Posts Tagged 'laboratory'

Ocean acidification reduces hardness and stiffness of the Portuguese oyster shell with impaired microstructure: a hierarchical analysis

The rapidly intensifying process of ocean acidification (OA) due to anthropogenic CO2 is not only depleting carbonate ions necessary for calcification but also causing acidosis and disrupting internal pH homeostasis in several marine organisms. These negative consequences of OA on marine calcifiers, i.e. oyster species, have been very well documented in recent studies; however, the consequences of reduced or impaired calcification on the end-product, shells or skeletons, still remain one of the major research gaps. Shells produced by marine organisms under OA are expected to show signs of dissolution, disorganized microstructure and reduced mechanical properties. To bridge this knowledge gap and to test the above hypothesis, we investigated the effect of OA on juvenile shells of the commercially important oyster species, Magallana angulata, at ecologically and climatically relevant OA levels (using pH 8.1, 7.8, 7.5, 7.2). In lower pH conditions, a drop of shell hardness and stiffness was revealed by nanoindentation tests, while an evident porous internal microstructure was detected by scanning electron microscopy. Crystallographic orientation, on the other hand, showed no significant difference with decreasing pH using electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD). These results indicate the porous internal microstructure may be the cause of the reduction in shell hardness and stiffness. The overall decrease of shell density observed from micro-computed tomography analysis indicates the porous internal microstructure may run through the shell, thus inevitably limiting the effectiveness of the shell’s defensive function. This study shows the potential deterioration of oyster shells induced by OA, especially in their early life stage. This knowledge is critical to estimate the survival and production of edible oysters in the future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification reduces hardness and stiffness of the Portuguese oyster shell with impaired microstructure: a hierarchical analysis’

Adult Antarctic krill proves resilient in a simulated high CO2 ocean

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) have a keystone role in the Southern Ocean, as the primary prey of Antarctic predators. Decreases in krill abundance could result in a major ecological regime shift, but there is limited information on how climate change may affect krill. Increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing ocean acidification, as absorption of atmospheric CO2 in seawater alters ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification increases mortality and negatively affects physiological functioning in some marine invertebrates, and is predicted to occur most rapidly at high latitudes. Here we show that, in the laboratory, adult krill are able to survive, grow, store fat, mature, and maintain respiration rates when exposed to near-future ocean acidification (1000–2000 μatm pCO2) for one year. Despite differences in seawater pCO2 incubation conditions, adult krill are able to actively maintain the acid-base balance of their body fluids in near-future pCO2, which enhances their resilience to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Adult Antarctic krill proves resilient in a simulated high CO2 ocean’

Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii

Highlights

• 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing copper concentrations were antagonistic, and only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic;

• The combination of seawater acidification and increasing copper concentrations had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) or Ca-ATPase activity;

• Low copper concentrations had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing reduced seawater pH conditions;

• Potential deleterious effects on the acid-base balance of corals, associated with changes in carbonic anhydrase activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors;

• Toxic effects of copper in future ocean acidification scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested.

Abstract

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local impacts, such as ocean acidification (OA) and metal contamination. Toxicity of metals, such as copper (Cu), is expected to be enhanced with OA. However, the interaction between these environmental stressors is still poorly evaluated. In the present study, the interactive effects of seawater acidification and increasing Cu concentrations were evaluated in a zooxanthellate scleractinian coral (Mussismilia harttii), using biochemical biomarkers involved in the coral calcification process and the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts. Corals were kept under control conditions (no seawater acidification and no Cu addition in seawater) or exposed to combined treatments of reduced seawater pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.5 and 7.2) and environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved Cu (measured: 1.0, 1.6, 2.3 and 3.2 µg/L) in a mesocosm system. After 15- and 35-days exposure, corals were analyzed for photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), chlorophyll a content, Ca-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity. Results showed that 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing Cu concentrations were antagonistic. Only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic. In general, the combination of stressors had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts or Ca-ATPase activity. In fact, the lowest dissolved Cu concentration tested had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing any of the reduced seawater pH conditions tested. In turn, potentially deleterious effects on acid-base balance in M. harttii, associated with changes in CA activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors. Findings reported here indicate that Cu toxicity in future OA scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested in this coral holobiont.

Continue reading ‘Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii’

Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising

Mariculture of the economically important seaweed will likely be affected by the combined conditions of ocean acidification that resulting from increasing CO2 rising and decreased light levels, especially under high culture intensity and high biomass accumulation. To examine this coupling effect on the photosynthetic performance of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings, we cultured seedlings of this alga under different light and CO2 levels. Under low light conditions, elevated CO2 significantly decreased the photosynthesis of S. fusiforme seedlings, including a decreased photosynthetic electron transport rate. Seedlings grown under the low light intensity exhibited higher photosynthetic rates and compensation irradiance, and displayed higher photosynthetic pigment contents and light absorption than seedlings grown under high light intensity, providing strong evidence of photosynthetic acclimation to low light. However, the captured light and energy were insufficient to support photosynthesis in acidified seawater regardless of increased dissolved inorganic carbon, resulting in declined carbohydrate and biomass accumulation. This indicated that S. fusiforme photosynthesis was more sensitive to acidified seawater in its early growth stage, and strongly affected by light intensity. Future research should evaluate the practical manipulation of biomass accumulation and mariculture densities during the early culture period at the CO2 level predicted for the end of the century.

Continue reading ‘Effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic responses of Sargassum fusiforme seedlings to future CO2 rising’

CO2 modulation of the rates of photosynthesis and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium

We established the relationship between gross photosynthetic O2 evolution and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101 acclimated to three targeted pCO2 concentrations (180 µmol mol-1 = low-CO2, 380 µmol mol-1 = mid-CO2 and 720 µmol mol-1 = high-CO2). We found that biomass (carbon) specific, light-saturated maximum net O2 evolution rates (PnC,max) and acclimated growth rates increased from low- to mid-CO2, but did not differ significantly between mid- and high-CO2. Dark respiration rates were five-times higher than required to maintain cellular metabolism, suggesting that respiration provides a substantial proportion of the ATP and reductant for N2 fixation. Oxygen uptake increased linearly with gross O2 evolution across light intensities ranging from darkness to 1100 µmol photons m-2 s-1. The slope of this relationship decreased with increasing CO2, which we attribute to the increased energetic cost of operating the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) at lower CO2 concentrations. Our results indicate that net photosynthesis and growth of T. erythraeum IMS101 would have been severely CO2 limited at the last glacial maximum, but that the direct effect of future increases of CO2 may only cause marginal increases in growth.

Continue reading ‘CO2 modulation of the rates of photosynthesis and light-dependent O2 consumption in Trichodesmium’

Elevated CO2 has little influence on the bacterial communities associated with the pH-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp.

Ocean acidification (OA) as a result of increased anthropogenic CO2 input into the atmosphere carries consequences for all ocean life. Low pH can cause a shift in coral-associated microbial communities of pCO2-sensitive corals, however, it remains unknown whether the microbial community is also influenced in corals known to be more tolerant to high pCO2/low pH. This study profiles the bacterial communities associated with the tissues of the pCO2-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp., from two natural CO2 seep sites in Papua New Guinea. Amplicon sequencing of the hypervariable V3-V4 regions of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that microbial communities remained stable across CO2 seep sites (pH = 7.44–7.85) and adjacent control sites (ambient pH = 8.0–8.1). Microbial communities were more significantly influenced by reef location than pH, with the relative abundance of dominant microbial taxa differing between reefs. These results directly contrast with previous findings that increased CO2 has a strong effect on structuring microbial communities. The stable structure of microbial communities associated with the tissues of massive Porites spp. under high pCO2/low pH conditions confirms a high degree of tolerance by the whole Porites holobiont to OA, and suggest that pH tolerant corals such as Porites may dominate reef assemblages in an increasingly acidic ocean.

Continue reading ‘Elevated CO2 has little influence on the bacterial communities associated with the pH-tolerant coral, massive Porites spp.’

Living in a multi-stressors environment: an integrated biomarker approach to assess the ecotoxicological response of meagre (Argyrosomus regius) to venlafaxine, warming and acidification

Highlights
• VFX toxicity was influenced by exposure route, as well as by abiotic stressors
• VFX water exposure induced more severe biomarker responses than VFX feed exposure
• Muscle, liver and brain biomarker responses were significantly affected by warming
• Biomarker changes due to acidification were more evident in fish gills
• The combination of the three stressors simultaneously increased stress severity
• The importance of assessing potential interaction between stressors was evidenced

Abstract
Pharmaceuticals, such as the antidepressant venlafaxine (VFX), have been frequently detected in coastal waters and marine biota, and there is a growing body of evidence that these pollutants can be toxic to non-target marine biota, even at low concentrations. Alongside, climate change effects (e.g. warming and acidification) can also affect marine species’ physiological fitness and, consequently, compromising their ability to cope with the presence of pollutants. Yet, information regarding interactive effects between pollutants and climate change-related stressors is still scarce. Within this context, the present study aims to assess the differential ecotoxicological responses (antioxidant activity, heat shock response, protein degradation, endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity) of juvenile fish (Argyrosomus regius) tissues (muscle, gills, liver and brain) exposed to VFX (via water or feed), as well as to the interactive effects of warming (ΔT°C = +5 °C) and acidification (ΔpCO2 ~ +1000 µatm, equivalent to ΔpH = −0.4 units), using an integrated multi-biomarker response (IBR) approach.

Overall, results showed that VFX toxicity was strongly influenced by the uptake pathway, as well as by warming and acidification. More significant changes (e.g. increases surpassing 100% in lipid peroxidation, LPO, heat shock response protein content, HSP70/HSC70, and total ubiquitin content, Ub,) and higher IBR index values were observed when VFX exposure occurred via water (i.e. average IBR = 19, against 17 in VFX-feed treatment). The co-exposure to climate change-related stressors either enhanced (e.g. glutathione S-transferases activity (GST) in fish muscle was further increased by warming) or attenuated the changes elicited by VFX (e.g. vitellogenin, VTG, liver content increased with VFX feed exposure acting alone, but not when co-exposed with acidification). Yet, increased stress severity was observed when the three stressors acted simultaneously, particularly in fish exposed to VFX via water (i.e. average IBR = 21). Hence, the distinct fish tissues responses elicited by the different scenarios emphasized the relevance of performing multi-stressors ecotoxicological studies, as such approach enables a better estimation of the environmental hazards posed by pollutants in a changing ocean and, consequently, the development of strategies to mitigate them.

Continue reading ‘Living in a multi-stressors environment: an integrated biomarker approach to assess the ecotoxicological response of meagre (Argyrosomus regius) to venlafaxine, warming and acidification’


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