Posts Tagged 'mortality'

Effects of ocean acidification on coral endolithic bacterial communities in Isopora palifera and Porites lobata

Endolithic microbes in coral reefs may act as a nutrient source for their coral hosts. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are causing ocean acidification (OA), which may affect marine organisms and ecosystems, especially calcifying organisms such as reef-building corals. However, knowledge of how OA affects marine microbes remains limited, and little research has been done on how coral endolithic communities respond to shifting environmental baselines. In this study, the endolithic communities of two common shallow water coral species, Isopora palifera and Porites lobata, were examined to investigate the microbial community dynamics under OA treatments. The colonies were placed in an environment with a partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) of 1,000 or 400 ppm (control) for 2 months. Several I. palifera colonies bleached and died at 1,000 ppm pCO2, but the P. lobata colonies remained unaffected. Inversely, the endolithic community in P. lobata skeletons showed significant changes after OA treatment, whereas no significant dynamics were observed among the I. palifera endoliths. Our findings suggest that the skeletal structures of different coral species may play a key role in corals host and endoliths under future high-OA scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification on coral endolithic bacterial communities in Isopora palifera and Porites lobata’

Potential acclimatization and adaptive responses of adult and trans-generation coral larvae from a naturally acidified habitat

Coral reefs are one of the most susceptible ecosystems to ocean acidification (OA) caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). OA is suspected to impact the calcification rate of corals as well as multiple early life stages including larval and settlement stages. Meanwhile, there is now a strong interest in evaluating if organisms have the potential for acclimatization or adaptation to OA. Here, by taking advantage of a naturally acidified site in Nikko Bay, Palau where corals are presumably exposed to high CO2 conditions for their entire life history, we tested if adult and the next-generation larvae of the brooder coral Pocillopora acuta originating from the high-CO2 site are more tolerant to high CO2 conditions compared to the individuals from a control site. Larvae released from adults collected from the high-CO2 site within the bay and a control site outside the bay were reciprocally cultivated under experimental control or high-CO2 seawater conditions to evaluate their physiology. Additionally, reciprocal transplantation of adult P. acuta corals were conducted between the high-CO2 and control sites in the field. The larvae originating from the control site showed lower Chlorophyll-a content and lipid percentages when reared under high-CO2 compared to control seawater conditions, while larvae originating from the high-CO2 site did not. Additionally, all 10 individuals of adult P. acuta from control site died when transplanted within the bay, while all P. acuta corals within the bay survived at both control and high-CO2 site. Furthermore, P. acuta within the bay showed higher calcification and net photosynthesis rates when exposed to the condition they originated from. These results are one of the first results that indicate the possibility that the long-living corals could enable to show local adaptation to different environmental conditions including high seawater pCO(2).

Continue reading ‘Potential acclimatization and adaptive responses of adult and trans-generation coral larvae from a naturally acidified habitat’

Ocean acidification and ocean warming effects on Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasi) early life stages

Increasing green house gas emissions are expected to raise surface seawater temperatures and lead to locally intensified ocean acidity in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are ecologically and economically important forage fish species native to this region. While the impacts of ocean acidification and ocean warming on organism physiology have been extensively studied, less is known on how concurrent climate change stressors will affect marine fish. Therefore, our study focused on the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on Pacific herring early life history stages. Pacific herring embryos were incubated under a factorial design of two temperature (10°C or 16°C) and two pCO2 (600 μatm or 1200 μatm) treatments from fertilization until hatch (6 to 15 days depending on temperature). Elevated pCO2 was associated with a small increase in embryo mortality. Elevated temperature, as a single stressor, generated greater embryo mortality and embryo heart rates, larger yolk areas upon hatch, lower hatching success, and shorter larval lengths; compared with the same parameters measured under ambient temperature. The interaction of elevated temperature and pCO2 was associated with greater embryo heart rates and yolk areas compared to ambient conditions. This study suggests that while temperature is the primary global change stressor affecting Pacific herring embryology, interaction effects with pCO2 could introduce additional physiological challenges.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification and ocean warming effects on Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasi) early life stages’

Physiological responses to temperature and ocean acidification in tropical fleshy macroalgae with varying affinities for inorganic carbon

Marine macroalgae have variable carbon-uptake strategies that complicate predicting responses to environmental changes. In seawater, dissolved inorganic carbon availability can affect the underlying physiological mechanisms influencing carbon uptake. We tested the interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) and warming on two HCO−3HCO3−-users (Lobophora sp. and Amansia rhodantha), a predominately CO2-user (Avrainvillea nigricans), and a sole CO2-user (Plocamium hamatum) in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We examined metabolic rates, growth, and carbon isotope values (δ13C) in algae at 26, 28, or 30°C under ambient or elevated pCO2 (∼1000 µatm). Under OA, δ13C values for the HCO−3HCO3−-users decreased, indicating less reliance on HCO−3HCO3−⁠, while δ13C values for CO2-users were unaffected. Both HCO−3HCO3−-users decreased in growth across temperatures under ambient pCO2, but this negative effect was alleviated by OA at 30°C. A. nigricans lost biomass across all treatments and P. hamatum was most sensitive, with reduced survival in all physiological responses. Metabolic rates varied greatly to interacting temperature and OA and indicated a decoupling between the relationship of photosynthesis and growth. Furthermore, our findings suggest HCO−3HCO3−-users are more responsive to future CO2 changes, and highlight examining carbon physiology to infer potential responses to interacting environmental stressors.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses to temperature and ocean acidification in tropical fleshy macroalgae with varying affinities for inorganic carbon’

Climate change doubles sedimentation-induced coral recruit mortality


  • Recruits grown under future climate are twice as sensitive to sediment deposition
  • Older recruits survived higher sediment depositions events
  • Only recruits grown in current climate survived the highest realistic sedimentation


Coral reef replenishment is threatened by global climate change and local water-quality degradation, including smothering of coral recruits by sediments generated by anthropogenic activities. Here we show that the ability of Acropora millepora recruits to remove sediments diminishes under future climate conditions, leading to increased mortality. Recruits raised under future climate scenarios for fourteen weeks (highest treatment: +1.2 °C, pCO2: 950 ppm) showed twofold higher mortality following repeated sediment deposition (50% lethal sediment concentration LC50: 14 – 24 mg cm-2) compared to recruits raised under current climate conditions (LC50: 37 – 51 mg cm-2), depending on recruit age at the time of sedimentation. Older and larger recruits were more resistant to sedimentation and only ten-week-old recruits grown under current climate conditions survived sediment loads typical of dredging operations. This demonstrates that water-quality guidelines for managing sediment concentrations will need to be climate-adjusted to protect future coral recruitment.

Continue reading ‘Climate change doubles sedimentation-induced coral recruit mortality’

Simulated climate change scenarios impact the reproduction and early life stages of a soft coral


  • A change in the timing of onset of the soft coral breeding event occurred under elevated temperature and reduced pH seawater conditions.
  • A disruption of the synchronicity of the breeding event occurred under elevated temperature and reduced pH seawater conditions.
  • End-of-the-century seawater conditions are expected to affect the reproduction of the soft coral Rhytisma fulvum.
  • Planula survival and polyp metamorphosis rates were significantly reduced under both end-of-the-century seawater conditions compared to propagules reared under ambient conditions.
  • The photosynthetic capacity of the parent soft coral colonies was reduced under the end-of-the-century seawater conditions in comparison to those under the ambient conditions.


Coral reefs are threatened worldwide by global climate change, manifested in anthropogenic ocean warming and acidification. Despite the importance of coral sexual reproduction for the continuity of coral reefs, our understanding of the extent of the impact of climate change on coral sexual reproduction, particularly on coral reproductive phenology and early life stages, is limited. Here, we experimentally examined the effects of predicted end-of-the-century seawater conditions on the sexual reproduction and photosynthetic capacity of a Red-Sea zooxanthellate octocoral, Rhytisma fulvum. Sexually mature colonies were exposed to ambient temperature and pH conditions and to Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) conditions (4.5 and 8.5), five weeks prior to their expected surface-brooding event. The reproductive phenology of the colonies under the simulated seawater conditions was compared to that on the natural reef. In addition, subsequent planulae development and their metamorphosis into primary polyps under the same RCP conditions as their parent colonies were monitored in a running seawater system. The results reveal that both RCP conditions led to a change in the timing of onset of the surface-brooding event and its synchronicity. In contrast, the surface-brooding event under ambient conditions co-occurred with that of the in-situ reef colonies and maintained its synchrony. Similarly, planula survival and polyp metamorphosis rate were significantly reduced under both RCP conditions compared to propagules reared under ambient conditions. In addition, the photosynthetic capacity of the parent colonies under both RCPs showed a reduction relative to that under the ambient conditions in the experiment, suggesting a reduction in carbon fixation during the late stages of gametogenesis. While our findings indicate that octocoral reproductive phenology is affected by environmental changes, further work is required in order to elucidate the long-term implications for the R. fulvum population in the northern Red Sea.

Continue reading ‘Simulated climate change scenarios impact the reproduction and early life stages of a soft coral’

Estuarine conditions more than pH modulate the physiological flexibility of mussel Perumytilus purpuratus populations


  • Living under estuarine conditions causes physiological stress.
  • Estuarine conditions more than pH modulated the mussel performance and phenotypic plasticity.
  • Environmental variability of the habitat determines the phenotypic plasticity.
  • Environmental conditions of native habitats define the sensibility to climate change stressors.


Coasts and their marine biota are exposed to major environmental heterogeneity as a consequence of natural drivers and anthropogenic stressors. Here, individuals of the mussel Perumytilus purpuratus from two different geographical populations exposed to contrasting environmental conditions (i.e. estuarine versus open coastal conditions) were used in a reciprocal transplant and a laboratory experiment in order to differential levels of local adaptation to their native sites, and sensibility to ocean acidification. After characterizing environmentally the two study sites, a set of life-history traits, as well as an estimated of the level of phenotypic plasticity were determined for both mussel populations. From the reciprocal transplant experiment, we observed that mussels originally coming from the estuarine habitat exhibited a distinctive performance pattern usually associated to physiological stress (i.e. higher metabolic rates, lower calcification and growth rates) leading also to important physiological trade-offs, and higher levels of phenotypic plasticity. Alternatively, mussels originating from the open coastal site showed lower physiological phenotypic plasticity suggesting a high grade of local adaptation. Contrary to expected, both populations responded very similar to lower pH conditions (i.e. increased metabolic rates with no important effects on growth and calcification, and lower physiological phenotypic plasticity). The study results indicated that overall estuarine conditions more than isolated pH would be modulating the performance and the level of phenotypic plasticity of the different P. purpuratus geographical populations studied. Our study also emphasizes the necessity of characterizing phenotypic plasticity under multiple-driver environments in order to cast more accurate predictions about the susceptibility of marine biota to future climate stressors such as the ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Estuarine conditions more than pH modulate the physiological flexibility of mussel Perumytilus purpuratus populations’

The effect of ocean acidification on the enzyme activity of Apostichopus japonicus


  • The long-time impact of ocean acidification on enzyme activity of sea cucumbers were studied.
  • The significant difference of enzyme assemblage existed among three experimental groups by the multivariate statistical results.
  • The acidic environment has a great effect on immune process by influencing the elimination of reactive oxygen species (ROS).


The influence of ocean acidification (OA) is particularly significant on calcifying organisms. The sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus is an important cultured calcifying organism in the northern China seas. Little was known about the effects of OA on this economically important species. In this study, individuals from embryo to juveniles stage of A. japonicus, cultured in different levels of acidified seawater, were measured their enzymes activities, including five metabolic enzymes and three immune enzymes. The activity of acid phosphatase (ACP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was significantly lower in the severely acid group (pH 7.1), while the content of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) was significantly higher. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were significantly lower in the severely acid group. The multivariate statistical results showed that the significant difference of enzyme assemblage existed among three experimental groups. This study indicated that OA could reduce the biomineralization capacity, influence the anaerobic metabolism and severely affect the immune process of A. japonicas. More researches are needed in the future to reveal the mechanisms of enzyme regulation and expression of A. japonicas underlying mixture environmental stress.

Continue reading ‘The effect of ocean acidification on the enzyme activity of Apostichopus japonicus’

Efeitos neurotóxicos do crack-cocaína combinado a cenários de acidificação oceânica no mexilhão marinho Perna perna (in Portuguese)

The oceans are undergoing physical and biogeochemical changes in response to the increasing atmospheric CO2 load and increased ocean uptake, such as surface warming, reduced oxygen and a reduction in calcium carbonate and pH saturation levels. Changes in the pH and chemical composition of seawater can modify the speciation of contaminants, interfering with their bioavailability and toxicity. The present study aimed to evaluate the sublethal effect of the illicit drug crack-cocaine at different concentrations (0.5; 5; 50 µg / L) combined with ocean acidification by CO2 at pH values of 8.1; 7.5; 7.0; 6.5 and 6.0. For this purpose, an analysis of the biomarker of neurotoxic effect acetylcholinesterase (AChe) was performed on mussels Perna perna. The inhibition of AChe after exposure to crack at pH 7.5, 7.0 and 6.5 was preliminarily observed, demonstrating a combined effect of crack-cocaine and pH reduction, which can be observed in future scenarios of acidification in coastal zones contaminated by illicit drugs.

Continue reading ‘Efeitos neurotóxicos do crack-cocaína combinado a cenários de acidificação oceânica no mexilhão marinho Perna perna (in Portuguese)’

The combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on a habitat-forming shell-crushing predatory crab


  • We measured and compared traits at the cellular and organismal levels
  • Ocean warming and acidification affected crabs’ traits
  • Ocean warming increased the HSP70 levels
  • Crabs’ pinching strength was reduced by ocean acidification
  • Crabs’ self-righting speed was reduced by ocean warming and acidification


In mid rocky intertidal habitats the mussel Perumytilus purpurarus monopolizes the substratum to the detriment of many other species. However, the consumption of mussels by the shell-crushing crab Acanthocyclus hassleri creates within the mussel beds space and habitat for several other species. This crab uses its disproportionately large claw to crush its shelled prey and plays an important role in maintaining species biodiversity. This study evaluated the consequences of projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) on traits of A. hassleri linked with their predatory performance. Individual A. hassleri were maintained for 10-16 weeks under contrasting pCO2 (~500 and 1400 μatm) and temperature (~15 and 20 °C) levels. We compared traits at the organismal (oxygen consumption rate, survival, calcification rate, feeding rates, crusher claw pinching strength, self-righting speed, sarcomere length of the crusher claw muscles) and cellular (nutritional status ATP provisioning capacity through citrate synthase activity, expression of HSP70) level. Survival, calcification rate and sarcomere length were not affected by OA and OW. However, OW increased significantly feeding and oxygen consumption. Pinching strength was reduced by OA; meanwhile self-righting was increased by OA and OW. At 20 °C, carbohydrate content was reduced significantly by OA. Regardless of temperature, a significant reduction in energy reserves in terms of protein content by OA was found. The ATP provisioning capacity was significantly affected by the interaction between temperature and pCO2 and was highest at 15 °C and present day pCO2 levels. The HSP70 levels of crabs exposed to OW were higher than in the control crabs. We conclude that OA and OW might affect the amount and size of prey consumed by this crab. Therefore, by reducing the crab feeding performance these stressors might pose limits on their role in generating microhabitat for other rocky intertidal species inhabiting within mussel beds.

Continue reading ‘The combined effects of ocean acidification and warming on a habitat-forming shell-crushing predatory crab’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book