Posts Tagged 'mollusks'

Using stable isotope analysis to determine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions in a maerl bed community

Ocean acidification and warming are likely to affect the structure and functioning of marine benthic communities. This study experimentally examined the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions within a maerl bed community by using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. Two three‐month experiments were conducted in winter and summer seasons with four different combinations of pCO2 (ambient and elevated pCO2) and temperature (ambient and +3°C). Experimental assemblages were created in tanks held in the laboratory and were composed of calcareous (Lithothamnion corallioides) and fleshy algae (Rhodymenia ardissonei, Solieria chordalis, and Ulva sp.), gastropods (Gibbula magus and Jujubinus exasperatus), and sea urchins (Psammechinus miliaris). Our results showed higher seaweed availability for grazers in summer than winter. Therefore, grazers were able to adapt their diet seasonally. Increased pCO2 and temperature did not modify the trophic structure in winter, while shifts in the contribution of seaweed were found in summer. Combined acidification and warming increased the contribution of biofilm in gastropods diet in summer conditions. Psammechinus miliaris mostly consumed L. corallioides under ambient conditions, while the alga S. chordalis became the dominant food source under high pCO2 in summer. Predicted changes in pCO2 and temperature had complex effects on assemblage trophic structure. Direct effects of acidification and warming on seaweed metabolism may modify their abundance and biomass, affecting their availability for grazers. Climate change may also modify seaweeds’ nutritive value and their palatability for grazers. The grazers we investigated were able to change their diet in response to changes in algal assemblages, an advantage given that warming and acidification alter the composition of algal communities.

Continue reading ‘Using stable isotope analysis to determine the effects of ocean acidification and warming on trophic interactions in a maerl bed community’

The dynamics of rapid adaptation to ocean acidification in the Mediterranean mussel

Global climate change has intensified the need to assess if, and how, natural populations adapt to abrupt shifts in their environment. The tempo of adaptation in natural systems has been the subject of theoretical and empirical investigation for decades. Recent evidence from genome-wide sequencing approaches has indicated that evolution may proceed at a pace previously deemed theoretically impossible. Such studies, however, have largely observed these processes in the context of model systems, and the extent to which these patterns will hold in ecologically-relevant species subject to the dramatic environmental perturbations associated with global change is unclear. Accordingly, this thesis investigates the capacity for, and mechanisms by which, the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, may rapidly adapt to expected declines in global seawater pH. Reductions in seawater pH constitute a global change stressor impacting marine species globally, with anticipated impacts altering the structure and services of numerous ecological communities. Due to its experimental tractability, as well as its ecological and economic importance, M. galloprovincialis has become a model-species for exploring the physiological and morphological impacts of low pH seawater. Yet, the extent to which evolution may offset observed phenotypic consequences is unknown. To address this knowledge gap the present thesis explores the following: (i) the processes shaping and maintaining variation in low pH tolerance across the species’ native range; (ii) the extent to which the standing variation within natural populations of M. galloprovincialis can facilitate the magnitude of evolution necessary for persistence under global change conditions; and (iii) the molecular basis of low pH adaptation in marine bivalves and beyond. My results elucidate how contemporary gradients in pH variability shape distinct patterns of low pH plasticity across natural populations. Furthermore, my findings demonstrate that the standing variation within natural populations is sufficient for rapid adaptation to even extreme reductions in seawater pH. Lastly, I provide mechanistic links between the molecular mechanisms influenced by shifts in the external seawater pH environment and fitness-related abnormalities observed in M. galloprovincialis, a finding that likely explains observed low pH sensitivity across a broad range of marine metazoans. This thesis thus lends to our conceptual understanding regarding the dynamics of rapid adaptation in natural populations, while explicitly informing the management of an ecologically and economically important marine species as global change progresses.

Continue reading ‘The dynamics of rapid adaptation to ocean acidification in the Mediterranean mussel’

Hypoxia and acidification, individually and in combination, disrupt herbivory and reduce survivorship of the gastropod, Lacuna vincta

Acidification and deoxygenation are two consequences of climate change that also co-occur in eutrophied coastal zones and can have deleterious effects on marine life. While the effects of hypoxia on marine herbivores have been well-studied, how ocean acidification combined with hypoxia affects herbivory is poorly understood. This study examined how herbivory and survival by the gastropod Lacuna vincta grazing on the macroalgae Ulva rigida was influenced by hypoxia and ocean acidification, alone and in combination, with and without food limitation. Experiments exposed L. vincta to a range of environmentally realistic dissolved oxygen (0.7 – 8 mg L–1) and pH (7.3 – 8.0 total scale) conditions for 3 – 72 h, with and without a starvation period and quantified herbivory and survival. While acidified conditions (pH < 7.4) reduced herbivory when combined with food limitation, low oxygen conditions (< 4 mg L–1) reduced herbivory and survival regardless of food supply. When L. vincta were starved and grazed in acidified conditions herbivory was additively reduced, whereas starvation and hypoxia synergistically reduced grazing rates. Overall, low oxygen had a more inhibitory effect on herbivory than low pH. Shorter exposure times (9, 6, and 3 h) were required to reduce grazing at lower DO levels (∼2.4, ∼1.6, and ∼0.7 mg L–1, respectively). Herbivory ceased entirely following a three-hour exposure to DO of 0.7 mg L–1 suggesting that episodes of diurnal hypoxia disrupt grazing by these gastropods. The suppression of herbivory in response to acidified and hypoxic conditions could create a positive feedback loop that promotes ‘green tides’ whereby reduced grazing facilitates the overgrowth of macroalgae that cause nocturnal acidification and hypoxia, further disrupting herbivory and promoting the growth of macroalgae. Such feedback loops could have broad implications for estuarine ecosystems where L. vincta is a dominant macroalgal grazer and will intensify as climate change accelerates.

Continue reading ‘Hypoxia and acidification, individually and in combination, disrupt herbivory and reduce survivorship of the gastropod, Lacuna vincta’

Carbonate chemistry dynamics in shellfish farming areas along the Chilean coast: natural ranges and biological implications

The increasing shellfish aquaculture requires knowledge about nearshore environmental variability to manage sustainably and create climate change adaptation strategies. We used data from mooring time series and in situ sampling to characterize oceanographic and carbonate system variability in three bivalve aquaculture areas located along a latitudinal gradient off the Humboldt Current System. Our results showed pHT <8 in most coastal sites and occasionally below 7.5 during austral spring–summer in the lower (−30°S) and central (−37°S) latitudes, related to upwelling. Farmed mussels were exposed to undersaturated (Ωarag < 1) and hypoxic (<2 ml l−1) waters during warm seasons at −37°S, while in the higher latitude (43°S) undersaturated waters were only detected during colder seasons, associated with freshwater runoff. We suggest that both Argopecten purpuratus farmed at −30°S and Mytilus chilensis farmed at −43°S may enhance their growth during summer due to higher temperatures, lower pCO2, and oversaturated waters. In contrast, Mytilus galloprovincialis farmed at 37°S grows better during spring–summer, following higher temperatures and high pCO2. This knowledge is relevant for aquaculture, but it must be improved using high-resolution time series and in situ experimentation with farmed species to aid their adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Carbonate chemistry dynamics in shellfish farming areas along the Chilean coast: natural ranges and biological implications’

Evidence for stage-based larval vulnerability and resilience to acidification in Crassostrea virginica

Using image analysis of scanning electron micrographs (SEMs), we compared differences in growth of D-stage veligers [i.e. prodissoconch I and II (PI and PII) larvae] of eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica grown in mesohaline water under high- and low-CO2 conditions. We found SEMs to reveal no evidence of dissolution or shell structure deformity for larval shells in either of the CO2 treatments but detected prominent growth lines in the PII regions of larval shells. The number of growth lines closely approximated the duration of the experiment, suggesting that growth lines are generated daily. Mean growth line interval widths were 20% greater for larval shells cultured in low- vs high-CO2 conditions. Crassostrea virginica veliger larvae were shown to tolerate high CO2 levels and aragonite saturation states (Ωarag) < 1.0, but larval growth was slowed substantially under these conditions. Differences in growth line interval width translate into substantial changes in shell area and account for previously observed differences in total shell area between the treatments, as determined by light microscopy and image analysis. Other studies have documented high mortality and malformation of D-stage larvae in bivalves when pre-veliger life stages (i.e. eggs, gastrula and trochophores) were exposed to elevated CO2. Our experiments revealed statistical differences in rates of larval survival, settlement and subsequent early-stage spat mortality for veligers reared in high- and low-CO2 conditions. Although each of these rates was measurably affected by high CO2, the magnitude of these differences was small (range across categories = 0.7–6.3%) suggesting that the impacts may not be catastrophic, as implied by several previous studies. We believe the apparent disparity among experimental results may be best explained by differential vulnerability of pre-veliger stage larvae and veligers, whereby PI and PII larvae have greater physiological capacity to withstand environmental conditions that may be thermodynamically unfavourable to calcification (i.e. Ωarag < 1.0).

Continue reading ‘Evidence for stage-based larval vulnerability and resilience to acidification in Crassostrea virginica’

Effects of temperature and food concentration on pteropod metabolism along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Highlights

  • Measured respiration and excretion of the Antarctic pteropod Limacina.
  • Analyzed effects of future temperature and food conditions on pteropod metabolism.
  • Highest metabolism occurred under higher temperatures with less response to food.
  • Metabolic ratios of C, N, and P were all below the canonical Redfield ratio.
  • Pteropod metabolism responsive to ocean change, affecting biogeochemical cycles.

Abstract

Pteropods (pelagic snails) are abundant zooplankton in the Southern Ocean where they are important grazers of phytoplankton, prey for higher trophic levels, and sensitive to environmental change. The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is a highly dynamic and productive region that has undergone rapid warming, but little is known about how environmental changes there will affect pteropod physiology. In this study, the effects of warming seawater temperatures and shifting food availability on Limacina helicina antarctica metabolism (respiration and excretion) were determined by conducting shipboard experiments that exposed pteropods to a range of temperatures and phytoplankton (food) concentrations. Highest respiration (up to 69 μmol O2 gDW−1 h−1) and usually highest excretion rates occurred under higher temperature with more limited metabolic response to food concentration, indicating these factors do not always have an additive effect on pteropod metabolism. The proportion of dissolved organic matter (DOM) to total organic and inorganic dissolved constituents was high and was also significantly affected by shifts in temperature and food. Dissolved organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus (DOC, DON, and DOP) were on average 27, 51, and 11.5% of the total C, N, and P metabolized, respectively. The proportion of total N excreted as DON and the proportion of total P excreted as DOP were significantly affected by a combination of shifting temperature and food concentrations. There were no effects of temperature or food on DOC excretion (mean 8.79 μmol C gDW−1 h−1; range 0.44 to 44) as a proportion of total C metabolized. Metabolic O2:N ratio ranged from 2 to 9 and decreased significantly with increasing temperature and food, indicating a shift toward increased protein catabolism. Metabolic ratios of C, N, and P were all below the canonical Redfield ratio, which has implications for phytoplankton nutrient uptake and bacterial production. Respiration rates at ambient conditions of other WAP pteropods, and excretion rates for Clio pyramidata, were also measured, with respiration rates ranging from 24.39 (Spongiobranchaea australis) to 28.86 (L. h. antarctica) μmol O2 gDW−1 h−1. Finally, a CO2 perturbation experiment measuring L. h. antarctica metabolism under pre-industrial and elevated dissolved pCO2 conditions showed no significant change in mean L. h. antarctica respiration or excretion rates with higher pCO2. These insights into the metabolic response of pteropods to ocean variability increase our understanding of the role of zooplankton in biogeochemical cycles and help predict future responses to climate change.

Continue reading ‘Effects of temperature and food concentration on pteropod metabolism along the Western Antarctic Peninsula’

Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic

Highlights

  • The bivalve Ervilia castanea was studied at volcanic CO2 seeps and reference sites.
  • Abundance, size and net-calcification were inversely related to CO2 levels.
  • Large individuals were scarce or absent at high CO2 sites.
  • Recruitment of this bivalve was highest at the CO2 seeps.
  • Abundance and size of E. castanea were positively correlated with Chl-a in sediment.

Abstract

Sites with naturally high CO2 conditions provide unique opportunities to forecast the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to ocean acidification, by studying the biological responses and potential adaptations to this increased environmental variability. In this study, we investigated the bivalve Ervilia castanea in coastal sandy sediments at reference sites and at volcanic CO2 seeps off the Azores, where the pH of bottom waters ranged from average oceanic levels of 8.2, along gradients, down to 6.81, in carbonated seawater at the seeps. The bivalve population structure changed markedly at the seeps. Large individuals became less abundant as seawater CO2 levels rose and were completely absent from the most acidified sites. In contrast, small bivalves were most abundant at the CO2 seeps. We propose that larvae can settle and initially live in high abundances under elevated CO2 levels, but that high rates of post-settlement dispersal and/or mortality occur. Ervilia castanea were susceptible to elevated CO2 levels and these effects were consistently associated with lower food supplies. This raises concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on the brood stock of this species and other bivalve molluscs with similar life history traits.

Continue reading ‘Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic’

Behavioural responses to predators in Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are unaffected by elevated pCO2

Highlights

  • Tested effects of elevated CO2 on valve gaping responses to predator alarm cues in Mediterranean mussels.
  • Mussels reduced valve gaping in response to predator alarm cues; no change in valve movement activity.
  • Elevated CO2 had no effect on baseline behaviour nor responses to predator cues.
  • Behavioural responses to predator cues in bivalves appear robust to high CO2.

Abstract

Ocean acidification is expected to affect marine organisms in the near future. Furthermore, abrupt short-term fluctuations in seawater pCO2 characteristic of near-short coastal regions and high-density aquaculture sites currently have the potential to influence organismal and community functioning by altering animal behaviour. While anti-predator responses in fishes exposed to elevated pCO2 are well documented, such responses in benthic marine invertebrates are poorly studied. We used high frequency, non-invasive biosensors to test whether or not short term (3-week) exposure to elevated pCO2 could impact behavioural responses to the threat of predation in adult Mediterranean mussels from Galicia on the northwestern coast of Spain. Predator alarm cues (crushed conspecifics) resulted in a prolonged (1 h) reduction in the degree of valve opening (−20%) but had no clear effect on overall valve movement activity, while elevated pCO2 did not affect either response. Our results add to the increasing body of evidence suggesting that the effects of end-of-century pCO2 levels on marine animal behaviour are likely weak. Nonetheless, longer-term exposures spanning multiple generations are needed to better understand how ocean acidification might impact behavioural responses to predation in marine bivalves.

Continue reading ‘Behavioural responses to predators in Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are unaffected by elevated pCO2’

Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic

Highlights

  • The bivalve Ervilia castanea was studied at volcanic CO2 seeps and reference sites.
  • Abundance, size and net-calcification were inversely related to CO2 levels.
  • Large individuals were scarce or absent at high CO2 sites.
  • Recruitment of this bivalve was highest at the CO2 seeps.
  • Abundance and size of E. castanea were positively correlated with Chl-a in sediment.

 

Abstract

Sites with naturally high CO2 conditions provide unique opportunities to forecast the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to ocean acidification, by studying the biological responses and potential adaptations to this increased environmental variability. In this study, we investigated the bivalve Ervilia castanea in coastal sandy sediments at reference sites and at volcanic CO2 seeps off the Azores, where the pH of bottom waters ranged from average oceanic levels of 8.2, along gradients, down to 6.81, in carbonated seawater at the seeps. The bivalve population structure changed markedly at the seeps. Large individuals became less abundant as seawater CO2 levels rose and were completely absent from the most acidified sites. In contrast, small bivalves were most abundant at the CO2 seeps. We propose that larvae can settle and initially live in high abundances under elevated CO2 levels, but that high rates of post-settlement dispersal and/or mortality occur. Ervilia castanea were susceptible to elevated CO2 levels and these effects were consistently associated to lower food supplies. This raises concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on the brood stock of this species and other bivalve molluscs of similar life history traits.

 

Continue reading ‘Ervilia castanea (Mollusca, Bivalvia) populations adversely affected at CO2 seeps in the North Atlantic’

Temperature elevation and acidification damage microstructure of abalone via expression change of crystal induction genes

Highlights

• Thermal and acidification stress destroy the microstructure of abalone shells.

• Expression pattern change of direct crystal induction genes interfered the microstructure of shell under stress.

• Thermal stress changed the shell microstructure via Expression pattern change of direct crystal induction genes.

Abstract

Ocean warming and acidification caused by global climate change interferes with the shell growth of mollusks. In abalone Haliotis discus hannai, the microstructural changes in the shell under stress are unclear, and the effect of thermal stress on biomineralization is unknown. The lack of gene information has also hampered the study of abalone biomineralization mechanisms. In this study, the microstructure of reconstructed shell in H. discus hannai was observed to determine the effects of thermal and acidification stress on shell growth. Three nacre protein genes, Hdh-AP7, Hdh-AP24, and Hdh-perlustrin, were characterized, and their expression pattern during shell repair was measured under thermal and acidification stress and compared with those of two known biomineralization-related genes, Hdh-AP-1 and Hdh-defensin. The stress resulted in aragonite plates with corroded or irregular microstructures. The gene expression of two nacre proteins (Hdh-AP7 and Hdh-AP24), which directly induce crystal formation, were more sensitive to thermal stress than to acidification, but the expression of the regulatory nacre protein (Hdh-perlustrin) and the two known genes (Hdh-AP-1 and Hdh-defensin), which are also related to immunity, showed an interlinked, complex pattern change. We concluded that high temperature and acidification damages the shell microstructure by disturbing the expression pattern of biomineralization-related genes.

Continue reading ‘Temperature elevation and acidification damage microstructure of abalone via expression change of crystal induction genes’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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