Posts Tagged 'multiple factors'

Southern Ocean pteropods at risk from ocean warming and acidification

Early life stages of marine calcifiers are particularly vulnerable to climate change. In the Southern Ocean aragonite undersaturation events and areas of rapid warming already occur and are predicted to increase in extent. Here, we present the first study to successfully hatch the polar pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica and observe the potential impact of exposure to increased temperature and aragonite undersaturation resulting from ocean acidification (OA) on the early life stage survival and shell morphology. High larval mortality (up to 39%) was observed in individuals exposed to perturbed conditions. Warming and OA induced extensive shell malformation and dissolution, respectively, increasing shell fragility. Furthermore, shell growth decreased, with variation between treatments and exposure time. Our results demonstrate that short-term exposure through passing through hotspots of OA and warming poses a serious threat to pteropod recruitment and long-term population viability.

Continue reading ‘Southern Ocean pteropods at risk from ocean warming and acidification’

Competitive interactions moderate the effects of elevated temperature and atmospheric CO2 on the health and functioning of oysters

Global increases in sea temperatures and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 may affect the health of calcifying shellfish. Little is known, however, about how competitive interactions within and between species may influence how species respond to multiple stressors. We experimentally assessed separate and combined effects of temperature (12 or 16°C) and atmospheric CO2 concentrations (400 and 1000 ppm) on the health and biological functioning of native (Ostrea edulis) and invasive (Crassostrea gigas) oysters held alone and in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. We found evidence of reduced phagocytosis under elevated CO2 and, when combined with increased temperature, a reduction in the number of circulating haemocytes. Generally, C. gigas showed lower respiration rates relative to O. edulis when the species were in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. In contrast, O. edulis showed a higher respiration rate relative to C. gigas when held in an interspecific mixture and exhibited lower clearance rates when held in intraspecific or interspecific mixtures. Overall, clearance rates of C. gigas were consistently greater than those of O. edulis. Collectively, our findings indicate that a species’ ability to adapt metabolic processes to environmental conditions can be modified by biotic context and may make some species (here, C. gigas) competitively superior and less vulnerable to future climatic scenarios at local scales. If these conclusions are generic, the relative role of species interactions, and other biotic parameters, in altering the outcomes of climate change will require much greater research emphasis.

Continue reading ‘Competitive interactions moderate the effects of elevated temperature and atmospheric CO2 on the health and functioning of oysters’

Ocean acidification dampens physiological stress response to warming and contamination in a commercially-important fish (Argyrosomus regius)


• Atmospheric and water conditions/contaminants influence animal physiology status.
• Scarcely studied multi-stressor effects were extricated via full-factorial design.
• Warming stimulated mercury accumulation, but was offset by acidification.
• Co-occurring acidification countered oxidative stress elicited by other stressors.
• Enhanced mitigation pathways or chemical dynamics may underpin stressor antagonism.


Increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emissions are changing ocean temperature and carbonate chemistry (warming and acidification, respectively). Moreover, the simultaneous occurrence of highly toxic and persistent contaminants, such as methylmercury, will play a key role in further shaping the ecophysiology of marine organisms. Despite recent studies reporting mostly additive interactions between contaminant and climate change effects, the consequences of multi-stressor exposure are still largely unknown. Here we disentangled how Argyrosomus regius physiology will be affected by future stressors, by analysing organ-dependent mercury (Hg) accumulation (gills, liver and muscle) within isolated/combined warming (ΔT = 4 °C) and acidification (ΔpCO2 = 1100 μatm) scenarios, as well as direct deleterious effects and phenotypic stress response over multi-stressor contexts. After 30 days of exposure, although no mortalities were observed in any treatments, Hg concentration was enhanced under warming conditions, especially in the liver. On the other hand, elevated CO2 decreased Hg accumulation and consistently elicited a dampening effect on warming and contamination-elicited oxidative stress (catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione-S-transferase activities) and heat shock responses. Thus, potentially unpinned on CO2-promoted protein removal and ionic equilibrium between hydrogen and reactive oxygen species, we found that co-occurring acidification decreased heavy metal accumulation and contributed to physiological homeostasis. Although this indicates that fish can be physiologically capable of withstanding future ocean conditions, additional experiments are needed to fully understand the biochemical repercussions of interactive stressors (additive, synergistic or antagonistic).

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification dampens physiological stress response to warming and contamination in a commercially-important fish (Argyrosomus regius)’

Effects of pH and temperature on egg hatching success of the marine planktonic copepod, Calanus finmarchicus

Calanus finmarchicus is a predominant planktonic copepod in the northern North Atlantic Ocean, where it is a fundamental link in the transfer of energy from phytoplankton to fish. Here, we investigate whether ocean acidification at present-day and future levels will cause a significant decrease in the egg hatching success (HS) of C. finmarchicus in the Gulf of Maine. Eggs spawned by female C. finmarchicus collected from the coastal Gulf of Maine were incubated in seawater acidified by addition of CO2 to selected pH levels at 3.5 °C (in a single experiment), 6 °C and 14–15 °C (in multiple experiments). HS was unaffected by pH between 6.58 and 8.0 at 3.5 and 6 °C, and between 7.1 and 8.0 when incubated at 15 °C. A significant interactive effect between temperature and pH on HS was found using a two-way ANOVA of the data from experiments at 6 °C and 14–15 °C, temperatures that are experienced in summer in the Gulf of Maine. HS of eggs spawned from C. finmarchicus females immediately after capture from a coastal station was significantly reduced at pH ≤ 7.0 when incubated at 14–15 °C, although HS of eggs collected from well-fed females in the laboratory in water from the Damariscotta Estuary was not significantly reduced at pH levels as low as 6.6 at 15 °C. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that parental history and possibly maternal provisioning can influence capability of eggs to adjust to lower pH environments. While an interaction between pH and temperatures experienced by C. finmarchicus at the southern edge of its biogeographic range was observed, the pH at which this interaction occurred is substantially lower than pH levels predicted for the surface ocean over the surface ocean.

Continue reading ‘Effects of pH and temperature on egg hatching success of the marine planktonic copepod, Calanus finmarchicus’

Nutrient loading fosters seagrass productivity under ocean acidification

The effects of climate change are likely to be dependent on local settings. Nonetheless, the compounded effects of global and regional stressors remain poorly understood. Here, we used CO2 vents to assess how the effects of ocean acidification on the seagrass, Posidonia oceanica, and the associated epiphytic community can be modified by enhanced nutrient loading. P. oceanica at ambient and low pH sites was exposed to three nutrient levels for 16 months. The response of P. oceanica to experimental conditions was assessed by combining analyses of gene expression, plant growth, photosynthetic pigments and epiphyte loading. At low pH, nutrient addition fostered plant growth and the synthesis of photosynthetic pigments. Overexpression of nitrogen transporter genes following nutrient additions at low pH suggests enhanced nutrient uptake by the plant. In addition, enhanced nutrient levels reduced the expression of selected antioxidant genes in plants exposed to low pH and increased epiphyte cover at both ambient and low pH. Our results show that the effects of ocean acidification on P. oceanica depend upon local nutrient concentration. More generally, our findings suggest that taking into account local environmental settings will be crucial to advance our understanding of the effects of global stressors on marine systems.

Continue reading ‘Nutrient loading fosters seagrass productivity under ocean acidification’

Reproductive and trans-generational effect of ocean acidification and warming on the coral Stylophora pistillata in the Gulf of Aqaba

Global warming is threatening 75 % of the world’s coral reefs. The reproduction of corals is a driver for the development of the whole reef ecosystem. Then, it is essential to better understand the transgenerational mechanisms in the response of parents and offspring to elevated temperature and lowered pH. Colonies of Stylophora pistillata from the Gulf of Aqaba during their reproduction period were exposed to a 4°C increase in temperature and a pH of 7.6 for 36 days, then a 6°C increase for six days. Planulae were counted on seven consecutive nights, two times during the experiment period. Physiological characteristics of adult and planulae were assessed on four and five sampling points respectively, as well as the behaviour of the planulae through their incubation. Results show no effect of OWA on the reproduction, parents, and planulae physiology. They suggest that the natural resistance of corals in the Gulf of Aqaba is transmitted from parent to offspring. Data on planulae quantity, survival, settlement, and metabolism provides additional and useful information to understand the biology of this coral, specially in its early-life stage. This study’s outcome is adding evidences of the future development of corals reefs in this region, unlike several other tropical reefs in the world.

Continue reading ‘Reproductive and trans-generational effect of ocean acidification and warming on the coral Stylophora pistillata in the Gulf of Aqaba’

pH effects in the acute toxicity study of the crude oil-WAF (water accommodated fraction) in the whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei

Oil spillage can cause harmful risks to marine ecology in a short time period and may lead to devastating long-term impacts. Meanwhile, the trends of a pH decrease due to ocean acidification deteriorate spillages’ impact. This study evaluated the influence of pH on crude oil water accommodated fraction (WAF) toxicity to the whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Post larvae of the shrimps were exposed to the crude oil-WAF with concentrations of 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% under pH concentrations of 6.5 and 8.5 for 72 hours to quantify their mortality. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) of the WAF were analyzed using the GC-MS method, while the LC50 was determined using probit analysis. L. vannamei showed impaired swimming ability, loss of balance, comatose, and even death when the shrimp were acutely exposed to the crude oil WAF. The 72-h LC50 were slightly lower in pH 6.5 than that of 8.5 (101.7±9.6 mL L-1 and 114.67±11.7 mL L-1 respectively). There were 14 PAH compounds presented in the crude oil-WAF in which carcinogenic compound, benzo[a]pyrene, represented 25% of the total concentration of PAHs. The interaction among PAHs may lead synergistic effects that could increase the mortality of the shrimps. However, based on the US EPA’s LC50 scale, the crude oil-WAF is still practically non-toxic to the whiteleg shrimp, L. vannamei.

Continue reading ‘pH effects in the acute toxicity study of the crude oil-WAF (water accommodated fraction) in the whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book