Posts Tagged 'multiple factors'

Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the bioenergetics of developing eggs of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) is a benthic spawner, therefore its eggs are prone to encounter different water conditions during embryonic development, with bottom waters often depleted of oxygen and enriched in CO2. Some Atlantic herring spawning grounds are predicted to be highly affected by ongoing Ocean Acidification and Warming with water temperature increasing by up to +3°C and CO2 levels reaching ca. 1000 μatm (RCP 8.5). Although many studies investigated the effects of high levels of CO2 on the embryonic development of Atlantic herring, little is known about the combination of temperature and ecologically relevant levels of CO2. In this study, we investigated the effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on embryonic metabolic and developmental performance such as mitochondrial function, respiration, hatching success (HS) and growth in Atlantic herring from the Oslo Fjord, one of the spawning grounds predicted to be greatly affected by climate change. Fertilized eggs were incubated under combinations of two PCO2 conditions (400 μatm and 1100 μatm) and three temperatures (6, 10 and 14°C), which correspond to current and end-of-the-century conditions. We analysed HS, oxygen consumption (MO2) and mitochondrial function of embryos as well as larval length at hatch. The capacity of the electron transport system (ETS) increased with temperature, reaching a plateau at 14°C, where the contribution of Complex I to the ETS declined in favour of Complex II. This relative shift was coupled with a dramatic increase in MO2 at 14°C. HS was high under ambient spawning conditions (6–10°C), but decreased at 14°C and hatched larvae at this temperature were smaller. Elevated PCO2 increased larval malformations, indicating sub-lethal effects. These results indicate that energetic limitations due to thermally affected mitochondria and higher energy demand for maintenance occur at the expense of embryonic development and growth.

Continue reading ‘Impact of ocean acidification and warming on the bioenergetics of developing eggs of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus’

Development of the sea urchin Heliocidaris crassispina from Hong Kong is robust to ocean acidification and copper contamination


• Ocean acidification will increase the fraction of the most toxic form of copper, increasing its bioavailability to marine organisms
• We tested the hypothesis that copper contaminated waters are more toxic to sea urchin larvae under future pH conditions in three laboratory experiments
• Larvae are robust to the pH and the copper levels we tested (little/no mortality)
• However, significant sub-lethal effects, could have indirect consequences on survival


Metallic pollution is of particular concern in coastal cities. In the Asian megacity of Hong Kong, despite water qualities have improved over the past decade, some local zones are still particularly affected and could represent sinks for remobilization of labile toxic species such as copper. Ocean acidification is expected to increase the fraction of the most toxic form of copper (Cu2+) by 2.3-folds by 2100 (pH ≈7.7), increasing its bioavailability to marine organisms. Multiple stressors are likely to exert concomitant effects (additive, synergic or antagonist) on marine organisms.

Here, we tested the hypothesis that copper contaminated waters are more toxic to sea urchin larvae under future pH conditions. We exposed sea urchin embryos and larvae to two low-pH and two copper treatments (0.1 and 1.0 μM) in three separate experiments. Over the short time typically used for toxicity tests (up to 4-arm plutei, i.e. 3 days), larvae of the sea urchin Heliocidaris crassispina were robust and survived the copper levels present in Hong Kong waters today (≤0.19 μM) as well as the average pH projected for 2100. We, however, observed significant mortality with lowering pH in the longer, single-stressor experiment (Expt A: 8-arm plutei, i.e. 9 days). Abnormality and arm asymmetry were significantly increased by pH or/and by copper presence (depending on the experiment and copper level). Body size (d3; but not body growth rates in Expt A) was significantly reduced by both lowered pH and added copper. Larval respiration (Expt A) was doubled by a decrease at pHT from 8.0 to 7.3 on d6. In Expt B1.0 and B0.1, larval morphology (relative arm lengths and stomach volume) were affected by at least one of the two investigated factors.

Although the larvae appeared robust, these sub-lethal effects may have indirect consequences on feeding, swimming and ultimately survival. The complex relationship between pH and metal speciation/uptake is not well-characterized and further investigations are urgently needed to detangle the mechanisms involved and to identify possible caveats in routinely used toxicity tests.

Continue reading ‘Development of the sea urchin Heliocidaris crassispina from Hong Kong is robust to ocean acidification and copper contamination’

Acclimatisation and adaptive capacity of echinoderms in response to ocean acidification and warming

Future ocean acidification and warming pose a substantial threat to the viability of some marine populations. In order to persist, marine species will need to acclimate or adapt to the forecasted changes. Recent research into adaptive capacity of marine species has identified mechanisms of non-genetic inheritance including trans-generational plasticity as important sources of resilience.

Based on literature indicating that echinoderms are tolerant to moderate increases in temperature and seawater pCO2, this study hypothesises three outcomes of long-term exposure to combined ocean acidification and warming:

1. Echinoderms possess the genetic capacity to adapt over long time-scales to
predicted levels of combined ocean acidification and warming.
2. Echinoderms possess the physiological capability to acclimatize to ocean
acidification and warming over long time-scales without a significant cost to
metabolic energy budget.
3. After long-term exposure to ocean acidification and warming, echinoderm parents would alter the phenotype (Anticipatory Parental Effect) of their offspring to increase fitness in the F1 generation in response to the environment to which theparents were exposed.

Continue reading ‘Acclimatisation and adaptive capacity of echinoderms in response to ocean acidification and warming’

Temperature driven changes in benthic bacterial diversity influences biogeochemical cycling in coastal sediments

Marine sediments are important sites for global biogeochemical cycling, mediated by macrofauna and microalgae. However, it is the microorganisms that drive these key processes. There is strong evidence that coastal benthic habitats will be affected by changing environmental variables (rising temperature, elevated CO2), and research has generally focused on the impact on macrofaunal biodiversity and ecosystem services. Despite their importance, there is less understanding of how microbial community assemblages will respond to environmental changes. In this study, a manipulative mesocosm experiment was employed, using next-generation sequencing to assess changes in microbial communities under future environmental change scenarios. Illumina sequencing generated over 11 million 16S rRNA gene sequences (using a primer set biased toward bacteria) and revealed Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria dominated the total bacterial community of sediment samples. In this study, the sequencing coverage and depth revealed clear changes in species abundance within some phyla. Bacterial community composition was correlated with simulated environmental conditions, and species level community composition was significantly influenced by the mean temperature of the environmental regime (p = 0.002), but not by variation in CO2 or diurnal temperature variation. Species level changes with increasing mean temperature corresponded with changes in NH4 concentration, suggesting there is no functional redundancy in microbial communities for nitrogen cycling. Marine coastal biogeochemical cycling under future environmental conditions is likely to be driven by changes in nutrient availability as a direct result of microbial activity.

Continue reading ‘Temperature driven changes in benthic bacterial diversity influences biogeochemical cycling in coastal sediments’

The effects of nutrient addition and ocean acidification on tropical crustose coralline algae

As the global population increases, the occurrence of multiple anthropogenic
impacts on valuable coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs, also increases. These
stressors can be global and long-term, like ocean acidification (OA), or local and short term, like nutrient runoff in some areas. The combination of these stressors can  potentially have additive or interactive effects on the organisms in coral reef
communities. Among the most important groups of organisms on coral reefs are crustose coralline algae (CCA), calcifying algae that cement the reef together and contribute to the global carbon cycle. This thesis studied the effects of nutrient addition and OA on Lithophyllum kotschyanum, a common species of CCA on the fringing reefs of Mo’orea, French Polynesia. Two mesocosm experiments tested the individual and interactive effects of OA and short-term nitrate and phosphate addition on L. kotschyanum. These experiments showed that nitrate and phosphate addition together increased photosynthesis, OA had interactive effects with nutrient addition, and after nutrient addition ended, calcification and photosynthetic rates changed in unpredictable ways in different OA and nutrient treatments. Because the results of the first two experiments showed impacts of nutrients even after addition stopped, two more mesocosm experiments were conducted to study the changes in photosynthesis and calcification over hourly time scales more relevant to a single nutrient pulse event. These two experiments revealed the existence of diurnal variation in light-saturated photosynthetic rate, but not calcification rate, under ambient and elevated pCO2. This pattern of increased maximum photosynthesis in the middle of the day can have important implications for how the time of nutrient runoff events during the day impacts CCA physiology. Finally, a field experiment was conducted to determine the effects of short- and long-term nutrient addition on L. kotschyanum. The results showed that a series of short-term nutrient additions did not increase photosynthesis or calcification rates above those in ambient nutrient conditions, but continual nutrient enrichment for 6 weeks increased photosynthetic rates. This increase in photosynthesis under only long-term enrichment shows the need for consideration of specific nutrient addition scenarios on coral reefs when predicting how the community will be affected.

Continue reading ‘The effects of nutrient addition and ocean acidification on tropical crustose coralline algae’

You better repeat it: complex CO2 × temperature effects in Atlantic Silverside offspring revealed by serial experimentation

Concurrent ocean warming and acidification demand experimental approaches that assess biological sensitivities to combined effects of these potential stressors. Here, we summarize five CO2 × temperature experiments on wild Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia, offspring that were reared under factorial combinations of CO2 (nominal: 400, 2200, 4000, and 6000 µatm) and temperature (17, 20, 24, and 28 °C) to quantify the temperature-dependence of CO2 effects in early life growth and survival. Across experiments and temperature treatments, we found few significant CO2 effects on response traits. Survival effects were limited to a single experiment, where elevated CO2 exposure reduced embryo survival at 17 and 24 °C. Hatch length displayed CO2 × temperature interactions due largely to reduced hatch size at 24 °C in one experiment but increased length at 28 °C in another. We found no overall influence of CO2 on larval growth or survival to 9, 10, 15 and 13–22 days post-hatch, at 28, 24, 20, and 17 °C, respectively. Importantly, exposure to cooler (17 °C) and warmer (28 °C) than optimal rearing temperatures (24 °C) in this species did not appear to increase CO2 sensitivity. Repeated experimentation documented substantial inter- and intra-experiment variability, highlighting the need for experimental replication to more robustly constrain inherently variable responses. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the early life stages of this ecologically important forage fish appear largely tolerate to even extreme levels of CO2 across a broad thermal regime.

Continue reading ‘You better repeat it: complex CO2 × temperature effects in Atlantic Silverside offspring revealed by serial experimentation’

Increased CO2 exacerbates the stress of ultraviolet radiation on photosystem II function in the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii


• Increased CO2 and UVR synergistically reduce photosystem II activity.
• Increased CO2 increases PsbA removal rate but reduces PsbD’s.
• Both increased CO2 and UVR enhance nonphotochemical quenching.
• Increased CO2 decreases the ratio of Rubisco large subunit (RbcL) to PsbA.


Diatoms usually dominate phytoplankton community in coastal waters and experience rapid changes of underwater light. However, little is known regarding how increased CO2 would affect diatoms’ capacity in dealing with changing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Here, we cultured a globally abundant diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii under two levels of CO2 (400, 1000 ppmv), and then analysed its PSII function during an increase in PAR and UVR to mimic an upward mixing event. UVR noticeably reduced photosystem II (PSII) activity (FV/FM) during the high light exposure, which was more significant for cells grown at the higher CO2 condition. The PsbA removal rate (KPsbA) was synergistically increased by high CO2 and UVR, while the PsbD removal rate (KPsbD) was decreased under higher CO2. Both CO2 and UVR had an inducible effect on sustained phase of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQs). The higher CO2 decreased the ratio of Rubisco large subunit (RbcL) to PsbA regardless of the radiation treatments. It seems that the increased NPQs and turnover of PsbA induced by higher CO2 were not enough to offset the stressful effect it brought about, particularly when higher CO2 was combined with UVR. These findings indicate that increased CO2 may exacerbate the harmful effect of UVR on PSII function in the T. weissflogii through reducing PsbD removal rate and the ratio of RbcL to PsbA during UVR exposure, and thus would affect its abundance and distribution in future ocean environment.

Continue reading ‘Increased CO2 exacerbates the stress of ultraviolet radiation on photosystem II function in the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book