phytoplankton under steady state or dynamic conditions

Laboratory investigations of physiological processes in phytoplankton require precise control of experimental conditions. Chemostats customized to control and maintain stable pH levels (pHstats) are ideally suited for investigations of the effects of pH on phytoplankton physiology, for example in context of ocean acidification. Here we designed and constructed a simple, flexible pHstat system and demonstrated its operational capabilities under laboratory culture conditions. In particular, the system is useful for simulating natural cyclic pH variability within aquatic ecosystems, such as diel fluctuations that result from metabolic activity or tidal mixing in estuaries. The pHstat system operates in two modes: (1) static/set point pH, which maintains pH at a constant level, or (2) dynamic pH, which generates regular, sinusoidal pH fluctuations by systematically varying pH according to user-defined parameters. The pHstat is self-regulating through the use of interchangeable electronically controlled reagent or gas-mediated pH-modification manifolds, both of which feature flow regulation by solenoid valves. Although effective pH control was achieved using both liquid reagent additions and gas-mediated methods, the liquid manifold exhibited tighter control (± 0.03 pH units) of the desired pH than the gas manifold (± 0.10 pH units). The precise control provided by this pHstat system, as well as its operational flexibility will facilitate studies that examine responses by marine microbiota to fluctuations in pH in aquatic ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Development of an economical, autonomous pHstat system for culturing phytoplankton under steady state or dynamic conditions’

Ocean acidification increases larval swimming speed and has limited effects on spawning and settlement of a robust fouling bryozoan, Bugula neritina

Few studies to date have investigated the effects of ocean acidification on non-reef forming marine invertebrates with non-feeding larvae. Here, we exposed adults of the bryozoan Bugula neritina and their larvae to lowered pH. We monitored spawning, larval swimming, settlement, and post-settlement individual sizes at two pHs (7.9 vs. 7.6) and settlement dynamics alone over a broader pH range (8.0 down to 6.5). Our results show that spawning was not affected by adult exposure (48 h at pH 7.6), larvae swam 32% faster and the newly-settled individuals grew significantly larger (5%) at pH 7.6 than in the control. Although larvae required more time to settle when pH was lowered, reduced pH was not lethal, even down to pH 6.5. Overall, this fouling species appeared to be robust to acidification, and yet, indirect effects such as prolonging the pelagic larval duration could increase predation risk, and might negatively impact population dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases larval swimming speed and has limited effects on spawning and settlement of a robust fouling bryozoan, Bugula neritina’

Environmental dependence of the correlations between stoichiometric and fatty acid-based indicators of phytoplankton nutritional quality

Marine phytoplankton is simultaneously affected by multiple environmental drivers. To-date integrative assessments of multiple combined effects are rare on the relationship between elemental stoichiometry and biochemicals in marine phytoplankton. We investigated responses of stoichiometric (N:C and P:C ratios) and fatty acid-based (polyunsaturated fatty acid, PUFA) indicators of nutritional quality to three N:P supply ratios (10:1, 24:1, and 63:1 mol mol−1), three temperatures (12, 18, and 24°C) and two pCO2 levels (560 and 2400 μatm) in the marine phytoplankters Rhodomonas sp. and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Overall, warming and nutrient deficiency showed dramatic effects, but increased pCO2 had modest effects on the two indicators of nutritional quality. Specifically, warming showed strong positive effects on N:C and P:C ratios in Rhodomonas sp. but negative effects on PUFAs in both species. The low N- and low P-media led to low contents of both nutrients but high contents of PUFAs in the biomass of Rhodomonas sp., while the response of P. tricornutum was more complex: N:C ratios were lowest at the intermediate N:P supply but P:C ratios responded negatively to P deficiency and positively to N deficiency. Large variations in the two indicators of nutritional quality can be attributed to species-specific physiological optima and interactions between the three manipulated variables. Our results suggest that stoichiometric and FA-based indicators of nutritional quality may change differentially in response to warming and nutrient deficiency in marine phytoplankton, highlighting the relevance of simultaneous considerations of the two indicators of nutritional quality, when assessing food web dynamics under future ocean scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Environmental dependence of the correlations between stoichiometric and fatty acid-based indicators of phytoplankton nutritional quality’

Marine fish intestine responds to ocean acidification producing more carbonate aggregates

Marine fish contribute to the carbon cycle by producing mineralized intestinal aggregates generated as by-products of their osmoregulation. Here we aimed at characterizing the control of intestinal aggregate production in the gilthead sea bream in response to near future increases of environmental CO2. Our results demonstrate that hypercapnia (800 and 1200 μatm CO2) elicits higher intestine epithelial HCO3- secretion and the subsequent parallel increase of intestinal aggregate production when compared to present values (400 μatm CO2). Intestinal gene expression analysis revealed the up-regulation of crucial transport mechanisms involved not only in the intestinal secretion cascade (Slc4a4, Slc26a3 and Slc26a6) of sea bream, but also in other mechanisms involved in intestinal ion uptake linked to water absorption such as NKCC2 and the Aquaporin 1b. These results highlight the important role of fish in the marine carbon cycle, and their potential growing impact of intestinal biomineralization processes in the scenario of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Marine fish intestine responds to ocean acidification producing more carbonate aggregates’

Calcification responses to diurnal variation in seawater carbonate chemistry by the coral Acropora formosa

Significant diurnal variation in seawater carbonate chemistry occurs naturally in many coral reef environments, yet little is known of its effect on coral calcification. Laboratory studies on the response of corals to ocean acidification have manipulated the carbonate chemistry of experimental seawater to compare calcification rate changes under present-day and predicted future mean pH/Ωarag conditions. These experiments, however, have focused exclusively on differences in mean chemistry and have not considered diurnal variation. The aim of this study was to compare calcification responses of branching coral Acropora formosa under conditions with and without diurnal variation in seawater carbonate chemistry. To achieve this aim, we explored (1) a method to recreate natural diurnal variation in a laboratory experiment using the biological activities of a coral-reef mesocosm, and (2) a multi-laser 3D scanning method to accurately measure coral surface areas, essential to normalize their calcification rates. We present a cost- and time-efficient method of coral surface area estimation that is reproducible within 2% of the mean of triplicate measurements. Calcification rates were compared among corals subjected to a diurnal range in pH (total scale) from 7.8 to 8.2, relative to those at constant pH values of 7.8, 8.0 or 8.2. Mean calcification rates of the corals at the pH 7.8–8.2 (diurnal variation) treatment were not statistically different from the pH 8.2 treatment and were 34% higher than the pH 8.0 treatment despite similar mean seawater pH and Ωarag. Our results suggest that calcification of adult coral colonies may benefit from diurnal variation in seawater carbonate chemistry. Experiments that compare calcification rates at different constant pH without considering diurnal variation may have limitations.

Continue reading ‘Calcification responses to diurnal variation in seawater carbonate chemistry by the coral Acropora formosa’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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