Posts Tagged 'light'

Ocean acidification interacts with variable light to decrease growth but increase particulate organic nitrogen production in a diatom

Highlights

• Variable light decreased growth rate and pigmentation contents in both LC and HC.

• Cells grown under variable light appeared more tolerant of high light.

• HC and varying light decreased carbon fixation rate but increased POC and PON.

• HC and varying light lead to less primary productivity but more PON per biomass.

Abstract

Phytoplankton in the upper oceans are exposed to changing light levels due to mixing, diurnal solar cycles and weather conditions. Consequently, effects of ocean acidification are superimposed upon responses to variable light levels. We therefore grew a model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana under either constant or variable light but at the same daily photon dose, with current low (400 μatm, LC) and future high CO2 (1000 μatm, HC) treatments. Variable light, compared with the constant light regime, decreased the growth rate, Chl a, Chl c, and carotenoid contents under both LC and HC conditions. Cells grown under variable light appeared more tolerant of high light as indicated by higher maximum relative electron transport rate and saturation light. Light variation interacted with high CO2/lowered pH to decrease the carbon fixation rate, but increased particulate organic carbon (POC) and particularly nitrogen (PON) per cell, which drove a decrease in C/N ratio, reflecting changes in the efficiency of energy transfer from photo-chemistry to net biomass production. Our results imply that elevated pCO2 under varying light conditions can lead to less primary productivity but more PON per biomass of the diatom, which might improve the food quality of diatoms and thereby influence biogeochemical nitrogen cycles.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification interacts with variable light to decrease growth but increase particulate organic nitrogen production in a diatom’

Higher sensitivity towards light stress and ocean acidification in an Arctic sea‐ice associated diatom compared to a pelagic diatom

Thalassiosira hyalina and Nitzschia frigida are important members of Arctic pelagic and sympagic (sea‐ice associated) diatom communities. We investigated the effects of light stress (shift from 20 to 380 µmol photons m‐2 s‐1, resembling upwelling or ice break‐up) under contemporary and future pCO2 (400 vs. 1000 µatm).

The responses in growth, elemental composition, pigmentation and photophysiology were followed over 120 h and are discussed together with underlying gene expression patterns.

Stress response and subsequent re‐acclimation were efficiently facilitated by T. hyalina, which showed only moderate changes in photophysiology and elemental composition, and thrived under high‐light after 120 h. In N. frigida, photochemical damage and oxidative stress appeared to outweigh cellular defenses, causing dysfunctional photophysiology and reduced growth. pCO2 alone did not specifically influence gene expression, but amplified the transcriptomic reactions to light stress, indicating that pCO2 affects metabolic equilibria rather than sensitive genes.

Large differences in acclimation capacities towards high‐light and high pCO2 between T. hyalina and N. frigida indicate species‐specific mechanisms in coping with the two stressors, which may reflect their respective ecological niches. This could potentially alter the balance between sympagic vs. pelagic primary production in a future Arctic.

Continue reading ‘Higher sensitivity towards light stress and ocean acidification in an Arctic sea‐ice associated diatom compared to a pelagic diatom’

Combined effects of temperature, irradiance and pH on Teleaulax amphioxeia (Cryptophyceae) physiology and feeding ratio for its predator Mesodinium rubrum (Ciliophora)

The cryptophyte Teleaulax amphioxeia is a source of plastids for the ciliate Mesodinium rubrum and both organisms are members of the trophic chain of several species of Dinophysis. It is important to better understand the ecology of organisms at the first trophic levels before assessing the impact of principal factors of global change on Dinophysis spp. Therefore, combined effects of temperature, irradiance and pH on growth rate, photosynthetic activity and pigment content of a temperate strain of T. amphioxeia were studied using a full factorial design (central composite design 23*) in 17 individually controlled bioreactors. The derived model predicted an optimal growth rate of T. amphioxeia at a light intensity of 400 µmol photons · m‐2 · s‐1, more acidic pH (7.6) than the current average and a temperature of 17.6°C. An interaction between temperature and irradiance on growth was also found, while pH did not have any significant effect. Subsequently, to investigate potential impacts of prey quality and quantity on the physiology of the predator, M. rubrum was fed two separate prey: predator ratios with cultures of T. amphioxeia previously acclimated at two different light intensities (100 and 400 µmol photons · m‐2 · s‐1). M. rubrum growth appeared to be significantly dependant on prey quantity while effect of prey quality was not observed. This multi‐parametric study indicated a high potential for a significant increase of T. amphioxeia in future climate conditions but to what extent this would lead to increased occurrences of Mesodinium spp. and Dinophysis spp. should be further investigated.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of temperature, irradiance and pH on Teleaulax amphioxeia (Cryptophyceae) physiology and feeding ratio for its predator Mesodinium rubrum (Ciliophora)’

Intercomparison of four methods to estimate coral calcification under various environmental conditions (update)

Coral reefs are constructed by calcifiers that precipitate calcium carbonate to build their shells or skeletons through the process of calcification. Accurately assessing coral calcification rates is crucial to determine the health of these ecosystems and their response to major environmental changes such as ocean warming and acidification. Several approaches have been used to assess rates of coral calcification, but there is a real need to compare these approaches in order to ascertain that high-quality and intercomparable results can be produced. Here, we assessed four methods (total alkalinity anomaly, calcium anomaly, 45Ca incorporation, and 13C incorporation) to determine coral calcification of the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata. Given the importance of environmental conditions for this process, the study was performed under two starting pH levels (ambient: 8.05 and low: 7.2) and two light (light and dark) conditions. Under all conditions, calcification rates estimated using the alkalinity and calcium anomaly techniques as well as 45Ca incorporation were highly correlated. Such a strong correlation between the alkalinity anomaly and 45Ca incorporation techniques has not been observed in previous studies and most probably results from improvements described in the present paper. The only method which provided calcification rates significantly different from the other three techniques was 13C incorporation. Calcification rates based on this method were consistently higher than those measured using the other techniques. Although reasons for these discrepancies remain unclear, the use of this technique for assessing calcification rates in corals is not recommended without further investigations.

Continue reading ‘Intercomparison of four methods to estimate coral calcification under various environmental conditions (update)’

The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits from ocean acidification under constant and dynamic light (update)

Compared to the rest of the globe, the Arctic Ocean is affected disproportionately by climate change. Despite these fast environmental changes, we currently know little about the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on marine key species in this area. Moreover, the existing studies typically test the effects of OA under constant, hence artificial, light fields. In this study, the abundant Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla was acclimated to current (400 µatm) and future (1000 µatm) pCO2 levels under a constant as well as a dynamic light, simulating more realistic light fields as experienced in the upper mixed layer. To describe and understand the responses to these drivers, growth, particulate organic carbon (POC) production, elemental composition, photophysiology and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were analysed. M. pusilla was able to benefit from OA on various scales, ranging from an increase in growth rates to enhanced photosynthetic capacity, irrespective of the light regime. These beneficial effects were, however, not reflected in the POC production rates, which can be explained by energy partitioning towards cell division rather than biomass build-up. In the dynamic light regime, M. pusilla was able to optimize its photophysiology for effective light usage during both low- and high-light periods. This photoacclimative response, which was achieved by modifications to photosystem II (PSII), imposed high metabolic costs leading to a reduction in growth and POC production rates when compared to constant light. There were no significant interactions observed between dynamic light and OA, indicating that M. pusilla is able to maintain effective photoacclimation without increased photoinactivation under high pCO2. Based on these findings, M. pusilla is likely to cope well with future conditions in the Arctic Ocean.

Continue reading ‘The Arctic picoeukaryote Micromonas pusilla benefits from ocean acidification under constant and dynamic light (update)’

Combined effects of CO2 level, light intensity, and nutrient availability on the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Continuous accumulation of fossil CO2 in the atmosphere and increasingly dissolved CO2 in seawater leads to ocean acidification (OA), which is known to affect phytoplankton physiology directly and/or indirectly. Since increasing attention has been paid to the effects of OA under the influences of multiple drivers, in this study, we investigated effects of elevated CO2 concentration under different levels of light and nutrients on growth rate, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon quotas of the coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi. We found that OA treatment (pH 7.84, CO2 = 920 μatm) reduced the maximum growth rate at all levels of the nutrients tested, and exacerbated photo-inhibition of growth rate under reduced availability of phosphate (from 10.5 to 0.4 μmol l−1). Low nutrient levels, especially lower nitrate concentration (8.8 μmol l−1 compared with 101 μmol l−1), decreased maximum growth rates. Nevertheless, the reduced levels of nutrients increased the maximum PIC production rate. Decreased availability of nutrients influenced growth, POC and PIC quotas more than changes in CO2 concentrations. Our results suggest that reduced nutrient availability due to reduced upward advective supply because of ocean warming may partially counteract the negative effects of OA on calcification of the coccolithophorid.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of CO2 level, light intensity, and nutrient availability on the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Photosynthesis and light-dependent proton pumps increase boundary layer pH in tropical macroalgae: a proposed mechanism to sustain calcification under ocean acidification

Highlights

• Tropical calcifying macroalgae raise boundary layer pH due to photosynthesis

• Different mechanisms of inorganic carbon uptake control pH increase

• Proton pumps in light without photosynthesis appear important calcification

• Photosynthesis-driven pH increase allows calcification with ocean acidification

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) projections predict ocean pH to decline between 0.2 and 0.4 by 2100 with potential negative consequences for marine calcifiers without acclimation or adaption strategies to accomodate greater [H+] in seawater. Biotic control of calcified reef macroalgae thalli surface diffusive boundary layer (DBL) chemistry may overcome low pH in seawater as one strategy to accommodate OA conditions. To investigate this strategy, we examined surface DBL O2 and pH dynamics in five calcifying macroalgae (Halimeda, Udotea, Jania, Neogoniolithon, crustose coralline algae [CCA]) from the Florida Reef Tract under ambient (8.1) and low (7.65) pH using microsensors (100 μm) at the thalli surface in a flow-through flume. The role of photosynthesis and photosystem II (PSII)-independent proton pumps in controlling DBL pH were examined. Four of the five macroalgae exhibited a strong positive linear relationship between O2 production and increasing pH in the first 15–30 s of irradiance. Once a quasi-steady-state O2 concentration was reached (300 s), all species had DBL pH that were higher (0.02–0.32) than bulk seawater. The DBL pH increase was greatest at low pH and dependent on PSII. Some evidence was found for a light-dependent, but PSII-independent, proton pump. High DBL Δ pH upon illumination was likely in response to carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) for photosynthesis. CCMs may be a HCO3−–H+ symport, OH– antiport or other DIC transport system, accompanied by proton efflux. HCO3– dehydration by external carbonic anhydrase (CAext) also produces OH– that can neutralize H+ in the DBL. CO2 or HCO3– uptake for photosynthesis may also engage H+/OH– fluxes as part of intracellular acid-base regulation changing DBL pH. A higher Δ pH within the DBL at low pH could be accounted for by greater CO2 diffusion and/or lower efficiencies in exporting cellular H+ across a lower concentration gradient, and/or a more efficient removal of H+ by CAext-driven dehydration of HCO3−. In the dark, Δ pH was less than in the light as these dynamics were primarily due to photosynthesis. We present a conceptual model of inorganic carbon uptake and ion transport pathways, as well as other processes associated with photosynthesis that drive DBL Δ pH and sustain tropical macroalgal calcification in the light under OA. In the dark, unless PSII-independent proton pumps are present, which do not appear to be ubiquitous amongst species, acidification processes likely dominate, resulting in CaCO3 net dissolution, particularly under OA conditions.

Continue reading ‘Photosynthesis and light-dependent proton pumps increase boundary layer pH in tropical macroalgae: a proposed mechanism to sustain calcification under ocean acidification’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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