Posts Tagged 'mortality'



Cuttlefish early development and behavior under future high CO2 conditions

The oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasing and changing the seawater chemistry, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification (OA). Besides the expected physiological impairments, there is an increasing evidence of detrimental OA effects on the behavioral ecology of certain marine taxa, including cephalopods. Within this context, the main goal of this study was to investigate, for the first time, the OA effects (∼1000 μatm; ΔpH = 0.4) in the development and behavioral ecology (namely shelter-seeking, hunting and response to a visual alarm cue) of the common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) early life stages, throughout the entire embryogenesis until 20 days after hatching. There was no evidence that OA conditions compromised the cuttlefish embryogenesis – namely development time, hatching success, survival rate and biometric data (length, weight and Fulton’s condition index) of newly hatched cuttlefish were similar between the normocapnic and hypercapnic treatments. The present findings also suggest a certain behavioral resilience of the cuttlefish hatchlings toward near-future OA conditions. Shelter-seeking, hunting and response to a visual alarm cue did not show significant differences between treatments. Thus, we argue that cuttlefishes’ nekton-benthic (and active) lifestyle, their adaptability to highly dynamic coastal and estuarine zones, and the already harsh conditions (hypoxia and hypercapnia) inside their eggs provide a degree of phenotypic plasticity that may favor the odds of the recruits in a future acidified ocean. Nonetheless, the interacting effects of multiple stressors should be further addressed, to accurately predict the resilience of this ecologically and economically important species in the oceans of tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘Cuttlefish early development and behavior under future high CO2 conditions’

Effects of seasonal upwelling and runoff on water chemistry and growth and survival of native and commercial oysters

The effects of climate change, including ocean acidification and ocean heatwaves, on biological communities in estuaries are often uncertain. Part of the uncertainty is due to the complex suite of environmental factors in addition to acidification and warming that influence the growth of shells and skeletons of many estuarine organisms. The goal of this study was to document spatial and temporal variation in water column properties and to measure the in situ effects on larval and recently settled stages of ecologically important Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) and commercially important Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) in a low‐inflow estuary with a Mediterranean climate in Northern California. Our results reveal that seasonal inputs of upwelled or riverine water create important and predictable gradients of carbonate system parameters, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), and other variables that influence oyster performance, and that the influence of these gradients is contingent upon the location in the estuary as well as seasonal timing. During upwelling events (dry season), temperature, carbonate chemistry, and DO had the greatest impact on oyster performance. During runoff events (wet season), gradients in salinity, nutrient concentrations, and total alkalinity driven by river discharge were comparatively more important. These results suggest that the spatial importance of carbonate chemistry and temperature are seasonally variable and are two of several other factors that determine oyster performance. We use these results to discuss future impacts on oysters given projected regional changes in the frequency and magnitude of upwelling and precipitation‐driven runoff events.

Continue reading ‘Effects of seasonal upwelling and runoff on water chemistry and growth and survival of native and commercial oysters’

Hsp70 knockdown reduced the tolerance of Litopenaeus vannamei post larvae to low pH and salinity

Highlights

• Injection of the white-leg shrimp with Hsp70 dsRNA eliminated Hsp70 mRNA and protein in post-larvae but had no apparent effect on survival.

• However, the survival of post larvae lacking Hsp70, as compared to those containing the heat shock protein, was reduced more than two-fold 48 h after exposure to low salinity and pH, strongly indicating that Hsp70 is required for protection against these abiotic stressors.

• This is the first time to our knowledge that RNAi has been used to demonstrate a role for Hsp70 in protecting P. vannamei post larvae against salinity and pH stress, an effect undoubtedly due to the importance Hsp70 assumes in maintaining protein homeostasis within cells.

Abstract

To better understand stress tolerance of the White leg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, RNA interference (RNAi) was used to assess the role of the molecular chaperone, Hsp70 in protecting post larvae against low pH and salinity. As revealed by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoprobing of western blots, injection of L. vannamei post larvae with Hsp70 and Hsc70 dsRNA reduced Hsp70 but had no apparent effect on survival. However, the survival of post larvae lacking Hsp70, as compared to those containing the heat shock protein, was reduced more than two-fold 48 h after exposure to low salinity and pH, strongly indicating that Hsp70 is required for protection against these abiotic stressors. This is the first time to our knowledge that RNAi has been used to demonstrate a role for Hsp70 in protecting L. vannamei post larvae against salinity and pH stress, an effect undoubtedly due to the importance Hsp70 assumes in maintaining protein homeostasis within cells. Information generated in this work provides further understanding of Hsp70 function in the stress response of Penaeid shrimp and will assist in the development of strategies to mitigate abiotic stresses experienced by aquatic invertebrates during aquaculture.

Continue reading ‘Hsp70 knockdown reduced the tolerance of Litopenaeus vannamei post larvae to low pH and salinity’

Shifts in seawater chemistry disrupt trophic links within a simple shoreline food web

Marine intertidal systems have long served as focal environments for ecological research, yet these environments are changing due to the entry of human-produced carbon dioxide into seawater, which causes ‘ocean acidification’ (OA). One component of OA is a decline in seawater pH, an alteration known to disrupt organism behaviors underlying predator–prey interactions. To date, however, studies examining OA’s effects on feeding relationships consider predominantly simple direct interactions between consumers and their food sources. Here, we extended these established approaches to test how decreased seawater pH might alter cascading effects that span tiered linkages in trophic networks. We employed a model shoreline food web incorporating a sea star predator (Leptasterias hexactis), an herbivorous snail prey (Tegula funebralis), and a common macroalgal resource for the prey (Mazzaella flaccida). Results demonstrate direct negative effects of low pH on anti-predator behavior of snails, but also weakened indirect interactions, driven by increased snail consumption of macroalgae even as sea stars ate more snails. This latter outcome arose because low pH induced ‘foolhardy’ behaviors in snails, whereby their flight responses were supplanted by other activities that allowed for foraging. These findings highlight the potential for human-induced changes in seawater chemistry to perturb prey behaviors and trophic dynamics with accompanying community-level consequences.

Continue reading ‘Shifts in seawater chemistry disrupt trophic links within a simple shoreline food web’

Ocean warming and acidification pose synergistic limits to the thermal niche of an economically important echinoderm

Highlights

• CO2-induced acidification reduced the thermal tolerance in the sea urchin L. albus.

• This reduction was achieved by increasing the critical thermal minimum at 15 and 20 °C.

• This reduction was also achieved by decreasing the critical thermal maximum at 20 °C.

• CO2-induced acidification and warming increase HSP70 transcription levels.

• CO2-induced acidification and warming may have implications on community structure.

Abstract

It is critical to understand how abiotic factors may interact to constrain the distribution and productivity of marine flora and fauna in order to make robust projections of the impacts of climate change. We evaluated the effects of projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) on the thermal tolerance of an important living marine resource, the sea urchin Loxechinus albus, a benthic shallow water coastal herbivore inhabiting part of the Pacific coast of South America. After exposing young juveniles for a medium-term period (1-month) to contrasting pCO2 (~500 and 1400 μatm) and temperature (~15 and 20 °C) levels, critical thermal maximum (CTmax) and minimum (CTmin) as well as thermal tolerance polygons were assessed based on self-righting success as an end point. Transcription of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), a chaperone protecting cellular proteins from environmental stress, was also measured. Exposure to elevated pCO2 significantly reduced thermal tolerance by increasing CTmin at both rearing temperatures and decreasing CTmax at 20 °C. There was also a strong synergistic effect of OA × OW on HSP70 transcription levels which were 75-fold higher than in control conditions. If this species is unable to adapt to elevated pCO2 in the future, the reduction in thermal tolerance and HSP response suggests that near-future warming and OA will disrupt their performance and reduce their distribution with ecological and economic consequences. Given the wider latitudinal range (6 to 56°S) and environmental tolerance of L. albus compared to other members of this region’s benthic invertebrate community, OW and OA may cause substantial changes to the coastal fauna along the Chilean coast.

Continue reading ‘Ocean warming and acidification pose synergistic limits to the thermal niche of an economically important echinoderm’

So long and thanks for all the sponge: cryptic intertidal communities, consequences of ocean acidification, and new directions for science education

Ocean acidification (OA), defined as the reduction in the pH of global oceans, is predicted to have negative impacts on marine invertebrates. Within the past two decades there have been hundreds of studies on the effects of OA on the fitness, survival, and growth of many marine organisms, and yet there are several large gaps in our understanding. Many OA studies focus on one population (e.g. only sample from one site/location) of a widespread species and then make generalizations about that species as a whole. This is problematic for species that are spread between habitats with different levels of acidification. My work in Chapters 3 and 4 addresses the response of multiple populations of an important intertidal invertebrate to ocean acidification conditions on the Oregon coast; I describe the impacts of OA on the early life history (Chapter 3) and adult physiology (Chapter 4) of the common breadcrumb sponge Halichondria panicea. To investigate if H. panicea are adapted to local conditions, I utilized the persistent pattern of acidification that exists on the cape scale along the Oregon coast. I compared the responses of sponge populations that persist in areas of high, intermediate, and low acidification. I used both field and laboratory experiments to investigate the potential for local adaptation or acclimatization to OA conditions in H. panicea. In Chapter 3 I found that sponge larvae from areas that experience persistently high levels of ocean acidification may be less resilient to future levels of OA vs. larvae from other less acidified regions. Negative carryover effects for early exposure during brooding may result in increased larval mortality and faster rates of settlement; there were no effects of treatment on post-settlement processes for either population. Chapter 3 highlights a novel response of sponges to OA and reveals a potential population bottleneck during the critical larval stage for pre-exposed sponges under future OA conditions. Chapter 4 builds on the work of Chapter 3 by examining the response of adult sponges from high, middle, and low areas of OA along the Oregon coast. I used a common garden approach to untangle the effects of environmental acclimation and adaptation in a reciprocal transplant and mesocosm experiment. I observed changes in survival, mass, and Chlorophyll a (Chl- a) concentration. Consistent with Chapter 3, I found that prior exposure to OA resulted in increased mortality during the transplant and mesocosm experiment, although we found no evidence of treatment- or population-dependent effects on mass and chlorophyll a concentration in H. panicea populations. Combined, results of Chapters 3 and 4 suggests that sponges from highly acidified regions may be living near a threshold, past which the fitness of both larvae and adults would be compromised, with implications for the population as a whole.

Continue reading ‘So long and thanks for all the sponge: cryptic intertidal communities, consequences of ocean acidification, and new directions for science education’

The potential impact of underwater exhausted CO2 from innovative ships on invertebrate communities

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ships equipped with an underwater exhaust system to reduce the ship’s water resistance could form a future generation of energy-efficient ships. The potential consequences of the underwater exhaust gas to the local ecosystems are still unknown. Especially, the CO2 levels may locally exceed estimated future global levels. The present study exposes marine communities to a wide range of CO2 dosages, resulting in pH 8.6–5.8 that was remained for 49 days. We found that the zooplankton and benthic community were adversely affected by high CO2 exposure levels. In detail, (1) between pH 6.6 and 7.1 polychaete worms became the dominating group of the benthic community and their larvae dominated the zooplankton group. (2) Due to the reduced grazing pressure and the flux of nutrients from decaying organic material planktonic microalgae (phytoplankton) stared blooming at the highest exposure level. The periphyton (fouling microalgae) community was not able to take advantage under these conditions. (3) Marine snails’ (periwinkle) shell damage and high mortality were observed at pH < 6.6. However, the growth of the surviving periwinkles was not directly related to pH, but was positively correlated with the availability of periphyton and negatively correlated with the polychaete worm density that most likely also used the periphyton as food source. Our result indicates that the impact of underwater exhaust gasses depends on various factors including local biological and abiotic conditions, which will be included in future research.

Continue reading ‘The potential impact of underwater exhausted CO2 from innovative ships on invertebrate communities’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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