Posts Tagged 'North Pacific'

Effects of bicarbonate on cardiac function in fish

An entirely novel mechanism to modulate heart rate was recently discovered in the Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii): a soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC)-mediated pathway that increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) production upon stimulation by HCO₃₋ to increase heart rate. However, still unknown is whether this cardiac control pathway is present in other species as well. The objective of my study was to determine the effects of increasing extracellular [HCO₃₋] on the in vitro cardiac function of other fish species and whether the sAC-mediated pathway is associated with recovery of cardiac function during debilitating conditions. Exposure to severe hypoxia (100% N₂) and hypercapnic acidosis (7.5% or 15% CO₂) significantly decreased the heart rate of isolated, freely beating hearts and reduced the isometric tension (contractility) of electrically paced ventricular strips from Pacific lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni), Pacific spiny dogfish (Squalus suckleyi), Asian swamp eel (Monopterus albus), white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus). Spontaneous recovery in heart rate or contractility was not observed during severe hypoxia or hypercapnic acidosis for any of the species tested. Addition of HCO₃₋ (up to 50 mM) was associated with a complete and dose-dependent recovery of control heart rate in lamprey, dogfish, and swamp eel hearts during severe hypoxia, and in dogfish, sturgeon, and swamp eel hearts during hypercapnic acidosis. A partial recovery of control heart rate was observed in lamprey and zebrafish hearts during hypercapnic acidosis. However, HCO₃₋ had no effect on the heart rate or contractility in flounder hearts and had little to no effect on restoring control contractility in dogfish, swamp eel, and flounder ventricular strips. The addition of KH7 (sAC blocker) abolished the HCO₃₋-induced recovery of heart rate during severe hypoxia only in the lamprey heart. Thus, the sAC-mediated pathway in cardiac control appears to be unique to the cyclostomes and not present in the other species tested. While the sAC-mediated pathway was associated with the recovery of heart rate in the lamprey heart, the specific mechanisms behind how HCO₃₋ was associated with the recovery of heart rate in the other species still needs to be determined.

Continue reading ‘Effects of bicarbonate on cardiac function in fish’

Taking the metabolic pulse of the world’s coral reefs

Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Taking the metabolic pulse of the world’s coral reefs’

Impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles and ocean acidification on antioxidant responses of Mytilus coruscus


• Combined effects of pH and nano-ZnO on biochemical responses of mussels are investigated.
• Low pH and nano-ZnO induce a similar anti-oxidative responses.
• Gills are not only susceptible to nano-ZnO but also seawater acidification.


Increased production of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) has raised extensive concerns about the potential toxic effects on marine organisms. Extensive evidences documented the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on the physiology and fitness of bivalves. In the present study, we investigated the biochemical responses of the mussel Mytilus coruscus exposed to both nano-ZnO and low pH relevant for ocean acidification conditions for 14 d followed by a 7-d recovery period. Most biochemical indexes (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), acid phosphatase (ACP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP)) measured in gills and hemocytes were increased when the mussels were subject to low pH or high concentration of nano-ZnO, suggesting oxidative stress responses. No significant interactions between the two stressors were observed for most measured parameters. After a 1 week recovery period, low pH and nano-ZnO had less marked impact for SOD, GPx, ACP and ALP in hemocytes as compared to the end of the 14 d exposure. However, no recovery was observed in gills. Overall, our results suggest that both low pH and nano-ZnO induce an anti-oxidative response in Mytilus coruscus with gills being more sensitive than hemocytes.

Continue reading ‘Impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles and ocean acidification on antioxidant responses of Mytilus coruscus’

A mineralogical record of ocean change: decadal and centennial patterns in the California mussel

Ocean acidification, a product of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, may already have affected calcified organisms in the coastal zone, such as bivalves and other shellfish. Understanding species’ responses to climate change requires the context of long-term dynamics. This can be particularly difficult given the longevity of many important species in contrast with the relatively rapid onset of environmental changes. Here, we present a unique archival dataset of mussel shells from a locale with recent environmental monitoring and historical climate reconstructions. We compare shell structure and composition in modern mussels, mussels from the 1970s, and mussel shells dating back to 1000–2420 years BP. Shell mineralogy has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, despite evidence for consistent mineral structure in the California mussel, Mytilus californianus, over the prior 2500 years. We present evidence for increased disorder in the calcium carbonate shells of mussels and greater variability between individuals. These changes in the last decade contrast markedly from a background of consistent shell mineralogy for centuries. Our results use an archival record of natural specimens to provide centennial-scale context for altered minerology and variability in shell features as a response to acidification stress and illustrate the utility of long-term studies and archival records in global change ecology. Increased variability between individuals is an emerging pattern in climate change responses, which may equally expose the vulnerability of organisms and the potential of populations for resilience.

Continue reading ‘A mineralogical record of ocean change: decadal and centennial patterns in the California mussel’

Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities

It has been hypothesized that highly productive coastal ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, could lead to the establishment of ocean acidification (OA) refugia, or areas of elevated pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωa) compared to source seawater. However, seagrass ecosystems experience extreme variability in carbonate chemistry across short temporal and small spatial scales, which could impact the pH buffering capacity of these potential refugia. Herein, short-term (hourly to diel) and small-scale (across 0.01–0.14 km2) spatiotemporal carbonate chemistry variability was assessed within two seagrass meadows in order to determine their short-term potential to elevate seawater pH relative to source seawater. Two locations at similar latitudes were chosen in order to compare systems dominated by coarse calcium carbonate (Bailey’s Bay, Bermuda) and muddy silicate (Mission Bay, CA, USA) sediments. In both systems, spatial variability of pH across the seagrass meadow at any given time was often greater than diel variability (e.g., the average range over 24 h) at any one site, with greater spatial variability occurring at low tide in Mission Bay. Mission Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.08 ± 0.08; diel ΔpH = 0.12 ± 0.01; mean ± SD) had a greater average range in both temporal and spatial seawater chemistry than Bailey’s Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.02 ± 0.01; diel ΔpH = 0.03 ± 0.00; mean ± SD). These differences were most likely due to a combination of slower currents, a larger tidal range, and more favorable weather conditions for photosynthesis (e.g., sunny with no rain) in Mission Bay. In both systems, there was a substantial amount of time (usually at night) when seawater pH within the seagrass beds was lower relative to the source seawater. Future studies aimed at assessing the potential of seagrass ecosystems to act as OA refugia for marine organisms need to account for the small-scale, high-frequency carbonate chemistry variability in both space and time, as this variability will impact where and when OA will be buffered or intensified.

Continue reading ‘Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities’

Effects of ocean acidification with pCO2 diurnal fluctuations on survival and larval shell formation of Ezo abalone, Haliotis discus hannai


• Effects of seawater pCO2 with diurnal fluctuations on larval abalone were assessed.
• Our results indicate existence of pCO2 threshold associated with Ω-aragonite.
pCO2 fluctuations produce additional negative impacts when above the threshold.
• Intensity and duration of exposure to pCO2 over the threshold influence abalone fitness.


This study assessed the effects of constant and diurnally fluctuating pCO2 on development and shell formation of larval abalone Haliotis discus hannai. The larvae was exposed to different pCO2 conditions; constant [450, 800, or 1200 μatm in the first experiment (Exp. I), 450 or 780 μatm in the second experiment (Exp. II)] or diurnally fluctuating pCO2 (800 ± 400 or 1200 ± 400 μatm in Exp. I, 450 ± 80, 780 ± 200 or 780 ± 400 μatm in Exp. II). Mortality, malformation rates or shell length of larval abalone were not significantly different among the 450, 800, and 800 ± 400 μatm pCO2 treatments. Meanwhile, significantly higher malformation rates and smaller shells were detected in the 1200 and 1200 ± 400 μatm pCO2 treatments than in the 450 μatm pCO2 treatment. The negative impacts were greater in the 1200 ± 400 μatm than in the 1200 μatm. Shell length and malformation rate of larval abalone were related with aragonite saturation state (Ω-aragonite) in experimental seawater, and greatly changed around 1.1 of Ω-aragonite which corresponded to 1000–1300 μatm pCO2. These results indicate that there is a pCO2 threshold associated with Ω-aragonite in the seawater, and that pCO2 fluctuations produce additional negative impacts on abalone when above the threshold. Clear relationships were detected between abalone fitness and the integrated pCO2 value over the threshold, indicating that the effects of OA on development and shell formation of larval abalone can be determined by intensity and time of exposure to pCO2 over the threshold.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification with pCO2 diurnal fluctuations on survival and larval shell formation of Ezo abalone, Haliotis discus hannai’

Interactive effects of oyster and seaweed on seawater dissolved inorganic carbon systems: implications for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture

We examined the separate effect of Portuguese oyster Crassostrea angulata and the interactive effects of oyster and red seaweed Gracilaria lemaneiformis on seawater dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) systems and the air-sea CO2 flux (FCO2) in Daya Bay, southern China. Respiration and calcification rates of oysters were measured and the effects of oyster aquaculture on marine DIC systems were evaluated. The interactive effects on seawater DIC and air-sea FCO2 were examined using mesocosms containing oyster and seaweed assemblages. Results showed populations of C. angulata cultured in Daya Bay sequestered ca. 258 g C m−2 yr−1 for shell formation, whereas the CO2 released due to respiration and calcification was 349 and 153 g C m−2 yr−1, respectively. This indicates that oyster cultivation in Daya Bay is a CO2 generator, favoring the escape of CO2 into the atmosphere. DIC, HCO3 and CO2 concentrations and the partial pressure of CO2 in oyster-seaweed co-cultured mesocosms were significantly lower than the oyster monoculture mesocosm. These results indicated that G. lemaneiformis effectively absorbs the CO2 released by oysters. The negative values of air-sea FCO2 in the co-culture groups represent a CO2 sink from the atmosphere to the sea. These results demonstrated that there could be an interspecies mutual benefit for both C. angulata and G. lemaneiformis in the integrated culture system. Considering that photosynthesis of seaweed is carbon limited, we suggest that the 2 species are co-cultured at a ratio of ca. 4:1 (based on fresh weight) for efficient utilization of DIC in seawater by G. lemaneiformis, and further to increase the ocean CO2 sink.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of oyster and seaweed on seawater dissolved inorganic carbon systems: implications for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book