Posts Tagged 'mitigation'

The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)

Coastal ecosystems can experience acidification via upwelling, eutrophication, riverine discharge, and climate change. While the resulting increases in pCO2 can have deleterious effects on calcifying animals, this change in carbonate chemistry may benefit some marine autotrophs. Here, we report on experiments performed with North Atlantic populations of hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), bay scallops (Argopecten irradians), and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown with and without North Atlantic populations of the green macroalgae, Ulva. In six of seven experiments, exposure to elevated pCO2 levels ( ∼ 1700µatm) resulted in depressed shell- and/or tissue-based growth rates of bivalves compared to control conditions, whereas rates were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva in all experiments. In many cases, the co-exposure to elevated pCO2 levels and Ulva had an antagonistic effect on bivalve growth rates whereby the presence of Ulva under elevated pCO2 levels significantly improved their performance compared to the acidification-only treatment. Saturation states for calcium carbonate (Ω) were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva under both ambient and elevated CO2 delivery rates, and growth rates of bivalves were significantly correlated with Ω in six of seven experiments. Collectively, the results suggest that photosynthesis and/or nitrate assimilation by Ulva increased alkalinity, fostering a carbonate chemistry regime more suitable for optimal growth of calcifying bivalves. This suggests that large natural and/or aquacultured collections of macroalgae in acidified environments could serve as a refuge for calcifying animals that may otherwise be negatively impacted by elevated pCO2 levels and depressed Ω.

Continue reading ‘The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)’

Bio-buffering to combat ocean acidification?

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is rising faster than ever before, due to continuous surge in burning fossil fuel. According to the ‘State of the Climate in 2017’ report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society, the global growth rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration was approximately 0.6 ± 0.1 ppm/year in the 1960s [3]. However, in the last decade, the growth rate has jumped to 2.3 ppm/year. The estimated atmospheric CO2 concentration is expected to reach 800–1000 ppm by the end of this century [6]. Oceans absorb nearly 30% of the global CO2 emissions [8], resulting in decrease in ocean pH, known as ocean acidification (OA). While atmospheric CO2 is the major contributor to OA globally, other anthropogenic activities influence OA on a local level. These include acid rain from vehicle emissions and industry in urban areas, inflow of organic carbon to the oceans in the form of sewage, and nutrient loading into the oceans from agricultural runoff; all of which contribute to OA [7].

Ocean acidification not only lowers the pH of ocean water, but also decreases dissolved carbonate ion (CO32−) concentration and alters the saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals. Calcifying organisms, such as corals, mollusks, and shellfishes, which use CO32− ions along with calcium ions to produce their calcium carbonate skeletons and shells, are negatively impacted by decreased CO32− levels. In addition, OA causes changes in habitat quality and nutrient cycling, which have numerous effects on food web interactions. Overall, complex changes occur in populations, communities, and the entire ecosystem; the scope of which is yet to be fully understood.

Continue reading ‘Bio-buffering to combat ocean acidification?’

Ocean solutions to address climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems

The Paris Agreement target of limiting global surface warming to 1.5–2C compared to pre-industrial levels by 2100 will still heavily impact the ocean. While ambitious mitigation and adaptation are both needed, the ocean provides major opportunities for action to reduce climate change globally and its impacts on vital ecosystems and ecosystem services. A comprehensive and systematic assessment of 13 global- and local-scale, ocean-based measures was performed to help steer the development and implementation of technologies and actions toward a sustainable outcome. We show that (1) all measures have tradeoffs and multiple criteria must be used for a comprehensive assessment of their potential, (2) greatest benefit is derived by combining global and local solutions, some of which could be implemented or scaled-up immediately, (3) some measures are too uncertain to be recommended yet, (4) political consistency must be achieved through effective cross-scale governance mechanisms, (5) scientific effort must focus on effectiveness, co-benefits, disbenefits, and costs of poorly tested as well as new and emerging measures.

Continue reading ‘Ocean solutions to address climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems’

Impact of environmental hypercapnia on fertilization success rate and the early embryonic development of the clam Limecola balthica (Bivalvia, Tellinidae) from the southern Baltic Sea – a potential CO2 leakage case study

Highlights

• Fertilization success of Limecola balthica drops along decreasing pH gradient.
• Low pH causes delays of early embryonic development of the Baltic clam.
L. balthica embryos develop aberrations of early cleavages in CO2-rich environment.
• CO2 leakage from CCS site may affect population’s size by impeding its reproduction.

Abstract

Carbon capture and storage technology was developed as a tool to mitigate the increased emissions of carbon dioxide by capture, transportation, injection and storage of CO2 into subterranean reservoirs. There is, however, a risk of future CO2 leakage from sub-seabed storage sites to the sea-floor sediments and overlying water, causing a pH decrease. The aim of this study was to assess effects of CO2-induced seawater acidification on fertilization success and early embryonic development of the sediment-burrowing bivalve Limecola balthica L. from the Baltic Sea. Laboratory experiments using a CO2 enrichment system involved three different pH variants (pH 7.7 as control, pH 7.0 and pH 6.3, both representing environmental hypercapnia). The results showed significant fertilization success reduction under pH 7.0 and 6.3 and development delays at 4 and 9 h post gamete encounter. Several morphological aberrations (cell breakage, cytoplasm leakages, blastomere deformations) in the early embryos at different cleavage stages were observed.

Continue reading ‘Impact of environmental hypercapnia on fertilization success rate and the early embryonic development of the clam Limecola balthica (Bivalvia, Tellinidae) from the southern Baltic Sea – a potential CO2 leakage case study’

A strategy for the conservation of biodiversity on mid-ocean ridges from deep-sea mining

Mineral exploitation has spread from land to shallow coastal waters and is now planned for the offshore, deep seabed. Large seafloor areas are being approved for exploration for seafloor mineral deposits, creating an urgent need for regional environmental management plans. Networks of areas where mining and mining impacts are prohibited are key elements of these plans. We adapt marine reserve design principles to the distinctive biophysical environment of mid-ocean ridges, offer a framework for design and evaluation of these networks to support conservation of benthic ecosystems on mid-ocean ridges, and introduce projected climate-induced changes in the deep sea to the evaluation of reserve design. We enumerate a suite of metrics to measure network performance against conservation targets and network design criteria promulgated by the Convention on Biological Diversity. We apply these metrics to network scenarios on the northern and equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where contractors are exploring for seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits. A latitudinally distributed network of areas performs well at (i) capturing ecologically important areas and 30 to 50% of the spreading ridge areas, (ii) replicating representative areas, (iii) maintaining along-ridge population connectivity, and (iv) protecting areas potentially less affected by climate-related changes. Critically, the network design is adaptive, allowing for refinement based on new knowledge and the location of mining sites, provided that design principles and conservation targets are maintained. This framework can be applied along the global mid-ocean ridge system as a precautionary measure to protect biodiversity and ecosystem function from impacts of SMS mining.

Continue reading ‘A strategy for the conservation of biodiversity on mid-ocean ridges from deep-sea mining’

Effects of CO2 enrichment on two microalgae species: a toxicity approach using consecutive generations

Highlights

• The paper addresses the potential impacts of CO2 enrichment in the marine environment.
• Two different marine microalgae species were used through four consecutive generations.
• T. chuii showed a slight adaptation through generations, in terms of metabolic activity.
• P. tricornutum was the most sensitive one with almost total growth inhibition in the fourth generation.
• The results give valuable data about the transgenerational effects of CO2 enrichment on microalgae.

Abstract

As a result of the increasing pressure provoked by anthropogenic activities, the world climate is changing and oceans health is in danger. One of the most important factors affecting the marine environment is the well-known process called ocean acidification. Also, there are other natural or anthropogenic processes that produce an enrichment of CO2 in the marine environment (CO2 leakages from Carbon Capture and Storage technologies (CCS), organic matter diagenesis, volcanic vents, etc). Most of the studies related to acidification of the marine environment by enrichment of CO2 have been focused on short-term experiments. To evaluate the effects related to CO2 enrichment, laboratory-scale experiments were performed using the marine microalgae Tetraselmis chuii and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Three different pH values (two treatments – pH 7.4 and 6.0 – and a control – pH 8.0) were tested on the selected species across four consecutive generations. Seawater was collected and exposed to different scenarios of CO2 enrichment by means of CO2 injection. The results showed different effects depending on the species and the generation used. Effects on T. chuii were shown on cell density, chlorophyll-a and metabolic activity, however, a slight adaptation across generations was found in this last parameter. P. tricornutum was more sensitive to acidification conditions through generations, with practically total growth inhibition in the fourth one. The conclusions obtained in this work are useful to address the potential ecological risk related to acidification by enrichment of CO2 on the marine ecosystem by using consecutive generations of microalgae.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2 enrichment on two microalgae species: a toxicity approach using consecutive generations’

Habitat effects of macrophytes and shell on carbonate chemistry and juvenile clam recruitment, survival, and growth

Highlights

• Field experiment testing two substrate treatments as OA adaptation strategies
• Clam growth increased in absence of macrophytes, regardless of shell hash treatment.
• Neither treatment improved clam recruitment or survival.
• pH in water column was higher during the day and outside eelgrass beds.
• Added shell hash improved carbonate chemistry in sediment pore-water.

Abstract

Adverse habitat conditions associated with reduced seawater pH often, but not always, negatively affect bivalves in early life history phases. Improving our understanding of how habitat-specific parameters affect clam recruitment, survival, and growth could assist natural resource managers and researchers in developing appropriate adaptation strategies for increasingly acidified nearshore ecosystems. Two proposed adaptation strategies, the presence of macrophytes and addition of shell hash, have the potential to raise local seawater pH and aragonite saturation state and, therefore, to improve conditions for shell-forming organisms. This field study examined the effects of these two substrate treatments on biological and geochemical response variables. Specifically, we measured (1) recruitment, survival, and growth of juvenile clams (Ruditapes philippinarum) and (2) local water chemistry at Fidalgo Bay and Skokomish Delta, Washington, USA, in response to experimental manipulations. Results showed no effect of macrophyte or shell hash treatment on recruitment or survival of R. philippinarum. Contrary to expectations, clam growth was significantly greater in the absence of macrophytes, regardless of the presence or absence of shell hash. Water column pH was higher outside the macrophyte bed than inside at Skokomish Delta and higher during the day than at night at Fidalgo Bay. Additionally, pore-water pH and aragonite saturation state were higher in the absence of macrophytes and the presence of shell. Based on these results, we propose that with increasingly corrosive conditions shell hash may help provide chemical refugia under future ocean conditions. Thus, we suggest adaptation strategies target the use of shell hash and avoidance of macrophytes to improve carbonate chemistry conditions and promote clam recruitment, survival, and growth.

Continue reading ‘Habitat effects of macrophytes and shell on carbonate chemistry and juvenile clam recruitment, survival, and growth’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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