Posts Tagged 'metals'

CO2 leakage simulation: effects of the pH decrease on fertilisation and larval development of Paracentrotus lividus and sediment metals toxicity

Carbon capture and storage has become a new mitigation option to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The effects of the CO2-related acidification, associated with unpredictable leaks of CO2 during the operational phases were studied using the Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin-liquid-phase-assays (fertilisation and embryo-larval development tests). Besides to the direct effects of the CO2-associated pH decrease, the possible effects on marine sediment toxicity were studied by exposing the urchin larvae to elutriate of sediments with different metals concentration, which were subjected to various pH treatments. The resulted median toxic effect pH ranged from 6.33 ± 0.02 and 6.91 ± 0.01 for the egg fertilisation, and between 6.66 ± 0.03 and 7.16 ± 0.01 for the larval development assays. Concentrations of Co, Zn, As, Cu, and Fe were detected in the sediment elutriates. For all the sediment elutriates tested the amount of the dissolved Zn increased in parallel with the pH reductions. Correlated effects of acidification, biological response, and the presence of dissolved metals were observed in this work evidencing that the most important factor controlling the reduction of egg fertilisation and larval development success was the combined effects of the reduction of pH and the presence of the contaminants (mainly Zn, Co, and As).

Continue reading ‘CO2 leakage simulation: effects of the pH decrease on fertilisation and larval development of Paracentrotus lividus and sediment metals toxicity’

Acidified seawater increases accumulation of cobalt but not cesium in manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum


• Co accumulation in clam Ruditapes philippinarum might double due to ocean acidification.
• The highest CF of cobalt was observed in acidified seawater (pH:7.5).
• The longest Tb1/2 of cobalt was seen in moderately acidified seawater (pH:7.8).
• Cs uptake in clam Ruditapes philippinarum is not affected by increased pCO2.


The pH of seawater around the world is expected to continue its decline in the near future in response to ocean acidification that is driven by heightened atmospheric CO2emissions. Concomitantly, economically-important molluscs that live in coastal waters including estuaries and embayments, may be exposed to a wide assortment of contaminants, including trace metals and radionuclides. Seawater acidification may alter both the chemical speciation of select elements as well as the physiology of organisms, and may thus pose at risk to many shellfish species, including the manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. The bioconcentration efficiency of two common radionuclides associated with the nuclear fuel cycle, 134Cs and 57Co, were investigated by exposing live clams to dissolved 134Cs and 57Co at control (pH = 8.1) and two lowered pH (pH = 7.8 and 7.5) levels using controlled aquaria. The uptake and depuration kinetics of the two radionuclides in the whole-body clam were followed for 21 and 35 days, respectively. At steady-state equilibrium, the concentration factor (CFss) for 57Co increased as the pH decreased (i.e. 130 ± 5, 194 ± 6, and 258 ± 10 at pH levels 8.1, 7.8 and 7.5, respectively), whereas the 134Cs uptake was not influenced by a change in pH conditions. During depuration, the lowest depuration rate constant of 57Co by the manila clam was observed at the intermediate pH of 7.8. An increase in the accumulation of 57Co at the intermediate pH value was thought to be caused mainly by the aragonitic shell of the clam, as well as the low salinity and alkalinity of seawater used in the experiment. Considering that accumulation consists of uptake and depuration, among the three pH conditions moderately acidified seawater enhanced most the accumulation of 57Co. Accumulation of 134Cs was not strongly influenced by a reduced pH condition, as represented by an analogous uptake constant rate and CFss in each treatment. Such results suggest that future seawater pH values that are projected to be lower in the next decades, may pose a risk for calcium-bearing organisms such as shellfish.

Continue reading ‘Acidified seawater increases accumulation of cobalt but not cesium in manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum’

Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber


• Combined effects of acidification and cadmium were analysed in the scallop, F. glaber.
• Reduced pH slightly increased bioaccumulation of Cd.
• Synergistic and antagonistic effects occurred at cellular level.
• Tissue-specific responses indicate higher sensitivity of gills than digestive gland.
• Ocean acidification modulates the cellular toxicity of metals.


Ocean acidification (OA) may affect sensitivity of marine organisms to metal pollution modulating chemical bioavailability, bioaccumulation and biological responsiveness of several cellular pathways. In this study, the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber was exposed to various combinations of reduced pH (pH/pCO2 7.4/∼3000 μatm) and Cd (20 μg/L). The analyses on cadmium uptake were integrated with those of a wide battery of biomarkers including metallothioneins, single antioxidant defenses and total oxyradical scavenging capacity in digestive gland and gills, lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damage in haemocytes. Reduced pH slightly increased concentration of Cd in scallop tissues, but no effects were measured in terms of metallothioneins. Induction of some antioxidants by Cd and/or low pH in the digestive gland was not reflected in variations of the total oxyradical scavenging capacity, while the investigated stressors caused a certain inhibition of antioxidants and reduction of the scavenging capacity toward peroxyl radical in the gills. Lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damages showed high sensitivity with possible synergistic effects of the investigated factors. The overall results suggest that indirect effects of ocean acidification on metal accumulation and toxicity are tissue-specific and modulate oxidative balance through different mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber’

Increased CO2 and iron availability effects on carbon assimilation and calcification on the formation of Emiliania huxleyi blooms in a coastal phytoplankton community


• Increased dFe enhanced carbon fixation promoting a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi.
• High CO2 decreased carbon production during a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi.
• Carbon uptake was unaffected by CO2 and Fe availability in a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi.


In the present work, we exposed a natural phytoplankton community to either present (390-μatm, LC) or future CO2 levels predicted for year-2100 (900-μatm, HC) combined with ambient (4.5 nmol L−1, −DFB) or high (12 nmol L−1, +DFB) dissolved iron (dFe) levels, during 25 days by using mesocosms. We report on changes in carbon assimilation processes (acquisition, fixation, and calcification) of the phytoplankton community due to increased dissolved CO2 and dFe and to the interaction of both factors. The isotopic disequilibrium assay results showed that inorganic carbon (Ci) acquisition by the community was unaffected by CO2 and Fe availability. The main Ci source for photosynthesis was HCO3 and external carbonic anhydrase activity was only detected at the beginning of the experiment, suggesting a relevant role for HCO3 transporters in the phytoplankton community developed in all treatments. However, there was a significant effect of both factors on particulate organic carbon (POC) content, particulate calcium production and carbon fixation rates. Increased dFe at LC conditions led to the highest values of carbon fixation and POC of all treatments, promoting a massive Emiliania huxleyi bloom. This response was not observed in the HC treatments. The latter indicates a negative impact of increased CO2 on the formation of E. huxleyi blooms, in agreement with the observed significant reduction in calcium production under HC. Our results suggest that ocean acidification can decrease primary production under iron-replete conditions in E. huxleyi blooming areas, affecting the biological carbon pump in coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Increased CO2 and iron availability effects on carbon assimilation and calcification on the formation of Emiliania huxleyi blooms in a coastal phytoplankton community’

Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2

Ocean acidification will likely have significant impacts on phytoplankton growth in marine ecosystems over the course of this century. Coastal waters, which can be strongly influenced by suspended sediments, can also be particularly sensitive to ocean acidification. While the individual effects of trace metal inputs and ocean acidification have each been well documented, the combined effects of high trace metal concentrations due to mobilization from sediments and high dissolved CO2 concentrations (low seawater pH) on the growth of marine phytoplankton are not known. In this study, a batch culture experiment was performed using the model organism Cochlodinium polykrikoides over 35 d under a range of CO2 concentrations (400, 800, and 1200 ppmv) following sediment additions. At high CO2, dissolved iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) concentrations increased over time. Dissolved Ni concentrations were significantly higher after 35 d at 1200 ppmv CO2 compared to the other treatments and corresponded to significant decreases in C. polykrikoides growth rates. In addition, a toxicity bioassay experiment was performed over 29 d under a range of Ni or cadmium (Cd) concentrations at ambient CO2. The growth responses of C. polykrikoides were dose-dependent and were significantly lower under increasing Ni or Cd concentrations. The findings suggest that a combination of elevated total dissolved Ni supplied from sediments and high CO2 conditions could suppress the growth rates and photosynthesis of C. polykrikoides in coastal marine ecosystems. This is the first study to examine the synergistic, toxic effects of lithogenic trace metals and CO2 on phytoplankton growth.

Continue reading ‘Elevated toxic effect of sediments on growth of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides under high CO2’

Effects of elevated CO2 levels on subcellular distribution of trace metals (Cd and Cu) in marine bivalves


  • Effects of CO2 on Cu and Cd accumulation were studied in bivalves.
  • Cd strongly accumulated in organelles and enzymes of clams and oysters.
  • Cu accumulated in mitochondria of oysters but not in those of clams.
  • Elevated CO2 increased Cd accumulation in organelles and potentially Cd toxicity.
  • Elevated CO2 enhanced Cd detoxification in clams and suppressed it in in oysters.


Hypercapnia (elevated CO2 levels) and pollution with trace metals such as Cu and Cd are common stressors in estuarine habitats that can negatively affect physiology and health of marine organisms. Hypercapnia can modulate toxicity of trace metals including Cu and Cd; however, the physiological and cellular mechanisms of the metal-CO2 interactions are not well understood. We investigated the effects of elevated PCO2 (∼800 and 2000 μatm) and metal exposure (50 μg l−1 of Cu or Cd) on subcellular distribution of metals in two common species of marine bivalves, Eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica and hard shell clams Mercenaria mercenaria. Oysters accumulated higher burdens of Cu and Cd in the gill tissues compared to clams. In both studied species, Cu was predominantly associated with the metabolically active cell compartments (mitochondria, lysosomes, microsomes and cytosolic enzymes), with a modest fraction sequestered by metallothioneins (∼30%) and the insoluble metal-containing granules (MCG) (∼15–20%). Unlike Cu, Cd was largely sequestered by metallothioneins (∼60–70%), with a relatively small fraction associated with the organelles and the cytosolic enzymes. Mitochondria were the main intracellular target for trace metals accumulating higher concentrations of Cd (and in the case of oysters – of Cu) than other organelles or cytosolic enzymes. Cu accumulation in the metabolically active cellular compartments was independent of the CO2 levels, while Cd content of the organelles and cytosolic enzymes increased at elevated PCO2 in both studied species indicating that hypercapnia may enhance cellular toxicity of Cd in bivalves. Hypercapnia suppressed the sequestration capacity of metallothioneins for Cu and Cd in oysters but increased Cu and Cd load in clam metallothioneins. Thus, metal-induced metabolic injury in oysters may be exaggerated by hypercapnia which enhances metal accumulation in the potentially sensitive intracellular fractions and suppresses the metal detoxification capacity. In contrast, clams appear to be more resistant to the combined effects of hypercapnia and metal exposure reflecting more efficient and robust detoxification mechanisms of this species.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated CO2 levels on subcellular distribution of trace metals (Cd and Cu) in marine bivalves’

Iron sources alter the response of Southern Ocean phytoplankton to ocean acidification

The rise in anthropogenic CO2 and the associated ocean acidification (OA) will change trace metal solubility and speciation, potentially altering Southern Ocean (SO) phytoplankton productivity and species composition. As iron (Fe) sources are important determinants of Fe bioavailability, we assessed the effect of Fe-laden dust versus inorganic Fe (FeCl3) enrichment under ambient and high pCO2 levels (390 and 900 μatm) in a naturally Fe-limited SO phytoplankton community. Despite similar Fe chemical speciation and net particulate organic carbon (POC) production rates, CO2-dependent species shifts were controlled by Fe sources. Final phytoplankton communities of both control and dust treatments were dominated by the same species, with an OA-dependent shift from the diatom Pseudo nitzschia prolongatoides towards the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis antarctica. Addition of FeCl3 resulted in high abundances of Nitzschia lecointei and Chaetoceros neogracilis under ambient and high pCO2, respectively. These findings reveal that both the characterization of the phytoplankton community at the species level and the use of natural Fe sources are essential for a realistic projection of the biological carbon pump in the Fe-limited pelagic SO under OA. As dust deposition represents a more realistic scenario for the Fe-limited pelagic SO under OA, unaffected net POC production and dominance of P. antarctica can potentially weaken the export of carbon and silica in the future.

Continue reading ‘Iron sources alter the response of Southern Ocean phytoplankton to ocean acidification’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book