Posts Tagged 'North Pacific'

Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions

Recent marine climate change research has largely focused on the response of individual species to environmental changes including warming and acidification. The response of communities, driven by the direct effects of ocean change on individual species as well the cascade of indirect effects, has received far less study. We used several rocky intertidal species including crabs, whelks, juvenile abalone, and mussels to determine how feeding, growth, and interactions between species could be shifted by changing ocean conditions. Our 10 wk experiment revealed many complex outcomes which highlight the unpredictability of community-level responses. Contrary to our predictions, the largest impact of elevated CO2 was reduced crab feeding and survival, with a pH drop of 0.3 units. Surprisingly, whelks showed no response to higher temperatures or CO2 levels, while abalone shells grew 40% less under high CO2 conditions. Massive non-consumptive effects of crabs on whelks showed how important indirect effects can be in determining climate change responses. Predictions of species outcomes that account solely for physiological responses to climate change do not consider the potentially large role of indirect effects due to species interactions. For strongly linked species (e.g. predator-prey or competitor relationships), the indirect effects of climate change are much less known than direct effects, but may be far more powerful in reshaping future marine communities.

Continue reading ‘Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions’

Effects of current and future coastal upwelling conditions on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)

Acidification, deoxygenation, and warming are escalating changes in coastal waters throughout the world ocean, with potentially severe consequences for marine life and ocean-based economies. To examine the influence of these oceanographic changes on a key biological process, we measured the effects of current and expected future conditions in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens). Laboratory experiments were used to assess abalone fertilization success during simultaneous exposure to various levels of seawater pH (gradient from 7.95 to 7.2), dissolved oxygen (DO) ($60 and 180 mm. kg SW) and temperature (9, 13, and 18 C). Fertilization success declined continuously with decreasing pH but dropped precipitously below a threshold near pH 7.55 in cool (9 C—upwelling) to average (13 C) seawater temperatures. Variation in DO had a negligible effect on fertilization. In contrast, warmer waters (18 C) often associated with El Nino Southern Oscillation conditions in central California acted antagonistically with decreasing pH, largely reducing the strong negative influence below the pH threshold. Experimental approaches that examine the interactive effects of multiple environmental drivers and also strive to characterize the functional response of organisms along gradients in environmental change are becoming increasingly important in advancing our understanding of the real-world consequences of changing ocean conditions.

Continue reading ‘Effects of current and future coastal upwelling conditions on the fertilization success of the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)’

A new electroplated Ir/Ir(OH)x pH electrode and its application in the coastal areas of Newport Harbor, California

Resulting from the rising levels of atmospheric carbon, ocean acidification has become a global problem. It has significant impacts on the development, survival, growth and physiology of marine organisms. Therefore, a high- precision sensor is urgently needed to measure the pH of sea-water. Iridium wire with a diameter of 0.25 mm is used as the substrate, and an Ir/Ir(OH)x pH electrode is prepared by a one-step electrochemical method in a LiOH solution at the room temperature. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) observation reveals that it is coated with nanoscale particles. In laboratory tests, the electrode exhibits a very promising pH response, with an ideal Nernst slope (56.14–59.52), fast response, good stability and long life-span in tested pH buffer solutions. For a sea trial, four pH electrodes and one Ag/AgCl reference electrode are integrated with a self-made chemical sensor, and a profile detection of nearly 70 m is implemented near Newport Harbor, California on August 3, 2015. The results reflect that the pH value measured by the sensor is very close to the data given by Sea-Bird 911 plus CTD, with a difference value ranging from 0.000 075 to 0.064 719. And the sensor shows a better data matching degree in 0–40 m water depth. In addition, the high precision and accuracy of the sensor make it possible to use in the ocean observation field.

Continue reading ‘A new electroplated Ir/Ir(OH)x pH electrode and its application in the coastal areas of Newport Harbor, California’

Effects of seawater pH and temperature on foraging behavior of the Japanese stone crab Charybdis japonica

We examined prey selection and foraging behaviors of the crab Charybdis japonica exposed to four combinations of pH (7.3 and 8.1) and temperature (18 °C and 25 °C). The order of prey selection by C. japonica was Potamocorbula laevis, Ruditapes philippinarum, Tegillarca granosa and Mactra veneriformis. Under high pCO2, times for searching, breaking, eating and handling were all significantly longer than those at the normal pCO2, and the prey profitability and predation rate under high pCO2 were significantly lower than normal pCO2. Moreover, temperature significantly influenced the foraging behaviors, but its effects were not as strong as those of pH; times for searching, eating and handling under high temperature were significantly lower than the low temperature, and the prey predation rates under high temperature was significantly higher than low temperature. In conclusion, high pCO2 negatively affected the foraging behavior, but high temperature actively stimulated the foraging behaviors of crabs.

Continue reading ‘Effects of seawater pH and temperature on foraging behavior of the Japanese stone crab Charybdis japonica’

Spatiotemporal assessment of CO2–carbonic acid system dynamics in a pristine coral reef ecosystem, French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Observations of surface seawater fugacity of carbon dioxide (fCO2) and pH were collected over a period of several days at French Frigate Shoals (FFS) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) in order to gain an understanding of the natural spatiotemporal variability of the marine inorganic carbon system in a pristine coral reef ecosystem. These data show clear island-to-open ocean gradients in fCO2 and total alkalinity that can be measured 10–20 km offshore, indicating that metabolic processes influence the CO2–carbonic acid system over large areas of ocean surrounding FFS and by implication the islands and atolls of the NWHI. The magnitude and extent of this spatial gradient may be driven by a combination of physical and biogeochemical processes including reef water residence time, hydrodynamic forcing of currents and tidal flow, and metabolic processes that occur both on the reef and within the lagoon.

Continue reading ‘Spatiotemporal assessment of CO2–carbonic acid system dynamics in a pristine coral reef ecosystem, French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’

The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis

Ocean acidification is the chemical process that results in the decrease of ocean pH levels. This decrease is caused by the diffusion of atmospheric carbon dioxide into Earth’s oceans. In other words, Earth’s oceans act as a carbon sink for atmospheric carbon. Prior to the industrial revolution in 1760, the ocean regulated the amount of carbon in earth’s atmosphere in a manner that did not threaten marine ecosystems. However, due to the increased combustion of fossil fuels due to rapid industrialization, urbanization, and population growth, oceans have begun to take up excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, resulting in an alteration of oceanic chemistry. The accumulation of hydrogen ions in ocean water due to the chemical reaction between carbonate carbon dioxide, and water have increased the acidity of the ocean. This has created a corrosive environment for shell-forming organisms that rely on carbonate for their exoskeletons. Many of these organisms, especially those in the Mollusca phylum, are commercially valuable. Ocean acidification has already begun its impact on the shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest. However, if a business-as-usual scenario of carbon combustion prevails over use of alternative energy sources and mandatory terrestrial pollutant controls, the impact on shellfish aquaculture firms will only intensify and threaten the industry and its associated jobs and revenue. Local, state and federal authorities and agencies have begun to take steps to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. Mitigation strategies are analyzed on their basis to effectively diminish the physiological and economic impact of ocean acidification on shellfish aquaculture operations. The question remains if these strategies will be able to successfully inhibit the ongoing process of ocean acidification, or simply just delay the impacts.

Continue reading ‘The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis’

Lipid consumption in coral larvae differs among sites: a consideration of environmental history in a global ocean change scenario

The success of early life-history stages is an environmentally sensitive bottleneck for many marine invertebrates. Responses of larvae to environmental stress may vary due to differences in maternal investment of energy stores and acclimatization/adaptation of a population to local environmental conditions. In this study, we compared two populations from sites with different environmental regimes (Moorea and Taiwan). We assessed the responses of Pocillopora damicornis larvae to two future co-occurring environmental stressors: elevated temperature and ocean acidification. Larvae from Taiwan were more sensitive to temperature, producing fewer energy-storage lipids under high temperature. In general, planulae in Moorea and Taiwan responded similarly to pCO2. Additionally, corals in the study sites with different environments produced larvae with different initial traits, which may have shaped the different physiological responses observed. Notably, under ambient conditions, planulae in Taiwan increased their stores of wax ester and triacylglycerol in general over the first 24 h of their dispersal, whereas planulae from Moorea consumed energy-storage lipids in all cases. Comparisons of physiological responses of P. damicornis larvae to conditions of ocean acidification and warming between sites across the species’ biogeographic range illuminates the variety of physiological responses maintained within P. damicornis, which may enhance the overall persistence of this species in the light of global climate change.

Continue reading ‘Lipid consumption in coral larvae differs among sites: a consideration of environmental history in a global ocean change scenario’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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