Posts Tagged 'multiple factors'

Reduced seawater pH alters marine biofilms with impacts for marine polychaete larval settlement


• Reduced seawater pH strongly influences biofilm community composition, at both eukaryotic and prokaryotic level

• For older biofilms, biofilm age plays no role in community composition

• Incubation under different pH treatments results in variations in apparent colour and structural complexity of marine biofilms

• Incubation of marine biofilms under different pH treatments alters the settlement response in marine invertebrates

• The changes in marine biofilm community composition induced by seawater pH are most likely responsible for the changes observed in invertebrate settlement selectivity


Ocean acidification (OA) can negatively affect early-life stages of marine organisms, with the key processes of larval settlement and metamorphosis potentially vulnerable to reduced seawater pH. Settlement success depends strongly on suitable substrates and environmental cues, with marine biofilms as key settlement inducers for a range of marine invertebrate larvae. This study experimentally investigated (1) how seawater pH determines growth and community composition of marine biofilms, and (2) whether marine biofilms developed under different pH conditions can alter settlement success in the New Zealand serpulid polychaete Galeolaria hystrix. Biofilms were developed under six pH(T) treatments (spanning from 7.0 to 8.1 [ambient]) in a flow-through system for up to 14 months. Biofilms of different ages (7, 10 and 14 months) were used to assay successful settlement of competent G. hystrix larvae reared under ambient conditions. Biofilm microbiomes were characterized through amplicon sequencing of the small subunit ribosomal rRNA gene (16S and 18S). Biofilm community composition was stable over time within each pH treatment and biofilm age did not affect larval settlement selectivity. Seawater pH treatment strongly influenced biofilm community composition, as well as subsequent settlement success when biofilms were presented to competent Galeolaria larvae. Exposure to biofilms incubated under OA-treatments caused a decrease in larval settlement of up to 40% compared to the ambient treatments. We observed a decrease in settlement on biofilms relative to ambient pH for slides incubated at pH 7.9 and 7.7. This trend was reversed at pH 7.4, resulting in high settlement, comparable to ambient biofilms. Settlement decreased on biofilms from pH 7.2, and no settlement was observed on biofilms from pH 7.0. For the first time, we show that long-term incubation of marine biofilms under a wide range of reduced seawater pH treatments can alter marine biofilms in such a way that settlement success in marine invertebrates can be compromised.

Continue reading ‘Reduced seawater pH alters marine biofilms with impacts for marine polychaete larval settlement’

Interactive effects of elevated CO2 concentration and light on the picophytoplankton Synechococcus

Synechococcus is a major contributor to the primary production in tropic and subtropical oceans worldwide. Responses of this picophytoplankton to changing light and CO2 levels is of general concern to understand its ecophysiology in the context of ocean global changes. We grew Synechococcus sp. (WH7803), originally isolated from subtropic North Atlantic Ocean, under different PAR levels for about 15 generations and examined its growth, photochemical performance and the response of these parameters to elevated CO2 (1,000 μatm). The specific growth rate increased from 6 μmol m–2 s–1 to reach a maximum (0.547 ± 0.026) at 25 μmol m–2 s–1, and then became inhibited at PAR levels over 50 μmol m–2 s–1, with light use efficiency (α) and photoinhibition coefficient (β) being 0.093 and 0.002, respectively. When the cells were grown at ambient and elevated CO2 concentration (400 vs. 1,000 μatm), the high-CO2 grown cells showed significantly enhanced rates of electron transport and quantum yield as well as significant increase in specific growth rate at the limiting and inhibiting PAR levels. While the electron transport rate significantly increased at the elevated CO2 concentration under all tested light levels, the specific growth did not exhibit significant changes under the optimal growth light condition. Our results indicate that Synechococcus WH7803 grew faster under the ocean acidification (OA) treatment induced by CO2 enrichment only under limiting and inhibiting light levels, indicating the interactive effects and implying that the picophytoplankton respond differentially at different depths while exposing changing light conditions.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of elevated CO2 concentration and light on the picophytoplankton Synechococcus’

Effects of salinity, pH and alkalinity on hatching rate of fertilized eggs of Penaeus monodon

The fertilized eggs of “Nanhai 2” Penaeus monodon bred by our research group were incubated at the same temperature (30°C), different salinity (20, 25, 30, 35, 40), different pH (7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0) and different alkalinity (2.0 mmol/L, 2.5 mmol/L, 3.0 mmol/L, 3.5 mmol/L, 4.0 mmol/L) to explore the effects of salinity, pH and alkalinity on hatching rate of fertilized eggs of P. monodon. The results showed that the hatching rate of fertilization rate of P. monodon was closely related to salinity, and the best hatching rate was obtained when the seawater salinity was 30 with the average hatching rate was 82.60%. The hatching rate was very low when the salinity was as low as 20 or as high as 40, which was significantly lower than that of other treatments (P<0.05). The hatching effect of the fertilized eggs of P. monodon was closely related to the pH value of seawater, and the slightly alkaline seawater was conducive to the normal development of the fertilized eggs. Among them, the hatching effect of the seawater pH value of 8.0 was the best, and the average hatching rate of the fertilized eggs was 80.62%. Too low or too high pH value of the seawater was not conducive to the development of the embryo, and the hatching rate of the fertilized eggs decreased in varying degrees. There was no significant correlation between the hatching effect of fertilized eggs and the change of seawater alkalinity. The average hatching rate of fertilized eggs ranged from 78.65% to 83.12% in the alkalinity range of 2.0-4.0 mmol/L

Continue reading ‘Effects of salinity, pH and alkalinity on hatching rate of fertilized eggs of Penaeus monodon’

Invariant gametogenic response of dominant infaunal bivalves from the Arctic under ambient and near-future climate change conditions

Arctic marine ecosystems are undergoing a series of major rapid adjustments to the regional amplification of climate change, but there is a paucity of knowledge about how changing environmental conditions might affect reproductive cycles of seafloor organisms. Shifts in species reproductive ecology may influence their entire life-cycle, and, ultimately, determine the persistence and distribution of taxa. Here, we investigate whether the combined effects of warming and ocean acidification based on near-future climate change projections affects the reproductive processes in benthic bivalves (Astarte crenata and Bathyarca glacialis) from the Barents Sea. Both species present large oocytes indicative of lecithotrophic or direct larval development after ∼4 months exposure to ambient [<2°C, ∼400 ppm (CO2)] and near-future [3–5°C, ∼550 ppm (CO2)] conditions, but we find no evidence that the combined effects of acidification and warming affect the size frequency distribution of oocytes. Whilst our observations are indicative of resilience of this reproductive stage to global changes, we also highlight that the successful progression of gametogenesis under standard laboratory conditions does not necessarily mean that successful development and recruitment will occur in the natural environment. This is because the metabolic costs of changing environmental conditions are likely to be offset by, as is common practice in laboratory experiments, feeding ad libitum. We discuss our findings in the context of changing food availability in the Arctic and conclude that, if we are to establish the vulnerability of species and ecosystems, there is a need for holistic approaches that incorporate multiple system responses to change.

Continue reading ‘Invariant gametogenic response of dominant infaunal bivalves from the Arctic under ambient and near-future climate change conditions’

Physiological responses of Skeletonema costatum to the interactions of seawater acidification and the combination of photoperiod and temperature (update)

Ocean acidification (OA), which is a major environmental change caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, has considerable influences on marine phytoplankton. But few studies have investigated interactions of OA and seasonal changes in temperature and photoperiod on marine diatoms. In the present study, a marine diatom Skeletonema costatum was cultured under two different CO2 levels (LC, 400 µatm; HC, 1000 µatm) and three different combinations of temperature and photoperiod length (8:16 L:D with 5 C, 12:12 L:D with 15 C, 16:8 L:D with 25 C), simulating different seasons in typical temperate oceans, to investigate the combined effects of these factors. The results showed that specific growth rate of S. costatum increased with increasing temperature and day length. However, OA showed contrasting effects on growth and photosynthesis under different combinations of temperature and day length: while positive effects of OA were observed under spring and autumn conditions, it significantly decreased growth (11 %) and photosynthesis (21 %) in winter. In addition, OA alleviated the negative effect of low temperature and short day length on the abundance of RbcL and key photosystem II (PSII) proteins (D1 and D2). These data indicated that future ocean acidification may show differential effects on diatoms in different clusters of other factors.

Continue reading ‘Physiological responses of Skeletonema costatum to the interactions of seawater acidification and the combination of photoperiod and temperature (update)’

Springtime spatial distributions of biogenic sulfur compounds in the Yangtze river estuary and their responses to seawater acidification and dust

The spatial distributions of dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) were investigated in the Yangtze River Estuary from 9 to 23 March, 2018. The average concentrations of DMS, dissolved DMSP (DMSPd), particulate DMSP (DMSPp), dissolved DMSO (DMSOd) and particulate DMSO (DMSOp) were 3.00 ± 2.53, 1.75 ± 1.08, 10.89 ± 14.28, 9.80 ± 7.79, and 9.51 ± 8.90 nmol L‐1, respectively. The high DMS and DMSP concentrations occurred mainly in the open sea, exhibiting distribution patterns similar to chlorophyll a (Chl‐a). Due to the release of resuspended sediments, elevated DMSO concentrations were observed in the bottom waters of some stations. The three sulfur compounds were positively correlated with Chl‐a (p < 0.05), suggesting that phytoplankton played an essential role in the production of sulfur compounds. Comparisons with previous research showed that the concentrations of DMS, DMSP, and DMSOp exhibited clear seasonal variability. The average sea‐to‐air flux of DMS was 8.19 ± 12.94 μmol m‐2 d‐1 in the study area, indicating that the estuary and continental shelf sea were significant contributors to the global sulfur cycle. Ship‐based incubation experiments showed that lower pH inhibited the production of the three biogenic sulfur compounds, while the addition of dust promoted their release. Therefore, in the future, the inhibitory effect of seawater acidification on the production of phytoplankton and sulfur compounds might be offset, to some degree, by the input of nutrient‐rich dust.

Continue reading ‘Springtime spatial distributions of biogenic sulfur compounds in the Yangtze river estuary and their responses to seawater acidification and dust’

Influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofouling by bacteria grown over API 5L steel

The acidification and warming of seawater have several impacts on marine organisms, including over microorganisms. The influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofilms grown on API 5L steel surfaces was evaluated by sequencing the 16S ribosomal gene. For this, three microcosms were designed, the first simulating the natural marine environment (MCC), the second with a decrease in pH from 8.1 to 7.9, and an increase in temperature by 2 °C (MMS), and the third with pH in around 7.7 and an increase in temperature of 4 °C (MES). The results showed that MCC was dominated by the Gammaproteobacteria class, mainly members of the Alteromonadales Order. The second most abundant group was Alphaproteobacteria, with a predominance of Rhodobacterales and Oceanospirillales. In the MMS system there was a balance between representatives of the Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria classes. In MES there was an inversion in the representations of the most prevalent classes previously described in MCC. In this condition, there was a predominance of members of the Alphaproteobacteria Class, in contrast to the decrease in the abundance of Gammaproteobacteria members. These results suggest that possible future climate changes may influence the dynamics of the biofouling process in surface metals.

Continue reading ‘Influence of acidification and warming of seawater on biofouling by bacteria grown over API 5L steel’

Impaired antioxidant defenses and DNA damage in the European glass eel (Anguilla anguilla) exposed to ocean warming and acidification


  • European glass eels were lab-exposed to future warming and acidification conditions
  • Selected biomarkers were used to study physiological responses of glass eels
  • The antioxidant enzymatic machinery was impaired in the muscle and viscera
  • Heat shock response was different between tissues, increasing with temperature
  • The results emphasize the higher vulnerability of eels under climate change


The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) has attracted scientific inquiry for centuries due to its singular biological traits. Within the European Union, glass eel fisheries have declined sharply since 1980, from up to 2000 t (t) to 62.2 t in 2018, placing wild populations under higher risk of extinction. Among the major causes of glass eels collapse, climate change has become a growing worldwide issue, specifically ocean warming and acidification, but, to our knowledge, data on physiological and biochemical responses of glass eels to these stressors is limited. Within this context, we selected some representative biomarkers [e.g. glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), heat shock proteins (HSP70), ubiquitin (Ub) and DNA damage] to study physiological responses of the European glass eel under distinct laboratory-climate change scenarios, such as increased water temperature (+ 4 °C) and pH reduction (− 0.4 units), for 12 weeks. Overall, the antioxidant enzymatic machinery was impaired, both in the muscle and viscera, manifested by significant changes in CAT, GPx and TAC. Heat shock response varied differently between tissues, increasing with temperature in the muscle, but not in the viscera, and decreasing in both tissues under acidification. The inability of HSP to maintain functional protein conformation was responsible for boosting the production of Ub, particularly under warming and acidification, as sole stressors. The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), either elicited by warming – due to increased metabolic demand – or acidification – through H+ interaction with O2, generating H2O2 – overwhelmed defense mechanisms, causing oxidative stress and consequently leading to protein and DNA damage. Our results emphasize the vulnerability of eels’ early life stages to climate change, with potential cascading consequences to adult stocks.

Continue reading ‘Impaired antioxidant defenses and DNA damage in the European glass eel (Anguilla anguilla) exposed to ocean warming and acidification’

Gene expression responses of larval gopher (Sebastes carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish to ocean acidification and hypoxia

Global climate change is driving shifts in ocean chemistry, which combined with intensification of coastal upwelling, reduces ocean pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) content in the nearshore habitats of the California Current System. Physiological plasticity, within and across generations, might be especially important for long-lived, late-to-mature species, like rockfishes (genus Sebastes), that may be unable to keep pace with climate change via genetic adaptation. Rockfishes exhibit matrotrophic viviparity and may be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stress through early developmental exposure or transgenerational plasticity (non-genetic inheritance of phenotypes). In this study, mature female gopher (S. carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish were pre-exposed to one of four treatments; 1) control conditions, 2) low pH, 3) low DO, or 4) combined low pH/DO stressors during embryonic growth (i.e. fertilization and gestation), followed by a 5-day larval exposure after birth in either the same or a different treatment received by mothers. I used RNA sequencing to determine how the maternal environment affected larval rockfish gene expression (GE) at birth, after the 5-day larval exposure in either the same maternal treatment or a novel pH/DO environment, and between larvae sampled at birth and after the 5-day larval exposure within each treatment. For both species, I found that the maternal exposure drove larval GE patterns regardless of sampling time point or treatment. Furthermore, the maternal environment continued to strongly influence larval GE for at least the first five days after birth. In gopher rockfish, larvae differentially expressed fewer genes at birth between the control and hypoxic groups than larvae that gestated in and remained in the same treatment and were sampled after the 5-day larval exposure. Gene functions also shifted; at day 5, there was an increase in differentially expressed genes that were related to metabolic pathways, implying that the larvae in the hypoxic treatment are responding to the stressor. In both species, I found that larvae which experienced a pH and/or hypoxic stressor during the maternal exposure had fewer differentially expressed genes across time compared to larvae that experienced control conditions. This pattern remained consistent, even if the larvae were placed into control conditions for the 5-day larval exposure, indicating that exposure to low pH/DO stressors might cause a delay in development. These data suggest that rockfish may not be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stressors, highlighting the important role of the maternal environment during gestation. Between the two species, however, blue rockfish may in fact fare better in future conditions as their reproductive season occurs before the onset of strong spring upwelling, when more hypoxic and low pH water intrudes the nearshore. However, if future climate models are correct, shifts in the timing and intensity of upwelling season may overlap with the reproductive season in blue rockfish. Elucidating the critical role of the maternal environment on offspring physiology can help us better understand how economically and ecologically important species will fare in the face of climate change.

Continue reading ‘Gene expression responses of larval gopher (Sebastes carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish to ocean acidification and hypoxia’

Ocean acidification reduces skeletal density of hardground‐forming high‐latitude crustose coralline algae

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) function as foundation species by creating marine carbonate hardground habitats. High‐latitude species may be vulnerable to regional warming and acidification. Here, we report the results of an experiment investigating the impacts of CO2‐induced acidification (pCO2 ∼350, 490, 890, 3200 µatm) and temperature (∼6.5, 8.5, 12.5°C) on the skeletal density of two species of high‐latitude CCA: Clathromorphum compactum (CC) and C. nereostratum (CN). Skeletal density of both species significantly declined with pCO2. In CN, the density of previously deposited skeleton declined in the highest pCO2 treatment. This species was also unable to precipitate new skeleton at 12.5°C, suggesting that CN will be particularly sensitive to future warming and acidification. The decline in skeletal density exhibited by both species under future pCO2 conditions could reduce their skeletal strength, potentially rendering them more vulnerable to disturbance, and impairing their production of critical habitat in high‐latitude systems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification reduces skeletal density of hardground‐forming high‐latitude crustose coralline algae’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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