Posts Tagged 'multiple factors'

Coral physiology and microbiome dynamics under combined warming and ocean acidification

Rising seawater temperature and ocean acidification threaten the survival of coral reefs. The relationship between coral physiology and its microbiome may reveal why some corals are more resilient to these global change conditions. Here, we conducted the first experiment to simultaneously investigate changes in the coral microbiome and coral physiology in response to the dual stress of elevated seawater temperature and ocean acidification expected by the end of this century. Two species of corals, Acropora millepora containing the thermally sensitive endosymbiont C21a and Turbinaria reniformis containing the thermally tolerant endosymbiont Symbiodinium trenchi, were exposed to control (26.5°C and pCO2 of 364 μatm) and treatment (29.0°C and pCO2 of 750 μatm) conditions for 24 days, after which we measured the microbial community composition. These microbial findings were interpreted within the context of previously published physiological measurements from the exact same corals in this study (calcification, organic carbon flux, ratio of photosynthesis to respiration, photosystem II maximal efficiency, total lipids, soluble animal protein, soluble animal carbohydrates, soluble algal protein, soluble algal carbohydrate, biomass, endosymbiotic algal density, and chlorophyll a). Overall, dually stressed A. millepora had reduced microbial diversity, experienced large changes in microbial community composition, and experienced dramatic physiological declines in calcification, photosystem II maximal efficiency, and algal carbohydrates. In contrast, the dually stressed coral T. reniformis experienced a stable and more diverse microbiome community with minimal physiological decline, coupled with very high total energy reserves and particulate organic carbon release rates. Thus, the microbiome changed and microbial diversity decreased in the physiologically sensitive coral with the thermally sensitive endosymbiotic algae but not in the physiologically tolerant coral with the thermally tolerant endosymbiont. Our results confirm recent findings that temperature-stress tolerant corals have a more stable microbiome, and demonstrate for the first time that this is also the case under the dual stresses of ocean warming and acidification. We propose that coral with a stable microbiome are also more physiologically resilient and thus more likely to persist in the future, and shape the coral species diversity of future reef ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Coral physiology and microbiome dynamics under combined warming and ocean acidification’

Antarctic emerald rockcod have the capacity to compensate for warming when uncoupled from CO2-acidification

Increases in atmospheric CO2 levels and associated ocean changes are expected to have dramatic impacts on marine ecosystems. Although the Southern Ocean is experiencing some of the fastest rates of change, few studies have explored how Antarctic fishes may be affected by co-occurring ocean changes, and even fewer have examined early life stages. To date, no studies have characterized potential trade-offs in physiology and behavior in response to projected multiple climate change stressors (ocean acidification and warming) on Antarctic fishes. We exposed juvenile emerald rockcod Trematomus bernacchii to three PCO2 treatments (~450, ~850, and ~1,200 μatm PCO2) at two temperatures (−1 or 2°C). After 2, 7, 14, and 28 days, metrics of physiological performance including cardiorespiratory function (heart rate [fH] and ventilation rate [fV]), metabolic rate (M˙O2), and cellular enzyme activity were measured. Behavioral responses, including scototaxis, activity, exploration, and escape response were assessed after 7 and 14 days. Elevated PCO2 independently had little impact on either physiology or behavior in juvenile rockcod, whereas warming resulted in significant changes across acclimation time. After 14 days, fH, fV and M˙O2 significantly increased with warming, but not with elevated PCO2. Increased physiological costs were accompanied by behavioral alterations including increased dark zone preference up to 14%, reduced activity by 12%, as well as reduced escape time suggesting potential trade-offs in energetics. After 28 days, juvenile rockcod demonstrated a degree of temperature compensation as fV, M˙O2, and cellular metabolism significantly decreased following the peak at 14 days; however, temperature compensation was only evident in the absence of elevated PCO2. Sustained increases in fV and M˙O2 after 28 days exposure to elevated PCO2 indicate additive (fV) and synergistic (M˙O2) interactions occurred in combination with warming. Stressor-induced energetic trade-offs in physiology and behavior may be an important mechanism leading to vulnerability of Antarctic fishes to future ocean change.

Continue reading ‘Antarctic emerald rockcod have the capacity to compensate for warming when uncoupled from CO2-acidification’

CO2-induced ocean acidification impairs the immune function of the Pacific oyster against Vibrio splendidus challenge: an integrated study from a cellular and proteomic perspective


• Combined effects of elevated pCO2 and Vibrio splendidus challenge on the Pacific oyster are investigated.
Vibrio infection aggravates the oyster immunosuppressive effect caused by ocean acidification.
• Vibrio infection aggravates the oyster immunosuppressive effect caused by ocean acidification.
• Ocean acidification may increase the risk of enhanced disease of marine mollusks.


Ocean acidification (OA) and pathogenic diseases pose a considerable threat to key species of marine ecosystem. However, few studies have investigated the combined impact of reduced seawater pH and pathogen challenge on the immune responses of marine invertebrates. In this study, Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, were exposed to OA (~2000 ppm) for 28 days and then challenged with Vibrio splendidus for another 72 h. Hemocyte parameters showed that V. splendidus infection exacerbated the impaired oyster immune responses under OA exposure. An iTRAQ-based quantitative proteomic analysis revealed that C. gigas responded differently to OA stress and V. splendidus challenge, alone or in combination. Generally, OA appears to act via a generalized stress response by causing oxidative stress, which could lead to cellular injury and cause disruption to the cytoskeleton, protein turnover, immune responses and energy metabolism. V. splendidus challenge in oysters could suppress the immune system directly and lead to a disturbed cytoskeleton structure, increased protein turnover and energy metabolism suppression, without causing oxidative stress. The combined OA- and V. splendidus-treated oysters ultimately presented a similar, but stronger proteomic response pattern compared with OA treatment alone. Overall, the impaired oyster immune functions caused by OA exposure may have increased the risk of V. splendidus infection. These results have important implications for the impact of OA on disease outbreaks in marine invertebrates, which would have significant economic and ecological repercussions.

Continue reading ‘CO2-induced ocean acidification impairs the immune function of the Pacific oyster against Vibrio splendidus challenge: an integrated study from a cellular and proteomic perspective’

Climate change could drive marine food web collapse through altered trophic flows and cyanobacterial proliferation

Global warming and ocean acidification are forecast to exert significant impacts on marine ecosystems worldwide. However, most of these projections are based on ecological proxies or experiments on single species or simplified food webs. How energy fluxes are likely to change in marine food webs in response to future climates remains unclear, hampering forecasts of ecosystem functioning. Using a sophisticated mesocosm experiment, we model energy flows through a species-rich multilevel food web, with live habitats, natural abiotic variability, and the potential for intra- and intergenerational adaptation. We show experimentally that the combined stress of acidification and warming reduced energy flows from the first trophic level (primary producers and detritus) to the second (herbivores), and from the second to the third trophic level (carnivores). Warming in isolation also reduced the energy flow from herbivores to carnivores, the efficiency of energy transfer from primary producers and detritus to herbivores and detritivores, and the living biomass of detritivores, herbivores, and carnivores. Whilst warming and acidification jointly boosted primary producer biomass through an expansion of cyanobacteria, this biomass was converted to detritus rather than to biomass at higher trophic levels—i.e., production was constrained to the base of the food web. In contrast, ocean acidification affected the food web positively by enhancing trophic flow from detritus and primary producers to herbivores, and by increasing the biomass of carnivores. Our results show how future climate change can potentially weaken marine food webs through reduced energy flow to higher trophic levels and a shift towards a more detritus-based system, leading to food web simplification and altered producer–consumer dynamics, both of which have important implications for the structuring of benthic communities.

Continue reading ‘Climate change could drive marine food web collapse through altered trophic flows and cyanobacterial proliferation’

Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification

Phytoplankton cells living in the surface waters of oceans are experiencing alterations in environmental conditions associated with global change. Given their importance in global primary productivity, it is of considerable concern to know how these organisms will perform physiologically under the changing levels of pH, temperatures, and nutrients predicted for future oceanic ecosystems. Here we show that the model diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, when grown at different temperatures (20 or 24 °C), pCO2 (400 or 1000 µatm), and nitrate concentrations (2.5 or 102.5 µmol l−1), displayed contrasting performance in its physiology. Elevated pCO2 (and hence seawater acidification) under the nitrate-limited conditions led to decreases in specific growth rate, cell size, pigment content, photochemical quantum yield of PSII, and photosynthetic carbon fixation. Furthermore, increasing the temperature exacerbated the negative effects of the seawater acidification associated with elevated pCO2 on specific growth rate and chlorophyll content under the N-limited conditions. These results imply that a reduced upward transport of nutrients due to enhanced stratification associated with ocean warming might act synergistically to reduce growth and carbon fixation by diatoms under progressive ocean acidification, with important ramifications for ocean productivity and the strength of the biological CO2 pump.

Continue reading ‘Diatom performance in a future ocean: interactions between nitrogen limitation, temperature, and CO2-induced seawater acidification’

Increased fitness of a key appendicularian zooplankton species under warmer, acidified seawater conditions

Ocean warming and acidification (OA) may alter the fitness of species in marine pelagic ecosystems through community effects or direct physiological impacts. We used the zooplanktonic appendicularian, Oikopleura dioica, to assess temperature and pH effects at mesocosm and microcosm scales. In mesocosms, both OA and warming positively impacted O. dioica abundance over successive generations. In microcosms, the positive impact of OA, was observed to result from increased fecundity. In contrast, increased pH, observed for example during phytoplankton blooms, reduced fecundity. Oocyte fertility and juvenile development were equivalent under all pH conditions, indicating that the positive effect of lower pH on O. dioica abundance was principally due to increased egg number. This effect was influenced by food quantity and quality, supporting possible improved digestion and assimilation at lowered pH. Higher temperature resulted in more rapid growth, faster maturation and earlier reproduction. Thus, increased temperature and reduced pH had significant positive impacts on O. dioica fitness through increased fecundity and shortened generation time, suggesting that predicted future ocean conditions may favour this zooplankton species.

Continue reading ‘Increased fitness of a key appendicularian zooplankton species under warmer, acidified seawater conditions’

Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber


• Combined effects of acidification and cadmium were analysed in the scallop, F. glaber.
• Reduced pH slightly increased bioaccumulation of Cd.
• Synergistic and antagonistic effects occurred at cellular level.
• Tissue-specific responses indicate higher sensitivity of gills than digestive gland.
• Ocean acidification modulates the cellular toxicity of metals.


Ocean acidification (OA) may affect sensitivity of marine organisms to metal pollution modulating chemical bioavailability, bioaccumulation and biological responsiveness of several cellular pathways. In this study, the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber was exposed to various combinations of reduced pH (pH/pCO2 7.4/∼3000 μatm) and Cd (20 μg/L). The analyses on cadmium uptake were integrated with those of a wide battery of biomarkers including metallothioneins, single antioxidant defenses and total oxyradical scavenging capacity in digestive gland and gills, lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damage in haemocytes. Reduced pH slightly increased concentration of Cd in scallop tissues, but no effects were measured in terms of metallothioneins. Induction of some antioxidants by Cd and/or low pH in the digestive gland was not reflected in variations of the total oxyradical scavenging capacity, while the investigated stressors caused a certain inhibition of antioxidants and reduction of the scavenging capacity toward peroxyl radical in the gills. Lysosomal membrane stability and onset of genotoxic damages showed high sensitivity with possible synergistic effects of the investigated factors. The overall results suggest that indirect effects of ocean acidification on metal accumulation and toxicity are tissue-specific and modulate oxidative balance through different mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘Oxidative and interactive challenge of cadmium and ocean acidification on the smooth scallop Flexopecten glaber’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book