Posts Tagged 'laboratory'

Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios


• Impact of different acidification scenarios by enrichment of CO2 on contaminants of emerging concern.

• Toxicity of a cocaine byproduct in different scenarios of ocean acidification.

• Combined effects of crack cocaine and low pH on reproduction of sea urchin.

• Hazards and risks of illicit drugs pose to public health and the environment.


This study has as main objective assessing the toxicity of crack-cocaine combined with different scenarios of ocean acidification on fertilization rate and embryo-larval development of Echinometra lucunter sea urchin. Effects on early life stages were assessed at five different concentrations (6,25 mg.L-1; 12,5 mg.L-1; 25 mg.L-1; 50 mg.L-1 and 100 mg.L-1) of crack-cocaine at four different pH values (8.5; 8.0; 7.5; 7.0). The pH values were achieved using two different methodologies: adding hydrochloric acid (HCl) and injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). The fertilization test did not show significant differences (p≤0.05) compared with control sample at pH values 8.5; 8.0 and 7.5. Results of embryo-larval assays showed a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of crack-cocaine at pH values tested (8.5, 8.0, 7.5) as 58.83, 10.67 and 11.58 mg/L-1 for HCl acidification and 58.83, 23.28 and 12.57 mg/L-1 for CO2 enrichment. At pH 7.0 the effects observed in fertilization rate and embryo development were associated with the acidification. This study is the first ecotoxicological assessment of illicit drug toxicity in aquatic ecosystems at different ocean acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios’

Short- and medium-term exposure to ocean acidification reduces olfactory sensitivity in gilthead seabream

The effects of ocean acidification on fish are only partially understood. Studies on olfaction are mostly limited to behavioral alterations of coral reef fish; studies on temperate species and/or with economic importance are scarce. The current study evaluated the effects of short- and medium-term exposure to ocean acidification on the olfactory system of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), and attempted to explain observed differences in sensitivity by changes in the protonation state of amino acid odorants. Short-term exposure to elevated PCO2 decreased olfactory sensitivity to some odorants, such as L-serine, L-leucine, L-arginine, L-glutamate, and conspecific intestinal fluid, but not to others, such as L-glutamine and conspecific bile fluid. Seabream were unable to compensate for high PCO2 levels in the medium term; after 4 weeks exposure to high PCO2, the olfactory sensitivity remained lower in elevated PCO2 water. The decrease in olfactory sensitivity in high PCO2 water could be partly attributed to changes in the protonation state of the odorants and/or their receptor(s); we illustrate how protonation due to reduced pH causes changes in the charge distribution of odorant molecules, an essential component for ligand-receptor interaction. However, there are other mechanisms involved. At a histological level, the olfactory epithelium contained higher densities of mucus cells in fish kept in high CO2 water, and a shift in pH of the mucus they produced to more neutral. These differences suggest a physiological response of the olfactory epithelium to lower pH and/or high CO2 levels, but an inability to fully counteract the effects of acidification on olfactory sensitivity. Therefore, the current study provides evidence for a direct, medium term, global effect of ocean acidification on olfactory sensitivity in fish, and possibly other marine organisms, and suggests a partial explanatory mechanism.

Continue reading ‘Short- and medium-term exposure to ocean acidification reduces olfactory sensitivity in gilthead seabream’

Impact of ocean acidification on crystallographic vital effect of the coral skeleton

Distinguishing between environmental and species-specific physiological signals, recorded in coral skeletons, is one of the fundamental challenges in their reliable use as (paleo)climate proxies. To date, characteristic biological bias in skeleton-recorded environmental signatures (vital effect) was shown in shifts in geochemical signatures. Herein, for the first time, we have assessed crystallographic parameters of bio-aragonite to study the response of the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata to experimental seawater acidification (pH 8.2, 7.6 and 7.3). Skeletons formed under high pCO2 conditions show systematic crystallographic changes such as better constrained crystal orientation and anisotropic distortions of bio-aragonite lattice parameters due to increased amount of intracrystalline organic matrix and water content. These variations in crystallographic features that seem to reflect physiological adjustments of biomineralizing organisms to environmental change, are herein called crystallographic vital effect (CVE). CVE may register those changes in the biomineralization process that may not yet be perceived at the macromorphological skeletal level.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification on crystallographic vital effect of the coral skeleton’

Assessing the impact of elevated pCO2 within and across generations in a highly invasive fouling mussel (Musculista senhousia)


• Asian date mussels are sensitive to elevated pCO2 during gonadal ripening.

• Transgenerational phenotypic plasticity occurred through all life history stages.

• Maternal provisioning and metabolic adaptation serve as key mechanisms.

• Mussels hold the great ability to rapidly adapt to changing ocean conditions.


Marine biofouling by the swiftly spreading invasive mussel (Musculista senhousia) has caused serious ecological and economic consequences in the global coastal waters. However, the fate of this highly invasive fouling species in a rapidly acidifying ocean remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated the impacts of ocean acidification within and across generations, to understand whether M. senhousia has the capacity to acclimate to changing ocean conditions. During the gonadal development, exposure of mussels to elevated pCO2 caused significant decreases of survival, growth performance and condition index, and shifted the whole-organism energy budget by inflating energy expenses to fuel compensatory processes, eventually impairing the success of spawning. Yet, rapid transgenerational acclimation occurred during the early life history stage and persisted into adulthood. Eggs spawned from CO2-exposed mussels were significantly bigger compared with those from non-CO2-exposed mussels, indicating increased maternal provisioning into eggs and hence conferring larvae resilience under harsh conditions. Larvae with a prior history of transgenerational exposure to elevated pCO2 developed faster and had a higher survival than those with no prior history of CO2 exposure. Transgenerational exposure significantly increased the number of larvae completing metamorphosis. While significant differences in shell growth were no longer observed during juvenile nursery and adult grow-out, transgenerationally exposed mussels displayed improved survival in comparison to non-transgenerationally exposed mussels. Metabolic plasticity arose following transgenerational acclimation, generating more energy available for fitness-related functions. Overall, the present study demonstrates the remarkable ability of M. senhousia to respond plastically and acclimate rapidly to changing ocean conditions.

Continue reading ‘Assessing the impact of elevated pCO2 within and across generations in a highly invasive fouling mussel (Musculista senhousia)’

pH affects growth, physiology and agar properties of agarophyte Gracilaria changii (Rhodophyta) under low light intensity from Morib, Malaysia

• The highest and the lowest growth rates of G. changii was at pH 6.61 and pH 9.30, respectively.
• G. changii survived poorly under high pH with partial thallus degradation.
• Photosynthetic pigments and agar production were significantly affected by pH.


Changes in coastal water pH alter inorganic carbon chemistry and impose abiotic stress on photosynthetic marine organisms. The red algal cell wall contains sulfated agar which protects them against environmental stresses. In this study, we investigated the effects of three different pHs (6.61, 8.04 and 9.30) on Gracilaria changii cultured in artificial seawater for 3 and 6 days, respectively. The growth rate of G. changii was the highest and the lowest at pH 6.61 and pH 9.30, respectively. Partial thallus degradation was observed in seaweeds treated at pH 9.30. Upon a 3-day treatment, the levels of allophycocyanin, total phycobilins in G. changii cultured at pH 6.61, and all photosynthetic pigments in G. changii cultured at pH 9.30, were significantly lower than those cultured at pH 8.04. G. changii exposed to pH 9.30 for 6 days also had significantly lower levels of chlorophyll a and allophycocyanin than those treated at pH 8.04. A six-day treatment at pH 6.61 caused a decline in the content of chlorophyll a and carotenoids, but an increase in the levels of phycoerythrin, phycocyanin, and total phycobilins, compared to those treated at pH 8.04. G. changii samples treated at pH 6.61 and pH 9.30 have a higher agar content compared to those cultured at 8.04. Gel strength was significantly lower in seaweed cultured at pH 9.30, compared to those cultured at pH 8.04. Gelling temperature and 3,6-anhydrogalactose content of agar were significantly affected by different pHs, but no significant changes were found in the melting temperature, gel syneresis and sulfate content of agar upon treatments. These information enhance our knowledge on physiological response and agar production in G. changii at different pHs, and useful for optimization of seaweed cultivation system in future.

Continue reading ‘pH affects growth, physiology and agar properties of agarophyte Gracilaria changii (Rhodophyta) under low light intensity from Morib, Malaysia’

Integrity of crustacean predator defenses under ocean acidification and warming conditions

Crustaceans are a diverse group of species, but all rely on an exoskeleton that is shed and formed anew throughout their lifetime. Exoskeletons perform a wide range of functions, sometimes acting as armor, a means to produce sound, a tool to crush hard prey, or even a window to facilitate transparency. The exoskeleton and its functions, however, are likely vulnerable to ocean acidification and ocean warming, which may alter its composition and the energy allocated towards its production. I investigated the effects of these future ocean conditions on two southern Californian crustaceans, the California spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus and the grass shrimp Hippolyte californiensis, which rely on their exoskeleton for different predator defenses. P. interruptus is an iconic feature of southern California’s kelp forest ecosystem but also a potential prey item for many of its large predators. Spiny lobsters use their antennae, mandibles, carapace, and horns to avoid predation. Each of these structures is specialized for a certain defense, displaying differences in composition, structure, and material properties that allow the antennae, for example, to remain flexible to avoid breaking when pushing predators away while imbuing hardness in crushing structures like the mandible (Chapter 1). Juvenile lobsters exposed to ocean acidification-like conditions largely maintained their predator defenses, displaying some differences in the composition across the exoskeleton but no strong effects to defense functionality, including the non-exoskeletal defenses of detecting chemical cues and the tail-flip escape response (Chapter 3). Additionally, larval P. interruptus, exposed to both ocean acidification and warming conditions, grew slightly smaller in reduced pH but maintained their transparency in both conditions (Chapter 2). In contrast, H. californiensis resides in eelgrass meadows where a primary defense strategy is cryptic colouration, accomplished via a transparent exoskeleton with underlying pigment. When exposed to both ocean acidification and ocean warming-like conditions, shrimp maintained their transparency and did not respond negatively to either condition (Chapter 4). Together, this work on both species demonstrates that a diversity of predator defenses in temperate crustaceans, included those afforded by the exoskeleton, appear to be relatively resilient to both future ocean acidification and ocean warming conditions.

Continue reading ‘Integrity of crustacean predator defenses under ocean acidification and warming conditions’

Seasonal interactive effects of pCO2 and irradiance on the ecophysiology of brown macroalga Fucus vesiculosus L.

Stochastic upwelling of seawater in the Baltic Sea from the deep, anoxic bottoms may bring low-pH water rich in CO2 close to the surface. Such events may become more frequent with climate change and ongoing ocean acidification (OA). Photoautotrophs, such as macroalgae, which are important foundation species, have been proposed to benefit from increased carbon availability due to reduced energetic cost in carbon acquisition. However, the exact effects of CO2 fertilization may depend on the ambient light environment, as photosynthesis rates depend on available irradiance. In this experimental study, interacting effects of CO2 addition and irradiance on the habitat-forming macroalga Fucus vesiculosus were investigated during two seasons – winter and summer – in the northern Baltic Sea. Growth rates remained unaffected by CO2 or irradiance during both seasons, suggesting that direct effects of elevated CO2 on mature F. vesiculosus are small. Increases in CO2 affected algal elemental ratios by increasing carbon and decreasing nitrogen content, with resulting changes in the C:N ratio, but only in winter. In summer, chlorophyll a content increased under low irradiance. Increases in CO2 caused a decline in light-harvesting efficiency (decrease in Fv/Fm and α) under high irradiance in summer, and conversely increased α under low irradiance. High irradiance caused increases in the maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRmax) in summer, but not in winter. Differences between winter and summer indicate that F. vesiculosus responses to CO2 and irradiance are season-specific. Increases in carbon content during winter could indicate slightly positive effects of CO2 addition in the long run if the extra carbon gained may be capitalized in growth. The results of this study suggest that increases in CO2, either through upwelling or OA, may have positive effects on F. vesiculosus, but these effects are probably small.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal interactive effects of pCO2 and irradiance on the ecophysiology of brown macroalga Fucus vesiculosus L.’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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