Posts Tagged 'mortality'

Calcifying response and recovery potential of the brown alga Padina pavonica under ocean acidification

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing ocean acidification (OA), which affects calcifying organisms. Recent studies have shown that Padina pavonica investigated along a natural pCO2 gradient seems to acclimate to OA by reducing calcified structures and changing mineralogy from aragonite to calcium sulphate salts. The aim of the present study was to study the potential for acclimation of P. pavonica to OA along the same gradient and in aquaria under controlled conditions. P. pavonica was cross-transplanted for one week from a normal pH site (median value: pHTS = 8.1; pCO2 = 361 μatm) to a low pH site (median value: pHTS = 7.4; pCO2 = 1025 μatm) and vice versa. Results showed that this calcifying alga did survive under acute environmental pHTS changes but its calcification was significantly reduced. P. pavonica decalcified and changed mineralogy at pHTS = 7.4, but once brought back at pHTS = 8.1 it partially recovered the aragonite loss while preserving the calcium sulphate minerals that formed under low pHTS. These results suggest that P. pavonica could be used as a bio-indicator for monitoring OA, as well as localized anthropogenic acidity fluctuations.

Continue reading ‘Calcifying response and recovery potential of the brown alga Padina pavonica under ocean acidification’

Decreased pH and increased temperatures affect young-of-the-year red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

The red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is a high-latitude commercially important species with a complex life-history cycle which encompasses a wide variety of conditions and habitats. High-latitude waters, including those around Alaska where red king crab live, are predicted to have increased ocean acidification and temperatures in comparison to other areas. The interaction of ocean acidification and increased temperature has not been examined for any life history stage of red king crab. To determine the effects of near-future ocean acidification and warming temperature on young-of-the-year red king crab survival, growth, and morphology, we conducted a long-term (184 d) fully crossed experiment with two pHs and three temperatures: ambient pH (∼7.99), pH 7.8, ambient temperature, ambient +2 °C, and ambient +4 °C, for a total of six treatments. Mortality increased with exposure to reduced pH and higher temperatures, but a clear trend in the interactive effects of the stressors was not observed. A synergetic effect on mortality was observed in the pH 7.8 and ambient +4 °C temperature treatment. This treatment also had the lowest survival with only 3% surviving to the end of the experiment. However, an antagonistic effect on mortality was observed in the pH 7.8 and ambient +2 °C treatment. Lower pH and warmer temperatures affected intermoult duration, only temperature affected percent increase in size, but carapace length was not affected. Decreased pH and increased temperature had no effect on morphology. The results of this study combined with other studies show that decreased pH and warming has profound negative effects on red king crab. Unless the species is able to adapt or acclimate to changing climate conditions, red king crabs populations may decrease in the upcoming decades due to ocean acidification and rising temperatures.

Continue reading ‘Decreased pH and increased temperatures affect young-of-the-year red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)’

Physiological responses of gray mullet Mugil cephalus to low-pH water

We examined changes in the physiological responses of gray mullet Mugil cephalus exposed to acidic seawater (pH 6.0, 6.5, 7.0) and normal seawater (pH 8.0, control) for 15 days. As pH decreased, survival rate and body weight also decreased. Levels of aminotransferase, total protein and triglycerides also differed significantly with changes in pH, presumably due to stress caused by exposure to acidic water. The level of osmotic pressure was significantly higher in the pH 6.0 group than in other groups. Superoxide dismutase was significantly higher in the pH 6.5 and 7.0 groups than in the pH 8.0 group, and glutathione level was lowest in the pH 6.0 group. We conclude that decreasing the pH level of seawater induces a stress response in fish, damaging their ability to control their hematological and osmotic pressure. Antioxidant enzymes are generally sensitive to osmotic stress; in this study, antioxidant activity significantly changed with pH level. These results indicate that physiological stress induced by exposure to acidification reduces survival rates and inhibits growth in M. cephalus.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of gray mullet Mugil cephalus to low-pH water’

Combined effects of sea water acidification and copper exposure on the symbiont-bearing foraminifer Amphistegina gibbosa

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local stressors such as ocean acidification and trace metal contamination. Reliable early warning monitoring tools are needed to assess and monitor coral reef health. Symbiont-bearing foraminifers (Amphistegina gibbosa) were kept under ambient conditions (no sea water acidification and no copper addition) or exposed to combinations of different levels of sea water pH (8.1, 7.8, 7.5 and 7.2) and environmentally relevant concentrations of dissolved copper (measured: 1.0, 1.6, 2.3 and 3.2 µg L−1) in a mesocosm system. After 10- and 25-d exposure, foraminifers were analyzed for holobiont Ca2+-ATPase activity, bleaching, growth and mortality. Enzyme activity was inhibited in foraminifers exposed to pH 7.2 and 3.2 µg L−1 Cu for 25 d. Bleaching frequency was also higher at pH 7.2 combined with copper addition. There was no significant effect of sea water acidification and copper addition on mortality. However, test size was smaller in foraminifers exposed to copper, with a positive interactive effect of sea water acidification. These findings can be explained by the higher availability of free copper ions at lower water pH. This condition would increase Cu competition with Ca2+ for the binding sites on the organism, thus inhibiting Ca2+-ATPase activity and affecting the organism’s overall fitness. Findings reported here suggest that key processes in A. gibbosa, such as calcification and photosynthesis, are affected by the combined effect of global (sea water acidification) and local (copper contamination) stressors. Considering the experimental conditions employed (mesocosm system, possible ocean acidification scenarios, low copper concentrations, biomarkers of ecological relevance and chronic exposure), our findings support the use of foraminifera and biomarkers analyzed in the present study as reliable tools to detect and monitor the ecological impacts of multiple stressors in coral reef environments.

Continue reading ‘Combined effects of sea water acidification and copper exposure on the symbiont-bearing foraminifer Amphistegina gibbosa’

Effects of CO2, pH and temperature on respiration and regeneration in the burrowing brittle stars Hemipholis cordifera and Microphiopholis gracillima

Hemipholis cordifera and Microphiopholis gracillima are burrowing brittlestars that differ in burrow architecture and oxygen obtaining strategies: M. gracillima actively ventilates a gallery while H. cordifera has a simple chamber and instead relies on oxygen being transported from arms exposed to the overlying water using hemoglobin in its water vascular system. To determine the possible effects of near future climate change on both species, in terms of metabolism and regeneration, they were exposed to current (25 °C & 28 °C) and elevated (32 °C) temperatures, as well as normal (8.1) and hypercapnia/lowered pH (7.8 & 7.6) in all combinations for six weeks. Oxygen uptake was measured weekly during this period. As expected, M. gracillima had a higher overall oxygen uptake rate than H. cordifera. Both species had highly variable oxygen uptake and were significantly affected by the week was measured. H. cordifera experienced increased oxygen uptake at the higher temperature (32 °C) and as a result of interactive effects of time and pH 7.6. Both species experienced interactive effects of pH and temperature, but there was no clear pattern. Increased temperature positively affected arm regeneration in H. cordifera, increasing both length and percent recovery. There were no effects on disc regeneration observed in M gracillima, however lower pH decreased the dry weight in both intact and regenerating animals. Calcification, measured as percent inorganic content, was not affected in either species by regeneration, temperature or pH. Despite the minor effects on its physiology, M. gracillima experienced lower percent survivorship than H. cordifera. Temperature had the most effect, with survivorship higher at 28 °C, than at 25 °C or 32 °C. These results indicate that both species are operating near or at their physiological limits and may be unable to cope with future drastic changes.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2, pH and temperature on respiration and regeneration in the burrowing brittle stars Hemipholis cordifera and Microphiopholis gracillima’

Physiological implications of ocean acidification for marine fish: emerging patterns and new insights

Ocean acidification (OA) is an impending environmental stress facing all marine life, and as such has been a topic of intense research interest in recent years. Numerous detrimental effects have been documented in marine fish, ranging from reduced mortality to neurosensory impairment, and the prevailing opinions state that these effects are largely the downstream consequences of altered blood carbon dioxide chemistry caused by respiratory acid–base disturbances. While the respiratory acid–base disturbances are consistent responses to OA across tested fish species, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is wide variability in the degree of downstream impairments between species. This can also be extended to intraspecies variability, whereby some individuals have tolerant physiological traits, while others succumb to the effects of OA. This review will synthesize relevant literature on marine fish to highlight consistent trends of impairment, as well as observed interspecies variability in the responses to OA, and the potential routes of physiological acclimation. In all cases, whole animal responses are linked to demonstrated or proposed physiological impairments. Major topics of focus include: (1) respiratory acid–base disturbances; (2) early life survival and growth; (3) the implications for metabolic performance, activity, and reproduction; and (4) emerging physiological theories pertaining to neurosensory impairment and the role of GABAA receptors. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of understanding the underlying physiological traits that confer inter- and intraspecies tolerance, as the abundance of these traits will decide the long-term outlook of marine fish.

Continue reading ‘Physiological implications of ocean acidification for marine fish: emerging patterns and new insights’

Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions

Recent marine climate change research has largely focused on the response of individual species to environmental changes including warming and acidification. The response of communities, driven by the direct effects of ocean change on individual species as well the cascade of indirect effects, has received far less study. We used several rocky intertidal species including crabs, whelks, juvenile abalone, and mussels to determine how feeding, growth, and interactions between species could be shifted by changing ocean conditions. Our 10 wk experiment revealed many complex outcomes which highlight the unpredictability of community-level responses. Contrary to our predictions, the largest impact of elevated CO2 was reduced crab feeding and survival, with a pH drop of 0.3 units. Surprisingly, whelks showed no response to higher temperatures or CO2 levels, while abalone shells grew 40% less under high CO2 conditions. Massive non-consumptive effects of crabs on whelks showed how important indirect effects can be in determining climate change responses. Predictions of species outcomes that account solely for physiological responses to climate change do not consider the potentially large role of indirect effects due to species interactions. For strongly linked species (e.g. predator-prey or competitor relationships), the indirect effects of climate change are much less known than direct effects, but may be far more powerful in reshaping future marine communities.

Continue reading ‘Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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