Posts Tagged 'mesocosms'

Climate change does not affect seafood quality of a common targeted fish

Climate change can affect marine and estuarine fish via alterations to their distributions, abundances, sizes, physiology and ecological interactions, threatening the provision of ecosystem goods and services. While we have an emerging understanding of such ecological impacts to fish, we know little about the potential influence of climate change on the provision of nutritional seafood to sustain human populations. In particular, the quantity, quality and/or taste of seafood may be altered by future environmental changes with implications for the economic viability of fisheries. In an orthogonal mesocosm experiment, we tested the influence of near‐future ocean warming and acidification on the growth, health and seafood quality of a recreationally and economically important fish, yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus australis). The growth of yellowfin bream significantly increased under near‐future temperature conditions (but not acidification), with little change in health (blood glucose and haematocrit) or tissue biochemistry and nutritional properties (fatty acids, lipids, macro‐and micronutrients, moisture, ash, and total N). Yellowfin bream appear to be highly resilient to predicted near‐future ocean climate change, which might be facilitated by their broad spatio‐temporal distribution across habitats and broad diet. Moreover, an increase in growth, but little change in tissue quality, suggests that near‐future ocean conditions will benefit fisheries and fishers that target yellowfin bream. The data reiterate the inherent resilience of yellowfin bream as an evolutionary consequence of their euryhaline status in often environmentally challenging habitats, and imply their sustainable and viable fisheries into the future.We contend that widely‐distributed species that span large geographic areas and habitats can be “climate‐winners” by being resilient to negative direct impacts of near‐future oceanic and estuarine climate change.
Continue reading ‘Climate change does not affect seafood quality of a common targeted fish’

Effect of elevated pCO2 on trace gas production during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment (update)

A mesocosm experiment was conducted in Wuyuan Bay (Xiamen), China, to investigate the effects of elevated pCO2 on the phytoplankton species Phaeodactylum tricornutum (P. tricornutum), Thalassiosira weissflogii (T. weissflogii) and Emiliania huxleyi (E. huxleyi) and their production ability of dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), as well as four halocarbon compounds, bromodichloromethane (CHBrCl2), methyl bromide (CH3Br), dibromomethane (CH2Br2) and iodomethane (CH3I). Over a period of 5 weeks, P. tricornuntum outcompeted T. weissflogii and E. huxleyi, comprising more than 99% of the final biomass. During the logarithmic growth phase (phase I), mean DMS concentration in high pCO2 mesocosms (1000µatm) was 28% lower than that in low pCO2 mesocosms (400µatm). Elevated pCO2 led to a delay in DMSP-consuming bacteria concentrations attached to T. weissflogii and P. tricornutum and finally resulted in the delay of DMS concentration in the high pCO2 treatment. Unlike DMS, the elevated pCO2 did not affect DMSP production ability of T. weissflogii or P. tricornuntum throughout the 5-week culture. A positive relationship was detected between CH3I and T. weissflogii and P. tricornuntum during the experiment, and there was a 40% reduction in mean CH3I concentration in the high pCO2 mesocosms. CHBrCl2, CH3Br, and CH2Br2 concentrations did not increase with elevated chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations compared with DMS(P) and CH3I, and there were no major peaks both in the high pCO2 or low pCO2 mesocosms. In addition, no effect of elevated pCO2 was identified for any of the three bromocarbons.

Continue reading ‘Effect of elevated pCO2 on trace gas production during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment (update)’

Response of pelagic calcifiers (Foraminifera, Thecosomata) to ocean acidification during oligotrophic and simulated up-welling conditions in the subtropical North Atlantic off Gran Canaria

Planktonic Foraminifera and thecosome pteropods are major producers of calcite and aragonite in the ocean and play an important role for pelagic carbonate flux. The responses of planktonic foraminifers to ocean acidification (OA) are variable among the species tested and so far do not allow for reliable conclusion. Thecosome pteropods respond with reduced calcification and shell dissolution to OA and are considered at high risk especially at high latitudes. The present investigation was part of a large-scale in situ mesocosm experiment in the oligotrophic waters of the eastern subtropical North Atlantic. Over 62 days, we measured the abundance and vertical flux of pelagic foraminifers and thecosome pteropods as part of a natural plankton community over a range of OA scenarios. A bloom phase was initiated by the introduction of deep-water collected from approx. 650 m depth simulating a natural up-welling event. Foraminifers occurred throughout the entire experiment in both the water column and the sediment traps. Pteropods were present only in small numbers and disappeared after the first two weeks of the experiment. No significant CO2 related effects were observed for foraminifers, but cumulative sedimentary flux was reduced at the highest CO2 concentrations. This flux reduction was most likely accompanying an observed flux reduction of particulate organic matter (POM) so that less foraminifers were intercepted and transported downward.

Continue reading ‘Response of pelagic calcifiers (Foraminifera, Thecosomata) to ocean acidification during oligotrophic and simulated up-welling conditions in the subtropical North Atlantic off Gran Canaria’

Indications of future performance of native and non-native adult oysters under acidification and warming


• Acidification and warming negatively impacted the physiology of Magallana gigas.
Ostrea edulis appeared unaffected by the treatment conditions.
• Efforts to promote the restoration of native O. edulis beds should be pursued.
• Efforts to eradicate M. gigas populations may need to be reconsidered.


Globally, non-native species (NNS) have been introduced and now often entirely replace native species in captive aquaculture; in part, a result of a perceived greater resilience of NSS to climate change and disease. Here, the effects of ocean acidification and warming on metabolic rate, feeding rate, and somatic growth was assessed using two co-occurring species of oysters – the introduced Pacific oyster Magallana gigas (formerly Crassostrea gigas), and native flat oyster Ostrea edulis. Biological responses to increased temperature and pCO2 combinations were tested, the effects differing between species. Metabolic rates and energetic demands of both species were increased by warming but not by elevated pCO2. While acidification and warming did not affect the clearance rate of O. edulis, M. gigas displayed a 40% decrease at ∼750 ppm pCO2. Similarly, the condition index of O. edulis was unaffected, but that of M. gigas was negatively impacted by warming, likely due to increased energetic demands that were not compensated for by increased feeding. These findings suggest differing stress from anthropogenic CO2 emissions between species and contrary to expectations, this was higher in introduced M. gigas than in the native O. edulis. If these laboratory findings hold true for populations in the wild, then continued CO2 emissions can be expected to adversely affect the functioning and structure of M. gigas populations with significant ecological and economic repercussions, especially for aquaculture. Our findings strengthen arguments in favour of investment in O. edulis restoration in UK waters.

Continue reading ‘Indications of future performance of native and non-native adult oysters under acidification and warming’

Ocean acidification increases iodine accumulation in kelp‐based coastal food webs

Kelp are main iodine accumulators in the ocean, and their growth and photosynthesis are likely to benefit from elevated seawater CO2 levels due to ocean acidification. However, there are currently no data on the effects of ocean acidification on iodine metabolism in kelp. As key primary producers in coastal ecosystems worldwide, any change in their iodine metabolism caused by climate change will potentially have important consequences for global geochemical cycles of iodine, including iodine levels of coastal food webs that underpin the nutrition of billions of humans around the world. Here, we found that elevated pCO2 enhanced growth and increased iodine accumulation not only in the model kelp Saccharina japonica using both short‐term laboratory experiment and long‐term in situ mesocosms, but also in several other edible and ecologically significant seaweeds using long‐term in situ mesocosms. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of S. japonica revealed that most vanadium‐dependent haloperoxidase genes involved in iodine efflux during oxidative stress are down‐regulated under increasing pCO2, suggesting that ocean acidification alleviates oxidative stress in kelp, which might contribute to their enhanced growth. When consumed by abalone (Haliotis discus), elevated iodine concentrations in S. japonica caused increased iodine accumulation in abalone, accompanied by reduced synthesis of thyroid hormones. Thus, our results suggest that kelp will benefit from ocean acidification by a reduction in environmental stress however, iodine levels in kelp‐based coastal food webs will increase, with potential impacts on biogeochemical cycles of iodine in coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases iodine accumulation in kelp‐based coastal food webs’

Physiological and biochemical responses of a coralline alga and a sea urchin to climate change: Implications for herbivory


• Algal metabolism and phenolic content were unaffected by CO2 and temperature treatments.
• CaCO3 content of algae decreased in high CO2 treatments.
• Total sugar content of algae was affected by both CO2 and temperature.
• Sea urchin respiration and feeding increased under high CO2, low temperature.
• Direct effects to sea urchin metabolism drove feeding more than algal palatability.


Direct responses to rising temperatures and ocean acidification are increasingly well known for many single species, yet recent reviews have highlighted the need for climate change research to consider a broader range of species, how stressors may interact, and how stressors may affect species interactions. The latter point is important in the context of plant-herbivore interactions, as increasing evidence shows that increasing seawater temperature and/or acidification can alter algal traits that dictate their susceptibility to herbivores, and subsequently, community and ecosystem properties. To better understand how marine rocky shore environments will be affected by a changing ocean, in the present study we investigated the direct effects of short-term, co-occurring increased temperature and ocean acidification on a coralline alga (Jania rubens) and a sea urchin herbivore (Echinometra lucunter) and assessed the indirect effects of these factors on the algal-herbivore interaction. A 21-day mesocosm experiment was conducted with both algae and sea urchins exposed to ambient (24 °C, Low CO2), high-temperature (28 °C, Low CO2), acidified (24 °C, High CO2), or high-temperature plus acidified (28 °C, High CO2) conditions. Algal photosynthesis, respiration, and phenolic content were unaffected by increased temperature and CO2, but calcium carbonate content was reduced under high CO2 treatments in both temperatures, while total sugar content of the algae was reduced under acidified, lower temperature conditions. Metabolic rates of the sea urchin were elevated in the lower temperature, high CO2 treatment, and feeding assays showed that consumption rates also increased in this treatment. Despite some changes to algal chemical composition, it appears that at least under short-term exposure to climate change conditions, direct effects on herbivore metabolism dictated herbivory rates, while indirect effects caused by changes in algal palatability seemed to be of minor importance.

Continue reading ‘Physiological and biochemical responses of a coralline alga and a sea urchin to climate change: Implications for herbivory’

Rhodoliths holobionts in a changing ocean: host-microbes interactions mediate coralline algae resilience under ocean acidification

Life in the ocean will increasingly have to contend with a complex matrix of concurrent shifts in environmental properties that impact their physiology and control their life histories. Rhodoliths are coralline red algae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) that are photosynthesizers, calcifiers, and ecosystem engineers and therefore represent important targets for ocean acidification (OA) research. Here, we exposed live rhodoliths to near-future OA conditions to investigate responses in their photosynthetic capacity, calcium carbonate production, and associated microbiome using carbon uptake, decalcification assays, and whole genome shotgun sequencing metagenomic analysis, respectively. The results from our live rhodolith assays were compared to similar manipulations on dead rhodolith (calcareous skeleton) biofilms and water column microbial communities, thereby enabling the assessment of host-microbiome interaction under climate-driven environmental perturbations.

Continue reading ‘Rhodoliths holobionts in a changing ocean: host-microbes interactions mediate coralline algae resilience under ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book