Posts Tagged 'morphology'



Impacts of temperature, CO2, and salinity on phytoplankton community composition in the western Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean has been experiencing rapid warming, which accelerates sea ice melt. Further, the increasing area and duration of sea ice-free conditions enhance ocean uptake of CO2. We conducted two shipboard experiments in September 2015 and 2016 to examine the effects of temperature, CO2, and salinity on phytoplankton dynamics to better understand the impacts of rapid environmental changes on the Arctic ecosystem. Two temperature conditions (control: <3 and 5°C above the control), two CO2 levels (control: ∼300 and 300/450 μatm above the control; i.e., 600/750 μatm), and two salinity conditions (control: 29 in 2015 and 27 in 2016, and 1.4 below the control) conditions were fully factorially manipulated in eight treatments. Higher temperatures enhanced almost all phytoplankton traits in both experiments in terms of chl-a, accessory pigments and diatom biomass. The diatom diversity index decreased due to the replacement of chain-forming Thalassiosira spp. by solitary Cylindrotheca closterium or Pseudo-nitzschia spp. under higher temperature and lower salinity in combination. Higher CO2 levels significantly increased the growth of small-sized phytoplankton (<10 μm) in both years. Decreased salinity had marginal effects but significantly increased the growth of small-sized phytoplankton under higher CO2 levels in terms of chl-a in 2015. Our results suggest that the smaller phytoplankton tend to dominate in the shelf edge region of the Chukchi Sea in the western Arctic Ocean under multiple environmental perturbations.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of temperature, CO2, and salinity on phytoplankton community composition in the western Arctic Ocean’

Response of benthic foraminifera to pH changes: community structure and morphological transformation studies from a microcosm experiment

Highlights

• Entire foraminiferal communities were successfully cultured under five pH treatments for four months.

• 2246 living individuals were analyzed to calculate the community parameters and 1919 specimens were measured to compare the morphological transformation.

• Hyaline and porcelaneous foraminifera showed significant positive correlations with pH, while the agglutinated taxa showed significant negative response.

• The test size of calcareous species showed an obvious decline with decreasing pH, which indicated these taxa were sensitive and vulnerable to ocean acidification.

• More deformed tests occurred under low pH conditions (<7.5).

Abstract

Marine calcifying organisms, such as foraminifera, are threatened by the declining pH in the modern ocean. Benthic foraminifera are abundant, widespread and occur in diverse populations in the intertidal environment. However, to date, no studies have been conducted on the response of intertidal foraminiferal community to pH under laboratory culture experiment. In this study, we cultured the entire foraminiferal community with the natural sediments from the intertidal area of the Yellow Sea at five pH (8.5, 8.0, 7.5, 7.0 and 6.5, NBS scale). After four months’ incubation, all living specimens (stained by rose-Bengal) were picked and identified. A total of 2246 living benthic foraminiferal specimens belonging to 15 species were analyzed, among which 1962 individuals were cultured and 284 ones were sampled before culturing. We calculated the community parameters under different pH, which showed both foraminiferal abundance and species richness decreased with the decline in pH. We analyzed the response of three foraminiferal taxa with different test types (hyaline, porcelaneous and agglutinated). The hyaline (e.g., Ammonia aomoriensis) and porcelaneous (e.g., Quinqueloculina seminula) foraminifera showed significant positive correlation with pH. In contrast, the agglutinated taxa (e.g., Ammoglobigerina globigeriniformis) showed significant negative response. For detecting the response of individual species to pH, body size and abnormal morphology of dominant species were measured and analyzed. Morphometric analysis of 1919 specimens showed the maximum length of hyaline and porcelaneous species decreased under low pH treatments (<7.5) while that of agglutinated species increased. There were more deformed foraminiferal tests under low pH treatments. Our results demonstrate that benthic foraminifera are sensitive to pH decline which can cause a decline of community abundance and species richness, a reduction of dominant species of hyaline and porcelaneous types, and increase the chance of deformity. Among which, calcareous types are the first victims under low pH conditions.

Continue reading ‘Response of benthic foraminifera to pH changes: community structure and morphological transformation studies from a microcosm experiment’

Molecular adaptation of molluscan biomineralisation to high-CO2 oceans – the known and the unknown

Highlights

• Shell proteins and ion transporters are two important machineries involved in molluscan biomineralisation.

• Energy budgeting plays a key role in adaptation to OA.

• Omega myth theory and proton flux limitation theory on ocean acidification.

• Understanding epigenetic changes in response to environmental stressors is required.

• There is only limited understanding of molluscan carbon uptake mechanisms.

Abstract

High-CO2 induced ocean acidification (OA) reduces the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation level (Ω) and the pH of oceans. Consequently, OA is causing a serious threat to several ecologically and economically important biomineralising molluscs. Biomineralisation is a highly controlled biochemical process by which molluscs deposit their calcareous structures. In this process, shell matrix proteins aid the nucleation, growth and assemblage of the CaCO3 crystals in the shell. These molluscan shell proteins (MSPs) are, ultimately, responsible for determination of the diverse shell microstructures and mechanical strength. Recent studies have attempted to integrate gene and protein expression data of MSPs with shell structure and mechanical properties. These advances made in understanding the molecular mechanism of biomineralisation suggest that molluscs either succumb or adapt to OA stress. In this review, we discuss the fate of biomineralisation process in future high-CO2 oceans and its ultimate impact on the mineralised shell’s structure and mechanical properties from the perspectives of limited substrate availability theory, proton flux limitation model and the omega myth theory.

Furthermore, studying the interplay of energy availability and differential gene expression is an essential first step towards understanding adaptation of molluscan biomineralisation to OA, because if there is a need to change gene expression under stressors, any living system would require more energy than usual. To conclude, we have listed, four important future research directions for molecular adaptation of molluscan biomineralisation in high-CO2 oceans: 1) Including an energy budgeting factor while understanding differential gene expression of MSPs and ion transporters under OA. 2) Unraveling the genetic or epigenetic changes related to biomineralisation under stressors to help solving a bigger picture about future evolution of molluscs, and 3) Understanding Post Translational Modifications of MSPs with and without stressors. 4) Understanding carbon uptake mechanisms across taxa with and without OA to clarify the OA theories on Ω.

Continue reading ‘Molecular adaptation of molluscan biomineralisation to high-CO2 oceans – the known and the unknown’

A review of transgenerational effects of ocean acidification on marine bivalves and their implications for sclerochronology

Highlights

1. Effects of moderately elevated pCO2 on marine bivalves are potentially alleviated following transgenerational exposure.

2. Transgenerational effects on geochemical properties of marine bivalve shells can have widespread implications for sclerochronology.

Abstract

Ocean acidification can negatively impact marine bivalves, especially their shell mineralization processes. Consequently, whether marine bivalves can rapidly acclimate and eventually adapt in an acidifying ocean is now increasingly receiving considerable attention. Projecting the fate of this vulnerable taxonomic group is also pivotal for the science of sclerochronology – the study which seeks to deduce records of past environmental changes and organismal life-history traits from various geochemical properties of periodically layered hard tissues (bivalve shells, corals, fish otoliths, etc.). In this review, we provide a concise overview of the long-term and transgenerational responses of marine bivalves to elevated pCO2 manifested at different levels of biological organization, with a specific focus on responses of geochemical properties (stable carbon and oxygen isotopes, minor and trace elements and microstructures) of their shells. Without exception, positive transgenerational responses to an elevated pCO2 scenario projected for the year 2100 have been found in all five bivalve species hitherto studied, under the umbrella of two non-genetic mechanisms (increased maternal provisioning and epigenetic inheritance), suggesting that marine bivalves have remarkable transgenerational phenotypic plasticity which allows them to respond plastically and acclimate rapidly in an acidifying ocean. Rapid transgenerational acclimation, especially in terms of physiological processes, however, hinders a reliable interpretation of proxy records. Transgenerationally acclimated bivalves can actively modify the calcification physiology in response to elevated pCO2, which in turn affects the processes of almost all geochemical proxies preserved in their shells. In particular, stable carbon isotopes, metabolically regulated elements (Na, K, Cu, Zn, Fe, etc.), and shell microstructures can be highly biased. In this context, we propose a number of challenges and opportunities the field of sclerochronology may face.

Continue reading ‘A review of transgenerational effects of ocean acidification on marine bivalves and their implications for sclerochronology’

Combined effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia on the early development of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus

Ocean acidification has become serious, and seawater hypoxia has become evident in acidified waters. The combination of such stressors may have interactive effects on the fitness of marine organisms. In order to investigate the interactive effects of seawater acidification and hypoxia on the early development of marine bivalves, the eggs and sperm of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus were exposed to combined treatments of pH (8.1, 7.7, 7.3) and dissolved oxygen (2, 6 mg/L) for 96 h culture observation to investigate the interactive effects of seawater acidification and hypoxia on the early development of marine bivalves. Results showed that acidification and hypoxia had significant negative effects on various parameters of the early development of the thick shell mussel. However, hypoxia had no effect on fertilization rate. Significant interactions between acidification and hypoxia were observed during the experiment. Short-term exposure negatively influenced the early development of the thick shell mussel but did not affect its survival. The effects of long-term exposure to these two environmental stresses need further study.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia on the early development of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus’

Linking energy budget to physiological adaptation: how a calcifying gastropod adjusts or succumbs to ocean acidification and warming

Highlights

• Energetics and shell properties of gastropods were measured under future climate.

• Ocean warming increased the feeding rate and hence energy budget of gastropods.

• The boosted energy budget was linked to increased shell growth and shell strength.

• Ocean acidification caused these positive effects of warming to become negative.

• Energy budget determined the adjustability of shell building process in calcifiers.

Abstract

Accelerating CO2 emissions have driven physico-chemical changes in the world’s oceans, such as ocean acidification and warming. How marine organisms adjust or succumb to such environmental changes may be determined by their ability to balance energy intake against expenditure (i.e. energy budget) as energy supports physiological functions, including those with adaptive value. Here, we examined whether energy budget is a driver of physiological adaptability of marine calcifiers to the near-future ocean acidification and warming; i.e. how physiological energetics (respiration rate, feeding rate, energy assimilation and energy budget) relates to adjustments in shell growth and shell properties of a calcifying gastropod (Austrocochlea concamerata). We found that ocean warming boosted the energy budget of gastropods due to increased feeding rate, resulting in faster shell growth and greater shell strength (i.e. more mechanically resilient). When combined with ocean acidification, however, the gastropods had a substantial decrease in energy budget due to reduced feeding rate and energy assimilation, leading to the reduction in shell growth and shell strength. By linking energy budget to the adjustability of shell building, we revealed that energy availability is critical to determine the physiological adaptability of marine calcifiers to the changing oceanic climate.

Continue reading ‘Linking energy budget to physiological adaptation: how a calcifying gastropod adjusts or succumbs to ocean acidification and warming’

Paradise lost: end‐of‐century warming and acidification under business‐as‐usual emissions have severe consequences for symbiotic corals

Despite recent efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, current global emission trajectories are still following the business‐as‐usual RCP8.5 emission pathway. The resulting ocean warming and acidification have transformative impacts on coral reef ecosystems, detrimentally affecting coral physiology and health, and these impacts are predicted to worsen in the near future. In this study, we kept fragments of the symbiotic corals Acropora intermedia (thermally sensitive) and Porites lobata (thermally tolerant) for 7 weeks under an orthogonal design of predicted end‐of‐century RCP8.5 conditions for temperature and pCO2 (3.5 °C and 570 ppm above present‐day respectively) to unravel how temperature and acidification, individually or interactively, influence metabolic and physiological performance. Our results pinpoint thermal stress as the dominant driver of deteriorating health in both species because of its propensity to destabilize coral‐dinoflagellate symbiosis (bleaching). Acidification had no influence on metabolism but had a significant negative effect on skeleton growth, particularly when photosynthesis was absent such as in bleached corals or under dark conditions. Total loss of photosynthesis after bleaching caused an exhaustion of protein and lipid stores and collapse of calcification that ultimately led to A. intermedia mortality. Despite complete loss of symbionts from its tissue, P. lobata maintained small amounts of photosynthesis and experienced a weaker decline in lipid and protein reserves that presumably contributed to higher survival of this species. Our results indicate that ocean warming and acidification under business‐as‐usual CO2 emission scenarios will likely extirpate thermally‐sensitive coral species before the end of the century, while slowing the recovery of more thermally‐tolerant species from increasingly severe mass coral bleaching and mortality. This could ultimately lead to the gradual disappearance of tropical coral reefs globally, and a shift on surviving reefs to only the most resilient coral species.

Continue reading ‘Paradise lost: end‐of‐century warming and acidification under business‐as‐usual emissions have severe consequences for symbiotic corals’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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