Posts Tagged 'molecular biology'

Physiological responses of juvenile Chilean scallops (Argopecten purpuratus) to isolated and combined environmental drivers of coastal upwelling

Coastal biota is exposed to continuous environmental variability as a consequence of natural and anthropogenic processes. Responding to heterogeneous conditions requires the presence of physiological strategies to cope with the environment. Ecosystems influenced by upwelling endure naturally cold, acidic and hypoxic conditions, nevertheless they sustain major fisheries worldwide. This suggests that species inhabiting upwelling habitats possess physiological adaptations to handle high environmental variability. Here, we assessed the impact of the main upwelling drivers (temperature, pH and oxygen) in isolation and combined on eco-physiological responses of Chilean scallop Argopecten purpuratus. A. purpuratus responded to hypoxia by increasing their metabolic performance to maintain growth and calcification. Calcification was only affected by pH and increased under acidic conditions. Further, A. purpuratus juveniles prioritized calcification at the expense of growth under upwelling conditions. Increasing temperature had a significant impact by enhancing the physiological performance of A. purpuratus juveniles independently of oxygen and pH conditions, but this was associated with earlier and higher mortalities. Our results suggest that A. purpuratus is acclimated to short-term colder, acidic and hypoxic conditions, and provide important information of how this species responds to the heterogeneous environment of upwelling, which is significantly relevant in the climatic context of upwelling intensification.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of juvenile Chilean scallops (Argopecten purpuratus) to isolated and combined environmental drivers of coastal upwelling’

Ocean acidification at a coastal CO2 vent induces expression of stress-related transcripts and transposable elements in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis

Ocean acidification threatens to disrupt interactions between organisms throughout marine ecosystems. The diversity of reef-building organisms decreases as seawater CO2 increases along natural gradients, yet soft-bodied animals, such as sea anemones, are often resilient. We sequenced the polyA-enriched transcriptome of adult sea anemone Anemonia viridis and its dinoflagellate symbiont sampled along a natural CO2 gradient in Italy to assess stress levels in these organisms. We found that about 3.1% of the anemone transcripts, but <1% of the Symbiodinium sp. transcripts were differentially expressed. Processes enriched at high seawater CO2 were linked to cellular stress and inflammation, including significant up-regulation of protective cellular functions and down-regulation of metabolic pathways. Transposable elements were differentially expressed at high seawater CO2, with an extreme up-regulation (> 100-fold) of the BEL-family of long terminal repeat retrotransposons. Seawater acidified by CO2 generated a significant stress reaction in A. viridis, but no bleaching was observed and Symbiodinium sp. appeared to be less affected. These observed changes indicate the mechanisms by which A. viridis acclimate to survive chronic exposure to ocean acidification conditions. We conclude that many organisms that are common in acidified conditions may nevertheless incur costs due to hypercapnia and/or lowered carbonate saturation states.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification at a coastal CO2 vent induces expression of stress-related transcripts and transposable elements in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis’

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


• 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.


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’

Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene


• Acidification is capable to unbalance transcription of biotransformation genes.

• CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2 and GSTΩ genes were upregulated at pH 6.5.

• Water acidification increases gill’s susceptibility to oxidative stress.

• PHE activated enzymatic antioxidant system after 96 h exposure.

• Oysters can protect against with oxidative stress.


Ocean acidification is a result of the decrease in the pH of in marine water, caused mainly by the increase in CO2 released in the atmosphere and its consequent dissolution in seawater. These changes can be dramatic for marine organisms especially for oysters Crassostrea gasar if other stressors such as xenobiotics are present. The effect of pH changes (6.5, 7.0 and 8.2) was assessed on the transcript levels of biotransformation [cytochromes P450 (CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2) and glutathione S-transferase (GSTΩ-like)] and antioxidant [superoxide dismutase (SOD-like), catalase (CAT-like) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx-like)] genes, as well as enzyme activities [superoxide dismutase, (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferases (GST) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH)] and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in the gills of Crassostrea gasar exposed to 100 μg·L−1 of phenanthrene (PHE) for 24 and 96 h. Likewise, the PHE burdens was evaluated in whole soft tissues of exposed oysters. The accumulation of PHE in oysters was independent of pH. However, acidification promoted a significant decrease in the transcript levels of some protective genes (24 h exposure: CYP2AU1 and GSTΩ-like –; 96 h exposure: CAT-like and GPx-like), which was not observed in the presence of PHE. Activities of GST, CAT and SOD enzymes increased in the oysters exposed to PHE at the control pH (8.2), but at a lower pH values, this activation was suppressed, and no changes were observed in the G6PDH activity and MDA levels. Biotransformation genes showed better responses after 24 h, and antioxidant-coding genes after 96 h, along with the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT), probably because biotransformation of PHE increases the generation of reactive oxygen species. The lack of change in MDA levels suggests that antioxidant modulation efficiently prevented oxidative stress. The effect of pH on the responses to PHE exposure should be taken into account before using these and any other genes as potential molecular biomarkers for PHE exposure.

Continue reading ‘Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene’

Characterization of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas proteomic response to natural environmental differences

Global climate change is rapidly altering coastal marine ecosystems that are important for food production. A comprehensive understanding of how organisms will respond to these complex environmental changes can come only from observing and studying species within their natural environment. To this end, the effects of environmental drivers—pH, dissolved oxygen content, salinity, and temperature—on Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas physiology were evaluated in an outplant experiment. Sibling juvenile oysters were outplanted to eelgrass and unvegetated habitat at 5 different estuarine sites within the Acidification Nearshore Monitoring Network in Washington State, USA, to evaluate how regional environmental drivers influence molecular physiology. Within each site, we also determined if eelgrass presence, which buffered pH conditions, changed the oysters’ expressed proteome. A novel, 2-step, gel-free proteomic approach was used to identify differences in protein abundance in C. gigas ctenidia tissue after a 29 d outplant by (1) identifying proteins in a data-independent acquisition survey step and (2) comparing relative quantities of targeted environmental response proteins using selected reaction monitoring. While there was no difference in protein abundance detected between habitats or among sites within Puget Sound, C. gigas outplanted at Willapa Bay had significantly higher abundances of antioxidant enzymes and molecular chaperones. Environmental factors at Willapa Bay, such as higher average temperature, may have driven this protein abundance pattern. These findings generate a suite of new hypotheses for lab and field experiments to compare the effects of regional conditions on physiological responses of marine invertebrates.

Continue reading ‘Characterization of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas proteomic response to natural environmental differences’

Seasonal DNA methylation variation in the flat tree oyster Isognomon Alatus from a mangrove ecosystem in North Biscayne Bay, Florida

Epigenetic analyses constitute an emerging approach for better understanding of the mechanisms underlying environmental responses and their role during acclimatization and adaptation across diverse ecosystems. The expansion of environmental epigenetic studies to a broader range of ecologically and environmentally relevant organisms will enhance the capability to forecast ecological and evolutionary processes, as well as to facilitate a retrospective assessment of stress exposures in biomonitor organisms through “epigenetic footprinting” analyses. With such purpose, the present study monitored spatial and temporal variation in abiotic parameters (temperature, salinity, pH, and horizontal visibility) over a 2-y period in a mangrove ecosystem located in North Biscayne Bay (North Miami, FL). The obtained data were subsequently compared with epigenetic modifications (global genome-wide DNA methylation levels) in the flat tree oyster Isognomon alatus, used as a sentinel model organism across experimental sites. The obtained results revealed a certain level of seasonality in temporal DNA methylation patterns, which seem to be primarily associated with changes in temperature and horizontal visibility. These results constitute the first long-term study combining spatial and temporal epigenetic analyses in a marine organism in its natural environment, laying the initial groundwork to assess the biomonitoring potential of environmental epigenetic analyses.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal DNA methylation variation in the flat tree oyster Isognomon Alatus from a mangrove ecosystem in North Biscayne Bay, Florida’

Reduced Symbiodiniaceae diversity in Palythoa tuberculosa at a heavily acidified coral reef

Symbiodiniaceae diversity in hosts is known to change with the environment and particularly with temperature and light intensity. However, higher levels of pCO2, as could be expected under future ocean acidification scenarios, have been documented to show little to no effect in influencing the diversity of Symbiodiniaceae in hosts in previous studies. In this study, we examined hypervariable psbAncr sequences to identify the Cladocopium (former Symbiodinium ‘Clade C’) diversity within the zooxanthellate zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa at an acidified reef in southern Japan. Palythoa tuberculosa were collected from a reef at the volcanic island of Iwotorishima in southern Japan; specimens from a high pCO2 site and from a nearby control (normal pCO2) site (Inoue et al. in Nat Clim Change 3:683–687, 2013). We observed a statistically significant reduction in Cladocopium diversity at the high pCO2 site with only one Cladocopium lineage present, compared to at the control site with two lineages present. Our results demonstrate that higher pCO2 can potentially negatively influence the diversity of host Symbiodiniaceae within anthozoan hosts, an important implication in the face of ongoing ocean acidification and climate change.

Continue reading ‘Reduced Symbiodiniaceae diversity in Palythoa tuberculosa at a heavily acidified coral reef’

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,242,894 hits


Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book