Posts Tagged 'morphology'

Effects of high pCO2 on early life development of pelagic spawning marine fish

The present study investigated the effect of elevated pCO2 on the development of early stages of the pelagic spawning marine fish Solea senegalensis, Diplodus sargus and Argyrosomus regius. Eggs and larvae were reared under control (pH 8.0, ~570 μatm) and two elevated pCO2 conditions (pH 7.8, ~1100 μatm; pH 7.6, ~1900 μatm) until mouth opening (3 days post-hatching). Egg size did not change with exposure to elevated pCO2, but hatching rate was significantly reduced under high pCO2 for all three species. Survival rate was not affected by exposure to increased pCO2, but growth rate was differently affected across species, with A. regius growing faster in the mid-level pCO2 treatment compared with control conditions. S. senegalensis and A. regius hatched with smaller yolk sacs under increased pCO2 but endogenous reserves of D. sargus were not affected. Otoliths were consistently larger under elevated pCO2 conditions for all the three species. Differences among egg batches and a significant interaction between batch and pCO2 suggest that other factors, such as egg quality, can influence the response to increased pCO2. Overall, the results support the occurrence of a species-specific response to pCO2, but highlight the need for cautious analysis of potential sensitivity of species from unreplicated observations.

Continue reading ‘Effects of high pCO2 on early life development of pelagic spawning marine fish’

Southern Ocean pteropods at risk from ocean warming and acidification

Early life stages of marine calcifiers are particularly vulnerable to climate change. In the Southern Ocean aragonite undersaturation events and areas of rapid warming already occur and are predicted to increase in extent. Here, we present the first study to successfully hatch the polar pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica and observe the potential impact of exposure to increased temperature and aragonite undersaturation resulting from ocean acidification (OA) on the early life stage survival and shell morphology. High larval mortality (up to 39%) was observed in individuals exposed to perturbed conditions. Warming and OA induced extensive shell malformation and dissolution, respectively, increasing shell fragility. Furthermore, shell growth decreased, with variation between treatments and exposure time. Our results demonstrate that short-term exposure through passing through hotspots of OA and warming poses a serious threat to pteropod recruitment and long-term population viability.

Continue reading ‘Southern Ocean pteropods at risk from ocean warming and acidification’

Natural ocean acidification at Papagayo upwelling system (North Pacific Costa Rica): implications for reef development

Numerous experiments have shown that ocean acidification impedes coral calcification, but knowledge about in situ reef ecosystem response to ocean acidification is still scarce. Bahía Culebra, situated at the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is a location naturally exposed to acidic conditions due to the Papagayo seasonal upwelling. We measured pH and pCO2 in situ during two non-upwelling seasons (June 2012, May–June 2013), with a high temporal resolution of every 15 and 30 min, respectively, using two Submersible Autonomous Moored Instruments (SAMI-pH, SAMI-CO2). These results were compared with published data from the upwelling season 2009. Findings revealed that the carbonate system in Bahía Culebra shows a high temporal variability. Incoming offshore waters drive inter- and intra-seasonal changes. Lowest pH (7.8) and highest pCO2 (658.3 µatm) values measured during a cold-water intrusion event in the non-upwelling season were similar to those minimum values reported from upwelling season (pH = 7.8, pCO2 = 643.5 µatm), unveiling that natural acidification occurs sporadically also in non-upwelling season. This affects the interaction of photosynthesis, respiration, calcification, and carbonate dissolution and the resulting diel cycle of pH and pCO2 in the reefs of Bahía Culebra. During non-upwelling season, the aragonite saturation state (Ωa) rises to values of > 3.3 and enhances calcification. Aragonite saturation state values during upwelling season falls below 2.5, hampering calcification and coral growth. Low reef accretion in Bahía Culebra indicates high erosion rates and that these reefs grow on the verge of their ecological tolerance. The Ωa threshold values for coral growth, derived from the correlation between Ωa and coral linear extension rates, suggest that future ocean acidification will threaten reefs in Bahía Culebra. These data contribute to build a better understanding of the carbonate system dynamics and coral reefs key response (e.g. coral growth) to natural low-pH conditions, in upwelling areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and beyond.

Continue reading ‘Natural ocean acidification at Papagayo upwelling system (North Pacific Costa Rica): implications for reef development’

Evaluating features of periphytic diatom communities as biomonitoring tools in fresh, brackish and marine waters

Highlights

• Diversity of periphytic diatoms from freshwater, brackish water and marine sites from the same biogeographical region was assessed.
• Taxonomical parameters (life-forms, cell density, biovolume, Shannon index, species richness and % relative abundance) effectively differentiate impacted sites from less-impacted one.
• Lipid bodies and deformities in diatoms show tremendous potential to be used as a rapid early warning system for assessing the ecological health of fluvial ecosystem.

Abstract

The aims of this study were to assess the biodiversity of periphytic diatom assemblages in fresh, brackish and marine waterbodies of Korea, and to assess the effect of environmental and anthropogenic factors on parameters such as the quantity and biovolume of lipid bodies and deformations of diatoms as early warning measures of anthropogenic impact. Diatom samples were collected from 31 sites (14 freshwater, 10 brackish and 7 marine), which included less impacted (upstream) and impacted (downstream) sites in each water type. Our results showed higher abundance and biodiversity of periphytic diatoms at the less impacted sites in terms of species richness, Shannon index, cell count and biovolume of the communities than at the impacted sites for freshwater and estuarine sites, but not for marine sites. 84 diatom species were noted in freshwater, 80 in brackish water and 40 in marine waters. In comparison to diatoms of the impacted sites, those of less impacted freshwater, brackish and marine sites had less lipid bodies (also less biovolume) and a lower percentage of teratological frustules, and showed more mobile forms in the community. Principal component analysis (PCA) also showed clear segregation of impacted from less impacted sites by the extent of the presence of lipid bodies (higher both in number and biovolume) and deformities in diatom frustules. Pearson correlation analysis revealed that lipid body induction and deformities were positively correlated with metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn) and nutrients (total phosphorus and total nitrogen), whereas they showed negative correlation with salinity, dissolved oxygen, suspended solutes and pH. Life-forms, lipid bodies and deformities in diatoms may be an effective biomonitoring tool for assessing biological effects of pollutants in non-marine aquatic ecosystems in Korea.

Continue reading ‘Evaluating features of periphytic diatom communities as biomonitoring tools in fresh, brackish and marine waters’

Nutrient loading fosters seagrass productivity under ocean acidification

The effects of climate change are likely to be dependent on local settings. Nonetheless, the compounded effects of global and regional stressors remain poorly understood. Here, we used CO2 vents to assess how the effects of ocean acidification on the seagrass, Posidonia oceanica, and the associated epiphytic community can be modified by enhanced nutrient loading. P. oceanica at ambient and low pH sites was exposed to three nutrient levels for 16 months. The response of P. oceanica to experimental conditions was assessed by combining analyses of gene expression, plant growth, photosynthetic pigments and epiphyte loading. At low pH, nutrient addition fostered plant growth and the synthesis of photosynthetic pigments. Overexpression of nitrogen transporter genes following nutrient additions at low pH suggests enhanced nutrient uptake by the plant. In addition, enhanced nutrient levels reduced the expression of selected antioxidant genes in plants exposed to low pH and increased epiphyte cover at both ambient and low pH. Our results show that the effects of ocean acidification on P. oceanica depend upon local nutrient concentration. More generally, our findings suggest that taking into account local environmental settings will be crucial to advance our understanding of the effects of global stressors on marine systems.

Continue reading ‘Nutrient loading fosters seagrass productivity under ocean acidification’

Increased temperature mitigates the effects of ocean acidification on the calcification of juvenile Pocillopora damicornis, but at a cost

This study tested the interactive effects of increased seawater temperature and CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) on the photochemistry, bleaching, and early growth of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis. New recruits were maintained at ambient or high temperature (29 or 30.8 °C) and pCO2 (~ 500 and ~ 1100 μatm) in a full-factorial experiment for 3 weeks. Neither a sharp decline in photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) nor evident bleaching was observed at high temperature and/or high pCO2. Furthermore, elevated temperature greatly promoted lateral growth and calcification, while polyp budding exhibited temperature-dependent responses to pCO2. High pCO2 depressed calcification by 28% at ambient temperature, but did not impact calcification at 30.8 °C. Interestingly, elevated temperature in concert with high pCO2 significantly retarded the budding process. These results suggest that increased temperature can mitigate the adverse effects of acidification on the calcification of juvenile P. damicornis, but at a substantial cost to asexual budding.

Continue reading ‘Increased temperature mitigates the effects of ocean acidification on the calcification of juvenile Pocillopora damicornis, but at a cost’

Sensory qualities of oysters unaltered by a short exposure to combined elevated pCO2 and temperature

Reliance on the marine environment for the provision of food is ever-increasing, but future climate change threatens production. Despite this concern, the impact on seafood quality and success of the seafood industry is unknown. Using a short-term study, we test these concerns using a major aquaculture species—Crassostrea gigas—exposing them to three acidification and warming scenarios: (1) ambient pCO2 (~400 ppm) & control temperature (15°C), (2) ambient pCO2 (~400 ppm) & elevated temperature (20°C), (3) elevated pCO2 (~1,000 ppm) & elevated temperature (20°C). Oyster quality was assessed by scoring appearance, aroma, taste, and overall acceptability. A panel of five experts was asked to score nine oysters—three from each treatment—according to agreed criteria. Results indicate that these levels of acidification and warming did not significantly alter the sensory properties of C. gigas, and notably the overall acceptability remained unchanged. Non-statistically supported trends suggest that several sensory attributes—opacity, mouthfeel, aspect of meat, shininess, meat resistance, meat texture, and creaminess—may improve under acidification and warming scenarios. These findings can be considered positive for the future of the aquaculture and food sectors. Crassostrea gigas therefore is expected to remain a key species for food security that is resilient to climate change, whilst retaining its valuable attributes.

Continue reading ‘Sensory qualities of oysters unaltered by a short exposure to combined elevated pCO2 and temperature’


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