Posts Tagged 'MFcommunity'



Effects on the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome when in contact with macroalgae under ocean acidification

Hard coral cover is in decline and this decline has generally coincided with macroalgal proliferation in coral reefs (Gardner et al. 2003, Cheal et al. 2010, De’ath et al. 2012). Coral degradation can be caused by many variables (Hoegh-Guldberg et al. 2007, Anthony et al. 2008, Mumby and Steneck 2008) but this study is focused on potential degradation due to direct competition with allelopathic macroalgae under the effects of future ocean acidification. Allelopathy is the use of chemicals for protection or competitive purposes. It has previously been shown that algae compete with corals through allelopathy, but not if allelopathy causes the microbiome of the coral to enter a diseased state, though there have been several cases of diseased microbiome states observed (Bourne et al. 2009, Mao-Jones et al. 2010, Meyer et al. 2014). As such, it is of interest to determine if the allelopathic competition from algae affects the coral microbiome, leading to a diseased state, and whether these interactions are exaggerated or effected by ocean acidification.

We hypothesize that macroalgal allelopathy effects the microbiome of the reefbuilding coral Pocillopora verrucosa and that these competitive interactions will be affected by the stressor of ocean acidification. We expect the latter because of previous evidence that increased pH causes stress to some species of corals (Anthony et al. 2008). To test this, we used a pre-established scale of algal allelopathy demonstrated in Rasher et al. (2011) and placed corals and algae in contact under ocean acidification conditions for 3 weeks before samples were processed for microbial taxonomy. The initial analyses have demonstrated no significant differences in the abundances of major microbial taxa compositions for the sampled coral microbiomes when in the presence of the various
allelopathic macroalgae, but these are preliminary findings. The data will require finer microbial analysis to determine whether or not there are any significant effects on the coral microbiomes.

Continue reading ‘Effects on the Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome when in contact with macroalgae under ocean acidification’

Interactive effects of ocean acidification and neighboring corals on the growth of Pocillopora verrucosa

The physical and chemical environment around corals, as well as their physiology, can be affected by interactions with neighboring corals. This study employed small colonies (4 cm diameter) of Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hyacinthus configured in spatial arrays at 7 cm s−1 flow speed to test the hypothesis that ocean acidification (OA) alters interactions among them. Interaction effects were quantified for P. verrucosa using three measures of growth: calcification (i.e., weight), horizontal growth, and vertical growth. The study was carried out in May–June 2014 using corals from 10 m depth on the outer reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Colonies of P. verrucosa were placed next to conspecifics or heterospecifics (A. hyacinthus) in arrangements of two or four colonies (pairs and aggregates) that were incubated at ambient and high pCO2 (~1000 µatm) for 28 days. There was an effect of pCO2, and arrangement type on multivariate growth (utilizing the three measures of growth), but no interaction between the main effects. Conversely, arrangement and pCO2 had an interactive effect on calcification, with an overall 23 % depression at high pCO2 versus ambient pCO2 (i.e., pooled among arrangements). Within arrangements, there was a 34–45 % decrease in calcification for solitary and paired conspecifics, but no effect in conspecific aggregates, heterospecific pairs, or heterospecific aggregates. Horizontal growth was negatively affected by pCO2 and arrangement type, while vertical growth was positively affected by arrangement type. Together, our results show that conspecific aggregations can mitigate the negative effects of OA on calcification of colonies within an aggregation.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of ocean acidification and neighboring corals on the growth of Pocillopora verrucosa’

Contrasting physiological plasticity in response to environmental stress within different cnidarians and their respective symbionts

Given concerns surrounding coral bleaching and ocean acidification, there is renewed interest in characterizing the physiological differences across the multiple host–algal symbiont combinations commonly found on coral reefs. Elevated temperature and CO2 were used to compare physiological responses within the scleractinian corals Montipora hirsuta (Symbiodinium C15) and Pocillopora damicornis (Symbiodinium D1), as well as the corallimorph (a non-calcifying anthozoan closely related to scleractinians) Discosoma nummiforme (Symbiodinium C3). Several physiological proxies were affected more by temperature than CO2, including photochemistry, algal number and cellular chlorophyll a. Marked differences in symbiont number, chlorophyll and volume contributed to distinctive patterns of chlorophyll absorption among these animals. In contrast, carbon fixation either did not change or increased under elevated temperature. Also, the rate of photosynthetically fixed carbon translocated to each host did not change, and the percent of carbon translocated to the host increased in the corallimorph. Comparing all data revealed a significant negative correlation between photosynthetic rate and symbiont density that corroborates previous hypotheses about carbon limitation in these symbioses. The ratio of symbiont-normalized photosynthetic rate relative to the rate of symbiont-normalized carbon translocation (P:T) was compared in these organisms as well as the anemone, Exaiptasia pallida hosting Symbiodinium minutum, and revealed a P:T close to unity (D. nummiforme) to a range of 2.0–4.5, with the lowest carbon translocation in the sea anemone. Major differences in the thermal responses across these organisms provide further evidence of a range of acclimation potential and physiological plasticity that highlights the need for continued study of these symbioses across a larger group of host taxa.

Continue reading ‘Contrasting physiological plasticity in response to environmental stress within different cnidarians and their respective symbionts’

Restructuring of the sponge microbiome favors tolerance to ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is increasing and affects many marine organisms. However, certain sponge species can withstand low-pH conditions. This may be related to their complex association with microbes. We hypothesized that species with greater microbial diversity may develop functional redundancy that could enable the holobiont to survive even if particular microbes are lost at low-pH conditions. We evaluated the effects of acidification on the growth and associated microbes of three ubiquitous Mediterranean sponges by exposing them to the present pH level and that predicted for the year 2100. We found marked differences among the species in the acquisition of new microbes, being high in Dysidea avara, moderate in Agelas oroides and null in Chondrosia reniformis; however, we did not observe variation in the overall microbiome abundance, richness or diversity. The relative abilities to alter the microbiomes contributes to survivorship in an OA scenario as demonstrated by lowered pH severely affecting the growth of C. reniformis, halving that of A. oroides, and unaffecting D. avara. Our results indicate that functional stability of the sponge holobiont to withstand future OA is species-specific and is linked to the species’ ability to use horizontal transmission to modify the associated microbiome to adapt to environmental change.

Continue reading ‘Restructuring of the sponge microbiome favors tolerance to ocean acidification’

Acclimatization to high-variance habitats does not enhance physiological tolerance of two key Caribbean corals to future temperature and pH

Corals are acclimatized to populate dynamic habitats that neighbour coral reefs. Habitats such as seagrass beds exhibit broad diel changes in temperature and pH that routinely expose corals to conditions predicted for reefs over the next 50–100 years. However, whether such acclimatization effectively enhances physiological tolerance to, and hence provides refuge against, future climate scenarios remains unknown. Also, whether corals living in low-variance habitats can tolerate present-day high-variance conditions remains untested. We experimentally examined how pH and temperature predicted for the year 2100 affects the growth and physiology of two dominant Caribbean corals (Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides) native to habitats with intrinsically low (outer-reef terrace, LV) and/or high (neighbouring seagrass, HV) environmental variance. Under present-day temperature and pH, growth and metabolic rates (calcification, respiration and photosynthesis) were unchanged for HV versus LV populations. Superimposing future climate scenarios onto the HV and LV conditions did not result in any enhanced tolerance to colonies native to HV. Calcification rates were always lower for elevated temperature and/or reduced pH. Together, these results suggest that seagrass habitats may not serve as refugia against climate change if the magnitude of future temperature and pH changes is equivalent to neighbouring reef habitats.

Continue reading ‘Acclimatization to high-variance habitats does not enhance physiological tolerance of two key Caribbean corals to future temperature and pH’

The synergistic effects of ocean acidification and organic metabolism on calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution in coral reef sediments

Ocean acidification (OA) is expected to reduce the net ecosystem calcification (NEC) rates and overall accretion of coral reef ecosystems. However, despite the fact that sediments are the most abundant form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in coral reef ecosystems and their dissolution may be more sensitive to OA than biogenic calcification, the impacts of OA induced sediment dissolution on coral reef NEC rates and CaCO3 accretion are poorly constrained. Carbon dioxide addition and light attenuation experiments were performed at Heron Island, Australia in an attempt to tease apart the influence of OA and organic metabolism (e.g. respiratory CO2 production) on CaCO3 dissolution. Overall, CaCO3 dissolution rates were an order of magnitude more sensitive to elevated CO2 and decreasing seawater aragonite saturation state (ΩAr; 300–420% increase in dissolution per unit decrease in ΩAr) than published reductions in biologically mediated calcification due to OA. Light attenuation experiments led to a 70% reduction in net primary production (NPP), which subsequently induced an increase in daytime (~ 115%) and net diel (~ 375%) CaCO3 dissolution rates. High CO2 and low light acted in synergy to drive a ~ 575% increase in net diel dissolution rates. Importantly, disruptions to the balance of photosynthesis and respiration (P/R) had a significant effect on daytime CaCO3 dissolution, while average water column ΩAr was the main driver of nighttime dissolution rates. A simple model of platform-integrated dissolution rates was developed demonstrating that seasonal changes in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) can have an important effect on platform integrated CaCO3 sediment dissolution rates. The considerable response of CaCO3 sediment dissolution to elevated CO2 means that much of the response of coral reef communities and ecosystems to OA could be due to increases in CaCO3 sediment and framework dissolution, and not decreases in biogenic calcification.

Continue reading ‘The synergistic effects of ocean acidification and organic metabolism on calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution in coral reef sediments’

Ocean acidification affects the phyto-zoo plankton trophic transfer efficiency

The critical role played by copepods in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry warrants an understanding of how these animals may respond to ocean acidification (OA). Whilst an appreciation of the potential direct effects of OA, due to elevated pCO2, on copepods is improving, little is known about the indirect impacts acting via bottom-up (food quality) effects. We assessed, for the first time, the chronic effects of direct and/or indirect exposures to elevated pCO2 on the behaviour, vital rates, chemical and biochemical stoichiometry of the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa. Bottom-up effects of elevated pCO2 caused species-specific biochemical changes to the phytoplanktonic feed, which adversely affected copepod population structure and decreased recruitment by 30%. The direct impact of elevated pCO2 caused gender-specific respiratory responses in A.tonsa adults, stimulating an enhanced respiration rate in males (> 2-fold), and a suppressed respiratory response in females when coupled with indirect elevated pCO2 exposures. Under the combined indirect+direct exposure, carbon trophic transfer efficiency from phytoplankton-to-zooplankton declined to < 50% of control populations, with a commensurate decrease in recruitment. For the first time an explicit role was demonstrated for biochemical stoichiometry in shaping copepod trophic dynamics. The altered biochemical composition of the CO2-exposed prey affected the biochemical stoichiometry of the copepods, which could have ramifications for production of higher tropic levels, notably fisheries. Our work indicates that the control of phytoplankton and the support of higher trophic levels involving copepods have clear potential to be adversely affected under future OA scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification affects the phyto-zoo plankton trophic transfer efficiency’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book