Posts Tagged 'morphology'

Ocean acidification alters morphology of all otolith types in Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii)

Ocean acidification, the ongoing decline of surface ocean pH and [CO32-] due to absorption of surplus atmospheric CO2, has far-reaching consequences for marine biota, especially calcifiers. Among these are teleost fishes, which internally calcify otoliths, critical elements of the inner ear and vestibular system. There is evidence in the literature that ocean acidification increases otolith size and alters shape, perhaps impacting otic mechanics and thus sensory perception. However, existing analyses of otolith morphological responses to ocean acidification are limited to 2-dimensional morphometrics and shape analysis. Here, we reared larval Clark’s anemonefish, Amphiprion clarkii (Bennett, 1830), in various seawater pH treatments analogous to future ocean scenarios in a 3x-replicated experimental design. Upon settlement, we removed all otoliths from each individual fish and analyzed them for treatment effects on morphometrics including area, perimeter, and circularity; further, we used scanning electron microscopy to screen otoliths visually for evidence of treatment effects on lateral development, surface roughness, and vaterite replacement. Our results corroborate those of other experiments with other taxa that observed otolith growth with elevated pCO2, and provide evidence that lateral development and surface roughness increased as well; we observed at least one of these effects in all otolith types. Finally, we review previous work investigating ocean acidification impacts on otolith morphology and hypotheses concerning function, placing our observations in context. These impacts may have consequences teleost fitness in the near-future ocean.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters morphology of all otolith types in Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii)’

Ocean acidification and molluscan shell taphonomy: can elevated seawater pCO2 influence taphonomy in a naticid predator–prey system?


• Tested for taphonomic effects of elevated pCO2 in a naticid predator-prey system
• High pCO2 induced greater shell dissolution rates, which differed across species
• Breakage force differed across species and drill hole category
• No pCO2 effect on shell breakage force
• Limited species-specific drill hole diameter increase under high pCO2


The size and frequency of gastropod drill holes in shells of their prey are common indicators of predator-prey ecology in the fossil record. Taphonomic processes occurring after predation, however, can influence the preservation of shells in a given fossil assemblage and can thus influence ecological inferences based on preserved shells. To determine if ocean acidification (OA) has the capacity to influence prey shell taphonomy in a gastropod drilling predation system, we tested for effects of elevated pCO2 on dissolution rates, breakage force, and drill hole diameters in non-fragmented shells of two prey species of the cannibalistic naticid gastropod, Euspira heros. Drilled and non-drilled shells of Littorina littorea and E. heros were exposed to control (~300 μatm) and elevated (~800 and 4000 μatm) pCO2 treatments for five weeks. Dry shell weight and drill hole diameter (outer and inner) were recorded for individual shells before and after exposure; the force required for shell breakage was recorded at the end of the exposure period. Shell mass loss in 800 and 4000 μatm, respectively, were ~1 and 7% for E. heros, and ~0 and 4% for L. littorea, compared to ~0% in the control for both species. Shell breakage force was unaffected by elevated pCO2, but was affected by species and drill hole presence, with E. heros shells requiring a force of ~220 and 269 Newtons in drilled and non-drilled shells, respectively, compared to ~294 and 415 Newtons in L. littorea. At 4000 μatm, outer drill hole diameter significantly increased by ~12% for E. heros, while inner drill hole diameter significantly increased by ~13% in E. heros and ~10% in L. littorea. Ultimately, this study provides the first documentation of molluscan shell taphonomy in the context of OA for a gastropod drilling predation system and sets the stage for future research.


Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification and molluscan shell taphonomy: can elevated seawater pCO2 influence taphonomy in a naticid predator–prey system?’

Influences of coral genotype and seawater pCO2 on skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca in cultured massive Porites spp. corals


• KD Ba/Ca vary significantly between massive Porites spp. coral genotypes.
• Seawater pCO2 affects KD Ba/Ca significantly in 1 of 3 coral genotypes.
• KD Mg/Ca varies significantly between some duplicates of the same coral.


Coral skeletal Ba/Ca is a proxy for seawater Ba/Ca, used to infer oceanic upwelling and terrigenous runoff while [Mg2+] is implicated in the control of coral biomineralisation. We cultured large individuals (>12 cm diameter) of 3 genotypes of massive adult Porites spp. corals over a range of seawater pCO2 to test how atmospheric CO2 variations affect skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca. We identified the skeleton deposited after a 5 month acclimation period and analysed the skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca by secondary ion mass spectrometry. Skeletal Mg/Ca varies significantly between some duplicate colonies of the same coral genotype hampering identification of genotype and seawater pCO2 effects. Coral aragonite:seawater Ba/Ca partition coefficients (KD Ba/Ca) do not vary significantly between duplicate colonies of the same coral genotype. We observe large variations in KD Ba/Ca between different massive Porites spp. coral genotypes irrespective of seawater pCO2. These variations do not correlate with coral calcification, photosynthesis or respiration rates or with skeletal KD Mg/Ca or KD Sr/Ca. Seawater pCO2 does not significantly affect KD Ba/Ca in 2 genotypes but KD Ba/Ca is significantly higher at 750 μatm seawater pCO2 than at 180 μatm in 1 P. lutea genotype. Genotype specific variations in KD Ba/Ca between different Porites spp. could yield large errors (~250%) in reconstructions of seawater Ba when comparing Ba/Ca between corals. Analysis of fossil coral specimens deposited at low seawater pCO2, may underestimate past seawater Ba/Ca and ocean upwelling/freshwater inputs when compared with modern specimens but the effect is small in comparison with the observed difference between coral genotypes.

Continue reading ‘Influences of coral genotype and seawater pCO2 on skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca in cultured massive Porites spp. corals’

Does nutrient availability regulate seagrass response to elevated CO2?

Future increases in oceanic carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2(aq)) may provide a benefit to submerged plants by alleviating photosynthetic carbon limitation. However, other environmental factors (for example, nutrient availability) may alter how seagrasses respond to CO2(aq) by regulating the supply of additional resources required to support growth. Thus, questions remain in regard to how other factors influence CO2(aq) effects on submerged vegetation. This study factorially manipulated CO2(aq) and nutrient availability, in situ, within a subtropical seagrass bed for 350 days, and examined treatment effects on leaf productivity, shoot density, above- and belowground biomass, nutrient content, carbohydrate storage, and sediment organic carbon (Corg). Clear, open-top chambers were used to replicate CO2(aq) forecasts for the year 2100, whereas nutrient availability was manipulated via sediment amendments of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer. We provide modest evidence of a CO2 effect, which increased seagrass aboveground biomass. CO2(aq) enrichment had no effect on nutrient content, carbohydrate storage, or sediment Corg content. Nutrient addition increased leaf productivity and leaf N content, however did not alter above- or belowground biomass, shoot density, carbohydrate storage, or Corg content. Treatment interactions were not significant, and thus NP availability did not influence seagrass responses to elevated CO2(aq). This study demonstrates that long-term carbon enrichment may alter the structure of shallow seagrass meadows, even in relatively nutrient-poor, oligotrophic systems.

Continue reading ‘Does nutrient availability regulate seagrass response to elevated CO2?’

Susceptibility of two co-existing mytilid species to simulated predation under projected climate change conditions

Properties of the shells and byssus filaments secreted by marine mussels are affected by environmental and biotic factors. In this study, we investigated the effects of pH and temperature on shell and byssus in artificially created monospecific and mixed aggregations of the indigenous mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the invasive mussel Xenostrobus securis. The variability in the response of the mussels was mainly explained by species-specific interactions derived from the type of aggregation. In the mixed groups, acidic conditions caused a decrease in byssus strength in M. galloprovincialis, but an increase in byssus strength in X. securis. Increased temperature positively affected shell strength in X. securis, but only in mixed aggregations. Interactive effects of acidification and warming were only detected in the organic matter of shells, the strength of which decreased in M. galloprovincialis in mixed aggregations. Although the invasive mussel may be able to take advantage of changed conditions by enhancing byssal attachment, the effects that acidification has on shells may make this species more vulnerable to some predators. The study findings provide some insight into the responses of protective and attachment structures of mussels to biotic and abiotic stressors, highlighting how species interactions may shape the future of mytilid populations.

Continue reading ‘Susceptibility of two co-existing mytilid species to simulated predation under projected climate change conditions’

CO2-induced pH reduction hinders shell development of early larvae donkey’s ear abalone Haliotis asinina (Linnaeus 1758)

This study elucidated the effects of CO2-induced pH reduction on the early larval development of ecologically and economically important donkey’s ear abalone Haliotis asinina. Results showed significant decrease in shell length with decreased pH. More than 50 % of shell malformations were evident from as early as 2 h exposure at pH 7.85 and pH 7.65. At pH 7.65, no normal shell formation was observed at post 2 h. Induced pCO2 reduced pH in this study resulted to saturation levels of calcite and aragonite. These values were lower than the control which may explain the observed impaired development of H. asinina at reduced pH.

Continue reading ‘CO2-induced pH reduction hinders shell development of early larvae donkey’s ear abalone Haliotis asinina (Linnaeus 1758)’

The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability

Atmospheric CO2 levels have been rapidly increasing since the 280 ppm (ppm-parts per million) found previous to the industrial revolution (IPCC 2014). In 2010 the atmospheric CO2 was ~380 ppm (IPCC 2014). In May 2018 the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported 411.21 ppm of CO2 at the surface ocean (Mooney 2018). These rapid changes in the atmosphere also affect ocean chemistry. Surface ocean pH has been rather stable before industrialization over the last 800 000 years, averaging 8.2 at the surface water. Since the industrial revolution, the pH has dropped ~0.1 units, so the present day value is ~8.1 (Gattuso, Hansson 2011; Riebesell et al. 2010). Based on business as-usual scenario, atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to approach 800 ppm by the end of the century, which means that pH would drop further 0.3 to 0.5 units and reach 7.8 pH units (Feely et al. 2009, IPCC report 2014). Finally, the changes in ocean chemistry are not happening everywhere at the same pace. For example, in areas where the water temperature is lower, like the Arctic Ocean, CO2 levels and concomitant acidification is increasing more rapidly (CO2 dissolves better in colder water). This makes the Arctic one of the most efficient areas for the sink of anthropogenic CO2 in the global ocean (Slagstad et al. 2011).

Continue reading ‘The response of the diatom Asterionllopsis glacialis to variations in CO2 and nitrate availability’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book