Posts Tagged 'mitigation'

The potential of kelp Saccharina japonica in shielding Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas from elevated seawater pCO2 stress

Ocean acidification (OA) caused by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration is predicted to have negative impacts on marine bivalves in aquaculture. However, to date, most of our knowledge is derived from short-term laboratory-based experiments, which are difficult to scale to real-world production. Therefore, field experiments, such as this study, are critical for improving ecological relevance. Due to the ability of seaweed to absorb dissolved carbon dioxide from the surrounding seawater through photosynthesis, seaweed has gained theoretical attention as a potential partner of bivalves in integrated aquaculture to help mitigate the adverse effects of OA. Consequently, this study investigates the impact of elevated pCO2 on the physiological responses of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in the presence and absence of kelp (Saccharina japonica) using in situ mesocosms. For 30 days, mesocosms were exposed to six treatments, consisting of two pCO2 treatments (500 and 900 μatm) combined with three biotic treatments (oyster alone, kelp alone, and integrated kelp and oyster aquaculture). Results showed that the clearance rate (CR) and scope for growth (SfG) of C. gigas were significantly reduced by elevated pCO2, whereas respiration rates (MO2) and ammonium excretion rates (ER) were significantly increased. However, food absorption efficiency (AE) was not significantly affected by elevated pCO2. The presence of S. japonica changed the daytime pHNBS of experimental units by ~0.16 units in the elevated pCO2 treatment. As a consequence, CR and SfG significantly increased and MO2 and ER decreased compared to C. gigas exposed to elevated pCO2 without S. japonica. These findings indicate that the presence of S. japonica in integrated aquaculture may help shield C. gigas from the negative effects of elevated seawater pCO2.

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Understanding the impacts of environment and parasitism on Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) vulnerability to ocean acidification

The global process of ocean acidification caused by the absorption of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases the concentration of carbonate ions and reduces the associated seawater saturation state (ΩCaCO3) – making it more energetically costly for marine calcifying organisms to build their shells or skeletons. Bivalves are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of ocean acidification on calcification, and they inhabit estuaries and coastal zones – regions most susceptible to ocean acidification. However, the response of an individual to elevated pCO2 can depend on the carbonate chemistry dynamics of its current environment and the environment of its parents. Additionally, an organism’s response to ocean acidification can depend on its ability to control the chemistry at the site of calcification. Biotic and abiotic stressors can modify bivalves’ control of calcifying fluid chemistry – known as extrapallial fluid (EPF). Understanding the responses of bivalves – which are foundation species – to ocean acidification is essential for predicting the impacts of oceanic change on marine communities. This dissertation uses a culturally, ecologically, and economically important bivalve in the northwest Atlantic – the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) – to explore the effects of environment and species interactions on responses to elevated pCO2.

Chapter 2 describes a field study that characterized diurnal and seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics of two estuaries in the Gulf of Maine that support Eastern oyster populations. The estuaries were monitored at high temporal resolution (half-hourly) over four years (2018-2021) using pH and conductivity loggers. Measured pH, salinity, and temperature were used to calculate carbonate chemistry parameters. Both estuaries exhibited strong seasonal and diurnal fluctuations in carbonate chemistry. They also experienced pCO2 values that greatly exceeded current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and those projected for the year 2100.

Chapter 3 describes a laboratory experiment that examined the capacity of intergenerational exposure to mitigate the adverse effects of ocean acidification on larval growth, shell morphology, and survival. Adult oysters were cultured in control or elevated pCO2 conditions for 30 days then crossed using a North Carolina II cross design. Larvae were grown for three days under control and elevated pCO2 conditions. Intergenerational exposure to elevated pCO2 conditions benefited early larval growth and shell morphology, but not survival. However, parental exposure was insufficient to completely counteract the adverse effects of the elevated pCO2 treatment on shell formation and survival.

Chapter 4 describes a laboratory experiment that examined the interplay between ocean acidification and parasite-host dynamics. Eastern oysters infested and not infested with bioeroding sponge (Cliona sp.) were cultured under three pCO2 conditions (539, 1040, 3294 ppm) and two temperatures (23, 27˚C) for 70 days to assess oyster control of EPF chemistry, growth, and survival. Bioeroding sponge infestation and elevated pCO2 reduced oyster net calcification and EPF pH but did not affect condition or survival. Infested oyster EPF pH was consistently lower than seawater pH, while EPF dissolved inorganic carbon was consistently elevated relative to seawater. These findings suggested that infested oysters effectively precipitated repair shell to prevent seawater intrusion into extrapallial fluid through bore holes across all treatments.

Chapter 5 characterizes the concentration of a suite of 56 elements normalized to calcium in EPF and shell of Crassostrea virginica grown under three pCO2 conditions (570, 990, 2912 ppm) and sampled at four timepoints (days 2, 9, 79, 101) to assess effects of pCO2 on organismal control of EPF and shell elemental composition and EPF-to-shell elemental partitioning. Elevated pCO2 significantly influenced the relative abundance of elements in the EPF (29) and shell (13) and altered EPF-to-shell elemental partitioning for 45 elements. Importantly, elevated pCO2 significantly influenced the concentration of several elements in C. virginica shell that are used in other biogenic carbonates as paleo-proxies for other environmental parameters. This result suggests that elevated pCO2 could influence the accuracy of paleo reconstructions.

Overall, this dissertation provides insights that can help improve our understanding of past, present, and future ocean environments. Understanding current local carbonate chemistry dynamics and the capacity for C. virginica to acclimate intergenerationally to elevated pCO2 can inform site and stock selection for aquaculture and restoration efforts. Studying parasite-host environment interactions provides critical insights into the potential for parasitism to alter responses to future ocean acidification. Finally, exploring the impact of elevated pCO2 on elemental composition of EPF and shell allowed us to understand better biomineralization processes, identify potential proxies for seawater pCO2 in bivalves, and offer insights that could help improve the accuracy of paleo reconstructions.

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The effects of ocean acidification on microbial nutrient cycling and productivity in coastal marine sediments

Ocean Acidification (OA), commonly referred to as the “other CO₂ problem,” illustrates the current rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels, precipitated in large by human-related activity (e.g., fossil fuel combustion and mass deforestation). The dissolution of atmospheric CO₂ into the surface of the ocean over time has reduced oceanic pH levels by 0.1 units since the start of the pre-industrial era and has resulted in wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry on a planetary scale. The chemical processes of ocean acidification are increasingly well documented, demonstrating clear rates of increase for global CO₂ emissions predicted by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) under the business-as-usual CO₂ emissions scenario. The ecological impact of ocean acidification alters seawater chemical speciation and disrupts vital biogeochemical cycling processes for various chemicals and compounds. Whereby the unidentified potential fallout of this is the cascading effects on the microbial communities within the benthic sediments. These microorganisms drive the marine ecosystem through a network of vast biogeochemical cycling processes aiding in the moderation of ecosystem-wide primary productivity and fundamentally regulating the global climate. The benthic sediments are determinably one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Marine sediments are also conceivably one of the most productive in terms of microbial activity and nutrient flux between the water-sediment interface (i.e., boundary layer). The absorption and sequestering of CO₂ from the atmosphere have demonstrated significant impacts on various marine taxa and their associated ecological processes. This is commonly observed in the reduction in calcium carbonate saturation states in most shell-forming organisms (i.e., plankton, benthic mollusks, echinoderms, and Scleractinia corals). However, the response of benthic sediment microbial communities to a reduction in global ocean pH remains considerably less well characterized. As these microorganisms operate as the lifeblood of the marine ecosystem, understanding their response and physiological plasticity to increased levels of CO₂ is of critical importance when it comes to investigating regional and global implications for the effects of ocean acidification.

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Commentary: overstated potential for seagrass meadows to mitigate coastal ocean acidification

A Commentary on
Overstated Potential For Seagrass Meadows To Mitigate Coastal Ocean Acidification

By Van Dam, B., Lopes, C., Zeller, M. A., Ribas-ribas, M., Wang, H., and Thomas, H. (2021). Front. Mar. Sci. 8:729992. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.729992

Van Dam et al. (henceforth VD) published an Opinion (Van Dam et al., 2021a) and subsequent Corrigendum (Van Dam et al., 2021b) about our work regarding amelioration of low pH in seagrass ecosystems (Ricart et al., 2021). Below we discuss troubling details in the authors’ approach, an unaddressed error, misrepresentations, and problematic inferences; each contravenes VD’s argument of “overstated potential” for mitigation of low pH.

To start, VD’s original comment was rejected previously by Global Change Biology due to 1425 spurious data points and two invalid graphs. Despite being informed of these mistakes, VD submitted the identical, unchanged critique to Frontiers in Marine Science. The erroneous publication and Corrigendum resulted.

Even following correction, we disagree with VD’s two primary assertions:

1) VD claim that using ΔpH is “mathematically incorrect” because corresponding Δ[H+] values depend on initial pH, a rather strident statement given the relationship is well known (Fassbender et al., 2021; note that in our study, initial pH is that outside seagrass; i.e., Δ=measurement inside minus that outside). VD then confusingly duplicate a single set of measurements in their Figure 1A, plotting it as two separate data clusters. One cluster (their red points) improperly inverts values to show “–ΔpH” instead of “ΔpH” on the y-axis. The other, teal cluster employs within-meadow pH rather than outside-meadow pH as the independent variable, a choice unsuited to assessing whether seagrass ecosystems elevate pH relative to impinging waters, and one that is misleading. The correct relationship (Figure 1A here) demonstrates that although ΔpH and pH indeed covary, the greatest low-pH amelioration (strongest Δ[H+] depression) occurs when outside-meadow pH is low and acidification stress is high. Most importantly, key patterns of Ricart et al. (2021) remain unchanged when Δ[H+] is used instead of ΔpH (Figures 1B–D here). Therefore, our conclusions are robust to either ΔpH or Δ[H+], and pH broadens audience accessibility.

2) VD claim that we overstate the capacity of seagrasses to ameliorate low pH. However, we believe this stance relies too heavily on categorical thinking.

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Chapter 7 – Ocean alkalinity enhancement

7.1 Overview

Current concern about the accelerated rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) diffusion from the atmosphere into the surface ocean has prompted the marine scientific community to explore ocean CO2 removal (CDR) approaches. Land-based CDR methods such as afforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage have received much attention recently. However, meeting climate mitigation targets with land-based CDR alone will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, because the ocean governs the atmospheric CO2 concentration and acts as the natural thermostat of Earth, simply because the ocean contains more than 50 times as much carbon as the atmosphere (Sarmiento and Gruber, 2002). One proposed ocean-based CDR technique is ocean alkalinity1 enhancement (OAE) (Figure 7.1), also termed enhanced weathering (EW), proposed by Kheshgi (1995). This approach is broadly inspired by Earth’s modulation of alkalinity on geological timescales. Adding alkalinity via natural or enhanced weathering is counteracted by the precipitation of carbonate, which reduces alkalinity and, in today’s ocean, is driven almost entirely by calcifying organisms. For example, on geologic timescales, the dissolution of alkaline silicate minerals plays a major role in restoring ocean chemistry via addition of alkalinity to the ocean and conversion of CO2 into other dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) species (Archer et al., 2009). To date, most attention has been paid to terrestrial EW applications (Köhler et al., 2010; Schuiling and Tickell, 2010; Hartmann et al., 2013), with potential co-benefits in addition to CDR including stabilization of soil pH, addition of micronutrients, and crop fertilization (e.g., Manning, 2010). When applied to the ocean, EW of minerals is achieved by adding large amounts of pulverized silicate or carbonate rock or their dissolution products, which adds alkalinity to the surface ocean and thereby “locks” CO2 into other forms of DIC, which is expected to promote atmospheric CO2 influx into the ocean. Specifically, following alkalinity addition, CO2 is converted into bicarbonate ions (HCO3−) and carbonate ions (CO32−), and these chemical changes lead to a rise in pH (Kheshgi, 1995; Gore et al., 2019). Therefore, this approach has the potential to not only remove atmospheric CO2 but also counteract ocean acidification and thus contribute to the restoration of ecosystems threatened by it.

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Kelp (Saccharina latissima) mitigates coastal ocean acidification and increases the growth of North Atlantic bivalves in lab experiments and on an oyster farm

Coastal zones can be focal points of acidification where the influx of atmospheric CO2 can be compounded by additional sources of acidity that may collectively impair calcifying organisms. While the photosynthetic action of macrophytes may buffer against coastal ocean acidification, such activity has not been well-studied, particularly among aquacultured seaweeds. Here, we report on field and laboratory experiments performed with North Atlantic populations of juvenile hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown with and without increased CO2 and with and without North Atlantic kelp (Saccharina latissima) over a range of aquaculture densities (0.3 – 2 g L-1). In all laboratory experiments, exposure to elevated pCO2 (>1,800 µatm) resulted in significantly reduced shell- and/or tissue-based growth rates of bivalves relative to control conditions. This impairment was fully mitigated when bivalves were exposed to the same acidification source but also co-cultured with kelp. Saturation states of aragonite were transformed from undersaturated to saturated in the acidification treatments with kelp present, while the acidification treatments remained undersaturated. In a field experiment, oysters grown near aquacultured kelp were exposed to higher pH waters and experienced significantly faster shell and tissue based growth rates compared to individuals grown at sites away from kelp. Collectively, these results suggest that photosynthesis by S. latissima grown at densities associated with aquaculture increased pH and decreased pCO2, fostering a carbonate chemistry regime that maximized the growth of juvenile bivalves. As S. latissima has been shown to benefit from increased CO2, growing bivalves and kelp together under current or future acidification scenarios may be a synergistically beneficial integrated, multi-trophic aquaculture approach.

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Global climate change and the Baltic Sea ecosystem: direct and indirect effects on species, communities and ecosystem functioning

Climate change has multiple effects on Baltic Sea species, communities and ecosystem functioning through changes in physical and biogeochemical environmental characteristics of the sea. Associated indirect and secondary effects on species interactions, trophic dynamics and ecosystem function are expected to be significant. We review studies investigating species-, population- and ecosystem-level effects of abiotic factors that may change due to global climate change, such as temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, nutrient levels, and the more indirect biogeochemical and food web processes, primarily based on peer-reviewed literature published since 2010.

For phytoplankton, clear symptoms of climate change, such as prolongation of the growing season, are evident and can be explained by the warming, but otherwise climate effects vary from species to species and area to area. Several modelling studies project a decrease of phytoplankton bloom in spring and an increase in cyanobacteria blooms in summer. The associated increase in N:P ratio may contribute to maintaining the “vicious circle of eutrophication”. However, uncertainties remain because some field studies claim that cyanobacteria have not increased and some experimental studies show that responses of cyanobacteria to temperature, salinity and pH vary from species to species. An increase of riverine dissolved organic matter (DOM) may also decrease primary production, but the relative importance of this process in different sea areas is not well known. Bacteria growth is favoured by increasing temperature and DOM, but complex effects in the microbial food web are probable. Warming of seawater in spring also speeds up zooplankton growth and shortens the time lag between phytoplankton and zooplankton peaks, which may lead to decreasing of phytoplankton in spring. In summer, a shift towards smaller-sized zooplankton and a decline of marine copepod species has been projected.

In deep benthic communities, continued eutrophication promotes high sedimentation and maintains good food conditions for zoobenthos. If nutrient abatement proceeds, improving oxygen conditions will first increase zoobenthos biomass, but the subsequent decrease of sedimenting matter will disrupt the pelagic–benthic coupling and lead to a decreased zoobenthos biomass. In the shallower photic systems, heatwaves may produce eutrophication-like effects, e.g. overgrowth of bladderwrack by epiphytes, due to a trophic cascade. If salinity also declines, marine species such as bladderwrack, eelgrass and blue mussel may decline. Freshwater vascular plants will be favoured but they cannot replace macroalgae on rocky substrates. Consequently invertebrates and fish benefiting from macroalgal belts may also suffer. Climate-induced changes in the environment also favour establishment of non-indigenous species, potentially affecting food web dynamics in the Baltic Sea.

As for fish, salinity decline and continuing of hypoxia is projected to keep cod stocks low, whereas the increasing temperature has been projected to favour sprat and certain coastal fish. Regime shifts and cascading effects have been observed in both pelagic and benthic systems as a result of several climatic and environmental effects acting synergistically.

Knowledge gaps include uncertainties in projecting the future salinity level, as well as stratification and potential rate of internal loading, under different climate forcings. This weakens our ability to project how pelagic productivity, fish populations and macroalgal communities may change in the future. The 3D ecosystem models, food web models and 2D species distribution models would benefit from integration, but progress is slowed down by scale problems and inability of models to consider the complex interactions between species. Experimental work should be better integrated into empirical and modelling studies of food web dynamics to get a more comprehensive view of the responses of the pelagic and benthic systems to climate change, from bacteria to fish. In addition, to better understand the effects of climate change on the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea, more emphasis should be placed on studies of shallow photic environments.

The fate of the Baltic Sea ecosystem will depend on various intertwined environmental factors and on development of the society. Climate change will probably delay the effects of nutrient abatement and tend to keep the ecosystem in its “novel” state. However, several modelling studies conclude that nutrient reductions will be a stronger driver for ecosystem functioning of the Baltic Sea than climate change. Such studies highlight the importance of studying the Baltic Sea as an interlinked socio-ecological system.

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Mangrove trace metal biogeochemistry response to global climate change

This review discusses observed impacts from different climate change-driven pressures on mangrove’s role in modulating trace metal transfer at the land-ocean interface. It contributes to the literature in a global context and shows mangroves as mitigators or providing positive feedback to metal mobilization. Most chalcophile metals2+ accumulate in mangrove soils associated with sulfides while high sedimentation rates avoid their oxidation. Exudation of oxygen by roots fixates Fe, which co-precipitates metals as oxyhydroxides in the rhizosphere. These two biogeochemical processes reduce trace metal availability to plants and their mobility within estuaries. However, climate change-driven pressures alter this geochemical equilibrium. Increasing atmospheric CO2 and temperature, and the intensity and frequency of extreme climatic events, have proved to affect mangrove functioning and cover, but no direct observation on the impact on metal biogeochemistry is presently available, whereas sea level rise and saline intrusion impacts on the fate of metals have already been observed. Sea level rise increases erosion, that dissociates deposited sulfides releasing metals to the water column. Released metals adsorb onto suspended particles and can re-deposit in the estuary or are exported to continental shelf sediments. Saline intrusion may oxidize deeper sediment layers releasing metals to porewaters. Part of the mobilized metals may remain in solution complexed with DOM and have their bioavailability increased, as shown by high bioaccumulation factors and biomagnification and high metal concentrations in the estuarine biota, which results in higher human exposure through fisheries consumption. Since erosion occurs preferentially at the sea border and higher sedimentation at the higher reaches of the estuary, triggering mangroves migration landward, spatial gradients are formed, and shall be taken into consideration when planning mitigation or adaptation strategies. These observations suggest disruption of traditional humans dwelling in mangrove dominated coastlines by increasing contamination of coastal fisheries, often the principal protein source for those groups and an important source of income. Further research into the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of climate change driven alterations to metal biogeochemical processes in mangroves as contaminant levels are expected to increase.

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Eelgrass beds can mitigate local acidification and reduce oyster malformation risk in a subarctic lagoon, Japan: a three-dimensional ecosystem model study


  • An ecosystem model representing carbonate systems in a lagoon was developed.
  • The effect of ocean acidification on oyster malformation was evaluated.
  • Simulation under the absence of eelgrass bed was also performed.
  • The model could reproduce the spatiotemporal variations of the observed values.
  • Eelgrass beds mitigate the adverse effects of acidification on oyster growth.


It is well known that ocean acidification (OA) inhibits growth of marine calcifying organisms. Therefore, the adverse effects of acidification on marine ecosystems and aquaculture, such as oyster farming, are of concern. Since eelgrass beds in neritic areas have a high potential for carbon assimilation, this study focuses on local scale mitigation of OA effects. Using a three-dimensional lower-trophic system ecosystem model, we modeled nitrogen and carbon cycles, and the dynamics of carbonate parameters in a subarctic shallow lagoon and bay, where nitrogen availability limits the photosynthesis of primary producers. Simulation of the present conditions allowed reproduction of spatiotemporal variations in water quality and, by assuming future environmental changes quantitatively, revealed that the progress of OA significantly elevated the probability of shell malformation in juvenile oysters. The results represent the spatiotemporal variations in carbonate parameters inside and outside eelgrass beds and enable the evaluation of the alleviation effect on local acidification by the presence of a dense eelgrass bed. Our study shows that in the absence of the eelgrass bed scenario, the effect of OA on oysters became more remarkable. The simulations revealed that maintaining eelgrass beds is essential to mitigate the effects of acidification on oysters.

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Impact of climatic and non-climatic stressors on ocean life and human health: a review


  • Ocean climatic and non-climatic stressors have affected ocean life and human health
  • Field observation and modeling research for multiple ocean stressors.
  • Investigate the adaptation ability of the ocean ecosystem towards ocean stressors.
  • Investigate the effect of nutritional changes and chronic effects of contaminated seafood.
  • Develop and use plasma pyrolysis and gasification technology and promote a healthy and eco-living lifestyle.


Ocean life forms are fundamentally well adapted to natural environmental variations, and they can even tolerate extreme conditions for a short time. However, several anthropogenic stressors are causing such drastic changes in the ocean ecosystem. First, the review attempts to outline the impact of climatic and non-climatic stressors on ocean life, and it also outlines the synergistic impact of both stressors. Then the impact on human health caused by the damage of the marine ecosystem has been discussed. Furthermore, the type of prior studies and current mitigation adaptation programs have been presented. Finally, some perspectives about future research and mitigation adaptation are offered.

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Two decades of seawater acidification experiments on tropical scleractinian corals: overview, meta-analysis and perspectives


  • Seawater acidification experiments on tropical scleractinians are relatively recent.
  • Seawater acidification mainly affects calcification and reproduction capacities.
  • Knowledge is biased with a majority of work on adult and shallow-water corals.
  • Geographical bias: acidification experiments performed in only 18% of coral ecoregions.
  • We recommend a list of actions and priorities for future research in this field.


Ocean acidification has emerged as a major concern in the last fifteen years and studies on the impacts of seawater acidification on marine organisms have multiplied accordingly. This review aimed at synthesizing the literature on the effects of seawater acidification on tropical scleractinians under laboratory-controlled conditions. We identified 141 articles (published between 1999 and 2021) and separated endpoints into 22 biological categories to identify global trends for mitigation and gaps in knowledge and research priorities for future investigators. The relative number of affected endpoints increased with pH intensity (particularly for endpoints associated to calcification and reproduction). When exposed to pH 7.6–7.8 (compared to higher pH), 49% of endpoints were affected. The diversity in experimental designs prevented deciphering the modulating role of coral life stages, genera or duration of exposure. Finally, important bias in research efforts included most experiments on adult corals (68.5%), in 27 out of 150 (18%) coral ecoregions and exclusively from shallow-waters.

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Intraspecific hybridization as a mitigation strategy of ocean acidification in marine bivalve noble scallop Chlamys nobilis


  • OA significantly reduced the hatching rate, survival rate, growth rate of C. nobilis
  • Crossing of C. nobilis exhibited heterosis in terms of hatching rate, survival rate and growth rate under both ambient water and OA condition
  • Enhance OA adaptability mainly contributed by upregulation of genes involved in signal transduction, biological process maintenances, nucleic acid binding and post-translational modification


The driving factors of climate change, especially ocean acidification (OA), have many detrimental impacts on marine bivalves. Hybridization is one of the important methods to improve environmental tolerance of animals and plants. In this study, we explored the feasibility of intraspecific hybridization as an OA mitigation strategy in noble scallop Chlamys nobilis (ecologically and economically important bivalve species). The results of this study revealed that exposure of C. nobilis to OA condition significantly reduced the hatching rate, survival rate, growth rate (shell height, shell length, shell width and shell weight), and total carotenoid content (TCC), as well as increased the deformity rate of C. nobilis larvae. Interestingly, under both ambient water and OA condition, the intraspecific hybridization of C. nobilis exhibited heterosis in terms of hatching rate, survival rate and growth rate (excepted for growth in shell length under OA). Transcriptome sequencing of C. nobilis (inbreed and hybrid under ambient and OA conditions) identified four main differentially expressed genes involved in signal transduction, biological process maintenances, nucleic acid binding and post-translational modification. In addition, the expression of these four genes in hybrid C. nobilis was significantly higher than that in inbreed C. nobilis. In conclusion, hybrid C. nobilis showed heterosis in growth rate and survival rate under both ambient water and acidified seawater condition, which may be the result of enhanced expression of genes related to signal transduction, DNA replication and post-translational modification.

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An evaluation of the efficacy of shell hash for the mitigation of intertidal sediment acidification

Our objectives were twofold: (1) to determine whether the addition of shell hash to intertidal sediments would mitigate porewater acidification and (2) whether its effectiveness was dependent on the type of sediment as described by organic matter (OM) and particle grain size (PGS). Field experiments were conducted at two sites within Burrard Inlet, British Columbia; Maplewood Mudflats (MM), high in OM and silt and Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park (WAW), low in OM and an equal PGS among very coarse, coarse, fine sand, and silt. Shell hash was added to triplicate treatment plots matched with triplicate controls at each site and porewater pH measured at flood and ebb tide over eight tidal cycles. Sampling occurred during June and July when tidal cycles were at their maximum inundation and exposure. Porewater pH was significantly greater for ebb versus flood tide and also between sites with MM significantly lower (7.59) as compared to WAW (8.03). Although pH was not mitigated by the shell hash, for WAW, variation in pH was reduced as compared to MM, as indicated by coefficients of variation over the 6-week sampling period. We suggest that the application of shell hash to reduce the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on intertidal sediments will be site dependent. The combined processes of eutrophication in sediments with high OM and respiration of infauna, especially at high densities, could act in concert with OA to create an intertidal region unsuitable for bivalve larvae settlement and development.

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A review of national monitoring requirements to support offshore carbon capture and storage

There is an urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. One method of achieving this is through Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Geological structures that lie offshore under continental shelf seas offer huge CCS storage potential. An emerging marine industry is developing to exploit this potential and national marine monitoring agencies will soon need to consider the potential impacts of this emerging industry. This review of published literature is aimed at generalists responsible for the delivery of national marine monitoring, as well as those involved in the management of the marine environment. It briefly summarizes why the emerging offshore CCS industry is needed, how large it may be and what marine infrastructure may be involved. For the purposes of this paper, a hypothetical 20 Mtpa industry has been used to gauge the potential impact of a developing offshore CCS industry. The probability of CO2 leaks from such an industry is low. If they do occur, the spatial scale of impact will be small, and the potential environmental impacts will be low. Irrespective of how CO2 is transported or stored within shelf seas, leaked CO2 will enter the sea as a gas or as a solution dissolved in sediment pore water. CO2 as a gas will dissolve into seawater and/or directly vent to the atmosphere, depending on the initial conditions of the leak. The most probable source of leaks in a developed CCS industry is from pipelines (currently a 2-year event per 1000 km pipeline). The most probable source of leakage from geological storage is through abandoned wells (a 20- to 80-year event for a 20 Mtpa industry). The source of leaks from a CCS scheme with the potential to release the greatest mass of CO2 is through geological faults, as these may go undetected (if they occur) for long periods. The probability of leaks from geological storage, through faults or abandoned wells, is site dependent and minimized by the site selection process. The review concludes with recommended priorities for future marine science development.

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Using macroalgae to address UN Sustainable Development goals through CO2 remediation and improvement of the aquaculture environment

Among efforts to explore ways to achieve carbon neutrality globally or regionally, photosynthetic carbon sequestration by algae has been identified as having immense potential. Algae play a crucial role in providing the base of aquatic ecosystems, driving important biogeochemical cycles in oceans and freshwaters and, in so doing, act as a critical component for CO2 drawdown from the atmosphere and ameliorating global change. Furthermore, algae are used extensively in some societies as a source of food and have potential as feedstock for biofuels and as sources of bioactive chemicals. Such activities align strongly with a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here we discuss how marine macroalgae might contribute to several of these goals by exploring their potential to enhance aquaculture, contribute to “Blue Carbon” drawdown of CO2 to ameliorate climate change (UN SDGs 13,14) and provide biomass as feedstock for biofuels (UN SDG 7) to reduce reliance on fossil fuel combustion. Though further work is required, we suggest that farming macroalgae in air has great potential for mitigation of CO2 emissions and improvement of aquaculture environments.

Summary: Photosynthetic activity of macroalgae, in addition to driving biosynthesis and biomass accumulation, can cause arise in pH due to CO2 depletion/HCO3. This can buffer the pH decrease associated with anthropogenic CO2 increases and ameliorate the effects of ocean acidification. Though increasing in magnitude, macroalgal aquaculture still represents only asmall fraction of the Cdrawdown by wild macroalgae populations and currently accounts for drawdown of an even lower fraction of global CO2 emissions. Nonetheless, scaling up of intensive macroalgal aquaculture could be one approach to contribute more to ameliorating anthropogenic CO2 emissions and ocean acidification. Modification of IMTA involving growth of the algae in air rather than in seawater could prove auseful means to help stabilize fluctuations in oxygen and pH in aquaculture operations.

Continue reading ‘Using macroalgae to address UN Sustainable Development goals through CO2 remediation and improvement of the aquaculture environment’

Isotopic filtering reveals high sensitivity of planktic calcifiers to Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum warming and acidification


Human-induced carbon emissions are causing global temperatures to rise and oceans to acidify. To understand how these rapid perturbations affect marine calcifying communities, we investigate a similar event in Earth’s geologic past, the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). We introduce a method, isotopic filtering, to mitigate the time-averaging effects of sediment mixing on deep-sea microfossil records. Contrary to previous studies, we find that tropical planktic foraminifers in the central Pacific ocean were adversely affected by PETM conditions, as evidenced by a decrease in local diversity, extratropical migration, and impaired calcification. While these species survived the PETM through migration to cooler waters, it is unclear whether marine calcifiers can withstand the rapid changes our oceans are experiencing today.


Ocean warming and acidification driven by anthropogenic carbon emissions pose an existential threat to marine calcifying communities. A similar perturbation to global carbon cycling and ocean chemistry occurred ∼56 Ma during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), but microfossil records of the marine biotic response are distorted by sediment mixing. Here, we use the carbon isotope excursion marking the PETM to distinguish planktic foraminifer shells calcified during the PETM from those calcified prior to the event and then isotopically filter anachronous specimens from the PETM microfossil assemblages. We find that nearly one-half of foraminifer shells in a deep-sea PETM record from the central Pacific (Ocean Drilling Program Site 865) are reworked contaminants. Contrary to previous interpretations, corrected assemblages reveal a transient but significant decrease in tropical planktic foraminifer diversity at this open-ocean site during the PETM. The decrease in local diversity was caused by extirpation of shallow- and deep-dwelling taxa as they underwent extratropical migrations in response to heat stress, with one prominent lineage showing signs of impaired calcification possibly due to ocean acidification. An absence of subbotinids in the corrected assemblages suggests that ocean deoxygenation may have rendered thermocline depths uninhabitable for some deeper-dwelling taxa. Latitudinal range shifts provided a rapid-response survival mechanism for tropical planktic foraminifers during the PETM, but the rapidity of ocean warming and acidification projected for the coming centuries will likely strain the adaptability of these resilient calcifiers.

Continue reading ‘Isotopic filtering reveals high sensitivity of planktic calcifiers to Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum warming and acidification’

Effects of solar radiation modification on the ocean carbon cycle: an earth system modeling study

Solar radiation modification (SRM, also termed as geoengineering) has been proposed as a potential option to counteract anthropogenic warming. The underlying idea of SRM is to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the atmosphere and surface, thus offsetting some amount of global warming. Here, the authors use an Earth system model to investigate the impact of SRM on the global carbon cycle and ocean biogeochemistry. The authors simulate the temporal evolution of global climate and the carbon cycle from the pre-industrial period to the end of this century under three scenarios: the RCP4.5 CO2 emission pathway, the RCP8.5 CO2 emission pathway, and the RCP8.5 CO2 emission pathway with the implementation of SRM to maintain the global mean surface temperature at the level of RCP4.5. The simulations show that SRM, by altering global climate, also affects the global carbon cycle. Compared to the RCP8.5 simulation without SRM, by the year 2100, SRM reduces atmospheric CO2 by 65 ppm mainly as a result of increased CO2 uptake by the terrestrial biosphere. However, SRM-induced change in atmospheric CO2 and climate has a small effect in mitigating ocean acidification. By the year 2100, relative to RCP8.5, SRM causes a decrease in surface ocean hydrogen ion concentration ([H+]) by 6% and attenuates the seasonal amplitude of [H+] by about 10%. The simulations also show that SRM has a small effect on globally integrated ocean net primary productivity relative to the high-CO2 simulation without SRM. This study contributes to a comprehensive assessment of the effects of SRM on both the physical climate and the global carbon cycle.

Continue reading ‘Effects of solar radiation modification on the ocean carbon cycle: an earth system modeling study’

Reviews and syntheses: spatial and temporal patterns in seagrass metabolic fluxes

Seagrass meadow metabolism has been measured for decades to gain insight into ecosystem energy, biomass production, food web dynamics, and, more recently, to inform its potential in ameliorating ocean acidification (OA). This extensive body of literature can be used to infer trends and drivers of seagrass meadow metabolism. Here, we synthesize the results from 56 studies reporting in situ rates of seagrass gross primary productivity, respiration, and/or net community productivity to highlight spatial and temporal variability in oxygen (O2) fluxes. We illustrate that daytime net community production (NCP) is positive overall and similar across seasons and geographies. Full-day NCP rates, which illustrate the potential cumulative effect of seagrass beds on seawater biogeochemistry integrated over day and night, were also positive overall but were higher in summer months in both tropical and temperate ecosystems. Although our analyses suggest seagrass meadows are generally autotrophic, the effects on seawater oxygen are relatively small in magnitude. We also find positive correlations between gross primary production and temperature, although this effect may vary between temperate and tropical geographies and may change under future climate scenarios if seagrasses approach thermal tolerance thresholds. In addition, we illustrate that periods when full-day NCP is highest could be associated with lower nighttime O2 and increased diurnal variability in seawater O2. These results can serve as first-order estimates of when and where OA amelioration by seagrasses may be likely. However, improved understanding of variations in  ratios and increased work directly measuring metabolically driven alterations in seawater pH will further inform the potential for seagrass meadows to serve in this context.

Continue reading ‘Reviews and syntheses: spatial and temporal patterns in seagrass metabolic fluxes’

Canada’s internet-connected ocean

Over fifteen years ago, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) began with the world’s first large-scale, interactive, real-time portal into the ocean, bringing continuous, real-time data to the surface for applications in scientific research, societal benefits, and supporting Canada’s ocean industry. This marked the dawn of the Internet-connected ocean, enabling a more fulsome understanding of the ocean through ocean intelligence. These open data have improved our ability to monitor and understand our changing ocean offshore all three coasts of Canada, thanks to diversity of sensor systems to monitor earthquakes and tsunamis, deep sea biodiversity, whales, hydrothermal vents, neutrinos, ocean noise, ocean acidification, forensics experiments, and the impact of climate change, including sea ice thinning in the Arctic. This pioneering approach began in the late 1990s, when scientists began developing a new way of doing ocean science that was no longer limited by weather and ship-time. They imagined a permanent presence in the ocean of sensors to allow a continuous flow of ocean data via the Internet. This big science began to take shape early this century, when a partnership between United States and Canadian institutions was established. ONC evolved out of this international collaboration with seed funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, while in the United States, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) was funded. ONC works closely with OOI on that span the countries’ west coast border. Recently similar observing initiatives in Europe have begun, led by EMSO, which now has a close collaboration with ONC as an Associate Member.

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Moderate acidification mitigates the toxic effects of phenanthrene on the mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis


  • Phenanthrene at environmentally-relevant concentration caused toxic effects on crabs.
  • Acidification (pH6.5) mitigated the toxic effects of phenanthrene on crabs.
  • Phenanthrene caused enrichment of disease and immune related pathways.
  • The interaction of pH 6.5 and phenanthrene made the metabolic pathway more enriched.


Freshwater acidification and phenanthrene may result in complex adverse effects on aquatic animals. Juvenile Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) were exposed to different pH levels (7.8, 6.5, and 5.5) under phenanthrene (PHE) (0 (control) and 50 μg/L) conditions for 14 days. Antioxidant and transcriptomic responses were determined under stress conditions to evaluate the physiological adaptation of crabs. Under the control pH 7.8, PHE led to significantly reduced activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione S-transferase (GST), but increased glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), 7-ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) activities, and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. However, moderate acidification (pH 6.5) changed PHE effects by increasing antioxidant enzymes. Acidification generally reduced SOD, GPx, GST and EROD activities, but increased CAT, GR, MDA. Compared with pH7.8 group, pH7.8 × PHE and pH6.5 × PHE groups had 1148 and 1498 differentially expressed genes, respectively, with “Biological process” being the main category in the two experimental groups. pH7.8 × PHE treatment caused significant enrichment of disease and immune-related pathways, while under pH6.5 × PHE, more pathways related to metabolism, detoxification, environmental information processing, and energy supply were significantly enriched. Thus, PHE had a significant inhibitory effect on antioxidant performance in crabs, while moderate acidification (pH6.5) mitigated the toxic effects of PHE. Overall, moderate acidification has a positive effect on the defense against the negative effects of PHE in Chinese mitten crabs, and this study provides insights into the defense mechanism of crustaceans in response to combined stress of acidification and PHE.

Continue reading ‘Moderate acidification mitigates the toxic effects of phenanthrene on the mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis’

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