Posts Tagged 'North Pacific'

Comparison of larval development in domesticated and naturalized stocks of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas exposed to high pCO2 conditions

Ocean acidification (OA) has had significant negative effects on oyster populations on the west coast of North America over the past decade. Many studies have focused on the physiological challenges experienced by young oyster larvae in high pCO2/low pH seawater with reduced aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), which is characteristic of OA. Relatively few, by contrast, have evaluated these impacts upon fitness traits across multiple larval stages and between discrete oyster populations. In this study, we conducted 2 replicated experiments, in 2015 and 2016, using larvae from naturalized ‘wild’ and selectively bred stocks of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas from the US Pacific Northwest and reared them in ambient (~400 µatm) or high (~1600 µatm) pCO2 seawater from fertilization through final metamorphosis to juvenile ‘spat.’ In each year, high pCO2 seawater inhibited early larval development and affected the timing, but not the magnitude, of mortality during this stage. The effects of acidified seawater on metamorphosis of pediveligers to spat were variable between years, with no effect of seawater pCO2 in the first experiment but a ~42% reduction in spat in the second. Despite this variability, larvae from selectively bred oysters produced, on average, more (+ 55 and 37%) and larger (+ 5 and 23%) spat in ambient and high pCO2 seawater, respectively. These findings highlight the variable and stage-specific sensitivity of larval oysters to acidified seawater and the influence that genetic factors have in determining the larval performance of C. gigas exposed to high pCO2 seawater.

Continue reading ‘Comparison of larval development in domesticated and naturalized stocks of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas exposed to high pCO2 conditions’

Sensitivity of planktic foraminiferal test bulk density to ocean acidification

The anthropogenic CO2 accumulating in the ocean is lowering seawater carbonate ion concentration and may reduce calcification rates of marine calcareous organisms. Several proxies based on test weights of planktic foraminifera have been used to evaluate the impact of ocean acidification on these organisms. Unfortunately, because of the absence of a method to evaluate the bulk density of a test, the impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on test calcification is still not fully understood. In this study, we measured bulk densities of living Globigerina bulloides (planktic foraminifera) tests with an X-ray micro-computed tomography (XMCT) scanner and compared them with ambient seawater characteristics. Results demonstrated that test bulk densities were controlled by ambient seawater carbonate ion concentrations and that changes of test bulk densities were accompanied by changes in micron to submicron scale porosity of internal ultrastructure. These results suggest that alteration of the bulk density of foraminiferal tests due to acidification of ambient seawater can be directly observed by XMCT scanning. A useful metric of calcification intensity would therefore be physical measurements of test densities with XMCT.

Continue reading ‘Sensitivity of planktic foraminiferal test bulk density to ocean acidification’

Calcite dissolution rates in seawater: lab vs. in-situ measurements and inhibition by organic matter


• Calcite dissolution in lab and in-situ exhibits the same dissolution mechanisms.

• In-situ dissolution rates are likely inhibited by dissolved organic carbon.

• Orthophosphate has no effect on seawater calcite dissolution rates from pH 5.5 to 7.5.

• Previous in-situ dissolution rates fall between bounds established by our measurements.

• Rate measurements suggest need to reevaluate marine carbonate system equilibria.


Ocean acidification from fossil fuel burning is lowering the mean global ocean saturation state (Ω = ), thus increasing the thermodynamic driving force for calcium carbonate minerals to dissolve. This dissolution process will eventually neutralize the input of anthropogenic CO2, but the relationship between Ω and calcite dissolution rates in seawater is still debated. Recent advances have also revealed that spectrophotometric measurements of seawater pHs, and therefore in-situ Ωs, are systematically lower than pHs/Ωs calculated from measurements of alkalinity (Alk) and total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The calcite saturation horizon, defined as the depth in the water column where Ω = 1, therefore shifts by ~5–10% depending on the parameters used to calculate Ω. The “true” saturation horizon remains unknown. To resolve these issues, we developed a new in-situ reactor and measured dissolution rates of 13C-labeled inorganic calcite at four stations across a transect of the North Pacific Ocean. In-situ saturation was calculated using both Alk-DIC (Ω(Alk, DIC)) and Alk-pH (Ω(Alk, pH)) pairs. We compare in-situ dissolution rates with rates measured in filtered, poisoned, UV-treated seawater at 5 and 21 °C under laboratory conditions. We observe in-situ dissolution above Ω(Alk, DIC) = 1, but not above Ω(Alk, pH) = 1. We emphasize that marine carbonate system equilibria should be reevaluated and that care should be taken when using proxies calibrated to historical Ω(Alk, DIC). Our results further demonstrate that calcite dissolution rates are slower in-situ than in the lab by a factor of ~4, but that they each possess similar reaction orders (n) when fit to the empirical Rate = k(1-Ω)n equation. The reaction orders are n < 1 for 0.8 < Ω < 1 and n = 4.7 for 0 < Ω < 0.8, with the kink in rates at Ωcrit = 0.8 being consistent with a mechanistic transition from step edge retreat to homogenous etch pit formation. We reconcile the offset between lab and in-situ rates by dissolving calcite in the presence of elevated orthophosphate (20 μm) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations, where DOC is in the form of oxalic acid (20 μm), gallic acid (20 μm), and d-glucose (100 μm). We find that soluble reactive phosphate has no effect on calcite dissolution rates from pH 5.5–7.5, but the addition of DOC in the form of d-glucose and oxalic acid slows laboratory dissolution rates to match in-situ observations, potentially by inhibiting the retreat rate of steps on the calcite surface. Our lab and in-situ rate data form an envelope around previous in-situ dissolution measurements and may be considered outer bounds for dissolution rates in low/high DOC waters. The lower bound (high DOC) is most realistic for particles formed in, and sinking out of, surface waters, and is described by R(mol cm-2 s-1) = 10–14.3±0.2(1-Ω)0.11±0.1 for 0.8 < Ω < 1, and R(mol cm-2 s-1) = 10–10.8±0.4(1-Ω)4.7±0.7 for 0 < Ω < 0.8. These rate equations are derived from in-situ measurements and may be readily implemented into marine geochemical models to describe water column calcite dissolution.

Continue reading ‘Calcite dissolution rates in seawater: lab vs. in-situ measurements and inhibition by organic matter’

An ecotoxicological study on physiological responses of Archaster typicus to salinity, thermal and ocean acidification stressors

Environmental biomarkers, also known as early warning signals, have increasingly
become a subject of interest in environmental studies. The common sea star, Archaster typicus, found in shallow sandy habitats associated with coral reefs in Singapore, was utilised to study the effects of varying treatment conditions of salinity, temperature and pH. Treatment conditions were derived from predicted future scenarios of thermal and ocean acidification conditions. Experiments were conducted to determine physiological responses of sea stars that were subjected to treatments over 24h (acute) and 120h (chronic) exposures. The biomarker responses examined included righting behaviour (time taken to right after being overturned), burrowing time and feeding responses (time
taken to close stomach/mouth plate) in experimental sea stars. To validate results of physiological biomarkers, two other biomarker responses were measured from coelomic fluid extracted from the experimental sea stars. These were the cellular lysosome integrity response (Neutral Red Retention time, NRRT) and the biochemical Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assay. In acute exposure experiments, results indicated that sea stars exhibited significant differences in physiological responses under various salinity, temperature and pH treatments. At chronic exposure regimes, lethal effects were more evident, with higher mortality rates observed in all salinity and temperature treatment regimes. Results from salinity treatments showed that physiological responses in sea stars were significantly impaired at treatments of 15‰ and 50‰ salinities. Significant results were observed in NRRT and burrowing behavioural assays in temperature treatments. Treatments with pH of 7.4 and 7.2 at the acute exposure duration resulted in a significant impairment of righting ability. The acute and chronic effects of salinity fluctuations, ocean warming and acidification on A
2 typicus were most consistently observed in the righting and burrowing behaviour assays. This indication of reduced fitness together with reduced cellular responses show a reduction in survival ability in the sea star under low salinity, high temperature and low pH conditions. Further studies could thus help us understand the effects of global warming on the physiology of organisms in various shallow water habitats.

Continue reading ‘An ecotoxicological study on physiological responses of Archaster typicus to salinity, thermal and ocean acidification stressors’

Effects of seawater acidification on early development of clam Cyclina sinensis

Anthropogenic emission of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has led to a rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Increasing atmospheric CO2 can reduce seawater pH and carbonate ions, which may adversely affect the survival of the larvae of calcareous animals. Cyclina sinensis is a commercially and ecologically important species in several Asian countries. Living in coast shallow waters, this species has experienced the coastal environmental changes frequently throughout its life cycle. In this study, we simulated possible future seawater pH values including 8.2, 7.8 and 7.4 and examined the effects of ocean acidification on the early development of C. sinensis. Clam embryos were incubated for 48 h (2 d) in control and high-CO2 seawater to compare embryogenesis, larval growth and swimming behavior. Fertilization rate was quite sensitive to pH, and moderate acidification could induce a significant decrease in fertilization rate. However, only extreme acidification could bring significant negative effect to hatching rate, body size, and average path velocity of trochophora. Moreover, with seawater acidification, C. sinensis needs much more time to reach the same developmental stage, which increases the risk of larva survival. Together with recent studies demonstrating negative impacts of high CO2 on fertilization and larva swimming behavior, the results imply a future decrease of C. sinensis populations in oceans if its acclimation to the predicted environmental alteration does not occur.

Continue reading ‘Effects of seawater acidification on early development of clam Cyclina sinensis’

Assessing the impact of elevated pCO2 within and across generations in a highly invasive fouling mussel (Musculista senhousia)


• Asian date mussels are sensitive to elevated pCO2 during gonadal ripening.

• Transgenerational phenotypic plasticity occurred through all life history stages.

• Maternal provisioning and metabolic adaptation serve as key mechanisms.

• Mussels hold the great ability to rapidly adapt to changing ocean conditions.


Marine biofouling by the swiftly spreading invasive mussel (Musculista senhousia) has caused serious ecological and economic consequences in the global coastal waters. However, the fate of this highly invasive fouling species in a rapidly acidifying ocean remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated the impacts of ocean acidification within and across generations, to understand whether M. senhousia has the capacity to acclimate to changing ocean conditions. During the gonadal development, exposure of mussels to elevated pCO2 caused significant decreases of survival, growth performance and condition index, and shifted the whole-organism energy budget by inflating energy expenses to fuel compensatory processes, eventually impairing the success of spawning. Yet, rapid transgenerational acclimation occurred during the early life history stage and persisted into adulthood. Eggs spawned from CO2-exposed mussels were significantly bigger compared with those from non-CO2-exposed mussels, indicating increased maternal provisioning into eggs and hence conferring larvae resilience under harsh conditions. Larvae with a prior history of transgenerational exposure to elevated pCO2 developed faster and had a higher survival than those with no prior history of CO2 exposure. Transgenerational exposure significantly increased the number of larvae completing metamorphosis. While significant differences in shell growth were no longer observed during juvenile nursery and adult grow-out, transgenerationally exposed mussels displayed improved survival in comparison to non-transgenerationally exposed mussels. Metabolic plasticity arose following transgenerational acclimation, generating more energy available for fitness-related functions. Overall, the present study demonstrates the remarkable ability of M. senhousia to respond plastically and acclimate rapidly to changing ocean conditions.

Continue reading ‘Assessing the impact of elevated pCO2 within and across generations in a highly invasive fouling mussel (Musculista senhousia)’

Kelp beds and their local effects on seawater chemistry, productivity, and microbial communities

Kelp forests are known as key habitats for species diversity and macroalgal productivity; however, we know little about how these biogenic habitats interact with seawater chemistry and phototroph productivity in the water column. We examined kelp forest functions at three locales along the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state by quantifying carbonate chemistry, nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton productivity, and seawater microbial communities inside and outside of kelp beds dominated by the canopy kelp species Nereocystis luetkeana and Macrocystis pyrifera. Kelp beds locally increased the pH, oxygen, and aragonite saturation state of the seawater, but lowered seawater inorganic carbon content and total alkalinity. While kelp beds depleted nitrate and phosphorus concentrations, ammonium and DOC concentrations were enhanced. Kelp beds also decreased chlorophyll concentrations and carbon fixed by phytoplankton, although kelp carbon fixation more than compensated for any difference in phytoplankton production. Kelp beds also entrained distinct microbial communities, with higher taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity compared to seawater outside of the kelp bed. Kelp forests thus had significant effects on seawater chemistry, productivity and the microbial assemblages in their proximity. Thereby, the diversity of pathways for carbon and nitrogen cycling was also enhanced. Overall, these observations suggest that the contribution of kelp forests to nearshore carbon and nitrogen cycling is greater than previously documented.

Continue reading ‘Kelp beds and their local effects on seawater chemistry, productivity, and microbial communities’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book