Posts Tagged 'mollusks'

CO2-induced low pH in an eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) hatchery positively affects reproductive development and larval survival but negatively affects larval shape and size, with no intergenerational linkages

In North America, studies regarding effects of CO2-induced low pH in bivalve aquaculture are largely restricted to the US Pacific coast. Studies on species from the northwest Atlantic are lacking. Furthermore, information on the roles of intergenerational exposure and biological sex in bivalve responses to low pH, particularly in an aquaculture-specific context, is scant. We tested if short-term (1 month) exposure to CO2-induced reductions in pHNBS affected the reproductive development of male and female eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) during hatchery-specific reproductive conditioning and whether maternal and/or paternal exposure influenced larval responses. Reduced pH (7.5–7.7) increased the rate of reproductive development in both males and females. There was no indication of intergenerational effects; adult pH conditions did not affect early larval development. In contrast, low pH conditions experienced by gametes during spawning, fertilization, and embryo incubation (48 h) resulted in higher larval survival (+6–8% from control), reduced shell height (−2 to 3 µm), and increased deformities (abnormal shell shape; +3–5%). We suggest that local adaptation to acidic land runoff may account for the positive effects of low pH observed in this study. Bioeconomic assessments are now needed to understand the implications of reduced pH on aquaculture operations in these regions of Atlantic Canada.

Continue reading ‘CO2-induced low pH in an eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) hatchery positively affects reproductive development and larval survival but negatively affects larval shape and size, with no intergenerational linkages’

Effects of seawater salinity and pH on cellular metabolism and enzyme activities in biomineralizing tissues of marine bivalves


•Effects of salinity and pH on cellular metabolism were studied in bivalves.

•Biomineralizing cells had robust metabolism in the studied salinity and pH range.

•Oxygen consumption and protein synthesis rates declined at low pH.

•Na+/K+ ATPase activity increased at low salinity.

•H+ and Ca2+ transport activities were little affected by salinity and pH variation.


Molluscan shell formation is a complex energy demanding process sensitive to the shifts in seawater CaCO3 saturation due to changes in salinity and pH. We studied the effects of salinity and pH on energy demand and enzyme activities of biomineralizing cells of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and the hard-shell clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). Adult animals were exposed for 14 days to high (30), intermediate (18), or low (10) salinity at either high (8.0-8.2) or low (7.8) pH. Basal metabolic cost as well as the energy cost of the biomineralization-related cellular processes were determined in isolated mantle edge cells and hemocytes. The total metabolic rates were similar in the hemocytes of the two studied species, but considerably higher in the mantle cells of C. gigas compared with those of M. mercenaria. Cellular respiration was unaffected by salinity in the clams’ cells, while in oysters’ cells the highest respiration rate was observed at intermediate salinity (18). In both studied species, low pH suppressed cellular respiration. Low pH led to an upregulation of Na+/K+ ATPase activity in biomineralizing cells of oysters and clams. Activities of Ca2+ ATPase and H+ ATPase, as well as the cellular energy costs of Ca2+ and H+ transport in the biomineralizing cells were insensitive to the variation in salinity and pH in the clams and oysters. Species-specific variability in cellular response to low salinity and pH indicates that the disturbance of shell formation under these conditions has different underlying mechanisms in the two studied species.

Continue reading ‘Effects of seawater salinity and pH on cellular metabolism and enzyme activities in biomineralizing tissues of marine bivalves’

Adult exposure to acidified seawater influences sperm physiology in Mytilus galloprovincialis: Laboratory and in situ transplant experiments


•SWAc impacts on sperm physiology in the M. galloprovincialis after paternal exposure.

•Microcosm and in situ transplant experiment were set up and compared.

•Several sperm quality parameters were analyzed at different exposure times.

•Paternal SWAc exposure affects sperm motility, morphology, mitochondria and pHi.

•Microcosm experiments allowed to explore mechanism underlying responses to SWAc.


The ongoing increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is inducing a progressive lowering of marine water pH that is predicted to decrease to 7.8 by the end of this century. In marine environment, physical perturbation may affect reproduction, which is crucial for species’ survival and strictly depends on gamete quality. The effects of seawater acidification (SWAc) on gamete quality of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates result largely from experiments of gamete exposure while the SWAc impact in response to adult exposure is poorly investigated. Performing microcosm and in field experiments at a naturally acidified site, we investigated the effects of adult SWAc exposure on sperm quality parameters underlying fertilization in Mytilus galloprovincialis. These animals were exposed to pH 7.8 over 21 days and collected at different times to analyze sperm parameters as concentration, motility, viability, morphology, oxidative status, intra- and extra-cellular pH and mitochondrial membrane potential. Results obtained in the two experimental approaches were slightly different. Under field conditions, we found an increase in total sperm motility and mitochondrial membrane potential on days 7 and 14 from the start of SWAc exposure whereas, in microcosm, SWAc group showed an increase of total motility on day 14. In addition, sperm morphology and intracellular pH were affected in both experimental approaches; whereas oxidative stress was detected only in spermatozoa collected from mussels under natural SWAc. The overall analysis suggests that, in mussels, SWAc toxic mechanism in spermatozoa does not involve oxidative stress. This study represents the first report on mussel sperm quality impairment after adult SWAc exposure, which may affect fertilization success with negative ecological and economic consequences; it also indicates that, although naturally acidified areas represent ideal natural laboratories for investigating the impact of ocean acidification, microcosm experiments are necessary for examining action mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘Adult exposure to acidified seawater influences sperm physiology in Mytilus galloprovincialis: Laboratory and in situ transplant experiments’

Interactive effects of pH and temperature on native and alien mussels from the west coast of South Africa

Global warming and ocean acidification influence marine calcifying organisms, particularly those with external shells. Among these, mussels may compensate for environmental changes by phenotypic plasticity, but this may entail trade-offs between shell deposition, growth and reproduction. We assessed main and interactive effects of pH and temperature on four mussel species on the west coast of South Africa (33°48′ S, 18°27′ E) in October 2012 by comparing shell dissolution, shell growth, shell breaking force and condition index of two native species, the ribbed mussel Aulacomya atra and the black mussel Choromytilus meridionalis, and two aliens, the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the bisexual mussel Semimytilus algosus. Live mussels and dead shells were exposed for 42 days to seawater of pH 7.5 or 8.0, at 14 °C or 20 °C. Low pH, high temperature and their combination increased shell dissolution of the two aliens but their growth rates and condition indices remained unchanged. Aulacomya atra also experienced greater shell dissolution at a low pH and high temperature, but grew faster in low-pH treatments. For C. meridionalis, shell dissolution was unaffected by pH or temperature; it also grew faster in low-pH treatments, but had a lower condition index in the higher temperature treatment. Shell strength was not determined by thickness alone. In most respects, all four species proved to be robust to short-term reduction of pH and elevation of temperature, but the native species compensated for greater shell dissolution at low pH by increasing growth rate, whereas the aliens did not, so their invasive success cannot be ascribed to benefits accruing from climate change.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of pH and temperature on native and alien mussels from the west coast of South Africa’

Antagonistic interactions and clutch-dependent sensitivity induce variable responses to ocean acidification and warming in squid (Doryteuthis pealeii) embryos and paralarvae

Ocean acidification (OA) and warming seas are significant concerns for coastal systems and species. The Atlantic longfin squid, Doryteuthis pealeii, a core component of the Northwest Atlantic trophic web, has demonstrated impacts, such as reduced growth and delayed development, under high chronic exposure to acidification (2200 ppm), but the combined effects of OA and warming have not been explored in this species. In this study, D. pealeii egg capsules were reared under a combination of several acidification levels (400, 2200, and 3500 ppm) and temperatures (20 and 27°C). Hatchlings were measured for a range of metrics [dorsal mantle length (DML), yolk sac volume (YV), malformation, and hatching success] in three trials over the 2016 breeding season (May – October). Although notable resistance to stressors was seen, highlighting variability within and between clutches, reduced DML and malformation of the embryos occurred at the highest OA exposure. Surprisingly, increased temperatures did not appear to exacerbate OA impacts, although responses were variable. Time to hatching, which increased with acidification, decreased much more drastically under warming and, further, decreased or removed delays caused by acidification. Hatching success, while variable by clutch, showed consistent patterns of greater late stage loss of embryos under acidification and greater early stage loss under warming, highlighting the potential difference in timing between these stressors for this system, i.e., that acidification stress builds up and causes impacts over time within the egg capsule as the embryos grow and respire. High OA-exposed hatchlings from the warmer conditions often showed reduced impacts compared to those reared in ambient temperatures. This may be due to the increased developmental rate and subsequently reduced OA exposure time of embryos in the higher temperature treatment. These results indicate a substantive potential plasticity to multiple stressors during the embryonic development of this species of squid, but do not predict how this species would fare under these future ocean scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Antagonistic interactions and clutch-dependent sensitivity induce variable responses to ocean acidification and warming in squid (Doryteuthis pealeii) embryos and paralarvae’

Ocean acidification induces carry-over effects on the larval settlement of the New Zealand abalone, Haliotis iris

Larval settlement is a key process in the lifecycle of benthic marine organisms; however, little is known on how it could change in reduced seawater pH and carbonate saturation states under future ocean acidification (OA). This is important, as settlement ensures species occur in optimal environments and, for commercially important species such as abalone, reduced settlement could decrease future population success. We investigated how OA could affect settlement success in the New Zealand abalone Haliotis iris by examining: (1) direct effects of seawater at ambient (pHT 8.05) and reduced pHT (7.65) at the time of settlement, (2) indirect effects of settlement substrates (crustose coralline algae, CCA) preconditioned at ambient and reduced pHT for 171 days, and (3) carry-over effects, by examining settlement in larvae reared to competency at ambient and reduced pHT (7.80). We found no effects of seawater pH or CCA incubation on larval settlement success. OA-induced carry-over effects were evident, with lower settlement in larvae reared at reduced pH. Understanding the mechanisms behind these responses is key to fully comprehend the extent to which OA will affect marine organisms and the industries that rely on them.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification induces carry-over effects on the larval settlement of the New Zealand abalone, Haliotis iris’

Transcriptional changes of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas reveal essential role of calcium signal pathway in response to CO2-driven acidification


•Totally 501 and 2728 DEGs were identified in oyster after short- and long-term CO2 exposure, respectively.

•A series of calcium-binding genes were up-regulated in oyster after long-term CO2 exposure.

•The intracellular calcium concentration decreased after short-time CO2 exposure but recovered to normal levels after long-term treatment.

•The oxidative stress level increased significantly after short-time CO2 exposure but recovered to normal level after long-term treatment.


There is increasing evidence that ocean acidification (OA) has a significant impact on marine organisms. However, the ability of most marine organisms to acclimate to OA and the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. In the present study, whole transcriptome analysis was performed to compare the impacts of short- (7 days, named as short group) and long- (60 days, named as long group) term CO2 exposure (pH 7.50) on Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. The responses of C. gigas to short- and long-term CO2 exposure shared common mechanisms in metabolism, membrane-associated transportation and binding processes. Long-term CO2 exposure induced significant expression of genes involved in DNA or RNA binding, indicating the activated transcription after long-term CO2 exposure. Oysters in the short-term group underwent significant intracellular calcium variation and oxidative stress. In contrast, the intracellular calcium, ROS level in hemocytes and H2O2 in serum recovered to normal levels after long-term CO2 exposure, suggesting the compensation of physiological status and mutual interplay between calcium and oxidative level. The compensation was supported by the up-regulation of a series of calcium binding proteins (CBPs) and calmodulins (CaMs) related signal pathway. The results provided valuable information to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the responses of Pacific oyster to the acidified ocean and might have implications for predicting the possible effects of global climate changes on oyster aquaculture.

Continue reading ‘Transcriptional changes of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas reveal essential role of calcium signal pathway in response to CO2-driven acidification’

Impacts of ocean acidification on intertidal macroalgae and algivore preference

Ocean acidification, a facet of global climate change, has the potential to induce changes in marine macroalgae that modify their existing interactions with algivorous invertebrates. In this study, I examined the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (pCO2) on several species of intertidal macroalgae (Phaeophyta, Rhodophyta) and evaluated the present-day and predicted future preferences of algivores (Pugettia producta and Tegula funebralis) by assessing grazing rates on untreated algal tissue and on algae exposed to high-pCO2 seawater. Both red and brown algae grew faster in elevated pCO2 than in ambient seawater, and algae in intermediate pCO2 generated more new growth overall than those in highly elevated pCO2. The effect of pCO2 on the carbon and nitrogen contents of algae depended on species identity, and C:N ratios decreased slightly with increasing pCO2 for four of the five species studied. Total phenolic content in each alga was unaffected by pCO2 treatment, although similar (distinct) levels between untreated species became distinct (similar) when those same species were compared after highpCO2 treatment. Algivores demonstrated contrasting responses to changes in their food sources; P. producta, a specialist crab grazer, did not modify its preference for the brown alga Egregia menziesii when offered high-pCO2 treated individuals, but the generalist snail T. funebralis adjusted its feeding behavior to choose algae with low phenolic contents, which created different patterns of preference for untreated and pCO2-treated algae. C:N ratios of algae did not appear to be a strong driver of preference for either grazer in feeding experiments. These results indicate that algae may be well-equipped to benefit from moderate increases in seawater pCO2, but they exhibit species-specific rates of growth and phenolic production, which in turn affect their appeal to a generalist algivore. Intertidal algal communities will therefore face altered patterns of predation under future ocean acidification conditions as generalist algivores adjust to new variation in algal palatability.

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Abalone populations are most sensitive to environmental stress effects on adult individuals

Marine organisms are exposed to stressors associated with climate change throughout their life cycle, but a majority of studies focus on responses in single life stages, typically early ones. Here, we examined how negative impacts from stressors associated with climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution can act across multiple life stages to influence long-term population dynamics and decrease resilience to mass mortality events. We used a continuous-size-structured density-dependent model for abalone (Haliotis spp.), calcifying mollusks that support valuable fisheries, to explore the sensitivity of stock abundance and annual catch to potential changes in growth, survival, and fecundity across the organism’s lifespan. Our model predicts that decreased recruitment from lowered fertilization success or larval survival has small negative impacts on the population, and that stock size and fishery performance are much more sensitive to changes in parameters that affect the size or survival of adults. Sensitivity to impacts on subadults and juveniles is also important for the population, though less so than for adults. Importantly, likelihood of recovery following mortality events showed more pronounced sensitivity to most possible parameter impacts, greater than the effects on equilibrium density or catch. Our results suggest that future experiments on environmental stressors should focus on multiple life stages to capture effects on population structure and dynamics, particularly for species with size-dependent fecundity.

Continue reading ‘Abalone populations are most sensitive to environmental stress effects on adult individuals’

Trace metal accumulation in the commercial mussel M. galloprovincialis under future climate change scenarios


•The increase in CO2 alone did not display biological or chemical changes in mussels.

•At 25 °C byssus strength and condition index of Galician mussel decreased.

•The increase in temperature amplified metal bioaccumulation in mussels.


The current trend of climatic alterations will accelerate the modification of the ocean system by, among other aspects, changing the metal speciation and its bioavailability which may have an impact in their accumulation by marine organisms. Understanding the impact of these potential changes is essential for future risk assessment of metal contamination. In the present study, we selected the species Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) as the main European aquaculture production bivalve and due to its widespread use for biomonitoring purposes. A long-term test (2 months) was carried out to explore the impact that global change in the marine environment (warming and CO2 increase) may exert on the accumulation of dissolved trace metals (Cu, Co, Pb, Cd, Cr, As and Ni) in different body parts of mussels (foot and soft tissue).

Studied mussels were collected at two different climatic locations (Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea) and exposed to unspiked, unpolluted seawater from the Vigo Ria (NW Iberian Peninsula). Results showed that under the global change conditions proposed in this study (1100 pCO2 and 25 °C), the increase in temperature resulted in a lower condition index and byssus strength for mussels from Atlantic Sea, while Mediterranean sea mussels, adapted to higher temperatures, did not show remarkable variations. According to trace metals accumulation in different body parts of the studied mussels, it was observed that the effect of increasing CO2 alone did not show to have an impact in the bioaccumulation, but the combined stressors (increase in CO2 and temperature) may lead to an increase in the bioaccumulation for some elements. The increase in temperature resulted in a decrease of the Cu content of foot tissue (byssus gland) in mussels from Atlantic Sea, which is in accordance with the lower byssus strength observed under such conditions. Our results indicate that the expected seawater temperature increase, which will be produced gradually during next decades, should be further study to ensure the species adaptability and aquaculture production.

Continue reading ‘Trace metal accumulation in the commercial mussel M. galloprovincialis under future climate change scenarios’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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