Posts Tagged 'molecular biology'

Cryptic genetic variation underpins rapid adaptation to ocean acidification

Global climate change has intensified the need to assess the capacity for natural populations to adapt to abrupt shifts in the environment. Reductions in seawater pH constitute a conspicuous stressor associated with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide that is affecting ecosystems throughout the world’s oceans. Here, we quantify the phenotypic and genetic modifications associated with rapid adaptation to reduced seawater pH in the marine mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. We reared a genetically diverse larval population in ambient and extreme low pH conditions (pHT 8.1 and 7.4) and tracked changes in the larval size and allele frequency distributions through settlement. Additionally, we separated larvae by size to link a fitness-related trait to its underlying genetic background in each treatment. Both phenotypic and genetic data show that M. galloprovincialis can evolve in response to a decrease in seawater pH. This process is polygenic and characterized by genotype-environment interactions, suggesting the role of cryptic genetic variation in adaptation to future climate change. Holistically, this work provides insight into the processes underpinning rapid evolution, and demonstrates the importance of maintaining standing variation within natural populations to bolster species’ adaptive capacity as global change progresses.

Continue reading ‘Cryptic genetic variation underpins rapid adaptation to ocean acidification’

Effect of pH on the bacterial community present in larvae and spat of Crassostrea gigas

Changes in marine environments, including pH changes, have been correlated to alterations in the physiology and disease susceptibility of cultured organisms at the early stages of development. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was performed to evaluate the bacterial
biodiversity of Crassostrea gigas pediveliger larvae and spat under acidic stress compared to that of larvae at normal pH value. The evaluation was performed in an experimental system with continuous water flow and pH
manipulation by CO2 bubbling to simulate acidification (pH 7.38 ± 0.039), using the current ocean pH conditions (pH 8.116 ± 0.023) as a reference. The results indicated that the bacterial communities associated with both pediveliger larvae and spat were modified in response to acidic conditions. The families Rhodobacteraceae and Campylobacteraceae were the most affected by the change in pH, with increases in Vibrionaceae in pediveliger larvae and Planctomycetaceae and Phyllobacteriaceae in spat detected. The results of this study demonstrate that the bacterial communities associated with C. gigas pediveliger larvae and spat are responsive to changes in ocean acidification

Continue reading ‘Effect of pH on the bacterial community present in larvae and spat of Crassostrea gigas’

Testing the adaptive potential of yellowtail kingfish to ocean warming and acidification

Estimating the heritability and genotype by environment (GxE) interactions of performance-related traits (e.g., growth, survival, reproduction) under future ocean conditions is necessary for inferring the adaptive potential of marine species to climate change. To date, no studies have used quantitative genetics techniques to test the adaptive potential of large pelagic fishes to the combined effects of elevated water temperature and ocean acidification. We used an experimental approach to test for heritability and GxE interactions in morphological traits of juvenile yellowtail kingfish, Seriola lalandi, under current-day and predicted future ocean conditions. We also tracked the fate of genetic diversity among treatments over the experimental period to test for selection favoring some genotypes over others under elevated temperature and CO2. Specifically, we reared kingfish to 21 days post hatching (dph) in a fully crossed 2 × 2 experimental design comprising current-day average summer temperature (21°C) and seawater pCO2 (500 μatm CO2) and elevated temperature (25°C) and seawater pCO2 (1,000 μatm CO2). We sampled larvae and juveniles at 1, 11, and 21 dph and identified family of origin of each fish (1,942 in total) by DNA parentage analysis. The animal model was used to estimate heritability of morphological traits and test for GxE interactions among the experimental treatments at 21 dph. Elevated temperature, but not elevated CO2 affected all morphological traits. Weight, length and other morphological traits in juvenile yellowtail kingfish exhibited low but significant heritability under current day and elevated temperature. However, there were no measurable GxE interactions in morphological traits between the two temperature treatments at 21 dph. Similarly, there was no detectable change in any of the measures of genetic diversity over the duration of the experiment. Nonetheless, one family exhibited differential survivorship between temperatures, declining in relative abundance between 1 and 21 dph at 21°C, but increasing in relative abundance between 1 and 21 dph at 25°C. This suggests that this family line could perform better under future warming than in current-day conditions. Our results provide the first preliminary evidence of the adaptive potential of a large pelagic fisheries species to future ocean conditions.

Continue reading ‘Testing the adaptive potential of yellowtail kingfish to ocean warming and acidification’

Characterizing the multivariate physiogenomic response to environmental change

Global change is altering the climate that species have historically adapted to – in some cases at a pace not recently experienced in their evolutionary history – with cascading effects on all taxa. A central aim in global change biology is to understand how specific populations may be “primed” for global change, either through acclimation or adaptive standing genetic variation. It is therefore an important goal to link physiological measurements to the degree of stress a population experiences (Annual Review of Marine Science, 2012, 4, 39). Although “omic” approaches such as gene expression are often used as a proxy for the amount of stress experienced, we still have a poor understanding of how gene expression affects ecologically and physiologically relevant traits in non‐model organisms. In a From the Cover paper in this issue of Molecular Ecology, Griffiths, Pan and Kelley (Molecular Ecology, 2019, 28) link gene expression to physiological traits in a temperate marine coral. They discover population-specific responses to ocean acidification for two populations that originated
from locations with different histories of exposure to acidification. By integrating physiological and gene expression data, they were able to elucidate the mechanisms that explain these population‐specific responses. Their results give insight into the physiogenomic feedbacks that may prime organisms or make them unfit for ocean global change.

Continue reading ‘Characterizing the multivariate physiogenomic response to environmental change’

Kelp beds and their local effects on seawater chemistry, productivity, and microbial communities

Kelp forests are known as key habitats for species diversity and macroalgal productivity; however, we know little about how these biogenic habitats interact with seawater chemistry and phototroph productivity in the water column. We examined kelp forest functions at three locales along the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state by quantifying carbonate chemistry, nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton productivity, and seawater microbial communities inside and outside of kelp beds dominated by the canopy kelp species Nereocystis luetkeana and Macrocystis pyrifera. Kelp beds locally increased the pH, oxygen, and aragonite saturation state of the seawater, but lowered seawater inorganic carbon content and total alkalinity. While kelp beds depleted nitrate and phosphorus concentrations, ammonium and DOC concentrations were enhanced. Kelp beds also decreased chlorophyll concentrations and carbon fixed by phytoplankton, although kelp carbon fixation more than compensated for any difference in phytoplankton production. Kelp beds also entrained distinct microbial communities, with higher taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity compared to seawater outside of the kelp bed. Kelp forests thus had significant effects on seawater chemistry, productivity and the microbial assemblages in their proximity. Thereby, the diversity of pathways for carbon and nitrogen cycling was also enhanced. Overall, these observations suggest that the contribution of kelp forests to nearshore carbon and nitrogen cycling is greater than previously documented.

Continue reading ‘Kelp beds and their local effects on seawater chemistry, productivity, and microbial communities’

Increased intestinal carbonate precipitate abundance in the sea bream (Sparus aurata L.) in response to ocean acidification

Marine fish contribute to the carbon cycle by producing mineralized intestinal precipitates generated as by-products of their osmoregulation. Here we aimed at characterizing the control of epithelial bicarbonate secretion and intestinal precipitate presence in the gilthead sea bream in response to predicted near future increases of environmental CO2. Our results demonstrate that hypercapnia (950 and 1800 μatm CO2) elicits higher intestine epithelial HCO3- secretion ex vivo and a subsequent parallel increase of intestinal precipitate presence in vivo when compared to present values (440 μatm CO2). Intestinal gene expression analysis in response to environmental hypercapnia revealed the up-regulation of transporters involved in the intestinal bicarbonate secretion cascade such as the basolateral sodium bicarbonate co-transporter slc4a4, and the apical anion transporters slc26a3 and slc26a6 of sea bream. In addition, other genes involved in intestinal ion uptake linked to water absorption such as the apical nkcc2 and aquaporin 1b expression, indicating that hypercapnia influences different levels of intestinal physiology. Taken together the current results are consistent with an intestinal physiological response leading to higher bicarbonate secretion in the intestine of the sea bream paralleled by increased luminal carbonate precipitate abundance and the main related transporters in response to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Increased intestinal carbonate precipitate abundance in the sea bream (Sparus aurata L.) in response to ocean acidification’

Transcriptional profiles of early stage red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) reveal differential regulation of gene expression across development

The red sea urchin, Mesocentrotus franciscanus, is an ecologically important kelp forest species that also serves as a valuable fisheries resource. In this study, we have assembled and annotated a developmental transcriptome for M. franciscanus that represents eggs and six stages of early development (8- to 16-cell, morula, hatched blastula, early gastrula, prism and early pluteus). Characterization of the transcriptome revealed distinct patterns of gene expression that corresponded to major developmental and morphological processes. In addition, the period during which maternally-controlled transcription was terminated and the zygotic genome was activated, the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), was found to begin during early cleavage and persist through the hatched blastula stage, an observation that is similar to the timing of the MZT in other sea urchin species. The presented developmental transcriptome will serve as a useful resource for investigating, in both an ecological and fisheries context, how the early developmental stages of this species respond to environmental stressors.

Continue reading ‘Transcriptional profiles of early stage red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) reveal differential regulation of gene expression across development’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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