Posts Tagged 'North Pacific'

The sensitivity of estuarine aragonite saturation state and pH to the carbonate chemistry of a freshet-dominated river (update)

Ocean acidification threatens to reduce pH and aragonite saturation state (ΩA) in estuaries, potentially damaging their ecosystems. However, the impact of highly variable river total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) on pH and ΩA in these estuaries is unknown. We assess the sensitivity of estuarine surface pH and ΩA to river TA and DIC using a coupled biogeochemical model of the Strait of Georgia on the Canadian Pacific coast and place the results in the context of global rivers. The productive Strait of Georgia estuary has a large, seasonally variable freshwater input from the glacially fed, undammed Fraser River. Analyzing TA observations from this river plume and pH from the river mouth, we find that the Fraser is moderately alkaline (TA 500–1000 µmol kg−1) but relatively DIC-rich. Model results show that estuarine pH and ΩA are sensitive to freshwater DIC and TA, but do not vary in synchrony except at high DIC : TA. The asynchrony occurs because increased freshwater TA is associated with increased DIC, which contributes to an increased estuarine DIC : TA and reduces pH, while the resulting higher carbonate ion concentration causes an increase in estuarine ΩA. When freshwater DIC : TA increases (beyond  ∼  1.1), the shifting chemistry causes a paucity of the carbonate ion that overwhelms the simple dilution/enhancement effect. At this high DIC : TA ratio, estuarine sensitivity to river chemistry increases overall. Furthermore, this increased sensitivity extends to reduced flow regimes that are expected in future. Modulating these negative impacts is the seasonal productivity in the estuary which draws down DIC and reduces the sensitivity of estuarine pH to increasing DIC during the summer season.

Continue reading ‘The sensitivity of estuarine aragonite saturation state and pH to the carbonate chemistry of a freshet-dominated river (update)’

Juvenile rockfish show resilience to CO2-acidification and hypoxia across multiple biological scales

California’s coastal ecosystems are forecasted to undergo shifting ocean conditions due to climate change, some of which may negatively impact recreational and commercial fish populations. To understand if fish populations have the capacity to respond to multiple stressors, it is critical to examine interactive effects across multiple biological scales, from cellular metabolism to species interactions. This study examined the effects of CO2-acidification and hypoxia on two naturally co-occurring species, juvenile rockfish (genus Sebastes) and a known predator, cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus). Fishes were exposed to two PCO2 levels at two dissolved oxygen (DO) levels: ~600 (ambient) and ~1600 (high) μatm PCO2 and 8.0 (normoxic) and 4.5 mg l−1 DO (hypoxic) and assessments of cellular metabolism, prey behavior and predation mortality rates were quantified after 1 and 3 weeks. Physiologically, rockfish showed acute alterations in cellular metabolic enzyme activity after 1 week of acclimation to elevated PCO2 and hypoxia that were not evident in cabezon. Alterations in rockfish energy metabolism were driven by increases in anaerobic LDH activity, and adjustments in enzyme activity ratios of cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase and LDH:CS. Correlated changes in rockfish behavior were also apparent after 1 week of acclimation to elevated PCO2 and hypoxia. Exploration behavior increased in rockfish exposed to elevated PCO2 and spatial analysis of activity indicated short-term interference with anti-predator responses. Predation rate after 1 week increased with elevated PCO2; however, no mortality was observed under the multiple-stressor treatment suggesting negative effects on cabezon predators. Most noteworthy, metabolic and behavioral changes were moderately compensated after 3 weeks of acclimation, and predation mortality rates also decreased suggesting that these rockfish may be resilient to changes in environmental stressors predicted by climate models. Linking physiological and behavioral responses to multiple stressors is vital to understand impacts on populations and community dynamics.

Continue reading ‘Juvenile rockfish show resilience to CO2-acidification and hypoxia across multiple biological scales’

Effects of CO2 supply on growth and photosynthetic ability of young sporophytes of the economic seaweed Sargassum fusiforme (Sargassaceae, Phaeophyta)

Young sporophytes of Sargassum fusiforme were cultured at decreased CO2 (20 μatm), ambient CO2 (400 μatm), and high CO2 (1000 μatm), and then the quantum efficiency of open photosystem II (Fv′/Fm′), initial slope of the rapid light curves (α), and relative maximum photosynthetic electron transport rate (rETRm) of the algae under different temperatures and light levels were measured. The study aimed to investigate how the decreased CO2 and high CO2 supply affected the growth and photosynthetic functions of S. fusiforme young sporophytes. While both lowered and increased CO2 supply significantly reduced the growth rates of the alga, greater declines were observed under decreased CO2. The Fv′/Fm′, α, and rETRm of alga remained stable after short-term (120 min) exposures to 18, 22, and 26 °C, as well as to highlight (300 μmol photons m−2 s−1), with no significant difference among the three CO2 supply treatments. Hence, neither decreased nor increased CO2 affected the photosynthetic responses of S. fusiforme young sporophytes to temperature and high light. However, the Fv′/Fm′ of the three CO2 treatments declined by 72% under 60 μmol photons m−2 s−1, suggesting its sensitivity to short-term low light. These observations are crucial for the improved management of S. fusiforme for commercial farming, while ensuring its sustainable production and supply amid seawater pH shifts brought about by global climate change.

Continue reading ‘Effects of CO2 supply on growth and photosynthetic ability of young sporophytes of the economic seaweed Sargassum fusiforme (Sargassaceae, Phaeophyta)’

Seawater acidification reduced the resistance of Crassostrea gigas to Vibrio splendidus challenge: an energy metabolism perspective

Negative physiological impacts induced by exposure to acidified seawater might sensitize marine organisms to future environmental stressors, such as disease outbreak. The goal of this study was to evaluate if ocean acidification (OA) could reduce the resistance capability of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) to Vibrio splendidus challenge from an energy metabolism perspective. In this study, the Pacific oyster was exposed to OA (pH 7.6) for 28 days and then challenged by V. splendidus for another 72 h. Antioxidative responses, lipid peroxidation, metabolic (energy sensors, aerobic metabolism, and anaerobic metabolism) gene expression, glycolytic enzyme activity, and the content of energy reserves (glycogen and protein) were investigated to evaluate the environmental risk of pathogen infection under the condition of OA. Our results demonstrated that following the exposure to seawater acidification, oysters exhibited an energy modulation with slight inhibition of aerobic energy metabolism, stimulation of anaerobic metabolism, and increased glycolytic enzyme activity. However, the energy modulation ability and antioxidative regulation of oysters exposed to seawater acidification may be overwhelmed by a subsequent pathogen challenge, resulting in increased oxidative damage, decreased aerobic metabolism, stimulated anaerobic metabolism, and decreased energy reserves. Overall, although anaerobic metabolism was initiated to partially compensate for inhibited aerobic energy metabolism, increased oxidative damage combined with depleted energy reserves suggested that oysters were in an unsustainable bioenergetic state and were thereby incapable of supporting long-term population viability under conditions of seawater acidification and a pathogen challenge from V. splendidus.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification reduced the resistance of Crassostrea gigas to Vibrio splendidus challenge: an energy metabolism perspective’

Exploring seasonal acidification in the Yellow Sea

The Yellow Sea on the western continental margin of the North Pacific Ocean is of major ecological and economic importance. Four field surveys were conducted during May and November 2012, August 2015, and January 2016, investigating seasonal variations in dissolved oxygen and carbonate system parameters of this marginal sea. Results showed that the Yellow Sea cold water mass accumulated respiration-induced CO2 in subsurface and bottom waters in summer and autumn, leading to acidified seawaters with critical carbonate saturation states of aragonite (Ωarag) of less than 1.5. These seriously acidified seawaters occupied one third of surveyed areas in summer and autumn, likely affecting local calcified organisms and benthic communities. In a future scenario for the 2050s, in which the atmospheric CO2 mole fraction increases by 100 μmol mol−1, half of the Yellow Sea benthos would be seasonally covered by acidified seawater having a critical Ωarag of less than 1.5. The corresponding bottom-water pHT would be around 7.85 in summer, and 7.80 in autumn. Of the China seas, the Yellow Sea cold water mass represents one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Exploring seasonal acidification in the Yellow Sea’

Risks of hypoxia and acidification in the high energy coastal environment near Victoria, Canada’s untreated municipal sewage outfalls


•Declining oxygen in water upwelled offshore could put Victoria at risk of hypoxia.
•Effluent is rapidly diluted by currents, and cold temperatures slow respiration.
•Higher levels of treatment are unlikely to significantly increase dissolved oxygen.
•Impact on dissolved oxygen is less than a few μmol kg-1; conditions are not hypoxic.
•Effluent does not increase dissolved carbon dioxide causing acidification.


Wastewater disposal often has deleterious impacts on the receiving environment. Low dissolved oxygen levels are particularly concerning. Here, we investigate the impacts on dissolved oxygen and carbon chemistry of screened municipal wastewater in the marine waters off Victoria, Canada. We analyzed data from undersea moorings, ship-based monitoring, and remotely-operated vehicle video. We used these observations to construct a two-layer model of the nearfield receiving environment. Despite the lack of advanced treatment, dissolved oxygen levels near the outfalls were well above a 62 μmol kg−1 hypoxic threshold. Furthermore, the impact on water column oxygen at the outfall is likely <2 μmol kg−1. Dissolved inorganic carbon is not elevated and pH not depressed compared to the surrounding region. Strong tidal currents and cold, well-ventilated waters give Victoria’s marine environment a high assimilative capacity for organic waste. However, declining oxygen levels offshore put water near the outfall at risk of future hypoxia

Continue reading ‘Risks of hypoxia and acidification in the high energy coastal environment near Victoria, Canada’s untreated municipal sewage outfalls’

Seawater acidification aggravated cadmium toxicity in the oyster Crassostrea gigas: Metal bioaccumulation, subcellular distribution and multiple physiological responses

• Ocean acidification aggravated the toxicity of environmental relevant concentration of Cd on C. gigas.
• OA exacerbated the oxidative stresses, histopathological damage, and apoptosis of Cd-exposed oysters.
• Apoptosis-pathway was generally stimulated in Cd-OA exposed oysters.
• Increased toxicity perhaps associated with the increased accumulation and altered subcellular distribution of Cd.

Mounting evidence has demonstrated the combined effects of ocean acidification (OA) and other environmental stressors on marine organisms. Although metal pollution is widely distributed in coasts and estuaries, the combined effects of OA and metal pollution have received little attention until recent years. In this study, the accumulation and subcellular distribution of cadmium (Cd) and the physiological responses of the oyster Crassostrea gigas were investigated after 31 days of exposure to OA and Cd, either alone or in combination. Increased Cd accumulation was found both in gills (about 57% increase at pH 7.8, 22% increase at pH 7.6) and digestive glands (about 38% increase at pH 7.8, 22% increase at pH 7.6) of C. gigas under elevated pCO2 exposure. Although a similar total Cd accumulation pattern was seen in oyster gills and digestive glands, a higher partition of Cd in the BIM (biologically inactive metal) fractions of gills (about 60%) was found in Cd-exposed treatments compared to the digestive glands (about 45%), which might correspond to the generally lower toxicity in gills. Moreover, synergetic effects of Cd and OA on the oxidative stresses, histopathological damage, and apoptosis of exposed oysters were observed in this study, which might be explained by significant interactions of these two factors on increased generation of ROS. These findings demonstrated that OA could aggravate the toxicity of metals in marine organisms, with significant implications for coastal benthic ecosystems regarding the widespread metal contamination and the concurrent increase of acidified seawater.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification aggravated cadmium toxicity in the oyster Crassostrea gigas: Metal bioaccumulation, subcellular distribution and multiple physiological responses’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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