Posts Tagged 'mortality'

Adaptive responses and local stressor mitigation drive coral resilience in warmer, more acidic oceans

Coral reefs have great biological and socioeconomic value, but are threatened by ocean acidification, climate change and local human impacts. The capacity for corals to adapt or acclimatize to novel environmental conditions is unknown but fundamental to projected reef futures. The coral reefs of Kāne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i were devastated by anthropogenic insults from the 1930s to 1970s. These reefs experience naturally reduced pH and elevated temperature relative to many other Hawaiian reefs which are not expected to face similar conditions for decades. Despite catastrophic loss in coral cover owing to human disturbance, these reefs recovered under low pH and high temperature within 20 years after sewage input was diverted. We compare the pH and temperature tolerances of three dominant Hawaiian coral species from within Kāne‘ohe Bay to conspecifics from a nearby control site and show that corals from Kāne‘ohe are far more resistant to acidification and warming. These results show that corals can have different pH and temperature tolerances among habitats and understanding the mechanisms by which coral cover rebounded within two decades under projected future ocean conditions will be critical to management. Together these results indicate that reducing human stressors offers hope for reef resilience and effective conservation over coming decades.

Continue reading ‘Adaptive responses and local stressor mitigation drive coral resilience in warmer, more acidic oceans’

Physiological responses of juvenile Chilean scallops (Argopecten purpuratus) to isolated and combined environmental drivers of coastal upwelling

Coastal biota is exposed to continuous environmental variability as a consequence of natural and anthropogenic processes. Responding to heterogeneous conditions requires the presence of physiological strategies to cope with the environment. Ecosystems influenced by upwelling endure naturally cold, acidic and hypoxic conditions, nevertheless they sustain major fisheries worldwide. This suggests that species inhabiting upwelling habitats possess physiological adaptations to handle high environmental variability. Here, we assessed the impact of the main upwelling drivers (temperature, pH and oxygen) in isolation and combined on eco-physiological responses of Chilean scallop Argopecten purpuratus. A. purpuratus responded to hypoxia by increasing their metabolic performance to maintain growth and calcification. Calcification was only affected by pH and increased under acidic conditions. Further, A. purpuratus juveniles prioritized calcification at the expense of growth under upwelling conditions. Increasing temperature had a significant impact by enhancing the physiological performance of A. purpuratus juveniles independently of oxygen and pH conditions, but this was associated with earlier and higher mortalities. Our results suggest that A. purpuratus is acclimated to short-term colder, acidic and hypoxic conditions, and provide important information of how this species responds to the heterogeneous environment of upwelling, which is significantly relevant in the climatic context of upwelling intensification.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of juvenile Chilean scallops (Argopecten purpuratus) to isolated and combined environmental drivers of coastal upwelling’

Larval development, juvenile survival, and burrowing rate of geoduck clams (Panopea japonica) under different pH conditions

Changes in seawater pH in the culture environment have numerous effects on marine bivalves. To investigate the effect of pH on larval development, juvenile survival, and burrowing rate of geoduck clams (Panopea japonica), specimens were cultured under different experimental pH conditions (6.8, 7.2, 7.6, 8.0, 8.4, and 9.2). The pH range for optimal growth and development differed among different larval stages. However, significant changes in larval development (p < 0.5) relative to the control (pH 8.0) were detected at very high or low pH. The best hatching rate occurred at pH 7.6–8.8, and it was significantly lower (p < 0.5) at pH 6.8, 7.2, and 9.2. Larval survival was only 4% at pH 6.8. Growth rate of larvae increased with increasing pH and the optimal range was 8.0 to 8.8. This finding suggests that alkaline conditions favor growth and development of larvae and allow them to reach the metamorphic stage promptly. Prolonged metamorphosis was a common feature in larvae in the different experimental pH groups. pH below 7.6 and above 8.8 resulted in a significantly (p < 0.5) lower metamorphosis rate, suggesting that high acidity and alkalinity were deleterious to larval metamorphosis. Thus, the suitable pH range for metamorphosis was 8.0 to 8.8. Lower and higher pH also affected the digging behavior of geoduck clams, and the suitable pH range for burrowing was 7.2 to 8.8. Geoduck clams stopped burrowing in the sand at pH 6.8 and 9.2, possibly due to impairment of biological process caused by acidic and alkaline seawater. These findings provide valuable information about the larval and juvenile responses of P. japonica in variable pH.

Continue reading ‘Larval development, juvenile survival, and burrowing rate of geoduck clams (Panopea japonica) under different pH conditions’

Systematic review and meta-analysis toward synthesis of thresholds of ocean acidification impacts on calcifying pteropods and interactions with warming

Interpreting the vulnerability of pelagic calcifiers to ocean acidification (OA) is enhanced by an understanding of their critical thresholds and how these thresholds are modified by other climate change stressors (e.g., warming). To address this need, we undertook a three-part data synthesis for pteropods, one of the calcifying zooplankton group. We conducted the first meta-analysis and threshold analysis of literature characterizing pteropod responses to OA and warming by synthetizing dataset comprising of 2,097 datapoints. Meta-analysis revealed the extent to which responses among studies conducted on differing life stages and disparate geographies could be integrated into a common analysis. The results demonstrated reduced calcification, growth, development, and survival to OA with increased magnitude of sensitivity in the early life stages, under prolonged duration, and with the concurrent exposure of OA and warming, but not species-specific sensitivity. Second, breakpoint analyses identified OA thresholds for several endpoints: dissolution (mild and severe), calcification, egg development, shell growth, and survival. Finally, consensus by a panel of pteropod experts was used to verify thresholds and assign confidence scores for five endpoints with a sufficient signal: noise ratio to develop life-stage specific, duration-dependent thresholds. The range of aragonite saturation state from 1.5–0.9 provides a risk range from early warning to lethal impacts, thus providing a rigorous basis for vulnerability assessments to guide climate change management responses, including an evaluation of the efficacy of local pollution management. In addition, meta-analyses with OA, and warming shows increased vulnerability in two pteropod processes, i.e., shell dissolution and survival, and thus pointing toward increased threshold sensitivity under combined stressor effect.

Continue reading ‘Systematic review and meta-analysis toward synthesis of thresholds of ocean acidification impacts on calcifying pteropods and interactions with warming’

Survival and respiration of green abalone (Haliotis fulgens) facing very short-term marine environmental extremes

The frequency and strength of extreme events are increasing due to climate change. These events have the potential to cause mass mortalities and recruitment failure in very short time scales. Here, we explored three relevant basic questions using green abalone: how the lethal levels of environmental variables (i.e. temperature, oxygen, and pH) change trough time, what the short-term synergistic effects of stressors are, and what the metabolic responses and recovery capacity are at this timescale. We observed that very short-term events are less likely to cause mass mortalities than events lasting for several days, that the relative importance of hyperthermia, hypoxia, and combined effects change through time, and that the respiration rate increased under hyperthermia and decreased under hypoxia and the combined effects, while hemocyanin concentration increased under hypoxia and decreased under hyperthermia and combined effects. Independently of the stressor, green abalone re-established their respiratory rate after the stress.

Continue reading ‘Survival and respiration of green abalone (Haliotis fulgens) facing very short-term marine environmental extremes’

Legacy of multiple stressors: responses of gastropod larvae and juveniles to ocean acidification and nutrition

Ocean acidification poses a significant threat to calcifying invertebrates by negatively influencing shell deposition and growth. An organism’s performance under ocean acidification is not determined by the susceptibility of one single life-history stage, nor is it solely controlled by the direct physical consequences of ocean acidification. Shell development by one life-history stage is sometimes a function of the pH or pCO2 levels experienced during earlier developmental stages. Furthermore, environmental factors such as access to nutrition can buffer organismal responses of calcifying invertebrates to ocean acidification, or they can function as a co-occurring stressor when access is low. We reared larvae and juveniles of the planktotrophic marine gastropod Crepidula fornicata through combined treatments of nutritional stress and low pH, and we monitored how multiple stressors endured during the larval stage affected juvenile performance. Shell growth responded non-linearly to decreasing pH, significantly declining between pH 7.6 and pH 7.5 in larvae and juveniles. Larval rearing at pH 7.5 reduced juvenile growth as a carryover effect. Larval rearing at pH 7.6 reduced subsequent juvenile growth despite the absence of a negative impact on larval growth, demonstrating a latent effect. Low larval pH magnified the impact of larval nutritional stress on competence for metamorphosis and increased carryover effects of larval nutrition on juvenile growth. Trans-life-cycle effects of larval nutrition were thus modulated by larval exposure to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Legacy of multiple stressors: responses of gastropod larvae and juveniles to ocean acidification and nutrition’

Temporal effects of ocean warming and acidification on coral–algal competition

While there is an ever-expanding list of impacts on coral reefs as a result of ocean warming and acidification, there is little information on how these global changes influence coral–algal competition. The present study assessed the impact of business-as-usual ocean warming and acidification conditions on the survivorship, calcification, photosynthesis and respiration of the coral–algal interaction between the macroalga Halimeda heteromorpha and the coral Acropora intermedia over 8 weeks in two seasons. The physiological responses of A. intermedia and H. heteromorpha were highly dependent on season, with both organisms demonstrating optimal rates of calcification and photosynthesis under present-day conditions in summer. Contact with H. heteromorpha did not influence A. intermedia survivorship, however did reduce long-term calcification rates. Photosynthetic rates of A. intermedia were influenced by algal contact temporally in opposing directions, with rates reduced in winter and increased in summer. Enhanced photosynthetic rates as a result of algal contact were not enough to offset the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification, which regardless of coral–algal contact, reduced survivorship, calcification and photosynthesis of A. intermedia and the calcification rates of H. heteromorpha. These findings provide experimental support for the idea that the effects of coral–algal competition are temporally variable, and help improve our understanding of how future ocean warming and acidification may alter the dynamics of coral–algal interactions.

Continue reading ‘Temporal effects of ocean warming and acidification on coral–algal competition’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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