Posts Tagged 'Mediterranean'



The carbon dioxide vents of Ischia, Italy, a natural system to assess impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems: an overview of research and comparisons with other vent systems

As the ocean continues to take up carbon dioxide (CO2), it is difficult to predict the future of marine ecosystems. Natural CO2 vent sites, mainly of volcanic origin, that provide a pH gradient are useful as a proxy to investigate ecological effects of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘The carbon dioxide vents of Ischia, Italy, a natural system to assess impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems: an overview of research and comparisons with other vent systems’

Ocean pH fluctuations affect mussel larvae at key developmental transitions

Coastal marine ecosystems experience dynamic fluctuations in seawater carbonate chemistry. The importance of this variation in the context of ocean acidification requires knowing what aspect of variability biological processes respond to. We conducted four experiments (ranging from 3 to 22 days) with different variability regimes (pHT 7.4–8.1) assessing the impact of diel fluctuations in carbonate chemistry on the early development of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Larval shell growth was consistently correlated to mean exposures, regardless of variability regimes, indicating that calcification responds instantaneously to seawater chemistry. Larval development was impacted by timing of exposure, revealing sensitivity of two developmental processes: development of the shell field, and transition from the first to the second larval shell. Fluorescent staining revealed developmental delay of the shell field at low pH, and abnormal development thereof was correlated with hinge defects in D-veligers. This study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification affects larval soft-tissue development, independent from calcification. Multiple developmental processes additively underpin the teratogenic effect of ocean acidification on bivalve larvae. These results explain why trochophores are the most sensitive life-history stage in marine bivalves and suggest that short-term variability in carbonate chemistry can impact early larval development.

Continue reading ‘Ocean pH fluctuations affect mussel larvae at key developmental transitions’

Low and variable pH decreases recruitment efficiency in populations of a temperate coral naturally present at a CO2 vent

Atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment alters seawater carbonate chemistry, thus threatening calcifying organisms such as corals. Coral populations at carbon dioxide vents are natural acidification experiments that mimic organism responses to seawater pH values projected for 2100. Even if demographic traits are paramount information to assess ecological relationships and habitat suitability, population dynamics studies on corals thriving under acidified conditions are lacking. Here, we investigate the demography and reproduction of populations of the solitary, symbiotic, temperate coral Balanophyllia europaea naturally living along a pH gradient at a Mediterranean CO2 vent. Gametogenesis and larval production were unaffected while recruitment efficiency collapsed at low and variable pH, contributing to coral abundance decline and suggesting that life stages between larval release and early polyp growth are hindered by acidification. Exploring these processes is crucial to assess coral fate in the forthcoming acidified oceans, to preserve coral ecosystems and the socioeconomic services they provide.

Continue reading ‘Low and variable pH decreases recruitment efficiency in populations of a temperate coral naturally present at a CO2 vent’

Functional biodiversity loss along natural CO2 gradients

The effects of environmental change on biodiversity are still poorly understood. In particular, the consequences of shifts in species composition for marine ecosystem function are largely unknown. Here we assess the loss of functional diversity, i.e. the range of species biological traits, in benthic marine communities exposed to ocean acidification (OA) by using natural CO2 vent systems. We found that functional richness is greatly reduced with acidification, and that functional loss is more pronounced than the corresponding decrease in taxonomic diversity. In acidified conditions, most organisms accounted for a few functional entities (i.e. unique combination of functional traits), resulting in low functional redundancy. These results suggest that functional richness is not buffered by functional redundancy under OA, even in highly diverse assemblages, such as rocky benthic communities.

Continue reading ‘Functional biodiversity loss along natural CO2 gradients’

Condition of pteropod shells near a volcanic CO2 vent region

Highlights

 • in situ shell dissolution and change in shell biomass were the predominant features observed in the live pteropods collected within and nearby CO2 vent regions.

• Low pteropod biomass shells (collected nearby the CO2 vents) were more fragile and therefore more prone to fracture than the more robust, high biomass shells (collected in the control stations).

• In the Gulf of Naples, intermittent shifts away from optimum Ωar values can significantly affect pteropod calcification despite waters remaining oversaturated.

Abstract

Natural gradients of pH in the ocean are useful analogues for studying the projected impacts of Ocean Acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems. Here we document the in situ impact of submarine CO2 volcanic emissions (CO2 vents) on live shelled-pteropods (planktonic gastropods) species Creseis conica in the Gulf of Naples (Tyrrhenian Sea, Mediterranean). Since the currents inside the Gulf will likely drive those pelagic calcifying organisms into and out of the CO2 vent zones, we assume that pteropods will be occasionally exposed to the vents during their life cycle. Shell degradation and biomass were investigated in the stations located within and nearby the CO2 vent emission in relation to the variability of sea water carbonate chemistry. A relative decrease in shell biomass (22%), increase in incidence of shell fractures (38%) and extent of dissolution were observed in Creseis conica collected in the Gulf of Naples compared to those from the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (control stations). These results suggest that discontinuous but recurrent exposure to highly variable carbonate chemistry could consistently affect the characteristic of the pteropod shells.

Continue reading ‘Condition of pteropod shells near a volcanic CO2 vent region’

Effects of ocean acidification on 109Cd, 57Co, and 134Cs bioconcentration by the European oyster (Ostrea edulis): Biokinetics and tissue-to-subcellular partitioning

Highlights

• A decrease in pH does not affect the uptake kinetics of 109Cd and 57Co, nor the depuration of 109Cd and 134Cs.
• Depuration kinetics of 57Co is modified as pC02 conditions change.
• No variation in the subcellular sequestration of these three trace elements under low pH conditions.
• A systematic bleaching of the oyster shells was observed with a drop in pH over 40 days.

Abstract

The uptake and depuration kinetics of dissolved 109Cd, 57Co and 134Cs were determined experimentally in the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis (Linnaeus, 1758) under different pH conditions (i.e., 8.1, 7.8 and 7.5) for 59 days. Uptake and depuration rates were variable within these elements; no effects were observed under different pH conditions for the uptake biokinetics of 109Cd and 57Co and depuration of 109Cd and 134Cs in oyster. The uptake and depuration rate constants of 134Cs differed during the exposure phase between treatments, while the steady state concentration factors (CFss) were similar. The resulting Cs activity that was purged during short- and long-term depuration phases differed, while the remaining activities after thirty-nine days depuration phase (RA39d) were similar. Co-57 depuration was affected by pCO2 conditions: RA39d were found to be significantly higher in oysters reared in normocapnia (pCO2 = 350 μatm) compared to high pCO2 conditions. Co-57 tissue distribution did not differ among the variable pCO2 conditions, while 109Cd and 134Cs accumulated in soft tissue of oysters were found to be higher under the highest pCO2. Additionally, Cd, Co and Cs were stored differently in various compartments of the oyster cells, i.e. cellular debris, metal-rich granules (MRG) and metallothionein-like proteins (MTLP), respectively. The subcellular sequestration of the elements at the end of the depuration phase did not differ among pH treatments. These results suggest that bioconcentration and tissue/subcellular distribution are element-specific in the oyster, and the effects of higher pCO2 driven acidification and/or coastal acidification variably influence these processes.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on 109Cd, 57Co, and 134Cs bioconcentration by the European oyster (Ostrea edulis): Biokinetics and tissue-to-subcellular partitioning’

Predator avoidance in the European Seabass after recovery from short-term hypoxia and different CO2 conditions

Short-term hypoxia that lasts just a few days or even hours is a major threat for the marine ecosystems. The single effect of the human-induced levels of hypoxia and other anthropogenic impacts such as elevated pCO2 can reduce the ability of preys to detect their predators across taxa. Moreover, both processes, hypoxia and elevated pCO2, are expected to co-occur in certain habitats, but the synergic consequences of both processes and the ability of fish to recover remain unknown. To provide empirical evidence to this synergy, we experimentally evaluated the risk-taking behavior in juveniles of the European seabass (Dicentrachus labrax), an important commercial fisheries species after recovering from short-term hypoxia and different pH scenarios. The behavior of seabass juveniles was monitored in an experimental arena before and after the exposure to a simulated predator and contrasted to control fish (BACI design) (current levels of hypoxia and elevated pCO2) using a mechanistic function-valued modeling trait approach. Results revealed that fish recovering from elevated pCO2, alone or combined with hypoxia, presented less avoidance behavior in failing to seek refuge when a simulated predator was present in the arena compared to those exposed to control pCO2 levels. Our results show that recovery from short-term exposure to acidification and hypoxia was not synergistic and suggest that recovery from acidification takes longer than from short-term hypoxia treatment through a potential effect on the sensorial and hence behavioral capacities of fish.

Continue reading ‘Predator avoidance in the European Seabass after recovery from short-term hypoxia and different CO2 conditions’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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