Posts Tagged 'mollusks'

The interactive effects of ocean acidification, food availability, and source location on the growth and physiology of the California mussel

Research shows ocean acidification (OA) can have largely negative impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems. Prior laboratory studies show that shelled marine invertebrates (e.g., molluscs) exhibit reduced growth rates and weaker shells when experiencing OA-related stress. However, populations of the critical intertidal mussel species, Mytilus californianus, which experience naturally acidic water due to upwelling in certain parts of Northern California have been observed to have relatively stronger and thicker shells and higher growth rates than those that experience less frequent exposure to upwelling. To address the discrepancies between negative effects of OA exposure in the laboratory and seemingly positive effects off OA exposure in the field we collected juvenile mussels from four separate locations on the northern California coast that vary in exposure to upwelling-driven OA and raised them under ambient, constantly acidified, or intermittently acidified seawater conditions. Half of the mussels in each of the experimental treatments were given access to either ambient or elevated food concentrations. Although higher food availability increased shell and overall mussel growth, variation in mussel life-history traits among locations appears to be driven primarily by inherent differences (i.e. genetics or epigenetics). In particular, overall growth, soft tissue mass, and shell dissolution in mussels were associated with source-specific upwelling strength while adductor muscle mass along with shell growth and strength of mussels were associated with source-specific levels of predation risk. Oxygen consumption of mussels did not significantly vary among food, pH or source location treatments, suggesting that differences in growth rates were not due to differences in differences in metabolic or energetic efficiencies between individuals. Although not statistically significant, mussels from areas of high crab predation risk tended to survive crab attacks in the lab better than mussels from other areas. My data suggests that the adaptive potential of M. californianus to respond to future OA conditions is dependent on local environmental factors such as upwelling strength, food availability, and predation risk. My study addresses a significant gap in our understanding of the mechanism behind conflicting observations of increased growth in the field associated with low pH and previous laboratory results, demonstrating the importance of environmental context in shaping the organismal response to current and future OA conditions.

Continue reading ‘The interactive effects of ocean acidification, food availability, and source location on the growth and physiology of the California mussel’

Ocean acidification affects the cytoskeleton, lysozymes, and nitric oxide of hemocytes: a possible explanation for the hampered phagocytosis in blood clams, Tegillarca granosa

An enormous amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) has been dissolved into the ocean, leading to a lower pH and changes in the chemical properties of seawater, which has been termed ocean acidification (OA). The impacts of pCO2-driven acidification on immunity have been revealed recently in various marine organisms. However, the mechanism causing the reduction in phagocytosis still remains unclear. Therefore, the impacts of pCO2-driven OA at present and near-future levels (pH values of 8.1, 7.8, and 7.4) on the rate of phagocytosis, the abundance of cytoskeleton components, the levels of nitric oxide (NO), and the concentration and activity of lysozymes (LZM) of hemocytes were investigated in a commercial bivalve species, the blood clam (Tegillarca granosa). In addition, the effects of OA on the expression of genes regulating actin skeleton and nitric oxide synthesis 2 (NOS2) were also analyzed. The results obtained showed that the phagocytic rate, cytoskeleton component abundance, concentration and activity of LZM of hemocytes were all significantly reduced after a 2-week exposure to the future OA scenario of a pH of 7.4. On the contrary, a remarkable increase in the concentration of NO compared to that of the control was detected in clams exposed to OA. Furthermore, the expression of genes regulating the actin cytoskeleton and NOS were significantly up-regulated after OA exposure. Though the mechanism causing phagocytosis seemed to be complicated based on the results obtained in the present study and those reported previously, our results suggested that OA may reduce the phagocytosis of hemocytes by (1) decreasing the abundance of cytoskeleton components and therefore hampering the cytoskeleton-mediated process of engulfment, (2) reducing the concentration and activity of LZM and therefore constraining the degradation of the engulfed pathogen through an oxygen-independent pathway, and (3) inducing the production of NO, which may negatively regulate immune responses.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification affects the cytoskeleton, lysozymes, and nitric oxide of hemocytes: a possible explanation for the hampered phagocytosis in blood clams, Tegillarca granosa’

Boosted nutritional quality of food by CO2 enrichment fails to offset energy demand of herbivores under ocean warming, causing energy depletion and mortality


• We tested if energy transfer via feeding is boosted under future seawater conditions.
• Energy budget of herbivores and nutritional quality of their food were determined.
• Energy budget raised by feeding on the more nutritious food under ocean acidification.
• When combined with warming, however, mass mortality occurred due to energy depletion.
• Enhanced food quality inadequately offsets the energy demand under ocean warming.


The CO2-boosted trophic transfer from primary producers to herbivores has been increasingly discovered at natural CO2 vents and in laboratory experiments. Despite the emerging knowledge of this boosting effect, we do not know the extent to which it may be enhanced or dampened by ocean warming. We investigated whether ocean acidification and warming enhance the nutritional quality (C:N ratio) and energy content of turf algae, which is speculated to drive higher feeding rate, greater energy budget and eventually faster growth of herbivores. This proposal was tested by observing the physiological (feeding rate, respiration rate and energy budget) and demographic responses (growth and survival) of a common grazing gastropod (Phasianella australis) to ocean acidification and warming in a 6-month mesocosm experiment. Whilst we observed the boosting effect of ocean acidification and warming in isolation on the energy budget of herbivores by either increasing feeding rate on the more nutritious algae or increasing energy gain per feeding effort, their growth and survival were reduced by the sublethal thermal stress under ocean warming, especially when both climate change stressors were combined. This reduced growth and survival occurred as a consequence of depleted energy reserves, suggesting that the boosting effect via trophic transfer might not sufficiently compensate for the increased energy demand imposed by ocean warming. In circumstances where ocean acidification and warming create an energy demand on herbivores that outweighs the energy enhancement of their food (i.e. primary producers), the performance of herbivores to control their blooming resources likely deteriorates and thus runaway primary production ensues.

Continue reading ‘Boosted nutritional quality of food by CO2 enrichment fails to offset energy demand of herbivores under ocean warming, causing energy depletion and mortality’

Effects of CO2 enrichment on metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation using Mytilus galloprovincialis


• This study addresses the effects of acidification in marine ecosystems using mussels.
• CO2 enrichment in the marine ecosystem increased significantly the concentrations of some metals
• There was relationship between accumulation of metals in tissues of Mytilus galloprovincialis and the decrease of pH values
• The increase in the bioaccumulation of Fe, Ni and Zn in the body of mussels is related to acidification


The main aim of this study was to evaluate the bioavailability of metals related to CO2 enrichment on the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis by metal’s bioaccumulation analysis. Two sediment samples were selected and subjected to different pH levels. Concentrations of metals were measured in the overlying seawater and in the whole body of mussels exposed on the 7th, 14th and 21st days. Results showed that the CO2 enrichment in aquatic ecosystems cause significant (p < 0.05) changes on the concentrations of Cu, Zn, Ni, Mn and As between the control pH and pH 7.0 after 7 days of exposure; and in the concentration of Fe at pH 6.0 using the RSP sediment. The multivariate analysis results showed that the increase in the bioaccumulation of some metals in mussels was linked to the acidification. It was concluded that many factors may interfere in the results when the acidification and bioavailability of metals are inquired.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2 enrichment on metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation using Mytilus galloprovincialis’

Effects of water warming and acidification on bioconcentration, metabolization and depuration of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds in marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis)


• Citalopram showed the highest bioconcentration in mussels, methylparaben the lowest.
• Response to warming and acidification differed depending on the compound.
• Acidification decreased mussels capacity to metabolize venlafaxine.
• Acidification was the dominant factor when both stressors were combined.


Warming and acidification are expected impacts of climate change to the marine environment. Besides, organisms that live in coastal areas, such as bivalves, can also be exposed to anthropogenic pollutants like pharmaceuticals (PhACs) and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). In this study, the effects of warming and acidification on the bioconcentration, metabolization and depuration of five PhACs (sotalol, sulfamethoxazole, venlafaxine, carbamazepine and citalopram) and two EDCs (methylparaben and triclosan) were investigated in the mussel species (Mytilus galloprovincialis), under controlled conditions. Mussels were exposed to warming and acidification, as well as to the mixture of contaminants up to 15.7 μg L−1 during 20 days; followed by 20 days of depuration. All contaminants bioconcentrated in mussels with levels ranging from 1.8 μg kg−1 dry weight (dw) for methylparaben to 12889.4 μg kg−1 dw for citalopram. Warming increased the bioconcentration factor (BCF) of sulfamethoxazole and sotalol, whereas acidification increased the BCF of sulfamethoxazole, sotalol and methylparaben. In contrast, acidification decreased triclosan levels, while both stressors decreased venlafaxine and citalopram BCFs. Warming and acidification facilitated the elimination of some of the tested compounds (i.e. sotalol from 50% in control to 60% and 68% of elimination in acidification and warming respectively). However, acidification decreased mussels’ capacity to metabolize contaminants (i.e. venlafaxine). This work provides a first insight in the understanding of aquatic organisms’ response to emerging contaminants pollution under warming and acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Effects of water warming and acidification on bioconcentration, metabolization and depuration of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds in marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis)’

The capacity of oysters to regulate energy metabolism‐related processes may be key to their resilience against ocean acidification

Bivalve molluscs, such as oysters, are threatened by shifts in seawater chemistry resulting from climate change. However, a few species and populations within a species stand out for their capacity to cope with the impacts of climate change‐associated stressors. Understanding the intracellular basis of such differential responses can contribute to the development of strategies to minimise the pervasive effects of a changing ocean on marine organisms. In this study, we explored the intracellular responses to ocean acidification in two genetically distinct populations of Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata). Selectively bred and wild type oysters exhibited markedly different mitochondrial integrities (mitochondrial membrane potential) and levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in their hemocytes under CO2 stress. Analysis of these cellular parameters after 4 and 15 days of exposure to elevated CO2 indicated that the onset of intracellular responses occurred earlier in the selectively bred oysters when compared to the wild type population. This may be due to an inherent capacity for increased intracellular energy production or adaptive energy reallocation in the selectively bred population. The differences observed in mitochondrial integrity and in ROS formation between oyster breeding lines reveal candidate biological processes that may underlie resilience or susceptibility to ocean acidification. Such processes can be targeted in breeding programs aiming to mitigate the impacts of climate change on threatened species.

Continue reading ‘The capacity of oysters to regulate energy metabolism‐related processes may be key to their resilience against ocean acidification’

Consideration of carbon dioxide release during shell production in LCA of bivalves


Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used to understand the environmental impacts of the shellfish aquaculture and wild harvest industries. To date, LCA of shellfish exclude carbon dioxide (CO2) release from bivalve shell production when quantifying global warming potential per functional unit. In this study, we explain the rationale for including CO2 released during shell production in LCA of bivalves, demonstrate a method for estimating this CO2 release, and apply the method to previous studies to demonstrate the importance of including CO2 from shell production in LCA.


A simple approach for calculating CO2 from bivalve shell production was developed utilizing the seacarb package in R statistical software. The approach developed allows for inclusion of site-specific environmental parameters such as water temperature, salinity, pH, and pCO2 when calculating CO2 release from shell production. We applied the method to previously published LCA of bivalve production systems to assess the impact of including this CO2 source in the LCA. The past studies include aquaculture and wild harvest production strategies and multiple bivalve species.

Results and discussion

When we recalculated the total kg CO2 released in past studies including CO2 release from shell production, the additional CO2 release increased the total global warming impact category (CO2 equivalents) in cradle-to-gate studies by approximately 250% of the original reported value. Discussion of our results focuses on the importance of different components of our calculations and site-specific environmental parameters. We make predictions on how the magnitude and importance of CO2 released during shell production could change due to climate change and ocean acidification, and provide suggestions on how CO2 release from shell production can be reduced through careful selection of aquaculture facility location and aquaculture practices.


We provide a method for including CO2 from shell release in LCA of bivalves and recommend that future LCA of bivalves include this CO2 as part of the global warming impact category.

Continue reading ‘Consideration of carbon dioxide release during shell production in LCA of bivalves’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book