The objective of this study was to assess experimentally the potential impact of anthropogenic pH perturbation (ApHP) on concentrations of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), as well as processes governing the microbial cycling of sulfur compounds. A summer planktonic community from surface waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary was monitored in microcosms over 12 days under three pCO2 targets: 1 × pCO2 (775 µatm), 2 × pCO2 (1,850 µatm), and 3 × pCO2 (2,700 µatm). A mixed phytoplankton bloom comprised of diatoms and unidentified flagellates developed over the course of the experiment. The magnitude and timing of biomass buildup, measured by chlorophyll a concentration, changed in the 3 × pCO2 treatment, reaching about half the peak chlorophyll a concentration measured in the 1 × pCO2 treatment, with a 2-day lag. Doubling and tripling the pCO2 resulted in a 15% and 40% decline in average concentrations of DMS compared to the control. Results from 35S-DMSPd uptake assays indicated that neither concentrations nor microbial scavenging efficiency of dissolved DMSP was affected by increased pCO2. However, our results show a reduction of the mean microbial yield of DMS by 34% and 61% in the 2 × pCO2 and 3 × pCO2 treatments, respectively. DMS concentrations correlated positively with microbial yields of DMS (Spearman’s ρ = 0.65; P < 0.001), suggesting that the impact of ApHP on concentrations of DMS in diatom-dominated systems may be strongly linked with alterations of the microbial breakdown of dissolved DMSP. Findings from this study provide further empirical evidence of the sensitivity of the microbial DMSP switch under ApHP. Because even small modifications in microbial regulatory mechanisms of DMSP can elicit changes in atmospheric chemistry via dampened efflux of DMS, results from this study may contribute to a better comprehension of Earth’s future climate.
Dinitrogen (N2) fixation is a major source of bioavailable nitrogen to oligotrophic ocean communities. Yet, we have limited understanding how ongoing climate change could alter N2 fixation. Most of our understanding is based on short-term laboratory experiments conducted on individual N2-fixing species whereas community-level approaches are rare. In this longer-term in situ mesocosm study, we aimed to improve our understanding on the role of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and simulated deep water upwelling on N2 and carbon (C) fixation rates in a natural oligotrophic plankton community. We deployed nine mesocosms in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean and enriched seven of these with CO2 to yield a range of treatments (partial pressure of CO2, pCO2 = 352–1025 μatm). We measured rates of N2 and C fixation in both light and dark incubations over the 55-day study period. High pCO2 negatively impacted light and dark N2 fixation rates in the oligotrophic phase before simulated upwelling, while the effect reversed in the light N2 fixation rates in the bloom decay phase after added nutrients were consumed. Dust deposition and simulated upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water increased N2 fixation rates and nifH gene abundances of selected clades including the unicellular diazotrophic cyanobacterium clade UCYN-B. Elevated pCO2 increased C fixation rates in the decay phase. We conclude that elevated pCO2 and pulses of upwelling have pronounced effects on diazotrophy and primary producers, and upwelling and dust deposition modify the pCO2 effect in natural assemblages.
The effects of seagrass on microalgal assemblages under experimentally elevated temperatures (28°C) and CO2 partial pressures (pCO2; 800 μatm) were examined using coral reef mesocosms. Concentrations of nitrate, ammonium, and benthic microalgal chlorophyll a (chl-a) were significantly higher in seagrass mesocosms, whereas phytoplankton chl-a concentrations were similar between seagrass and seagrass-free control mesocosms. In the seagrass group, fewer parasitic dinoflagellate OTUs (e.g., Syndiniales) were found in the benthic microalgal community though more symbiotic dinoflagellates (e.g., Cladocopium spp.) were quantified in the phytoplankton community. Our results suggest that, under ocean acidification conditions, the presence of seagrass nearby coral reefs may (1) enhance benthic primary productivity, (2) decrease parasitic dinoflagellate abundance, and (3) possibly increase the presence of symbiotic dinoflagellates.
Globally, kelp forests are threatened by multiple stressors, including increasing grazing by sea urchins. With coastal upwelling predicted to increase in intensity and duration in the future, understanding whether kelp forest and urchin barren urchins are differentially affected by upwelling-related stressors will give insight into how future conditions may affect the transition between kelp forests and barrens. We assessed how current and future-predicted changes in the duration and magnitude of upwelling-associated stressors (low pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature) affected the performance of purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) sourced from rapidly-declining bull kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana) forests and nearby barrens and maintained on habitat-specific diets. Kelp forest urchins were of superior condition to barrens urchins, with ~ 6–9 times more gonad per body mass. Grazing and condition in kelp forest urchins were more negatively affected by distant-future and extreme upwelling conditions, whereas grazing and survival in urchins from barrens were sensitive to both current-day and all future-predicted upwelling, and to increases in acidity, hypoxia, and temperature regardless of upwelling. We conclude that urchin barren urchins are more susceptible to increases in the magnitude and duration of upwelling-related stressors than kelp forest urchins. These findings have important implications for urchin population dynamics and their interaction with kelp.
Quantifying the strength of non-trophic interactions exerted by foundation species is critical to understanding how natural communities respond to environmental stress. In the case of ocean acidification (OA), submerged marine macrophytes, such as seagrasses, may create local areas of elevated pH due to their capacity to sequester dissolved inorganic carbon through photosynthesis. However, although seagrasses may increase seawater pH during the day, they can also decrease pH at night due to respiration. Therefore, it remains unclear how consequences of such diel fluctuations may unfold for organisms vulnerable to OA. We established mesocosms containing different levels of seagrass biomass (Zostera marina) to create a gradient of carbonate chemistry conditions and explored consequences for growth of juvenile and adult oysters (Crassostrea gigas), a non-native species widely used in aquaculture that can co-occur, and is often grown, in proximity to seagrass beds. In particular, we investigated whether increased diel fluctuations in pH due to seagrass metabolism affected oyster growth. Seagrasses increased daytime pH up to 0.4 units but had little effect on nighttime pH (reductions less than 0.02 units). Thus, both the average pH and the amplitude of diel pH fluctuations increased with greater seagrass biomass. The highest seagrass biomass increased oyster shell growth rate (mm day−1) up to 40%. Oyster somatic tissue weight and oyster condition index exhibited a different pattern, peaking at intermediate levels of seagrass biomass. This work demonstrates the ability of seagrasses to facilitate oyster calcification and illustrates how non-trophic metabolic interactions can modulate effects of environmental change.
Acidification of the ocean due to high atmospheric CO2 levels may increase the resilience of diatoms causing dramatic shifts in abiotic and biotic cycles with lasting implications on marine ecosystems. Here, we report a potential bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of a coastal and centric model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana under elevated CO2. Specifically, we have discovered, through EGFP-tagging, a plastid membrane localized putative Na+(K+)/H+ antiporter that is significantly upregulated at >800 ppm CO2, with a potentially important role in maintaining pH homeostasis. Notably, transcript abundance of this antiporter gene was relatively low and constant over the diel cycle under contemporary CO2 conditions. In future acidified oceanic conditions, dramatic oscillation with >10-fold change between nighttime (high) and daytime (low) transcript abundances of the antiporter was associated with increased resilience of T. pseudonana. By analyzing metatranscriptomic data from the Tara Oceans project, we demonstrate that phylogenetically diverse diatoms express homologs of this antiporter across the globe. We propose that the differential between night- and daytime transcript levels of the antiporter could serve as a bioindicator of a shift in the resilience of diatoms in response to high CO2 conditions in marine environments.
Ocean Acidification (OA) can have pervasive effects in calcifying marine organisms, and a better understanding of how different populations respond at the physiological and evolutionary level could help to model the impacts of global change in marine ecosystems. Due to its natural geography and oceanographic processes, the Chilean coast provides a natural laboratory where benthic organisms are frequently exposed to diverse projected OA scenarios. The goal of this study was to assess whether a population of mollusks thriving in a more variable environment (Talcaruca) would present higher phenotypic plasticity in physiological and morphological traits in response to different pCO2 when compared to a population of the same species from a more stable environment (Los Molles). To achieve this, two benthic limpets (Scurria zebrina and Scurria viridula) inhabiting these two contrasting localities were exposed to ocean acidification experimental conditions representing the current pCO2 in the Chilean coast (500 μatm) and the levels predicted for the year 2100 in upwelling zones (1500 (μatm). Our results show that the responses to OA are species-specific, even in this related species. Interestingly, S. viridula showed better performance under OA than S. zebrina (i.e., similar sizes and carbonate content in individuals from both populations; lower effects of acidification on the growth rate combined with a reduction of metabolism at higher pCO2). Remarkably, these characteristics could explain this species’ success in overstepping the biogeographical break in the area of Talcaruca, which S. zebrina cannot achieve. Besides, the results show that the habitat factor has a strong influence on some traits. For instance, individuals from Talcaruca presented a higher growth rate plasticity index and lower shell dissolution rates in acidified conditions than those from Los Molles. These results show that limpets from the variable environment tend to display higher plasticity, buffering the physiological effects of OA compared with limpets from the more stable environment. Taken together, these findings highlight the key role of geographic variation in phenotypic plasticity to determine the vulnerability of calcifying organisms to future scenarios of OA.
Long‐term experimental investigations of transgenerational plasticity (TGP) and transgenerational acclimatization to global change are sparse in marine invertebrates. Here, we test the effect of ocean warming and acidification over a 25‐month period of Echinometra sp. A sea urchins whose parents were acclimatized at ambient or one of two near‐future (projected mid‐ and end‐ of the 21st century) climate scenarios for 18 months. Several parameters linked to performance exhibited strong effects of future ocean conditions at 9 months of age. The Ambient‐Ambient group (A‐A, both F0 and F1 at ambient conditions) was significantly larger (21%) and faster in righting response (31%) compared to other groups. A second set of contrasts revealed near‐future scenarios caused significant negative parental carryover effects. Respiration at 9 months was depressed by 59% when parents were from near‐future climate conditions, and righting response was slowed by 28%. At ten months, a selective pathogenic mortality event lead to significantly higher survival rates of A‐A urchins. Differences in size and respiration measured prior to the mortality were absent after the event, while a negative parental effect on righting (29% reduction) remained. The capacity to spawn at the end of the experiment was higher in individuals with ambient parents (50%) compared to other groups (21%) suggesting persistent parental effects. Obtaining different results at different points in time illustrates the importance of longer‐term and multi‐generation studies to investigate effects of climate change. Given some animals in all groups survived the pathogenic event and that effects on physiology (but not behavior) among groups were eliminated after the mortality, we suggest that similar events could constitute selective sweeps, allowing genetic adaptation. However, given the observed negative parental effects and reduced potential for population replenishment it remains to be determined if selection would be sufficiently rapid to rescue this species from climate change effects.
Anthropogenic carbon emissions are causing changes in seawater carbonate chemistry including a decline in the pH of the oceans. While its aftermath for calcifying microbes has been widely studied, the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on marine viruses and their microbial hosts is controversial, and even more in combination with another anthropogenic stressor, i.e., human-induced nutrient loads. In this study, two mesocosm acidification experiments with Mediterranean waters from different seasons revealed distinct effects of OA on viruses and viral-mediated prokaryotic mortality depending on the trophic state and the successional stage of the plankton community. In the winter bloom situation, low fluorescence viruses, the most abundant virus-like particle (VLP) subpopulation comprising mostly bacteriophages, were negatively affected by lowered pH with nutrient addition, while the bacterial host abundance was stimulated. High fluorescence viruses, containing cyanophages, were stimulated by OA regardless of the nutrient conditions, while cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus were negatively affected by OA. Moreover, the abundance of very high fluorescence viruses infecting small haptophytes tended to be lower under acidification while their putative hosts’ abundance was enhanced, suggesting a direct and negative effect of OA on viral–host interactions. In the oligotrophic summer situation, we found a stimulating effect of OA on total viral abundance and the viral populations, suggesting a cascading effect of the elevated pCO2 stimulating autotrophic and heterotrophic production. In winter, viral lysis accounted for 30 ± 16% of the loss of bacterial standing stock per day (VMMBSS) under increased pCO2 compared to 53 ± 35% in the control treatments, without effects of nutrient additions while in summer, OA had no significant effects on VMMBSS (35 ± 20% and 38 ± 5% per day in the OA and control treatments, respectively). We found that phage production and resulting organic carbon release rates significantly reduced under OA in the nutrient replete winter situation, but it was also observed that high nutrient loads lowered the negative effect of OA on viral lysis, suggesting an antagonistic interplay between these two major global ocean stressors in the Anthropocene. In summer, however, viral-mediated carbon release rates were lower and not affected by lowered pH. Eutrophication consistently stimulated viral production regardless of the season or initial conditions. Given the relevant role of viruses for marine carbon cycling and the biological carbon pump, these two anthropogenic stressors may modulate carbon fluxes through their effect on viruses at the base of the pelagic food web in a future global change scenario.
In the present study, we depict the structural modification of test minerals, physiological response and ovarian damage in the tropical sea urchin Salmacis virgulata using microcosm CO2 (Carbon dioxide) perturbation experiment. S. virgulata were exposed to hypercapnic conditions with four different pH levels using CO2 gas bubbling method that reflects ambient level (pH 8.2) and elevated pCO2 scenarios (pH 8.0, 7.8 and 7.6). The variations in physical strength and mechanical properties of S. virgulata test were evaluated by thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analysis and scanned electron microscopy analysis. Biomarker enzymes such as glutathione-S-transferase, catalase, acetylcholine esterase, lipid peroxidase and reduced glutathione showed physiological stress and highly significant (p < 0.01) towards pH 7.6 and 7.8 treatments. Ovarian cells were highly damaged at pH 7.6 and 7.8 treatments. This study proved that the pH level 7.6 and 7.8 drastically affect calcification, physiological response and ovarian cells in S. virgulata.
Climate change is causing ocean temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO(2)) to increase. For sea anemones that have Symbiodiniaceae, high temperatures induce bleaching, whereas rises in pCO(2) can enhance photosynthesis and increase host growth and abundance. It is, however, not clear how the interaction of these two stressors impacts sea anemones that provide habitat for anemonefishes. Here, we investigated the bleaching response of the sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor, under four conditions: (i) current temperature and current pCO(2) (control); (ii) future pCO(2); (iii) future temperature; and (iv) future temperature and future pCO(2). After 16 days of exposure, future temperature, but not pCO(2) nor their interaction, significantly reduced the Symbiodiniaceae density and total chlorophyll Symbiodiniaceae cell(-1). Colour score was lower in the sea anemones exposed to future temperature than current temperature from day 4 onwards. In contrast, total chlorophyll symbiont cell(-1) increased in the future temperature treatments, and light-adapted effective quantum yield remained similar in all treatments. Although pCO(2) had no impact within the time frame of our experiment, the predicted future temperature induced bleaching in E. quadricolor. As bleaching events increase in frequency and severity, this will likely impact the abundance of host sea anemones and their symbiotic anemonefishes.
The acidification and warming of seawater have several impacts on marine organisms, including over microorganisms. The influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofilms grown on API 5L steel surfaces was evaluated by sequencing the 16S ribosomal gene. For this, three microcosms were designed, the first simulating the natural marine environment (MCC), the second with a decrease in pH from 8.1 to 7.9, and an increase in temperature by 2 °C (MMS), and the third with pH in around 7.7 and an increase in temperature of 4 °C (MES). The results showed that MCC was dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria class, mainly members of the Alteromonadales Order. The second most abundant group was Alphaproteobacteria, with a predominance of Rhodobacterales and Oceanospirillales. In the MMS system there was a balance between representatives of the Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria classes. In MES there was an inversion in the representations of the most prevalent classes previously described in MCC. In this condition, there was a predominance of members of the Alphaproteobacteria Class, in contrast to the decrease in the abundance of Gammaproteobacteria members. These results suggest that possible future climate changes may influence the dynamics of the biofouling process in surface metals.
The oceans’ uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) decreases seawater pH and alters the inorganic carbon speciation – summarized in the term ocean acidification (OA). Already today, coastal regions experience episodic pH events during which surface layer pH drops below values projected for the surface ocean at the end of the century. Future OA is expected to further enhance the intensity of these coastal extreme pH events. To evaluate the influence of such episodic OA events in coastal regions, we deployed eight pelagic mesocosms for 53 days in Raunefjord, Norway, and enclosed 56–61 m3 of local seawater containing a natural plankton community under nutrient limited post-bloom conditions. Four mesocosms were enriched with CO2 to simulate extreme pCO2 levels of 1978 – 2069 μatm while the other four served as untreated controls. Here, we present results from multivariate analyses on OA-induced changes in the phyto-, micro-, and mesozooplankton community structure. Pronounced differences in the plankton community emerged early in the experiment, and were amplified by enhanced top-down control throughout the study period. The plankton groups responding most profoundly to high CO2 conditions were cyanobacteria (negative), chlorophyceae (negative), auto- and heterotrophic microzooplankton (negative), and a variety of mesozooplanktonic taxa, including copepoda (mixed), appendicularia (positive), hydrozoa (positive), fish larvae (positive), and gastropoda (negative). The restructuring of the community coincided with significant changes in the concentration and elemental stoichiometry of particulate organic matter. Results imply that extreme CO2 events can lead to a substantial reorganization of the planktonic food web, affecting multiple trophic levels from phytoplankton to primary and secondary consumers.
The cycling of the trace gas dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and its precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) may be affected by future ocean acidification and warming. DMSP and DMS concentrations were monitored over 20-days in four mesocosm experiments in which the temperature and pH of coastal water were manipulated to projected values for the year 2100 and 2150. This had no effect on DMSP in the two-initial nutrient-depleted experiments; however, in the two nutrient-amended experiments, warmer temperature combined with lower pH had a more significant effect on DMSP & DMS concentrations than lower pH alone. Overall, this indicates that future warming may have greater influence on DMS production than ocean acidification. The observed reduction in DMSP at warmer temperatures was associated with changes in phytoplankton community and in particular with small flagellate biomass. A small decrease in DMS concentration was measured in the treatments relative to other studies, from −2% in the nutrient-amended low pH treatment to −16% in the year 2150 pH and temperature conditions. Temporal variation was also observed with DMS concentration increasing earlier in the higher temperature treatment. Nutrient availability and community composition should be considered in models of future DMS.
The capacity of marine organisms to adapt and/or acclimate to climate change might differ among distinct populations, depending on their local environmental history and phenotypic plasticity. Kelp forests create some of the most productive habitats in the world, but globally, many populations have been negatively impacted by multiple anthropogenic stressors. Here, we compare the physiological and molecular responses to ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) of two populations of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera from distinct upwelling conditions (weak vs strong). Using laboratory mesocosm experiments, we found that juvenile Macrocystis sporophyte responses to OW and OA did not differ among populations: elevated temperature reduced growth while OA had no effect on growth and photosynthesis. However, we observed higher growth rates and NO3− assimilation, and enhanced expression of metabolic-genes involved in the NO3− and CO2 assimilation in individuals from the strong upwelling site. Our results suggest that despite no inter-population differences in response to OA and OW, intrinsic differences among populations might be related to their natural variability in CO2, NO3− and seawater temperatures driven by coastal upwelling. Further work including additional populations and fluctuating climate change conditions rather than static values are needed to precisely determine how natural variability in environmental conditions might influence a species’ response to climate change.
Mesocosm was conducted to evaluate bloom potential of U. ohnoi in the future ocean.
Bloom potential was higher in ocean acidification with improved C and N metabolism.
Positive metabolic change in ocean acidification were offset by elevated temperature.
The bloom potential decreases when acidification and warming are combined.
The occurrence of green-tides, whose bloom potential may be increased by various human activities and biogeochemical process, results in enormous economic losses and ecosystem collapse. In this study, we investigated the ecophysiology of the subtropical green-tide forming alga, Ulva ohnoi complex (hereafter: U. ohnoi), under simulated future ocean conditions in order to predict its bloom potential using photosynthesis and growth measurements, and stable isotope analyses. Our mesocosm system included four experimental conditions that simulated the individual and combined effects of elevated CO2 and temperature, namely control (450 μatm CO2 & 20oC), acidification (900 μatm CO2 & 20oC), warming (450 μatm CO2 & 25oC), and greenhouse (900 μatm CO2 & 25oC). Photosynthetic electron transport rates (rETR) increased significantly under acidification conditions, but net photosynthesis and growth were not affected. In contrast, rETR, net photosynthesis, and growth all decreased significantly under elevated temperature conditions (i.e. both warming and greenhouse). These results represent the imbalance of energy metabolism between electron transport and O2 production that may be expected under ocean acidification conditions. This imbalance appears to be related to carbon and nitrogen assimilation by U. ohnoi. In particular, 13C and 15N discrimination data suggest U. ohnoi prefers CO2 and NH4+ over HCO3– and NO3– as sources of carbon and nitrogen, respectively, and this results in increased N content in the thallus under ocean acidification conditions. Together, our results suggest a trade-off in which the bloom potential of U. ohnoi could increase under ocean acidification due to greater N accumulation and through the saving of energy during carbon and nitrogen metabolism, but that elevated temperatures could decrease U. ohnoi’s bloom potential through a decrease in photosynthesis and growth.
Marine macroalgae have variable carbon-uptake strategies that complicate predicting responses to environmental changes. In seawater, dissolved inorganic carbon availability can affect the underlying physiological mechanisms influencing carbon uptake. We tested the interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) and warming on two HCO−3HCO3−-users (Lobophora sp. and Amansia rhodantha), a predominately CO2-user (Avrainvillea nigricans), and a sole CO2-user (Plocamium hamatum) in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We examined metabolic rates, growth, and carbon isotope values (δ13C) in algae at 26, 28, or 30°C under ambient or elevated pCO2 (∼1000 µatm). Under OA, δ13C values for the HCO−3HCO3−-users decreased, indicating less reliance on HCO−3HCO3−, while δ13C values for CO2-users were unaffected. Both HCO−3HCO3−-users decreased in growth across temperatures under ambient pCO2, but this negative effect was alleviated by OA at 30°C. A. nigricans lost biomass across all treatments and P. hamatum was most sensitive, with reduced survival in all physiological responses. Metabolic rates varied greatly to interacting temperature and OA and indicated a decoupling between the relationship of photosynthesis and growth. Furthermore, our findings suggest HCO−3HCO3−-users are more responsive to future CO2 changes, and highlight examining carbon physiology to infer potential responses to interacting environmental stressors.
Global climate change will drive declines in coral reefs over coming decades. Yet, the relative role of temperature versus acidification, and the ability of resultant ecosystems to retain core services such as coastal protection, are less clear. Here, we investigate changes to the net chemical balances of calcium carbonate within complex experimental coral reefs over 18 months under conditions projected for 2100 if CO2 emissions continue unmitigated. We reveal a decoupling of calcifier biomass and calcification under the synergistic impact of warming and acidification, that combined with increased night-time dissolution, leads to an accelerated loss of carbonate frameworks. Climate change induced degradation will limit the ability of coral reefs to keep-up with sea level rise, possibly for thousands of years. We conclude that instead of simply transitioning to alternate states that are capable of buffering coastlines, reefs are at risk of drowning leading to critical losses in ecosystem functions.
The main source of marine organic carbon (OC) is autotrophic production, while heterotrophic degradation is its main sink. Increased anthropogenic CO2 release leads to ocean acidification and is expected to alter phytoplankton community composition, primary production rates and bacterial degradation processes in the coming decades with potential consequences for dissolved and particulate OC concentration and composition. Here we investigate effects of increased pCO2 on dissolved and particulate amino acids (AA) and carbohydrates (CHO), in arctic and sub-arctic planktonic communities in two large-scale mesocosm experiments. Dissolved AA concentrations responded to pCO2/pH changes during early bloom phases but did not show many changes after nutrient addition. A clear positive correlation in particulate AA was detected in post-bloom phases. Direct responses in CHO concentrations to changing pCO2/pH were lacking, suggesting that observed changes were rather indirect and dependent on the phytoplankton community composition. The relative composition of AA and CHO did not change as a direct consequence of pCO2 increase. Changes between bloom phases were associated with the prevailing nutrient status. Our results suggest that biomolecule composition will change under future ocean conditions but responses are highly complex, and seem to be dependent on many factors including bloom phase and sampling site.
Kelps provide critical services for coastal food chains and ecosystem, and they are important food source for some segments of human population. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about long‐term impacts of elevated CO2 (eCO2) on nutrient metabolites in kelps and the underlying regulation mechanisms. In this study, the kelp Saccharina japonica was cultured in CO2 enriched coastal mesocosm systems for up to 3 months. We found that though eCO2 significantly increased the growth rate, carbon concentrations and C/N ratio of S. japonica, it had no effect on total nitrogen and protein contents at the end of cultivation period. Meanwhile it decreased the lipid, magnesium, sodium, calcium contents and changed the amino acid and fatty acid composition. Combining the genome‐wide transcriptomic and metabolic evidence, we obtained a systems‐level understanding of metabolic response of S. japonica to eCO2. The unique ornithine‐urea cycle (OUC) and aspartate‐argininosuccinate shunt (AAS), coupled with TCA cycle balanced the carbon and nitrogen metabolism under eCO2 by providing carbon skeleton for amino acid synthesis and reduced power for nitrogen assimilation. This research provides a major advance in the understanding of kelp nutrient metabolic mechanism in the context of global climate change, and such CO2‐induced shifts in nutritional value may induce changes in the structure and stability of marine trophic webs and affect the quality of human nutrition resources.