Posts Tagged 'metals'

Ocean acidification buffers the physiological responses of the king ragworm Alitta virens to the common pollutant copper

Highlights

• Whilst ocean acidification (OA) often increases the toxicity of copper to marine invertebrates, here we find the opposite in the ragworm Alitta virens.

• There was no increase in copper-induced DNA damage or lipid peroxidation under OA conditions.

• Instead OA appeared to buffer the effects of copper on lipid peroxidation and acid-base disturbance, reducing these effects relative to ambient seawater conditions.

Abstract

Ocean acidification (OA) has the potential to alter the bioavailability of pH sensitive metals contaminating coastal sediments, particularly copper, by changing their speciation in seawater. Hence OA may drive increased toxicity of these metals to coastal biota. Here, we demonstrate complex interactions between OA and copper on the physiology and toxicity responses of the sediment dwelling polychaete Alitta virens. Worm coelomic fluid pCO2 was not increased by exposure to OA conditions (pHNBS 7.77, pCO2 530 μatm) for 14 days, suggesting either physiological or behavioural responses to control coelomic fluid pCO2. Exposure to 0.25 µM nominal copper caused a decrease in coelomic fluid pCO2 by 43.3% and bicarbonate ions by 44.6% but paradoxically this copper-induced effect was reduced under near-future OA conditions. Hence OA appeared to ‘buffer’ the copper-induced acid-base disturbance. DNA damage was significantly increased in worms exposed to copper under ambient pCO2 conditions, rising by 11.1% compared to the worms in the no copper control, but there was no effect of OA conditions on the level of DNA damage induced by copper when exposed in combination. These interactions differ from the increased copper toxicity under OA conditions reported for several other invertebrate species. Hence this new evidence adds to the developing paradigm that species’ physiology is key in determining the interactions of these two stressors rather than it purely being driven by the changes in metal chemistry under lower seawater pH.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification buffers the physiological responses of the king ragworm Alitta virens to the common pollutant copper’

Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer

Highlights

• Toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH.
• Complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis.
• Seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption.

Abstract

We aimed to show how the predicted pH decrease in the ocean would alter the toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer of trace metal copper on seagrass ecosystems, on a short-term basis. Seagrass Zostera noltei was exposed to two pH levels (8.36 and 8.03) and three copper levels (nominal concentrations, <3, 30 and 300 μg Cu L−1) in a factorial design during 21 days, while Gammarus locusta amphipods were continuously fed with the treated seagrass leaves. We found that the toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH, yet complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis. We demostrated that seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption by herbivores. Future research need to investigate the interactive effects on a long-term basis, and to include biochemical and molecular endpoints to provide additional insights to the complex phisiological interactions observed.

Continue reading ‘Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer’

Impact of climate change and contamination in the oxidative stress response of marine organisms

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are increasing at an unprecedented rate, changing the carbonate chemistry (in a process known as ocean acidification) and temperature of the worlds ocean. Moreover, the simultaneous occurrence of highly toxic and persistent contaminants, such as mercury, will play a key role in further shaping the ecophysiology of marine organisms. Thus, the main goal of the present dissertation was to undertake the first comprehensive and comparative analysis of the biochemical strategies, namely antioxidant defense (both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants) and protein repair and removal mechanisms, of several marine organisms – from invertebrate (Veretillum cynomorium and Gammarus locusta) to vertebrate species (Argyrosomus regius, Chiloscyllium plagiosum and Scyliorhinus canicula) – encompassing different life-stages and life-strategies to the predicted climate-mediated changes. The findings provided in the present dissertation proved that organisms’ responses were mostly underpinned by temperature (increasing lipid, protein and nucleic acid damage), that also culminated into increased mercury bioaccumulation and toxicity, while ocean acidification as a sole stressor usually played a minor role in defining species vulnerability (i.e. responsible for increased oxidative damage in the marine calcifying organisms G. locusta). Nonetheless when co-occurring with warming and contamination scenarios, acidification was usually responsible for the reduction of heavy metal accumulation and toxicity, as well as decreased warming and contamination-elicited oxidative stress. Additionally, organisms’ responses were species-specific, and organisms that usually occupy more variable environments (e.g. daily changes in abiotic conditions) usually displayed greater responses towards environmental change than organisms inhabiting more stable environments. Furthermore, and assuming the relevance of transgenerational effects, it seems that the negative effects of OA are potentially being inherited by the offspring’s, compromising the efficiency of future generations to endure the upcoming conditions.

Continue reading ‘Impact of climate change and contamination in the oxidative stress response of marine organisms’

Microbial strains isolated from CO2-venting Kolumbo submarine volcano show enhanced co-tolerance to acidity and antibiotics

Highlights

• The study investigates the effects of volcanic acidification to marine bacteria.

• Deep waters of Kolumbo submarine volcano are CO2-rich and more acidic.

• Pseudomonas strains from Kolumbo seafloor show higher tolerance to acidity.

• Strong correlation between acid and antibiotic tolerance of Pseudomonas species.

• Ocean acidification may lead to marine bacteria with increased antibiotic tolerance.

Abstract

As ocean acidification intensifies, there is growing global concern about the impacts that future pH levels are likely to have on marine life and ecosystems. By analogy, a steep decrease of seawater pH with depth is encountered inside the Kolumbo submarine volcano (northeast Santorini) as a result of natural CO2 venting, making this system ideal for ocean acidification research. Here, we investigated whether the increase of acidity towards deeper layers of Kolumbo crater had any effect on relevant phenotypic traits of bacterial isolates. A total of 31 Pseudomonas strains were isolated from both surface- (SSL) and deep-seawater layers (DSL), with the latter presenting a significantly higher acid tolerance. In particular, the DSL strains were able to cope with H+ levels that were 18 times higher. Similarly, the DSL isolates exhibited a significantly higher tolerance than SSL strains against six commonly used antibiotics and As(III). More importantly, a significant positive correlation was revealed between antibiotics and acid tolerance across the entire set of SSL and DSL isolates. Our findings imply that Pseudomonas species with higher resilience to antibiotics could be favored by the prospect of acidifying oceans. Further studies are required to determine if this feature is universal across marine bacteria and to assess potential ecological impacts.

Continue reading ‘Microbial strains isolated from CO2-venting Kolumbo submarine volcano show enhanced co-tolerance to acidity and antibiotics’

Particulate trace metal dynamics in response to increased CO2 and iron availability in a coastal mesocosm experiment

Rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing ocean acidification and will influence marine processes and trace metal biogeochemistry. The importance of the combined impacts of elevated CO2 and changes in trace metal availability on marine plankton remain largely unknown. A mesocosm experiment was performed to study changes in particulate trace metal concentrations during a bloom dominated by the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. We employed a full-factorial experimental design, comprising all combinations of ambient and elevated pCO2 and dissolved iron (dFe). Particulate metal concentrations (Fe, Cu, Zn, Co, Mn, Cd, Mo, Ti and Pb) were determined by high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR-ICPMS). We examined biogenic and lithogenic sources of particulate metals, and their evolution during the experiment. Biogenic metal concentrations were estimated from bulk particle measurements by comparing phosphorus (P)-normalised quotas with published ratios, as well as concentrations of particulate trace metals in the presence and absence of an oxalate-EDTA wash. Our results demonstrate that particulate Ti and Fe concentrations were dominated by lithogenic material in the fjord. In contrast, particulate Cu, Co, Mn, Zn, Mo and Cd concentrations correlated with P concentrations and phytoplankton biomass, indicative of their strong biogenic character. Furthermore, ocean acidification changed the relative concentrations of particulate metals; a result mainly driven by the effects of ocean acidification on the growth of different phytoplankton phyla. This study demonstrates the utility and robustness of combining trace metal analyses of particles in a controlled mesocosm experiment with manipulations of CO2 and Fe concentrations using natural assemblages of marine phytoplankton.

Continue reading ‘Particulate trace metal dynamics in response to increased CO2 and iron availability in a coastal mesocosm experiment’

Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii

Highlights

• 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing copper concentrations were antagonistic, and only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic;

• The combination of seawater acidification and increasing copper concentrations had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) or Ca-ATPase activity;

• Low copper concentrations had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing reduced seawater pH conditions;

• Potential deleterious effects on the acid-base balance of corals, associated with changes in carbonic anhydrase activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors;

• Toxic effects of copper in future ocean acidification scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested.

Abstract

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local impacts, such as ocean acidification (OA) and metal contamination. Toxicity of metals, such as copper (Cu), is expected to be enhanced with OA. However, the interaction between these environmental stressors is still poorly evaluated. In the present study, the interactive effects of seawater acidification and increasing Cu concentrations were evaluated in a zooxanthellate scleractinian coral (Mussismilia harttii), using biochemical biomarkers involved in the coral calcification process and the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts. Corals were kept under control conditions (no seawater acidification and no Cu addition in seawater) or exposed to combined treatments of reduced seawater pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.5 and 7.2) and environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved Cu (measured: 1.0, 1.6, 2.3 and 3.2 µg/L) in a mesocosm system. After 15- and 35-days exposure, corals were analyzed for photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), chlorophyll a content, Ca-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity. Results showed that 76% of the interactions between reduced seawater pH and increasing Cu concentrations were antagonistic. Only 24% of these interactions were additive or synergistic. In general, the combination of stressors had no significant deleterious effects in the photosynthetic metabolism of endosymbionts or Ca-ATPase activity. In fact, the lowest dissolved Cu concentration tested had a consistent positive effect on Ca-ATPase activity in corals facing any of the reduced seawater pH conditions tested. In turn, potentially deleterious effects on acid-base balance in M. harttii, associated with changes in CA activity, were intensified by the combination of stressors. Findings reported here indicate that Cu toxicity in future OA scenarios can be less severe than previously suggested in this coral holobiont.

Continue reading ‘Copper exposure and seawater acidification interaction: Antagonistic effects on biomarkers in the zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Mussismilia harttii’

Transgenerational effects of pCO2-driven ocean acidification on adult mussels Mytilus chilensis modulate physiological response to multiple stressors in larvae

The effect of CO2-driven ocean acidification (OA) on marine biota has been extensively studied mostly on a single stage of the life cycle. However, the cumulative and population-level response to this global stressor may be biased due to transgenerational effects and their impacts on physiological plasticity. In this study, we exposed adult mussels Mytilus chilensis undergoing gametogenesis to two pCO2 levels (550 and 1200 μatm) for 16 weeks, aiming to understand if prolonged exposure of reproductive individuals to OA can affect the performance of their offspring, which, in turn, were reared under multiple stressors (pCO2, temperature, and dissolved cadmium). Our results indicate dependence between the level of pCO2 of the broodstock (i.e., parental effect) and the performance of larval stages in terms of growth and physiological rates, as a single effect of temperature. While main effects of pCO2 and cadmium were observed for larval growth and ingestion rates, respectively, the combined exposure to stressors had antagonistic effects. Moreover, we found a suppression of feeding activity in post-spawning broodstock upon high pCO2 conditions. Nevertheless, this observation was not reflected in the final weight of the broodstock and oocyte diameter. Due to the ecological and socioeconomic importance of mussels’ species around the globe, the potential implications of maternal effects for the physiology, survival, and recruitment of larvae under combined global-change stressors warrant further investigation.

Continue reading ‘Transgenerational effects of pCO2-driven ocean acidification on adult mussels Mytilus chilensis modulate physiological response to multiple stressors in larvae’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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