Posts Tagged 'metals'

Combined effects of sea water acidification and copper exposure on the symbiont-bearing foraminifer Amphistegina gibbosa

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local stressors such as ocean acidification and trace metal contamination. Reliable early warning monitoring tools are needed to assess and monitor coral reef health. Symbiont-bearing foraminifers (Amphistegina gibbosa) were kept under ambient conditions (no sea water acidification and no copper addition) or exposed to combinations of different levels of sea water pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.5 and 7.2) and environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved copper (measured: 1.0, 1.6, 2.3 and 3.2 µg L−1) in a mesocosm system. After 10- and 25-d exposure, foraminifers were analyzed for holobiont Ca2+-ATPase activity, bleaching, growth and mortality. Enzyme activity was inhibited in foraminifers exposed to pH 7.2 and 3.2 µg L−1 Cu for 25 d. Bleaching frequency was also higher at pH 7.2 combined with copper addition. There was no significant effect of sea water acidification and copper addition on mortality. However, test size was smaller in foraminifers exposed to copper, with a positive interactive effect of sea water acidification. These findings can be explained by the higher availability of free copper ions at lower water pH. This condition would increase Cu competition with Ca2+ for the binding sites on the organism, thus inhibiting Ca2+-ATPase activity and affecting the organism’s overall fitness. Findings reported here suggest that key processes in A. gibbosa, such as calcification and photosynthesis, are affected by the combined effect of global (sea water acidification) and local (copper contamination) stressors. Considering the experimental conditions employed (mesocosm system, possible ocean acidification scenarios, low copper concentrations, biomarkers of ecological relevance and chronic exposure), our findings support the use of foraminifera and biomarkers analyzed in the present study as reliable tools to detect and monitor the ecological impacts of multiple stressors in coral reef environments.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of sea water acidification and copper exposure on the symbiont-bearing foraminifer Amphistegina gibbosa’

Global proteome profiling of a marine copepod and the mitigating effect of ocean acidification on mercury toxicity after multigenerational exposure

Previously, we found that ocean acidification (OA) mitigates mercury (Hg) toxicity to marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus under multigenerational exposure (four generations, F0-F3). To determine the response mechanisms of T. japonicus against long-term exposure to OA and Hg pollution, we investigated the proteome of F3 copepods after multigenerational exposure to four conditions: pCO2 400 μatm + control; pCO2 1000 μatm + control; pCO2 400 μatm + 1.0 µg/L Hg; and pCO2 1000 μatm + 1.0 µg/L Hg. Functional enrichment analysis indicated that OA enhanced the copepod’s energy production mainly by increasing protein assimilation and proteolysis as a compensatory strategy, which explained its physiological resilience to reduced pH. Conversely, Hg treatment decreased many critical processes, including ferric iron binding, antioxidant activity, cellular homeostasis, and glutathione metabolism, and these toxic events could translate into higher-level responses, i.e., restrained reproduction in copepods. Importantly, the mediation of Hg toxicity in T. japonicus by OA could be explained by the enhanced lysosome-autophagy pathway proteomes that are responsible for repairing/removing damaged proteins/enzymes under stress. Overall, this study provided molecular insights into the response of T. japonicus to long-term exposure of OA and Hg, with a particular emphasis on the mitigating impact of CO2-driven acidification on Hg toxicity.

Continue reading ‘Global proteome profiling of a marine copepod and the mitigating effect of ocean acidification on mercury toxicity after multigenerational exposure’

Physiological and biochemical impacts induced by mercury pollution and seawater acidification in Hediste diversicolor

The present study evaluated the impacts of predicted seawater acidification and Hg pollution, when stressors were acting alone and in combination, on the polychaete Hediste diversicolor. Polychaetes were exposed during 28 days to low pH (7.5), Hg (5 μg/L) and pH 7.5 + Hg, and physiological alterations (respiration rate), biochemical markers related to metabolic potential (glycogen and protein content, electron transport system activity) and oxidative status (activity of antioxidant and biotransformation enzymes, lipid peroxidation) were evaluated. The results obtained clearly showed that polychaetes were sensitive to low pH and Hg contamination, both acting alone or in combination. Organisms used their energy reserves under stressful conditions, which decreased by up to half of the control content, probably to fuel defence mechanisms. Our findings further demonstrated that polychaetes exposed to these stressors presented increased antioxidant defence mechanisms (3 fold compared to control). However, organisms were not able to prevent cellular damage, especially noticed at Hg exposure and pH 7.5. Overall, although all the tested conditions induced oxidative stress in Hediste diversicolor, the combined effect of seawater acidification and Hg contamination did not induce higher impacts in polychaetes than single stressor exposures. These findings may indicate that predicted climate change scenarios may not increase Hediste diversicolor sensitivity towards Hg and may not significantly change the toxicity of this contaminant to this polychaete species.

Continue reading ‘Physiological and biochemical impacts induced by mercury pollution and seawater acidification in Hediste diversicolor’

Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) may potentially modify the responses of aquatic organisms to other environmental stressors including metals. In this study, we investigated the effects of near-future OA (pCO2 1000 μatm) and mercury (Hg) on the development and reproduction of marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus under multigenerational life-cycle exposure. Metal accumulation as well as seven life history traits (survival rate, sex ratio, developmental time from nauplius to copepodite, developmental time from nauplius to adult, number of clutches, number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity) was quantified for each generation. Hg exposure alone evidently suppressed the number of nauplii/clutch, whereas single OA exposure negligibly affected the seven traits of copepods. However, OA exposure significantly alleviated the Hg inhibitory effects on number of nauplii/clutch and fecundity, which could be explained by the reduced Hg accumulation under OA. Such combined exposure also significantly shortened the development time. Thus, in contrast to earlier findings for other toxic metals, this study demonstrated that OA potentially mitigated the Hg toxicity to some important life traits in marine copepods during multigenerational exposure.

Continue reading ‘Alleviation of mercury toxicity to a marine copepod under multigenerational exposure by ocean acidification’

Simulating CO2 leakage from sub-seabed storage to determine metal toxicity on marine bacteria


  • Effects of CO2 leakage from CCS activities on marine bacteria were assessed.
  • Zn and Cd toxicity are evaluated under CO2 acidified conditions.
  • Negative responses because of the combination of metals and CO2 were observed.


CO2 storage in sub-seabed marine geological formations has been proposed as an adequate strategy to mitigate high CO2 concentration from the atmosphere. The lack of knowledge about the potential risks of this technology on marine bacteria population in presence of metals has lead us to perform laboratory-scale experiments in order to evaluate its consequences. Thus, the effects of Zn and Cd were studied under acid conditions on Roseobacter sp. and Pseudomonas litoralis. Bacterial abundance (cells mL− 1), growth rates (μ, h− 1), relative inhibitory effects of CO2 (RICO2), and production of Extracellular Polysaccharides Substances (EPS) (μg Glucose cells− 1) were evaluated. A decreasing exopolysaccharides (EPS) production was found under low pH. Bacterial abundance as well as growth rates showed negative effects. Data obtained in this work are useful to determine the potential effects associated with enrichment of CO2 and metals on the marine ecosystem.

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Expected CO2-induced ocean acidification modulates copper toxicity in the green tide alga Ulva prolifera


  • The inhibition of Cu on growth and photosynthesis was reduced at moderate pCO2.
  • The inhibition of Cu on growth and photosynthesis was magnified at high pCO2.
  • Respiration and Chl a were enhanced by increased Cu at low and moderate pCO2 levels.
  • Shrank and branched thalli were induced by high Cu and pCO2.


Cu is considered to be toxic to macroalgae at higher levels. Ocean acidification can also alter the physiological performances of macroalgae. However, little is known regarding the interactive effects of Cu and ocean acidification on macroalgae. In this study, a green tide macroalga, Ulva prolifera, was cultured at the conditions of three levels of Cu (control, 0.5 μM, and 2 μM) and pCO2 (ambient, 1000 μatm, and 1400 μatm) to investigate the responses of U. prolifera to interaction of Cu exposure and ocean acidification. The relative growth rate of thalli decreased with the rise of Cu for all pCO2 conditions except the 1000 μatm pCO2. Compared with the control, 2 μM Cu reduced the net photosynthetic rate for all pCO2 conditions while 0.5 μM Cu only reduced it at 1400 μatm pCO2. The inhibition rate of Cu on the relative growth rate and net photosynthetic rate was reduced at 1000 μatm pCO2 but was magnified at 1400 μatm pCO2. Contrary to growth, the dark respiration rate was enhanced by 0.5 μM Cu at ambient pCO2 and by 2 μM Cu at ambient and 1000 μatm pCO2, although it was reduced by 2 μM Cu at 1400 μatm pCO2 compared to the control. The 0.5 μM Cu did not affect the relative electron transport rate (rETR) for any pCO2 condition but 2 μM Cu decreased it for all pCO2 conditions except 1000 μatm pCO2. The mute effect of 0.5 μM Cu on the net photosynthetic rate and rETR at ambient pCO2 may be due to more Chl a and Chl b being synthesized. In addition, 2 μM Cu and 1400 μatm pCO2 led to branched thalli, which may be a defense mechanism against the stress of high Cu and pCO2. Our data, for the first time, demonstrate that a modest increase of pCO2 can alleviate the toxicity of Cu to U. prolifera whilst a further increase exacerbates it. U. prolifera can respond to the stress of Cu pollution and ocean acidification via physiological and morphological alterations.

Continue reading ‘Expected CO2-induced ocean acidification modulates copper toxicity in the green tide alga Ulva prolifera’

Marine phytoplankton and the changing ocean iron cycle

The availability of the micronutrient iron governs phytoplankton growth across much of the ocean, but the global iron cycle is changing rapidly due to accelerating acidification, stratification, warming and deoxygenation. These mechanisms of global change will cumulatively affect the aqueous chemistry, sources and sinks, recycling, particle dynamics and bioavailability of iron. Biological iron demand will vary as acclimation to environmental change modifies cellular requirements for photosynthesis and nitrogen acquisition and as adaptive evolution or community shifts occur. Warming, acidification and nutrient co-limitation interactions with iron biogeochemistry will all strongly influence phytoplankton dynamics. Predicting the shape of the future iron cycle will require understanding the responses of each component of the unique biogeochemistry of this trace element to many concurrent and interacting environmental changes.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book