Posts Tagged 'molecular biology'

Carbon dioxide induced plasticity of branchial acid-base pathways in an estuarine teleost

Anthropogenic CO2 is expected to drive ocean pCO2 above 1,000 μatm by 2100 – inducing respiratory acidosis in fish that must be corrected through branchial ion transport. This study examined the time course and plasticity of branchial metabolic compensation in response to varying levels of CO2 in an estuarine fish, the red drum, which regularly encounters elevated CO2 and may therefore have intrinsic resilience. Under control conditions fish exhibited net base excretion; however, CO2 exposure resulted in a dose dependent increase in acid excretion during the initial 2 h. This returned to baseline levels during the second 2 h interval for exposures up to 5,000 μatm, but remained elevated for exposures above 15,000 μatm. Plasticity was assessed via gene expression in three CO2 treatments: environmentally realistic 1,000 and 6,000 μatm exposures, and a proof-of-principle 30,000 μatm exposure. Few differences were observed at 1,000 or 6,000 μatm; however, 30,000 μatm stimulated widespread up-regulation. Translocation of V-type ATPase after 1 h of exposure to 30,000 μatm was also assessed; however, no evidence of translocation was found. These results indicate that red drum can quickly compensate to environmentally relevant acid-base disturbances using baseline cellular machinery, yet are capable of plasticity in response to extreme acid-base challenges.

Continue reading ‘Carbon dioxide induced plasticity of branchial acid-base pathways in an estuarine teleost’

Assembly of a reference transcriptome for the gymnosome pteropod Clione limacina and profiling responses to short-term CO2 exposure

The gymnosome (unshelled) pteropod Clione limacina is a pelagic predatory mollusc found in polar and sub-polar regions. It has been studied for its distinctive swimming behavior and as an obligate predator on the closely related thecosome (shelled) pteropods. As concern about ocean acidification increases, it becomes useful to compare the physiological responses of closely-related calcifying and non-calcifying species to acidification. The goals of this study were thus to generate a reference transcriptome for Clione limacina, to expose individuals to CO2 for a period of 3 days, and to explore differential patterns of gene expression. Our Trinity assembly contained 300,994 transcripts of which ~ 26% could be annotated. In total, only 41 transcripts were differentially expressed following the CO2 treatment, consistent with a limited physiological response of this species to short-term CO2 exposure. The differentially expressed genes identified in our study were largely distinct from those identified in previous studies of thecosome pteropods, although some similar transcripts were identified, suggesting that comparison of these transcriptomes and responses may provide insight into differences in responses to ocean acidification among phylogenetically and functionally distinct molluscan lineages.

Continue reading ‘Assembly of a reference transcriptome for the gymnosome pteropod Clione limacina and profiling responses to short-term CO2 exposure’

Interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on growth, fitness and survival of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa under different food availabilities

Cold-water corals are important bioengineers that provide structural habitat for a diverse species community. About 70 % of the presently known scleractinian cold-water corals are expected to be exposed to corrosive waters by the end of this century due to ocean acidification. At the same time, the corals will experience a steady warming of their environment. Studies on the sensitivity of cold-water corals to climate change mainly concentrated on single stressors in short-term incubation approaches, thus not accounting for possible long-term acclimatisation and the interactive effects of multiple stressors. Besides, preceding studies did not test for possible compensatory effects of a change in food availability. In this study a multifactorial long-term experiment (6 months) was conducted with end-of-the-century scenarios of elevated pCO2 and temperature levels in order to examine the acclimatisation potential of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa to future climate change related threats. For the first time multiple ocean change impacts including the role of the nutritional status were tested on L. pertusa with regard to growth, ‘fitness’, and survival. Our results show that while L. pertusa is capable of calcifying under elevated CO2 and temperature, its condition (fitness) is more strongly influenced by food availability rather than changes in seawater chemistry. Whereas growth rates increased at elevated temperature (+ 4°C), they decreased under elevated CO2 concentrations (~ 800 µatm). No difference in net growth was detected when corals were exposed to the combination of increased CO2 and temperature compared to ambient conditions. A 10-fold higher food supply stimulated growth under elevated temperature, which was not observed in the combined treatment. This indicates that increased food supply does not compensate for adverse effects of ocean acidification and underlines the importance of considering the nutritional status in studies investigating organism responses under environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on growth, fitness and survival of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa under different food availabilities’

Paternal identity influences response of Acanthaster planci embryos to ocean acidification and warming

The crown-of-thorns sea star Acanthaster planci is a key predator of corals and has had a major influence on the decrease in coral cover across the Indo-Pacific. To understand how this species may adapt to ocean warming and acidification, this study used a quantitative genetic approach to examine the response in offspring of 24 half-sib A. planci families raised in fully crossed treatment combinations of temperature (27, 29 and 31 °C) and pCO2 (450 and 900 ppm) to the gastrulation stage (26 h post-fertilisation). Interactions between genotype and environment were tested using a permutational multivariate ANOVA and restricted error maximum likelihood calculations of variance. High temperature (31 °C) significantly reduced normal (symmetrical, intact) development by ~15% at the 16-cell stage. Increased temperature (from 29 to 31 °C) reduced normal gastrulation from ~65 to ~30%. The extent to which each genotype was affected depended on sire identity, which explained 15% of variation. pCO2 did not significantly influence development at gastrulation. To explore the importance of individual mating pairs, response ratios were calculated for offspring of each family across all treatments. Response ratios demonstrated that the majority of genotypes experienced the highest percentage of normal development to gastrulation in the control treatment, and that family (sire × dam) is important in determining the response to ocean warming and acidification. A positive genetic correlation (overall r*G = 0.76) from sire × environment interactions, however, indicated that individuals which develop ‘better’ at both high temperature and high pCO2 may cope better with near-future predicted warm and acidified conditions for eastern Australia.

Continue reading ‘Paternal identity influences response of Acanthaster planci embryos to ocean acidification and warming’

Marine fish intestine responds to ocean acidification producing more carbonate aggregates

Marine fish contribute to the carbon cycle by producing mineralized intestinal aggregates generated as by-products of their osmoregulation. Here we aimed at characterizing the control of intestinal aggregate production in the gilthead sea bream in response to near future increases of environmental CO2. Our results demonstrate that hypercapnia (800 and 1200 μatm CO2) elicits higher intestine epithelial HCO3- secretion and the subsequent parallel increase of intestinal aggregate production when compared to present values (400 μatm CO2). Intestinal gene expression analysis revealed the up-regulation of crucial transport mechanisms involved not only in the intestinal secretion cascade (Slc4a4, Slc26a3 and Slc26a6) of sea bream, but also in other mechanisms involved in intestinal ion uptake linked to water absorption such as NKCC2 and the Aquaporin 1b. These results highlight the important role of fish in the marine carbon cycle, and their potential growing impact of intestinal biomineralization processes in the scenario of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Marine fish intestine responds to ocean acidification producing more carbonate aggregates’

Change in Emiliania huxleyi virus assemblage diversity but not in host genetic composition during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment

Effects of elevated pCO2 on Emiliania huxleyi genetic diversity and the viruses that infect E. huxleyi (EhVs) have been investigated in large volume enclosures in a Norwegian fjord. Triplicate enclosures were bubbled with air enriched with CO2 to 760 ppmv whilst the other three enclosures were bubbled with air at ambient pCO2; phytoplankton growth was initiated by the addition of nitrate and phosphate. E. huxleyi was the dominant coccolithophore in all enclosures, but no difference in genetic diversity, based on DGGE analysis using primers specific to the calcium binding protein gene (gpa) were detected in any of the treatments. Chlorophyll concentrations and primary production were lower in the three elevated pCO2 treatments than in the ambient treatments. However, although coccolithophores numbers were reduced in two of the high-pCO2 treatments; in the third, there was no suppression of coccolithophores numbers, which were very similar to the three ambient treatments. In contrast, there was considerable variation in genetic diversity in the EhVs, as determined by analysis of the major capsid protein (mcp) gene. EhV diversity was much lower in the high-pCO2 treatment enclosure that did not show inhibition of E. huxleyi growth. Since virus infection is generally implicated as a major factor in terminating phytoplankton blooms, it is suggested that no study of the effect of ocean acidification in phytoplankton can be complete if it does not include an assessment of viruses.

Continue reading ‘Change in Emiliania huxleyi virus assemblage diversity but not in host genetic composition during an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment’

Ocean acidification increases the sensitivity and variability of physiological responses of an intertidal limpet to thermal stress

Understanding physiological responses of organisms to warming and ocean acidification is the first step towards predicting the potential population, community and ecological impacts of these stressors. Increasingly, physiological plasticity is being recognized as important for organisms to adapt to the changing microclimates. Here, we evaluate the importance of physiological plasticity for coping with ocean acidification and elevated temperature, and its variability among individuals from the same population, of the limpet Cellana toreuma. Heart rates (as a proxy for metabolic performance) and genes encoding heat-shock proteins were measured at different heat shock temperatures (26, 30, 34, 38 °C) in individuals acclimated under combinations of different pCO2 (400 ppm, 1000 ppm) and temperature (20 °C, 24 °C) regimes. Analysis of heart rate showed significantly higher temperature coefficients (Q10 rates) for limpets at 20 °C than at 24 °C and lower post-acclimation thermal sensitivity of limpets at 400 ppm than at 1000 ppm. hsp70 expression linearly increased with the increasing heat-shock temperatures, with the largest slope occurring in limpets under a future scenario (24 °C and 1000 ppm pCO2). These results suggested that limpets will have increased sensitivity and energy consumption under future conditions. Furthermore, the increased variation in physiological response under the future scenario indicated that some individuals were better to cope physiologically with these conditions. Therefore, while ocean acidification decreases the ability of many individuals to respond to thermal stress, physiological plasticity and variability seem to be crucial in allowing some intertidal animals to survive in a rapidly changing environment.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification increases the sensitivity and variability of physiological responses of an intertidal limpet to thermal stress’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book