Posts Tagged 'molecular biology'

Ocean acidification impairs seagrass performance under thermal stress in shallow and deep water


  • Shallow and deep plants were exposed to ocean acidification and thermal stress;
  • Plants were unaffected by ocean acidification when not exposed to thermal stress;
  • Ocean acidification reduced plant performance under thermal stress;
  • Deep plants showed higher levels of heat stress at genetic and physiological levels;
  • Warming may play a key role in structuring future seagrass meadows.


Despite the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on seagrasses have been widely investigated, predictions of seagrass performance under future climates need to consider multiple environmental factors. Here, we performed a mesocosm study to assess the effects of OA on shallow and deep Posidonia oceanica plants. The experiment was run in 2021 and repeated in 2022, a year characterized by a prolonged warm water event, to test how the effects of OA on plants are modulated by thermal stress. The response of P. oceanica to experimental conditions was investigated at different levels of biological organization. Under average seawater temperature, there were no effects of OA in both shallow and deep plants, indicating that P. oceanica is not limited by current inorganic carbon concentration, regardless of light availability. In contrast, under thermal stress, exposure of plants to OA increased lipid peroxidation and decreased photosynthetic performance, with deep plants displaying higher levels of heat stress, as indicated by the over-expression of stress-related genes and the activation of antioxidant systems. In addition, warming reduced plant growth, regardless of seawater CO2 and light levels, suggesting that thermal stress may play a fundamental role in the future development of seagrass meadows. Our results suggest that OA may exacerbate the negative effects of future warming on seagrasses.

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Seasonal temperature variation in Zostera marina seedlings under ocean acidification

Objective: To investigate the responses of Zostera marina seedlings to the individual and combined stresses of seasonal temperature increase and ocean acidification (OA) caused by global climate change and anthropogenic factors. This data will help in efforts to protect and restore seagrass beds in temperate coastal zones of China.

Methods: A mesoscale experimental system was utilized to analyze stress response mechanisms at multiple levels – phenotype, transcriptome, and metabolome – during the seedling stage of Z. marina, a dominant temperate seagrass species in China. The study monitored the seedlings under varying conditions: increased seasonal temperature, OA, and a combination of both.

Results: Findings revealed that under high-temperature conditions, carotenoid biosynthesis was stimulated through the upregulation of specific metabolites and enzymes. Similarly, the biosynthesis of certain alkaloids was promoted alongside modifications in starch, sucrose, and nitrogen metabolism, which improved the plant’s adaptation to OA. Unique metabolic pathways were activated under OA, including the degradation of certain amino acids and modifications in the citric acid cycle and pyruvate metabolism. When subjected to both temperature and OA stresses, seedlings actively mobilized various biosynthetic pathways to enhance adaptability and resilience, with distinct metabolic pathways enhancing the plant’s response under diversified stress conditions. In terms of growth, all treatment groups exhibited significant leaf length increase (p < 0.05), but the weakest growth index was observed under combined stress, followed by the thermal treatment group. Conversely, growth under OA treatment was better, showing a significant increase in wet weight, leaf length, and leaf width (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Seasonal temperature increase was found to inhibit the growth of Z. marina seedlings to some extent, while OA facilitated their growth. However, the positive effects of OA did not mitigate the damage caused by increased seasonal temperature under combined stress due to seedlings’ sensitivity at this stage. Our findings elucidate differing plant coping strategies under varied stress conditions, contingent on the initial environment. This research anticipates providing significant data support for the adaptation of Z. marina seedlings to seasonal temperature fluctuations and global oceanic events like OA, propelling the effective conservation of seagrass beds.

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Microbial associates of an endemic Mediterranean seagrass enhance the access of the host and the surrounding seawater to inorganic nitrogen under ocean acidification

Seagrasses are important primary producers in oceans worldwide. They live in shallow coastal waters that are experiencing carbon dioxide enrichment and ocean acidification. Posidonia oceanica, an endemic seagrass species that dominates the Mediterranean Sea, achieves high abundances in seawater with relatively low concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen. Here we tested whether microbial metabolisms associated with P. oceanica and surrounding seawater enhance seagrass access to nitrogen. Using stable isotope enrichments of intact seagrass with amino acids, we showed that ammonification by free-living and seagrass-associated microbes produce ammonium that is likely used by seagrass and surrounding particulate organic matter. Metagenomic analysis of the epiphytic biofilm on the blades and rhizomes support the ubiquity of microbial ammonification genes in this system. Further, we leveraged the presence of natural carbon dioxide vents and show that the presence of P. oceanica enhanced the uptake of nitrogen by water column particulate organic matter, increasing carbon fixation by a factor of 8.6–17.4 with the greatest effect at CO2 vent sites. However, microbial ammonification was reduced at lower pH, suggesting that future ocean climate change will compromise this microbial process. Thus, the seagrass holobiont enhances water column productivity, even in the context of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Microbial associates of an endemic Mediterranean seagrass enhance the access of the host and the surrounding seawater to inorganic nitrogen under ocean acidification’

Ocean acidification alters the transcriptomic response in the nervous system of Aplysia californica during reflex behaviour

Ocean acidification (OA) has numerous impacts on marine organisms including behaviour. While behaviours are controlled in the neuro system, its complexity makes linking behavioural impairments to environmental change difficult. Here we use a neurological model Aplysia californica with well-studied simple neuro system and behaviours. By exposing Aplysia to current day (~500 micro atm) or near-future CO2 conditions (~1100 micro atm), we test the effect of OA on their tail withdrawal reflex (TWR) and the underlying neuromolecular response of the pleural-pedal ganglia, responsible for the behaviour. Under OA, Aplysia relax tails faster due to increased sensorin-A expression, an inhibitor of mechanosensory neurons. We further investigate how OA affects habituation, which produced a ‘sensitization-like’ behaviour and affected vesicle transport and stress response, revealing an influence of OA on neuronal and behavioural outputs associated with learning. Finally, we test whether GABA-mediated neurotransmission is involved in impaired TWR, but exposure to gabazine did not restore normal behaviour and provoked little molecular response, rejecting the involvement in TWR impairment. Instead, vesicular transport and cellular signalling link other neurotransmitter processes directly with TWR impairment. Our study shows effects of OA on neurological tissue parts that control for behaviour revealing the neurological mechanisms when faced with OA.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters the transcriptomic response in the nervous system of Aplysia californica during reflex behaviour’

Neuromolecular responses in disrupted mutualistic cleaning interactions under future environmental conditions


Mutualistic interactions, which constitute some of the most advantageous interactions among fish species, are highly vulnerable to environmental changes. A key mutualistic interaction is the cleaning service rendered by the cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, which involves intricate processes of social behaviour to remove ectoparasites from client fish and can be altered in near-future environmental conditions. Here, we evaluated the neuromolecular mechanisms behind the behavioural disruption of cleaning interactions in response to future environments. We subjected cleaner wrasses and surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternon, serving as clients) to elevated temperature (warming, 32 °C), increased levels of CO2 (high CO2, 1000 ppm), and a combined condition of elevated CO2 and temperature (warming and high CO2, 32 °C, and 1000 ppm) for 28 days.


Each of these conditions resulted in behavioural disruptions concerning the motivation to interact and the quality of interaction (high CO2 − 80.7%, warming − 92.6%, warming and high CO2 − 79.5%, p < 0.001). Using transcriptomics of the fore-, mid-, and hindbrain, we discovered that most transcriptional reprogramming in both species under warming conditions occurred primarily in the hind- and forebrain. The associated functions under warming were linked to stress, heat shock proteins, hypoxia, and behaviour. In contrast, elevated CO2 exposure affected a range of functions associated with GABA, behaviour, visual perception, thyroid hormones and circadian rhythm. Interestingly, in the combined warming and high CO2 condition, we did not observe any expression changes of behaviour. However, we did find signs of endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis, suggesting not only an additive effect of the environmental conditions but also a trade-off between physiological performance and behaviour in the cleaner wrasse.


We show that impending environmental shifts can affect the behaviour and molecular processes that sustain mutualistic interactions between L. dimidiatus and its clients, which could have a cascading effect on their adaptation potential and possibly cause large-scale impacts on coral reef ecosystems.

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The interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on bioeroding sponge Spheciospongia vesparium microbiome indicated by metatranscriptomics

Global climate change will cause coral reefs decline and is expected to increase the reef erosion potential of bioeroding sponges. Microbial symbionts are essential for the overall fitness and survival of sponge holobionts in changing ocean environments. However, we rarely know about the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on bioeroding sponge microbiome. Here, the structural and functional changes of the bioeroding sponge Spheciospongia vesparium microbiome, as well as its recovery potential, were investigated at the RNA level in a laboratory system simulating 32 °C and pH 7.7. Based on metatranscriptome analysis, acidification showed no significant impact, while warming or simultaneous warming and acidification disrupted the sponge microbiome. Warming caused microbial dysbiosis and recruited potentially opportunistic and pathogenic members of NesiotobacterOceanospirillaceaeDeltaproteobacteriaEpsilonproteobacteriaBacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Moreover, warming disrupted nutrient exchange and molecular interactions in the sponge holobiont, accompanied by stimulation of virulence activity and anaerobic metabolism including denitrification and dissimilatory reduction of nitrate and sulfate to promote sponge necrosis. Particularly, the interaction between acidification and warming alleviated the negative effects of warming and enhanced the Rhodobacteraceae-driven ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway and sulfur-oxidizing multienzyme system. The microbiome could not recover during the experiment period after warming or combined stress was removed. This study suggests that warming or combined warming and acidification will irreversibly destabilize the S. vesparium microbial community structure and function, and provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of the interactive effects of acidification and warming on the sponge microbiome.

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Complex dynamics of coral gene expression responses to low pH across species

Coral capacity to tolerate low pH affects coral community composition and, ultimately, reef ecosystem function. Low pH submarine discharges (‘Ojo’; Yucatán, México) represent a natural laboratory to study plasticity and acclimatization to low pH in relation to ocean acidification. A previous >2-year coral transplant experiment to ambient and low pH common garden sites revealed differential survivorship across species and sites, providing a framework to compare mechanistic responses to differential pH exposures. Here, we examined gene expression responses of transplants of three species of reef-building corals (Porites astreoidesPorites porites and Siderastrea siderea) and their algal endosymbiont communities (Symbiodiniaceae) originating from low pH (Ojo) and ambient pH native origins (Lagoon or Reef). Transplant pH environment had the greatest effect on gene expression of Porites astreoides hosts and symbionts and P. porites hosts. Host P. astreoides Ojo natives transplanted to ambient pH showed a similar gene expression profile to Lagoon natives remaining in ambient pH, providing evidence of plasticity in response to ambient pH conditions. Although origin had a larger effect on host S. siderea gene expression due to differences in symbiont genera within Reef and Lagoon/Ojo natives, subtle effects of low pH on all origins demonstrated acclimatization potential. All corals responded to low pH by differentially expressing genes related to pH regulation, ion transport, calcification, cell adhesion and stress/immune response. This study demonstrates that the magnitude of coral gene expression responses to pH varies considerably among populations, species and holobionts, which could differentially affect acclimatization to and impacts of ocean acidification.

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Short-term acidification promotes diverse iron acquisition and conservation mechanisms in upwelling-associated phytoplankton

Coastal upwelling regions are among the most productive marine ecosystems but may be threatened by amplified ocean acidification. Increased acidification is hypothesized to reduce iron bioavailability for phytoplankton thereby expanding iron limitation and impacting primary production. Here we show from community to molecular levels that phytoplankton in an upwelling region respond to short-term acidification exposure with iron uptake pathways and strategies that reduce cellular iron demand. A combined physiological and multi-omics approach was applied to trace metal clean incubations that introduced 1200 ppm CO2 for up to four days. Although variable, molecular-level responses indicate a prioritization of iron uptake pathways that are less hindered by acidification and reductions in iron utilization. Growth, nutrient uptake, and community compositions remained largely unaffected suggesting that these mechanisms may confer short-term resistance to acidification; however, we speculate that cellular iron demand is only temporarily satisfied, and longer-term acidification exposure without increased iron inputs may result in increased iron stress.

Continue reading ‘Short-term acidification promotes diverse iron acquisition and conservation mechanisms in upwelling-associated phytoplankton’

Infestation of cultivated Pacific oysters by shell-boring polychaetes along the US West Coast: Prevalence is associated with season, culture method, and pH

Shell-boring polychaetes have contributed to the collapse of several mariculture operations around the world. These pests burrow into the shells of bivalves, creating mud blisters that are unappealing to consumers and which make oysters less valuable on the half-shell market. The US Pacific region produces 38% of the farmed shellfish in the US, making it important to understand the prevalence and drivers of parasite infestation in this region. We sampled Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas; n = 4158) from 35 shellfish farms over four seasons (two winters and two summers) in four states (northern California (CA), Oregon (OR), Washington (WA), and Alaska (AK)) to document the prevalence of shell-boring polychaetes. We extracted worms from infested oysters and used mitochondrial (CO1, n = 139) and nuclear (18S rRNA, n = 224) markers to determine species identities. To identify the environmental correlates that were associated with infestation, we pooled environmental data from seven monitoring stations in Washington. We assessed whether seawater surface temperature (SST), salinity, and pH were associated with shell-boring polychaete infestation. Our sampling confirmed the presence of Polydora websteri in the study region, in addition to four other species of shell-boring polychaetes and seven unidentified haplotypes. The mean prevalences across all shell-boring polychaete species ranged from 23 to 45% across seasons between states. In general, prevalence was higher in the winter and among oysters cultured on the bottom versus in tumbled bags, but these results varied across states. We also found greater infestation by shell-boring polychaetes at less acidified sites (pH = 8–8.2). This work is the most comprehensive dataset to characterize shell-boring polychaetes along the US West Coast, providing an important baseline of prevalence, species distribution, and environmental associations.

Continue reading ‘Infestation of cultivated Pacific oysters by shell-boring polychaetes along the US West Coast: Prevalence is associated with season, culture method, and pH’

Unraveling prokaryotic diversity distribution and functional pattern on nitrogen and methane cycling in the subtropical Western North Pacific Ocean

Prokaryotes play an important role in marine nitrogen and methane cycles. However, their community changes and metabolic modifications to the concurrent impact of ocean warming (OW), acidification (OA), deoxygenation (OD), and anthropogenic‑nitrogen-deposition (AND) from the surface to the deep ocean remains unknown. We examined here the amplicon sequencing approach across the surface (0–200 m; SL), intermediate (200–1000 m; IL), and deep layers (1000–2200 m; DL), and characterized the simultaneous impacts of OW, OA, OD, and AND on the Western North Pacific Ocean prokaryotic changes and their functional pattern in nitrogen and methane cycles. Results showed that SL possesses higher ammonium oxidation community/metabolic composition assumably the reason for excess nitrogen input from AND and modification of their kinetic properties to OW adaptation. Expanding OD at IL showed hypoxic conditions in the oxygen minimum layer, inducing higher microbial respiration that elevates the dimerization of nitrification genes for higher nitrous oxide production. The aerobic methane-oxidation composition was dominant in SL presumably the reason for adjustment in prokaryotic optimal temperature to OW, while anaerobic oxidation composition was dominant at IL due to the evolutionary changes coupling with higher nitrification. Our findings refocus on climate-change impacts on the open ocean ecosystem from the surface to the deep-environment integrating climate-drivers as key factors for higher nitrous-oxide and methane emissions.

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Metabolic profiling of Mytilus coruscus mantle in response of shell repairing under acute acidification

Mytilus coruscus is an economically important marine bivalve mollusk found in the Yangtze River estuary, which experiences dramatic pH fluctuations due to seasonal freshwater input and suffer from shell fracture or injury in the natural environment. In this study, we used intact-shell and damaged-shell Mcoruscus and performed metabolomic analysis, free amino acids analysis, calcium-positive staining, and intracellular calcium level tests in the mantle to investigate whether the mantle-specific metabolites can be induced by acute sea-water acidification and understand how the mantle responds to acute acidification during the shell repair process. We observed that both shell damage and acute acidification induced alterations in phospholipids, amino acids, nucleotides, organic acids, benzenoids, and their analogs and derivatives. Glycylproline, spicamycin, and 2-aminoheptanoic acid (2-AHA) are explicitly induced by shell damage. Betaine, aspartate, and oxidized glutathione are specifically induced by acute acidification. Our results show different metabolic patterns in the mussel mantle in response to different stressors, which can help elucidate the shell repair process under ocean acidification. furthermore, metabolic processes related to energy supply, cell function, signal transduction, and amino acid synthesis are disturbed by shell damage and/or acute acidification, indicating that both shell damage and acute acidification increased energy consumption, and disturb phospholipid synthesis, osmotic regulation, and redox balance. Free amino acid analysis and enzymatic activity assays partially confirmed our findings, highlighting the adaptation of Mcoruscus to dramatic pH fluctuations in the Yangtze River estuary.

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Parentage influence on gene expression under acidification revealed through single-embryo sequencing

The dissolution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in seawater has altered its carbonate chemistry in the process of ocean acidification (OA). OA affects the viability of marine species. In particular, calcifying organisms and their early planktonic larval stages are considered vulnerable. These organisms often utilize energy reserves for metabolism rather than growth and calcification as supported by bulk RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) experiments. Yet, transcriptomic profiling of a bulk sample reflects the average gene expression of the population, neglecting the variations between individuals, which forms the basis for natural selection. Here, we used single-embryo RNA-seq on larval sea urchin Heliocidaris crassispina, which is a commercially and ecologically valuable species in East Asia, to document gene expression changes to OA at an individual and family level. Three paternal half-sibs groups were fertilized and exposed to 3 pH conditions (ambient pH 8.0, 7.7 and 7.4) for 12 h prior to sequencing and oxygen consumption assay. The resulting transcriptomic profile of all embryos can be distinguished into four clusters, with differences in gene expressions that govern biomineralization, cell differentiation and patterning, as well as metabolism. While these responses were influenced by pH conditions, the male identities also had an effect. Specifically, a regression model and goodness of fit tests indicated a significant interaction between sire and pH on the probability of embryo membership in different clusters of gene expression. The single-embryo RNA-seq approach is promising in climate stressor research because not only does it highlight potential impacts before phenotypic changes were observed, but it also highlights variations between individuals and lineages, thus enabling a better determination of evolutionary potential.

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Sex-specific responses of Ruditapes philippinarum to ocean acidification following gonadal maturation

Ocean acidification (OA) can seriously affect marine bivalves at different levels of biological organization, generating widespread consequences on progeny recruitment and population maintenance. Yet, few effort has been devoted to elucidating whether female and male bivalves respond differentially to OA in their reproductive seasons. Here, we estimated differences in physiological responses of female and male Manila clams (Ruditapes philippinarum) to OA during gonadal maturation. In comparison to OA-stressed male clams, females significantly depressed activities in enzymes related to energy metabolism (NKA, T-ATP), antioxidant defence (SOD and MDA), and non-specific immune function (ACP), and downregulated expression of AMPK that plays a key role in cellular metabolism, indicating that sex did significantly affect responses of R. philippinarum to OA. Such sex-based differences can be likely couched in energetic terms, given the much more energetically expensive cost of egg production than that of sperms. These results indicate that sex-specific responses to OA during reproductive seasons do exist in marine bivalves, and therefore accounting for such sex specificity is of paramount importance when projecting population sustainability and formulating conservation strategies in an acidifying ocean.

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Impacts of long-term exposure to ocean acidification and warming on three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) growth and reproduction

The warming and acidification of surface waters as predicted by the IPCC leads aquatic species to face major multifaceted changes in their environment. Although teleosts have efficient regulatory systems to cope with these changes, such changes clearly have the potential to impact their physiological functions. Hence, it is crucial to estimate the ability of teleost fishes to cope with multi-stresses to predict how they will deal with future environments. In this context, we investigated the joint effect of warming and acidification on three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from the juvenile stage to adulthood, focusing on parameters linked to growth, sexual maturation, and reproduction. Juvenile sticklebacks were split in 2 climate scenarios: a “Current” scenario corresponding to the current seasonal physico-chemical parameters of the water of the “Rade de Brest” in France, and a “RCP8.5” scenario with a warming of 3 °C and an acidification of 0.4 pH units. After 7 months, fish in the RCP8.5 scenario reached the same size and mass as those in the Current scenario, but they needed greater amounts of food to reach satiety. Furthermore, the mortality rate over the experiment was higher in the RCP8.5 scenario. Muscle lipid content, an indicator of energy reserves, was lower in females in the RCP8.5 scenario, suggesting an increased need for energy to maintain homeostasis and other physiological functions or a divergence in energy allocation strategy. Moreover, females exhibited lower sexual maturation and egg quality under the RCP8.5 scenario, which could have contributed to the lower fertilisation rate observed. Males were more resilient to the RCP8.5 scenario, exhibiting only a trend for lower kidney somatic index scores. Altogether, these results suggest a delay and/or an inhibition of gametogenesis and maturation in fish in warmed and acidified waters. The analysis of blood sex steroid concentrations, brain gene expression profiles, and physiological indexes did not allow us to discriminate between a delay and an inhibition of maturation in the RCP8.5 scenario. Overall, these findings clearly indicate that there is a long-term global impact of combined acidification and warming on the mortality and reproductive performance of three-spined stickleback.

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Transcriptomic response of Mytilus coruscus mantle to acute sea water acidification and shell damage

Mytilus coruscus is an economically important marine calcifier living in the Yangtze River estuary sea area, where seasonal fluctuations in natural pH occur owing to freshwater input, resulting in a rapid reduction in seawater pH. In addition, Mytilus constantly suffers from shell fracture or injury in the natural environment, and the shell repair mechanisms in mussels have evolved to counteract shell injury. Therefore, we utilized shell-complete and shell-damaged Mytilus coruscus in this study and performed transcriptomic analysis of the mantle to investigate whether the expression of mantle-specific genes can be induced by acute seawater acidification and how the mantle responds to acute acidification during the shell repair process. We found that acute acidification induced more differentially expressed genes than shell damage in the mantle, and the biomineralization-related Gene Ontology terms and KEGG pathways were significantly enriched by these DEGs. Most DEGs were upregulated in enriched pathways, indicating the activation of biomineralization-related processes in the mussel mantle under acute acidification. The expression levels of some shell matrix proteins and antimicrobial peptides increased under acute acidification and/or shell damage, suggesting the molecular modulation of the mantle for the preparation and activation of the shell repairing and anti-infection under adverse environmental conditions. In addition, morphological and microstructural analyses were performed for the mantle edge and shell cross-section, and changes in the mantle secretory capacity and shell inner film system induced by the two stressors were observed. Our findings highlight the adaptation of M. coruscus in estuarine areas with dramatic fluctuations in pH and may prove instrumental in its ability to survive ocean acidification.

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Mechanisms underlying the alleviated cadmium toxicity in marine diatoms adapted to ocean acidification

Anthropogenic activities have significantly increased the influx of carbon dioxide and metals into the marine environment. Combining ocean acidification (OA) and metal pollution may lead to unforeseen biological and ecological consequences. Several studies have shown that OA reduces cadmium (Cd) toxicity in marine diatoms. Although these studies have shed light on the physiological and transcriptomic responses of diatoms exposed to Cd, many aspects of the mechanisms underlying the reduced metal accumulation in diatoms remain unknown. This study aims to address this unresolved question by comparing Cd subcellular distribution, antioxidant enzyme activity, relative expression of metal transporters, surface potential, surface composition, and transmembrane potential in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum grown under ambient and 1200 µatm pCO2 conditions. Our findings reveal that diatoms grown in acidified seawater exhibit higher surface potential and higher plasma membrane depolarization. These changes and the competing effects of increased H+ concentration result in a blunted response of P. tricornutum to the Cd challenge. Consequently, this study offers a new explanation for mitigating Cd toxicity by marine diatoms adapted to OA.

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Impact of ocean acidification on the gut histopathology and intestinal microflora of Exopalaemon carinicauda

Marine crustaceans are severely threatened by environmental factors such as ocean acidification, but, despite the latter’s negative impact on growth, molting, and immunity, its effects on intestinal microflora remain poorly understood. This work studied the gut morphology and intestinal microflora of Exopalaemon carinicauda, grown in seawater of different pH levels: 8.1 (control group), 7.4 (AC74 group), and 7.0 (AC70 group). Ocean acidification was found to cause intestinal damage, while significantly altering the microflora’s composition. However, the α-diversity did not differ significantly between the groups. At the phylum level, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria decreased in the acidification groups, while at the genus level, the relative abundance of Sphingomonas decreased. Babeliales was a prominent discriminative biomarker in the AC74 group, with Actinobacteriota, Micrococcales, Beijerinckiaceae, Methylobacterium, and Flavobacteriales being the main ones in the AC70 group. The function prediction results also indicated an enrichment of pathways related to metabolism for the acidification groups. At the same time, those related to xenobiotics’ biodegradation and metabolism were inhibited in AC74 but enhanced in AC70. This is the first study examining the impact of ocean acidification on the intestinal microflora of crustaceans. The results are expected to provide a better understanding of the interactions between shrimp and their microflora in response to environmental stressors.

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Combination of RNAseq and RADseq to identify physiological and adaptive responses to acidification in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

Ocean acidification (OA) is a major stressor threatening marine calcifiers, including the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). In this paper, we provide insight into the molecular mechanisms associated with resilience to OA, with the dual intentions of probing both acclimation and adaptation potential in this species. C. virginica were spawned, and larvae were reared in control or acidified conditions immediately after fertilization. RNA samples were collected from larvae and juveniles, and DNA samples were collected from juveniles after undergoing OA-induced mortality and used to contrast gene expression (RNAseq) and SNP (ddRADseq) profiles from animals reared under both conditions. Results showed convergence of evidence from both approaches, particularly in genes involved in biomineralization that displayed significant changes in variant frequencies and gene expression levels among juveniles that survived acidification as compared to controls. Downregulated genes were related to immune processes, supporting previous studies demonstrating a reduction in immunity from exposure to OA. Acclimation to OA via regulation of gene expression might confer short-term resilience to immediate threats; however, the costs may not be sustainable, underscoring the importance of selection of resilient genotypes. Here, we identified SNPs associated with survival under OA conditions, suggesting that this commercially and ecologically important species might have the genetic variation needed for adaptation to future acidification. The identification of genetic features associated with OA resilience is a highly-needed step for the development of marker-assisted selection of oyster stocks for aquaculture and restoration activities.

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Oxidative stress-induced DNA damage and DNA repair mechanisms in mangrove bacteria exposed to climatic and heavy metal stressors

Bacteria thriving in the mangrove ecosystem are major drivers of elemental cycles. Climate change and environmental stressors (heavy metals) influence the performance of these microorganisms, thereby affecting the biogeochemical cycle. The present study reports the genotoxic effect of climatic and heavy metal stressors on mangrove bacteria and their adaptation strategies. Comparative analysis between two bacterial strains, Bacillus stercoris GST-03 and Pseudomonas balearica DST-02 isolated from the Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem, Odisha, India, showed cellular injuries in response to various stressors as evident by declined growth, elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and resulted DNA damage. B. stercoris GST-03 showed more tolerance towards acidic pH, whereas P. balearica DST-02 showed higher tolerance towards UV exposure and heavy metals (Lead and Cadmium). The adaptation strategies of the strains revealed a significant role of GST in ROS scavenging activity and the involvement of Nucleotide excision repair or SOS response pathways. However, irreparable DNA damage was observed at pH 9 and 200 ppm Cd in B. stercoris GST-03, and at pH 4, 1000 ppm of Pb and 200 ppm of Cd in P. balearica DST-02. The current findings provide a broad overview of bacterial response and adaptability concerning future climate and environmental changes.

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Structurally stable but functionally disrupted marine microbial communities under a future climate change scenario: potential importance for nitrous oxide emissions


  • No effect of OW and OA on the composition and α diversity of microbial biofilms.
  • OW promoting nitrous oxide emissions of microbial biofilms.
  • OA decreasing nitrous oxide emissions of microbial biofilms.
  • An overriding impact of OA over OW on microbial biofilm nitrous oxide emissions.


The blue mussel Mytilus edulis is a widespread and abundant bivalve species along the North Sea with high economic and ecological importance as an engineer species. The shell of mussels is intensively colonized by microbial organisms that can produce significant quantities of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas. To characterize the impacts of climate change on the composition, structure and functioning of microbial biofilms on the shell surface of M. edulis, we experimentally exposed them to orthogonal combinations of increased seawater temperature (20 vs. 23 °C) and decreased pH (8.0 vs. 7.7) for six weeks. We used amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the alpha and beta diversity of microbial communities on the mussel shell. The functioning of microbial biofilms was assessed by measuring aerobic respiration and nitrogen emission rates. We did not report any significant impacts of climate change treatments on the diversity of mussel microbiomes nor on the structure of these communities. Lowered pH and increased temperature had antagonistic effects on the functioning of microbial communities with decreased aerobic respiration and N2O emission rates of microbial biofilms in acidified seawater compared to increased rates in warmer conditions. An overriding impact of acidification over warming was finally observed on N2O emissions when the two factors were combined. Although acidification and warming in combination significantly reduced N2O biofilm emissions, the promotion of aquaculture activities in coastal waters where shellfish do not normally occur at high biomass and density could nonetheless result in unwanted emissions of this greenhouse gas in a near future.

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