Posts Tagged 'Mediterranean'

Genomic adaptation of Pseudomonas strains to acidity and antibiotics in hydrothermal vents at Kolumbo submarine volcano, Greece

Although the rise of antibiotic and multidrug resistant bacteria is one of the biggest current threats to human health, our understanding of the mechanisms involved in antibiotic resistance selection remains scarce. We performed whole genome sequencing of 21 Pseudomonas strains, previously isolated from an active submarine volcano of Greece, the Kolumbo volcano. Our goal was to identify the genetic basis of the enhanced co-tolerance to antibiotics and acidity of these Pseudomonas strains. Pangenome analysis identified 10,908 Gene Clusters (GCs). It revealed that the numbers of phage-related GCs and sigma factors, which both provide the mechanisms of adaptation to environmental stressors, were much higher in the high tolerant Pseudomonas strains compared to the rest ones. All identified GCs of these strains were associated with antimicrobial and multidrug resistance. The present study provides strong evidence that the CO2-rich seawater of the volcano associated with low pH might be a reservoir of microorganisms carrying multidrug efflux-mediated systems and pumps. We, therefore, suggest further studies of other extreme environments (or ecosystems) and their associated physicochemical parameters (or factors) in the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Continue reading ‘Genomic adaptation of Pseudomonas strains to acidity and antibiotics in hydrothermal vents at Kolumbo submarine volcano, Greece’

Leaf proteome modulation and cytological features of seagrass Cymodocea nodosa in response to long-term high CO2 exposure in volcanic vents

Seagrass Cymodocea nodosa was sampled off the Vulcano island, in the vicinity of a submarine volcanic vent. Leaf samples were collected from plants growing in a naturally acidified site, influenced by the long-term exposure to high CO2 emissions, and compared with others collected in a nearby meadow living at normal pCO2 conditions. The differential accumulated proteins in leaves growing in the two contrasting pCO2 environments was investigated. Acidified leaf tissues had less total protein content and the semi-quantitative proteomic comparison revealed a strong general depletion of proteins belonging to the carbon metabolism and protein metabolism. A very large accumulation of proteins related to the cell respiration and to light harvesting process was found in acidified leaves in comparison with those growing in the normal pCO2 site. The metabolic pathways linked to cytoskeleton turnover also seemed affected by the acidified condition, since a strong reduction in the concentration of cytoskeleton structural proteins was found in comparison with the normal pCO2 leaves. Results coming from the comparative proteomics were validated by the histological and cytological measurements, suggesting that the long lasting exposure and acclimation of C. nodosa to the vents involved phenotypic adjustments that can offer physiological and structural tools to survive the suboptimal conditions at the vents vicinity.

Continue reading ‘Leaf proteome modulation and cytological features of seagrass Cymodocea nodosa in response to long-term high CO2 exposure in volcanic vents’

Volcanic CO2 seep geochemistry and use in understanding ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is one of the most dramatic effects of the massive atmospheric release of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution, although its effects on marine ecosystems are not well understood. Submarine volcanic hydrothermal fields have geochemical conditions that provide opportunities to characterise the effects of elevated levels of seawater CO2 on marine life in the field. Here, we review the geochemical aspects of shallow marine CO2-rich seeps worldwide, focusing on both gas composition and water chemistry. We then describe the geochemical effects of volcanic CO2 seepage on the overlying seawater column. We also present new geochemical data and the first synthesis of marine biological community changes from one of the best-studied marine CO2 seep sites in the world (off Vulcano Island, Sicily). In areas of intense bubbling, extremely high levels of pCO2 (> 10,000 μatm) result in low seawater pH (< 6) and undersaturation of aragonite and calcite in an area devoid of calcified organisms such as shelled molluscs and hard corals. Around 100–400 m away from the Vulcano seeps the geochemistry of the seawater becomes analogous to future ocean acidification conditions with dissolved carbon dioxide levels falling from 900 to 420 μatm as seawater pH rises from 7.6 to 8.0. Calcified species such as coralline algae and sea urchins fare increasingly well as sessile communities shift from domination by a few resilient species (such as uncalcified algae and polychaetes) to a diverse and complex community (including abundant calcified algae and sea urchins) as the seawater returns to ambient levels of CO2. Laboratory advances in our understanding of species sensitivity to high CO2 and low pH seawater, reveal how marine organisms react to simulated ocean acidification conditions (e.g., using energetic trade-offs for calcification, reproduction, growth and survival). Research at volcanic marine seeps, such as those off Vulcano, highlight consistent ecosystem responses to rising levels of seawater CO2, with the simplification of food webs, losses in functional diversity and reduced provisioning of goods and services for humans.

Continue reading ‘Volcanic CO2 seep geochemistry and use in understanding ocean acidification’

The effects of decomposing invasive jellyfish on biogeochemical fluxes and microbial dynamics in an ultra-oligotrophic sea

Over the past several decades, jellyfish blooms have intensified spatially and temporally, affecting functions and services of ecosystems worldwide. At the demise of a bloom, an enormous amount of jellyfish biomass sinks to the seabed and decomposes. This process entails reciprocal microbial and biogeochemical changes, typically enriching the water column and seabed with large amounts of organic and inorganic nutrients. Jellyfish decomposition was hypothesized to be particularly important in nutrient-impoverished ecosystems, such as the Eastern Mediterranean Sea – one of the most oligotrophic marine regions in the world. Since the 1970s, this region has been experiencing the proliferation of a notorious invasive scyphozoan jellyfish, Rhopilema nomadica. In this study, we estimated the short-term decomposition effects of R. nomadica on nutrient dynamics at the sediment-water interface. Our results show that the degradation of R. nomadica has led to increased oxygen demand and acidification of overlying water as well as high rates of dissolved organic nitrogen and phosphate production. These conditions favored heterotrophic microbial activity and bacterial biomass accumulation, and triggered a shift towards heterotrophic biodegrading bacterial communities, whereas autotrophic picophytoplankton abundance was moderately affected or reduced. This shift may further decrease primary production in the water column of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Deoxygenation, acidification, nutrient enrichment, and microbial community shifts at the sediment-water interface may have a detrimental impact on macrobenthic communities. Based on these findings, we suggest that jelly-falls and their decay may facilitate an additional decline in ecosystem functions and services.

Continue reading ‘The effects of decomposing invasive jellyfish on biogeochemical fluxes and microbial dynamics in an ultra-oligotrophic sea’

Ocean acidification alters the composition of decapod crustacean communities associated to Posidonia oceanica beds

Ocean Acidification (OA) produces manifest changes in the species assemblages of stable marine ecosystems, although the general levels of biodiversity may be partially conserved. In the case of decapod crustaceans, that represent an interesting taxon because it reacts both to direct and indirect effects of OA, a lowering of pH induces clear changes in the structure of species assemblages. In this study we collected decapod crustaceans at two sites at low pH located at Castello d’Ischia, two control sites at normal pH located at Castello d’Ischia and one external control site. The results confirm that a lower biodiversity characterizes the acidified zones over the year and indicate that key species, normally very abundant in normal conditions all over the year, exhibit impoverished populations associated to the Posidonia oceanica beds off the island of Ischia.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters the composition of decapod crustacean communities associated to Posidonia oceanica beds’

Magnitude and predictability of pH fluctuations shape plastic responses to ocean acidification

Phenotypic plasticity is expected to facilitate the persistence of natural populations as global change progresses. The attributes of fluctuating environments that favor the evolution of plasticity have received extensive theoretical investigation, yet empirical validation of these findings is still in its infancy. Here, we combine high-resolution environmental data with a laboratory-based experiment to explore the influence of habitat pH fluctuation dynamics on the plasticity of gene expression in two populations of the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. We linked differences in the magnitude and predictability of pH fluctuations in two habitats to population-specific gene expression profiles in ambient and stressful pH treatments. Our results demonstrate population-based differentiation in gene expression plasticity, whereby mussels native to a habitat exhibiting a large magnitude of pH fluctuations with low predictability display reduced phenotypic plasticity between experimentally imposed pH treatments. This work validates recent theoretical findings on evolution in fluctuating environments, suggesting that the predictability of fluctuating selection pressures may play a predominant role in shaping the phenotypic variation observed across natural populations.

Continue reading ‘Magnitude and predictability of pH fluctuations shape plastic responses to ocean acidification’

Seawater acidification affects beta-diversity of benthic communities at a shallow hydrothermal vent in a Mediterranean marine protected area (underwater archaeological park of Baia, Naples, Italy)

One of the most important pieces of climate change evidence is ocean acidification. Acidification effects on marine organisms are widely studied, while very little is known regarding its effects on assemblages’ β-diversity. In this framework, shallow hydrothermal vents within a Marine Protected Area (MPA) represent natural ecosystems acting as laboratory set-ups where the continuous carbon dioxide emissions affect assemblages with consequences that can be reasonably comparable to the effects of global water acidification. The aim of the present study is to test the impact of seawater acidification on the β-diversity of soft-bottom assemblages in a shallow vent field located in the Underwater Archeological Park of Baia MPA (Gulf of Naples, Mediterranean Sea). We investigated macro- and meiofauna communities of the ‘Secca delle fumose’ vent system in sites characterized by sulfurous (G) and carbon dioxide emissions (H) that are compared with control/inactive sites (CN and CS). Statistical analyses were performed on the most represented macrobenthic (MolluscaPolychaeta, and Crustacea), and meiobenthic (Nematoda) taxa. Results show that the lowest synecological values are detected at H and, to a lesser extent, at G. Multivariate analyses show significant differences between hydrothermal vents (G, H) and control/inactive sites; the highest small-scale heterogeneities (measure of β-diversity) are detected at sites H and G and are mainly affected by pH, TOC (Total Organic Carbon), and cations concentrations. Such findings are probably related to acidification effects, since MPA excludes anthropic impacts. In particular, acidification markedly affects β-diversity and an increase in heterogeneity among sample replicates coupled to a decrease in number of taxa is an indicator of redundancy loss and, thus, of resilience capacity. The survival is assured to either tolerant species or those opportunistic taxa that can find good environmental conditions among gravels of sand.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification affects beta-diversity of benthic communities at a shallow hydrothermal vent in a Mediterranean marine protected area (underwater archaeological park of Baia, Naples, Italy)’

Eat, breathe, repeat: physiological responses of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis to Diclofenac and ocean acidification

Combined effects of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and lowered seawater pH were assessed on the physiological responses of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Bivalves were exposed for 1 week to natural pH (8.1) and two reduced pH values (pH −0.4 units and pH −0.7 units), as predicted under a climate change scenario. After the first week, exposure continued for additional 2 weeks, both in the absence and in the presence of environmentally relevant concentrations of diclofenac (0.05 and 0.5 µg/L). Clearance rate, respiration rate, and excretion rate were measured after 7 days of exposure to pH only and after 14 (T1) and 21 (T2) days of exposure to the various pH*diclofenac combinations. At all sampling times, pH significantly affected all the biological parameters considered, whereas diclofenac generally exhibited a significant influence only at T2. Overall, results demonstrated that the physiological performance of M. galloprovincialis was strongly influenced by the experimental conditions tested, in particular by the interaction between the two stressors after 21 days of exposure. Further studies are needed to assess the combined effects of climate changes and emerging contaminants on bivalve physiology during different life stages, especially reproduction.

Continue reading ‘Eat, breathe, repeat: physiological responses of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis to Diclofenac and ocean acidification’

Microcalcareous seaweeds as sentinels of trophic changes and CO2 trapping in transitional water systems

Highlights

  • The presence of microcalcareous macroalgae was studied in the Italian lagoons.
  • Macroalgal growth was mainly affected by changes in the pH of the water column.
  • Small algae are a Litmus Test Paper Strip for environmental quality assessment.
  • Carbonated are accumulated in surface sediments by small calcareous macroalgae.
  • The CO2 abatement occurred in environments of good-high ecological conditions.

Abstract

Microcalcareous epiphytic seaweeds (MES) are macroalgae more sensitive than aquatic angiosperms to environmental degradation and, with their presence/absence, these species act like sentinels providing useful information on the ecological status of environments. In this study, we analyzed the environmental parameters in water column and surface sediments in relation to macrophyte variables from 257 sites, distributed in the main Italian transitional water systems (TWS). The results showed that MES are strongly correlated to pH changes, the main parameter that regulates their presence/absence. The optimal growth range is between pH 7.80 and 8.35; out of these values their growth is reduced or hampered. In oxidized sediments the carbonate crusts, composed by Mg-Calcite (an unstable compound that in the sediments quickly turns into calcite), can permanently trap up to 2.47 tonnes ha−1 yr−1 of CO2, increasing sediment thickness of approx. 0.06–0.21 mm yr−1.

Continue reading ‘Microcalcareous seaweeds as sentinels of trophic changes and CO2 trapping in transitional water systems’

Evidences on alterations in skeleton composition and mineralization in a site-attached fish under naturally acidified conditions in a shallow CO2 vent

Highlights

  • CO2 vents provide natural laboratories to study the effects of multiple pressures (i.e., ocean acidification and metal contamination).
  • The demersal and highly territorial fish species Gobius bucchichi did not show skeletal malformations in the vent site.
  • Higher Ca/P in fish skeleton at the vent than at control pH sites suggests that skeleton maturation may be sped up in acidified oceans.

Abstract

Background

Ocean acidification may affect fish mineralized structures (i.e. otoliths and skeleton).

Methods

Here, we compared the elemental composition of muscle and skeleton and the mineral features of skeleton in the site-attached fish Gobius bucchichi naturally exposed to high pCO2 / low pH conditions in a shallow CO2 vent with fish of the same species exposed to normal pH.

Results

Overall, no skeleton malformations were found in both pH conditions, but among-site differences were found in the elemental composition. Interestingly, higher Ca/P values, inducing a moderate skeleton maturation, were found in fish exposed to acidified conditions than in controls.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that ocean acidification may play a significant role in physiological processes related to mineralization, fostering skeleton pre-aging.

Continue reading ‘Evidences on alterations in skeleton composition and mineralization in a site-attached fish under naturally acidified conditions in a shallow CO2 vent’

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