Posts Tagged 'multiple factors'



Alkaline guts contribute to immunity during exposure to acidified seawater in the sea urchin larva

Larval stages of members of the Abulacraria superphylum including echinoderms and hemichordates have highly alkaline midguts. To date, the reason for the evolution of such extreme pH conditions in the gut of these organisms remains unknown. Here, we test the hypothesis that, analogous to the acidic stomachs of vertebrates, these alkaline conditions may represent a first defensive barrier to protect from environmental pathogens. pH-optimum curves for five different species of marine bacteria demonstrated a rapid decrease in proliferation rates by 50–60% between pH 8.5 and 9.5. Using the marine bacterium Vibrio diazotrophicus, which elicits a coordinated immune response in the larvae of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, we studied the physiological responses of the midgut pH regulatory machinery to this pathogen. Gastroscopic microelectrode measurements demonstrate a stimulation of midgut alkalization upon infection with V. diazotrophicus accompanied by an upregulation of acid–base transporter transcripts of the midgut. Pharmacological inhibition of midgut alkalization resulted in an increased mortality rate of larvae during Vibrio infection. Reductions in seawater pH resembling ocean acidification conditions lead to moderate reductions in midgut alkalization. However, these reductions in midgut pH do not affect the immune response or resilience of sea urchin larvae to a Vibrio infection under ocean acidification conditions. Our study addressed the evolutionary benefits of the alkaline midgut of Ambulacraria larval stages. The data indicate that alkaline conditions in the gut may serve as a first defensive barrier against environmental pathogens and that this mechanism can compensate for changes in seawater pH.

Continue reading ‘Alkaline guts contribute to immunity during exposure to acidified seawater in the sea urchin larva’

Gene expression patterns of Red Sea urchins (Mesocentrotus Franciscanus) exposed to different combinations of temperature and pCO2 during early development

Red sea urchins were collected and spawned as described in [31]. Briefly, adults were collected from Ellwood Mesa, Goleta, California, USA (34° 25.065’N, 119° 54.092’W) at 14-m depth via SCUBA on February 21, 2018 under California Scientific Collecting Permit SC-1223 and transported to the Marine Science Institute at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Spawning was induced by injecting 0.53 M KCl into the coelom through the perioral membrane [145]. Eggs from five individual females and sperm from a single male were collected. A subsample of eggs from each female was fertilized with sperm from the male and high fertilization success was examined for each cross (i.e., visually confirming the formation of fertilization envelopes). These subsamples were only used to verify suitable male-female compatibility and were discarded prior to the experiment. An approximately equal number of eggs from each of the five females were gently pooled together. The pool of eggs was fertilized by slowly adding dilute, activated sperm from the male until approximately 98% fertilization success was reached. Performing crosses with a single male ensured that all cultures were composed of full- or half-sibling embryos. This approach was selected in an effort to limit paternal genetic variability and differences in male-female interactions that could otherwise impact the results of the study.

Continue reading ‘Gene expression patterns of Red Sea urchins (Mesocentrotus Franciscanus) exposed to different combinations of temperature and pCO2 during early development’

Plastic response of the oyster Ostrea chilensis to temperature and pCO2 within the present natural range of variability

Estuaries are characterized by high fluctuation of their environmental conditions. Environmental parameters measured show that the seawater properties of the Quempillén estuary (i.e. temperature, salinity, pCO2, pH and ΩCaCO3) were highly fluctuating and related with season and tide. We test the effects of increasing temperature and pCO2 in the seawater on the physiological energetics of the bivalve Ostrea chilensis. Juvenile oysters were exposed to an orthogonal combination of three temperatures (10, 15, and 20°C) and two pCO2 levels (~400 and ~1000 μatm) for a period of 60 days to evaluate the temporal effect (i.e. 10, 20, 30, 60 days) on the physiological rates of the oysters. Results indicated a significant effect of temperature and time of exposure on the clearance rate, while pCO2 and the interaction between pCO2 and the other factors studied did not show significant effects. Significant effects of temperature and time of exposure were also observed on the absorption rate, but not the pCO2 nor its interaction with other factors studied. Oxygen consumption was significantly affected by pCO2, temperature and time. Scope for growth was only significantly affected by time; despite this, the highest values were observed for individuals subject to to 20°C and to ~1000 μatm pCO2. In this study, Ostrea chilensis showed high phenotypic plasticity to respond to the high levels of temperature and pCO2 experienced in its habitat as no negative physiological effects were observed. Thus, the highly variable conditions of this organism’s environment could select for individuals that are more resistant to future scenarios of climate change, mainly to warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Plastic response of the oyster Ostrea chilensis to temperature and pCO2 within the present natural range of variability’

The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine

Increased greenhouse gas emissions have caused rapid ocean warming (OW) and reduced ocean pH via acidification (OA). Both OW and OA will likely impact marine crustaceans, but they are often examined in isolation. We conducted an environmental-stressor experiment to understand how exposure to current summer conditions (16 °C, pH 8.0), OW only (20 °C, pH 8.0), OA only (16 °C, pH 7.6), or both acidification and warming, OAW (20 °C, pH 7.6), differentially influence thermal physiology and immune response of female subadults of the American lobster, Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837. Following a 42 d exposure, cardiac performance was assessed during an acute thermal stress, and lobsters were subjected to a subsequent 21 d pathogen challenge with the bacterium Aerococcus viridans var. homari, the causative agent of gaffkemia. Lobsters under OAW had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.02) Arrhenius break temperatures (ABT), an indicator of thermal limits of capacity, compared to lobsters exposed to all other treatments, suggesting these stressors act synergistically to reduce physiological performance. Individuals from the OW and OAW treatments also had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.035) total hemocyte counts (THCs), an indicator of immune response, and showed a reduced median time to death (by up to 5 d sooner) post A. viridans injection compared to lobsters exposed to current summer conditions. Moreover, nearly twice as many lobsters exposed to OAW lost at least one claw during the pathogen challenge compared to all other treatment groups, potentially increasing the risk of mortality due to secondary infection. Together, these results suggest that OAW will impact the physiology and immune response of subadult H. americanus, potentially influencing successful recruitment to the fishery.

Continue reading ‘The synergistic effects of elevated temperature and CO2-induced ocean acidification reduce cardiac performance and increase disease susceptibility in subadult, female American lobsters Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Nephropidae) from the Gulf of Maine’

Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is expected to continue rising by 2100, leading to a decrease in ocean pH in a process known as ocean acidification (OA). OA can have a direct impact on calcifying organisms, including on the cuttlebone of the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Moreover, nutritional status has also been shown to affect the cuttlebone structure and potentially affect buoyancy. Here, we aimed to understand the combined effects of OA (980 μatm CO2) and food availability (fed vs. non-fed) on the buoyancy of cuttlefish newborns and respective cuttlebone weight/area ratio (as a proxy for calcification). Our results indicate that while OA elicited negative effects on hatching success, it did not negatively affect the cuttlebone weight/area ratio of the hatchlings—OA led to an increase in cuttlebone weight/area ratio of fed newborns (but not in unfed individuals). The proportion of “floating” (linked to buoyancy control loss) newborns was greatest under starvation, regardless of the CO2 treatment, and was associated with a drop in cuttlebone weight/area ratio. Besides showing that cuttlefish buoyancy is unequivocally affected by starvation, here, we also highlight the importance of nutritional condition to assess calcifying organisms’ responses to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification’

Adaption potential of Crassostrea gigas to ocean acidification and disease caused by Vibrio harveyi

The survival and development of bivalve larvae is adversely impacted by ocean acidification and Vibrio infection, indicating that bivalves need to simultaneously adapt to both stressors associated with anthropogenic climate change. In this study, we use a half-dial breeding design to estimate heritability (h2) for survival to Vibrio harveyi infection and larval shell length to aragonite undersaturated and normal conditions in laboratory-reared Crassostrea gigas. Phenotypic differences were observed between families for these traits with heritability estimated to be moderate for survival to V. harveyi challenge (h2 = 0.25) and low for shell length in corrosive (Ωaragonite = 0.9, h2 = 0.15) and normal conditions (Ωaragonite = 1.6, h2 = 0.15). Predicted breeding values for larval shell length are correlated between aragonite-undersaturated and normal conditions (Spearman r = 0.63, p < 0.05), indicating that larger larvae tend to do better in corrosive seawater. Aquaculture hatcheries routinely cull slow-growing larvae to reduce and synchronize time taken for larvae to metamorphose to spat, thus inadvertently applying size-related selection for larger larvae. This indirect selection in the hatchery populations provides a plausible explanation why domesticated oyster populations are less sensitive to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Adaption potential of Crassostrea gigas to ocean acidification and disease caused by Vibrio harveyi’

Reduced growth with increased quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi under future ocean climate change conditions

Effects of ocean acidification and warming on marine primary producers can be modulated by other environmental factors, such as levels of nutrients and light. Here, we investigated the interactive effects of five oceanic environmental drivers (CO2, temperature, light, dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphate) on growth rate, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon quotas of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Population growth rate increased with increasing temperature (16 to 20 °C) and light intensities (60 to 240 μmol photons m−2  s−1), but decreased with elevated pCO2 concentrations (370 to 960 μatm) and reduced availability of nitrate (24.3 to 7.8 μmol L−1) and phosphate (1.5 to 0.5 μmol L−1). POC quotas were predominantly enhanced by combined effects of increased pCO2 and decreased availability of phosphate. PIC quotas increased with decreased availability of nitrate and phosphate. Our results show that concurrent changes in nutrient concentrations and pCO2 levels predominantly affected growth, photosynthetic carbon fixation and calcification of E. huxleyi, and imply that plastic responses to progressive ocean acidification, warming and decreasing availability of nitrate and phosphate reduce population growth rate while increasing cellular quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon of E. huxleyi, ultimately affecting coccolithophore-related ecological and biogeochemical processes.

Continue reading ‘Reduced growth with increased quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi under future ocean climate change conditions’

Regional and species level responses of Scleractinian corals under global change within the Caribbean Sea

Human-induced global change has caused rapid increases in ocean temperature (warming) and declines in seawater pH (acidification), and are expected to have negative impacts on tropical reef-building corals globally. Abnormally high seawater temperatures disrupt the symbiosis between corals and their algal endosymbiont in a process known as ‘coral bleaching.’ During such bleaching events, calcification rates decline and physiological processes deteriorate. Additionally, corals rely heavily on elevated seawater pH in order to support and maintain production of their calcium carbonate skeletons. Together, changes in ocean temperatures and seawater pH pose serious threats to coral reefs, foundational ecosystems that provide habitat for countless essential fisheries, while also acting as natural buffers from storms and providing major economic support for tropical coastal communities. Identifying how these global scale stressors impact Caribbean coral reefs is critical in understanding community composition and coral abundance on future reefs. This dissertation employs an interdisciplinary suite of techniques to assess the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the growth and physiology of Caribbean corals to improve understandings of the responses of coral under projected global change, and provide a framework for similar future studies. Through the use of a meta-analysis (Chapter 1), I identified trends in coral calcification throughout the Greater Caribbean Sea in response to experimental ocean acidification and warming, and performed quantitative assessment of experimental design effects on coral calcification rates. I then conducted a 93- day simulated ocean acidification and warming mesocosm experiment to identify growth (Chapter 2, 4) and physiological (Chapter 3) responses of several species of common Caribbean corals. The results from this work highlight the diversity of responses of Caribbean corals to projected global change at individual and species levels, as well as between the coral host and algal endosymbiont. Overall, the variation in growth and physiological responses of these important Caribbean coral species under ocean acidification and warming is critical in predicting the future ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of Caribbean reefs as global change unfolds.

Continue reading ‘Regional and species level responses of Scleractinian corals under global change within the Caribbean Sea’

Severe coastal hypoxia interchange with ocean acidification: an experimental perturbation study on carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry

Normally atmospheric CO2 is the major driver of ocean acidification (OA); however, local discharge/degradation of organic matter (OM) and redox reactions can exacerbate OA in coastal areas. In this work we study the response of nutrient and carbon systems to pH decrease in relation to hydrographically induced intermittent characteristics and examine scenarios for future ocean acidification in a coastal system. Laboratory microcosm experiments were conducted using seawater and surface sediment collected from the deepest part of Elefsis Bay; the pH was constantly being monitored while CO2 gas addition was adjusted automatically. In Elefsis Bay surface pCO2 is already higher than global present atmospheric values, while near the bottom pCO2 reaches 1538 μatm and carbonate saturation states were calculated to be around 1.5. During the experiment, in more acidified conditions, limited alkalinity increase was observed and was correlated with the addition of bicarbonates and OM. Ammonium oxidation was decelerated and a nitrification mechanism was noticed, despite oxygen deficiency, paralleled by reduction of Mn-oxides. Phosphate was found significantly elevated for the first time in lower pH values, without reprecipitating after reoxygenation; this was linked with Fe(II) oxidation and Fe(III) reprecipitation without phosphate adsorption affecting both available dissolved phosphate and (dissolved inorganic nitrogen) DIN:DIP (dissolved inorganic phosphate)ratio.

Continue reading ‘Severe coastal hypoxia interchange with ocean acidification: an experimental perturbation study on carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry’

Plasticity of adult coralline algae to prolonged increased temperature and pCO2 exposure but reduced survival in their first generation

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are vital to coral reefs worldwide, providing structural integrity and inducing the settlement of important invertebrate larvae. CCA are known to be impacted by changes in their environment, both during early development and adulthood. However, long-term studies on either life history stage are lacking in the literature, therefore not allowing time to explore the acclimatory or potential adaptive responses of CCA to future global change scenarios. Here, we exposed a widely distributed, slow growing, species of CCA, Sporolithon cf. durum, to elevated temperature and pCO2 for five months and their first set of offspring (F1) for eleven weeks. Survival, reproductive output, and metabolic rate were measured in adult S. cf. durum, and survival and growth were measured in the F1 generation. Adult S. cf. durum experienced 0% mortality across treatments and reduced their O2 production after five months exposure to global stressors, indicating a possible expression of plasticity. In contrast, the combined stressors of elevated temperature and pCO2 resulted in 50% higher mortality and 61% lower growth on germlings. On the other hand, under the independent elevated pCO2 treatment, germling growth was higher than all other treatments. These results show the robustness and plasticity of S. cf. durum adults, indicating the potential for them to acclimate to increased temperature and pCO2. However, the germlings of this species are highly sensitive to global stressors and this could negatively impact this species in future oceans, and ultimately the structure and stability of coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Plasticity of adult coralline algae to prolonged increased temperature and pCO2 exposure but reduced survival in their first generation’


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