Posts Tagged 'North Pacific'

Influence of iron and carbon on the occurrence of Ulva prolifera (Ulvophyceae) in the Yellow Sea


  • Continuous, massive green tides have occurred in the Yellow Sea over the past decade (2007–2018).
  • This study integrates remote sensing, field observation, laboratory measurements and indoor cultivation.
  • Ulva prolifera blooming is influenced by higher concentrations of Fe(II) and HCO3-, and a lower pH.


Over the past decade, massive outbreaks of Ulva prolifera have occurred in the Yellow Sea, China, and caused negative effects to the coastal environments. In response, many scientific investigations have been conducted to ascertain the origins of and reasons for the algal bloom that has resulted in continuous green tides. In this work, we explored the influences of iron and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) on the occurrence of green algal blooms. The moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data showed the blooming areas and movement of U. prolifera. Field observation showed that higher Fe(II) concentrations (average 0.145 mg L−1) can be correlated with large Ulva prolifera blooms. Furthermore, lower pH might enhance the accumulation of dissolved carbon into the green algae; a premise that was supported by higher concentrations of CO2(0.037 mmol L−1), HCO3−(2.58 mmol L−1) and the lowest pH value (7.69) being found together at site H11. The indoor iron- and bicarbonate-enrichment experiments further confirmed that higher concentrations of Fe(II) and HCO3− and a lower pH can increase the growth rate of U. prolifera. This study indicates that seawater chemical factors contribute to the long term, ongoing green tides in the Yellow Sea and provides new thoughts for the causes of U. prolifera blooms.

Continue reading ‘Influence of iron and carbon on the occurrence of Ulva prolifera (Ulvophyceae) in the Yellow Sea’

Crumbling reefs and cold-water coral habitat loss in a future ocean: evidence of “coralporosis” as an indicator of habitat integrity

Ocean acidification is a threat to the net growth of tropical and deep-sea coral reefs, due to gradual changes in the balance between reef growth and loss processes. Here we go beyond identification of coral dissolution induced by ocean acidification and identify a mechanism that will lead to a loss of habitat in cold-water coral reef habitats on an ecosystem-scale. To quantify this, we present in situ and year-long laboratory evidence detailing the type of habitat shift that can be expected (in situ evidence), the mechanisms underlying this (in situ and laboratory evidence), and the timescale within which the process begins (laboratory evidence). Through application of engineering principals, we detail how increased porosity in structurally critical sections of coral framework will lead to crumbling of load-bearing material, and a potential collapse and loss of complexity of the larger habitat. Importantly, in situ evidence highlights that cold-water corals can survive beneath the aragonite saturation horizon, but in a fundamentally different way to what is currently considered a biogenic cold-water coral reef, with a loss of the majority of reef habitat. The shift from a habitat with high 3-dimensional complexity provided by both live and dead coral framework, to a habitat restricted primarily to live coral colonies with lower 3-dimensional complexity represents the main threat to cold-water coral reefs of the future and the biodiversity they support. Ocean acidification can cause ecosystem-scale habitat loss for the majority of cold-water coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Crumbling reefs and cold-water coral habitat loss in a future ocean: evidence of “coralporosis” as an indicator of habitat integrity’

Acclimatization drives differences in reef-building coral calcification rates

Coral reefs are susceptible to climate change, anthropogenic influence, and environmental stressors. However, corals in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi have repeatedly shown resilience and acclimatization to anthropogenically-induced rising temperatures and increased frequencies of bleaching events. Variations in coral and algae cover at two sites—just 600 m apart—at Malaukaʻa fringing reef suggest genetic or environmental differences in coral resilience between sites. A reciprocal transplant experiment was conducted to determine if calcification (linear extension and dry skeletal weight) for dominant reef-building species, Montipora capitata and Porites compressa, varied between the two sites and whether or not parent colony or environmental factors were responsible for the differences. Despite the two sites representing distinct environmental conditions with significant differences between temperature, salinity, and aragonite saturation, M. capitata growth rates remained the same between sites and treatments. However, dry skeletal weight increases in P. compressa were significantly different between sites, but not across treatments, with linear mixed effects model results suggesting heterogeneity driven by environmental differences between sites and the parent colonies. These results provide evidence of resilience and acclimatization for M. capitata and P. compressa. Variability of resilience may be driven by local adaptations at a small, reef-level scale for P. compressa in Kāneʻohe Bay.

Continue reading ‘Acclimatization drives differences in reef-building coral calcification rates’

Physiological resilience of pink salmon to naturally occurring ocean acidification

Pacific salmon stocks are in decline with climate change named as a contributing factor. The North Pacific coast of British Columbia is characterized by strong temporal and spatial heterogeneity in ocean conditions with upwelling events elevating CO2 levels up to 10-fold those of pre-industrial global averages. Early life stages of pink salmon have been shown to be affected by these CO2 levels, and juveniles naturally migrate through regions of high CO2 during the energetically costly phase of smoltification. To investigate the physiological response of out-migrating wild juvenile pink salmon to these naturally occurring elevated CO2 levels, we captured fish in Georgia Strait, British Columbia and transported them to a marine lab (Hakai Institute, Quadra Island) where fish were exposed to one of three CO2 levels (850, 1500 and 2000 μatm CO2) for 2 weeks. At ½, 1 and 2 weeks of exposure, we measured their weight and length to calculate condition factor (Fulton’s K), as well as haematocrit and plasma [Cl]. At each of these times, two additional stressors were imposed (hypoxia and temperature) to provide further insight into their physiological condition. Juvenile pink salmon were largely robust to elevated CO2 concentrations up to 2000 μatm CO2, with no mortality or change in condition factor over the 2-week exposure duration. After 1 week of exposure, temperature and hypoxia tolerance were significantly reduced in high CO2, an effect that did not persist to 2 weeks of exposure. Haematocrit was increased by 20% after 2 weeks in the CO2 treatments relative to the initial measurements, while plasma [Cl] was not significantly different. Taken together, these data indicate that juvenile pink salmon are quite resilient to naturally occurring high CO2 levels during their ocean outmigration.

Continue reading ‘Physiological resilience of pink salmon to naturally occurring ocean acidification’

Environmentally-induced parental or developmental conditioning influences coral offspring ecological performance

The persistence of reef building corals is threatened by human-induced environmental change. Maintaining coral reefs into the future requires not only the survival of adults, but also the influx of recruits to promote genetic diversity and retain cover following adult mortality. Few studies examine the linkages among multiple life stages of corals, despite a growing knowledge of carryover effects in other systems. We provide a novel test of coral parental conditioning to ocean acidification (OA) and tracking of offspring for 6 months post-release to better understand parental or developmental priming impacts on the processes of offspring recruitment and growth. Coral planulation was tracked for 3 months following adult exposure to high pCO2 and offspring from the second month were reciprocally exposed to ambient and high pCO2 for an additional 6 months. Offspring of parents exposed to high pCO2 had greater settlement and survivorship immediately following release, retained survivorship benefits during 1 and 6 months of continued exposure, and further displayed growth benefits to at least 1 month post release. Enhanced performance of offspring from parents exposed to high conditions was maintained despite the survivorship in both treatments declining in continued exposure to OA. Conditioning of the adults while they brood their larvae, or developmental acclimation of the larvae inside the adult polyps, may provide a form of hormetic conditioning, or environmental priming that elicits stimulatory effects. Defining mechanisms of positive acclimatization, with potential implications for carry over effects, cross-generational plasticity, and multi-generational plasticity, is critical to better understanding ecological and evolutionary dynamics of corals under regimes of increasing environmental disturbance. Considering environmentally-induced parental or developmental legacies in ecological and evolutionary projections may better account for coral reef response to the chronic stress regimes characteristic of climate change.

Continue reading ‘Environmentally-induced parental or developmental conditioning influences coral offspring ecological performance’

Keystone predators govern the pathway and pace of climate impacts in a subarctic marine ecosystem

Predator loss and climate change are hallmarks of the Anthropocene yet their interactive effects are largely unknown. Here, we show that massive calcareous reefs, built slowly by the alga Clathromorphum nereostratum over centuries to millennia, are now declining because of the emerging interplay between these two processes. Such reefs, the structural base of Aleutian kelp forests, are rapidly eroding because of overgrazing by herbivores. Historical reconstructions and experiments reveal that overgrazing was initiated by the loss of sea otters, Enhydra lutris (which gave rise to herbivores capable of causing bioerosion), and then accelerated with ocean warming and acidification (which increased per capita lethal grazing by 34 to 60% compared with preindustrial times). Thus, keystone predators can mediate the ways in which climate effects emerge in nature and the pace with which they alter ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Keystone predators govern the pathway and pace of climate impacts in a subarctic marine ecosystem’

Comparing subsurface seasonal deoxygenation and acidification in the Yellow Sea and Northern East China Sea along the North-to-South latitude gradient

To better understand the relationship between subsurface seasonal deoxygenation and acidification in the Yellow Sea and northern East China Sea (ECS), we examined carbonate system parameters and dissolved oxygen (DO) of seven field surveys conducted in 2017–2018, spanning all four seasons. Low pHT values of 7.71–7.80 and critically low aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) values of 1.07–1.40 along with undersaturated DO of mostly higher than 150 μmol O2 kg–1 occurred in the Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass area in summer and autumn, while hypoxic DO values of 49–63 μmol O2 kg–1 and extremely low pHT values of 7.68–7.74 as well as critically low Ωarag values of 1.21–1.39 were observed in the northern ECS in July 2018. At the beginning of warm-season stratification formation, the cold Yellow Sea waters had much higher DO but lower Ωarag values than those in relatively warmer ECS waters, while yearly initial pHT values rarely exhibited differences between the two coastal seas. During warm seasons, the central Yellow Sea accumulated respiration products beneath the thermocline in summer and autumn, while the northern ECS bottom waters preserved them only in summer. This study highlights fundamental roles of wintertime carbon dioxide (CO2) solubility along a north-to-south latitude gradient in the coastal acidification development. In comparison with the relatively low-latitude northern ECS subject to seasonal hypoxia, relatively high-latitude Yellow Sea exhibits higher CO2 solubility in winter and longer respiration-product accumulations in warm seasons, leading to lower Ωarag in the central Yellow Sea than those in the northern ECS. However, the present-day central Yellow Sea is free from hypoxia.

Continue reading ‘Comparing subsurface seasonal deoxygenation and acidification in the Yellow Sea and Northern East China Sea along the North-to-South latitude gradient’

Contrasting marine carbonate systems in two fjords in British Columbia, Canada: seawater buffering capacity and the response to anthropogenic CO2 invasion

The carbonate system in two contrasting fjords, Rivers Inlet and Bute Inlet, on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, was evaluated to characterize the mechanisms driving carbonate chemistry dynamics and assess the impact of anthropogenic carbon. Differences in the character of deep water exchange between these fjords were inferred from their degree of exposure to continental shelf water and their salinity relationships with total alkalinity and total dissolved inorganic carbon, which determined seawater buffering capacity. Seawater buffering capacity differed between fjords and resulted in distinct carbonate system characteristics with implications on calcium carbonate saturation states and sensitivity to increasing anthropogenic carbon inputs. Saturation states of both aragonite and calcite mineral phases of calcium carbonate were seasonally at or below saturation throughout the entire water column in Bute Inlet, while only aragonite was seasonally under-saturated in portions of the water column in Rivers Inlet. The mean annual saturation states of aragonite in Rivers Inlet and calcite in Bute Inlet deep water layers have declined to below saturation within the last several decades due to anthropogenic carbon accumulation, and similar declines to undersaturation are projected in their surface layers as anthropogenic carbon continues to accumulate. This study demonstrates that the degree of fjord water exposure to open shelf water influences the uptake and sensitivity to anthropogenic carbon through processes affecting seawater buffering capacity, and that reduced uptake but greater sensitivity occurs where distance to ocean source waters and freshwater dilution are greater.

Continue reading ‘Contrasting marine carbonate systems in two fjords in British Columbia, Canada: seawater buffering capacity and the response to anthropogenic CO2 invasion’

Effect of large-scale kelp and bivalve farming on seawater carbonate system variations in the semi-enclosed Sanggou Bay


• Large-scale kelp and bivalve farming are important biological drivers of carbonate chemistry variations within the Sanggou Bay.

• The fluctuation of carbonate systems in farming areas were much larger than those in non-farming area.

• Kelp farming may favour the calcification of farmed bivalves and provide essential refuge for these species during future ocean acidification.

• Farmed bivalves are capable of fixing larger amounts of inorganic carbon by calcification than that released into seawater by respiration.

Although cultured algae and shellfish can be the dominant species in some localized coastal waters, research on the effect of large-scale mariculture on the carbonate system variations in these local waters is still lacking. We conducted five cruises from May to September and studied spatiotemporal variations in the seawater carbonate system in the semi-closed Sanggou Bay, which is famous for its large-scale mariculture. Our results showed that both kelp and bivalve farming induced significant spatiotemporal variations in the carbonate system within the bay. When cultured kelp reached its highest biomass in May, the maximum ΔDIC, ΔpCO2 and ΔpHT between the seawater from the kelp farming area and the non-farming outer bay area was −156 μmol kg−1, −102 μatm and 0.15 pH units, respectively. However, no significant effect of kelp farming on seawater total alkalinity (TA) was observed. Kelp farming also caused the carbonate system variations of seawater from the bivalve farming area. Assuming no kelp was farmed in May, the average pH and pCO2 would reduce by 0.12 pH units and increase by 179 μatm, respectively, in the bivalve farming area. Bivalve farming significantly reduced seawater TA, indicating that fast deposition of calcium carbonate occurred in the bivalve farming area. Although bivalve respiration released CO2 into seawater and elevated seawater pCO2 level and reduced seawater pHT, surprisingly, seawater dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reduced significantly in the bivalve farming area. These results indicated that bivalves fixed a larger amount of inorganic carbon by calcification than that released into seawater by respiration. Overall, large-scale kelp and bivalve farming are important biological drivers of variations in the carbonate system within the semi-enclosed Sanggou Bay. Altered carbonate systems by kelp farming may favour calcification of farmed bivalves and provide an essential refuge for these species during the future ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Effect of large-scale kelp and bivalve farming on seawater carbonate system variations in the semi-enclosed Sanggou Bay’

Downscaling global ocean climate models improves estimates of exposure regimes in coastal environments

Climate change is expected to warm, deoxygenate, and acidify ocean waters. Global climate models (GCMs) predict future conditions at large spatial scales, and these predictions are then often used to parameterize laboratory experiments designed to assess biological and ecological responses to future change. However, nearshore ecosystems are affected by a range of physical processes such as tides, local winds, and surface and internal waves, causing local variability in conditions that often exceeds global climate models. Predictions of future climatic conditions at local scales, the most relevant to ecological responses, are largely lacking. To fill this critical gap, we developed a 2D implementation of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to downscale global climate predictions across all Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios to smaller spatial scales, in this case the scale of a temperate reef in the northeastern Pacific. To assess the potential biological impacts of local climate variability, we then used the results from different climate scenarios to estimate how climate change may affect the survival, growth, and fertilization of a representative marine benthic invertebrate, the red abalone Haliotis rufescens, to a highly varying multi-stressor environment. We found that high frequency variability in temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH increases as pCO2 increases in the atmosphere. Extreme temperature and pH conditions are generally not expected until RCP 4.5 or greater, while frequent exposure to low DO is already occurring. In the nearshore environment simulation, strong RCP scenarios can affect red abalone growth as well as reduce fertilization during extreme conditions when compared to global scale simulations.

Continue reading ‘Downscaling global ocean climate models improves estimates of exposure regimes in coastal environments’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book