Posts Tagged 'Mediterranean Sea'

An in situ assessment of local adaptation in a calcifying polychaete from a shallow CO2 vent system

Ocean acidification (OA) is likely to exert selective pressure on natural populations. Our ability to predict which marine species will adapt to OA, and what underlies this adaptive potential, are of high conservation and resource management priority. Using a naturally low pH vent site in the Mediterranean Sea (Castello Aragonese, Ischia) mirroring projected future OA conditions, we carried out a reciprocal transplant experiment to investigate the relative importance of phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in two populations of the sessile, calcifying polychaete Simplaria sp. (Annelida, Serpulidae, Spirorbinae): one residing in low pH and the other from a nearby ambient (i.e. high) pH site. We measured a suite of fitness related traits (i.e. survival, reproductive output, maturation, population growth) and tube growth rates in laboratory-bred F2 generation individuals from both populations reciprocally transplanted back into both ambient and low pH in situ habitats. Both populations showed lower expression in all traits, but increased tube growth rates, when exposed to low pH compared to high pH conditions, regardless of their site of origin suggesting that local adaptation to low pH conditions has not occurred. We also found comparable levels of plasticity in the two populations investigated, suggesting no influence of long-term exposure to low pH on the ability of populations to adjust their phenotype. Despite high variation in trait values among sites and the relatively extreme conditions at sites close to the vents (pH < 7.36), response trends were consistent across traits. Hence, our data suggest that, for Simplaria and possibly other calcifiers, neither local adaptations nor sufficient phenotypic plasticity levels appear to suffice in order to compensate for the negative impacts of OA on long-term survival. Our work also underlines the utility of field experiments in natural environments subjected to high level of pCO2 for elucidating the potential for adaptation to future scenarios of OA.

Continue reading ‘An in situ assessment of local adaptation in a calcifying polychaete from a shallow CO2 vent system’

Cumulative human impacts on Mediterranean and Black Sea marine ecosystems: assessing current pressures and opportunities

Management of marine ecosystems requires spatial information on current impacts. In several marine regions, including the Mediterranean and Black Sea, legal mandates and agreements to implement ecosystem-based management and spatial plans provide new opportunities to balance uses and protection of marine ecosystems. Analyses of the intensity and distribution of cumulative impacts of human activities directly connected to the ecological goals of these policy efforts are critically needed. Quantification and mapping of the cumulative impact of 22 drivers to 17 marine ecosystems reveals that 20% of the entire basin and 60–99% of the territorial waters of EU member states are heavily impacted, with high human impact occurring in all ecoregions and territorial waters. Less than 1% of these regions are relatively unaffected. This high impact results from multiple drivers, rather than one individual use or stressor, with climatic drivers (increasing temperature and UV, and acidification), demersal fishing, ship traffic, and, in coastal areas, pollution from land accounting for a majority of cumulative impacts. These results show that coordinated management of key areas and activities could significantly improve the condition of these marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Cumulative human impacts on Mediterranean and Black Sea marine ecosystems: assessing current pressures and opportunities’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book