Posts Tagged 'nutrients'

Reduced growth with increased quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi under future ocean climate change conditions

Effects of ocean acidification and warming on marine primary producers can be modulated by other environmental factors, such as levels of nutrients and light. Here, we investigated the interactive effects of five oceanic environmental drivers (CO2, temperature, light, dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphate) on growth rate, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon quotas of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Population growth rate increased with increasing temperature (16 to 20 °C) and light intensities (60 to 240 μmol photons m−2  s−1), but decreased with elevated pCO2 concentrations (370 to 960 μatm) and reduced availability of nitrate (24.3 to 7.8 μmol L−1) and phosphate (1.5 to 0.5 μmol L−1). POC quotas were predominantly enhanced by combined effects of increased pCO2 and decreased availability of phosphate. PIC quotas increased with decreased availability of nitrate and phosphate. Our results show that concurrent changes in nutrient concentrations and pCO2 levels predominantly affected growth, photosynthetic carbon fixation and calcification of E. huxleyi, and imply that plastic responses to progressive ocean acidification, warming and decreasing availability of nitrate and phosphate reduce population growth rate while increasing cellular quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon of E. huxleyi, ultimately affecting coccolithophore-related ecological and biogeochemical processes.

Continue reading ‘Reduced growth with increased quotas of particulate organic and inorganic carbon in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi under future ocean climate change conditions’

Effects of irradiance, temperature, nutrients, and pCO2 on the growth and biochemical composition of cultivated Ulva fenestrata

Ulva fenestrata is an economically and ecologically important green algal species with a large potential in seaweed aquaculture due to its high productivity, wide environmental tolerance, as well as interesting functional and nutritional properties. Here, we performed a series of manipulative cultivation experiments in order to investigate the effects of irradiance (50, 100, and 160 μmol photons m−2 s−1), temperature (13 and 18 °C), nitrate (< 5, 150, and 500 μM), phosphate (< 1 and 50 μM), and pCO2 (200, 400, and 2500 ppm) on the relative growth rate and biochemical composition (fatty acid, protein, phenolic, ash, and biochar content) in indoor tank cultivation of Swedish U. fenestrata. High irradiance and low temperature were optimal for the growth of this northern hemisphere U. fenestrata strain, but addition of nutrients or changes in pCO2 levels were not necessary to increase growth. Low irradiance resulted in the highest fatty acid, protein, and phenolic content, while low temperature had a negative effect on the fatty acid content but a positive effect on the protein content. Addition of nutrients (especially nitrate) increased the fatty acid, protein, and phenolic content. High nitrate levels decreased the total ash content of the seaweeds. The char content of the seaweeds did not change in response to any of the manipulated factors, and the only significant effect of changes in pCO2 was a negative relationship with phenolic content. We conclude that the optimal cultivation conditions for Swedish U. fenestrata are dependent on the desired biomass traits (biomass yield or biochemical composition).

Continue reading ‘Effects of irradiance, temperature, nutrients, and pCO2 on the growth and biochemical composition of cultivated Ulva fenestrata’

Ocean-related global change alters lipid biomarker production in common marine phytoplankton

Global change concurrently alters multiple environmental factors, with uncertain consequences for marine ecosystems. Lipids, in their function as trophic markers in food webs and organic matter source indicators in water column and sediments, provide a tool for reconstructing the complexity of global change effects. It remains unclear how ongoing changes in multiple environmental drivers affect the production of key lipid biomarkers in marine phytoplankton. Here, we tested the responses of sterols, alkenones and fatty acids (FAs) in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, the cryptophyte Rhodomonas sp. and the haptophyte Emiliania huxleyi under a full-factorial combination of three temperatures (12, 18 and 24 °C), three N : P supply ratios (molar ratios 10 : 1, 24 : 1 and 63 : 1) and two pCO2 levels (560 and 2400 µatm) in semi-continuous culturing experiments. Overall, N and P deficiency had a stronger effect on per-cell contents of sterols, alkenones and FAs than warming and enhanced pCO2. Specifically, P deficiency caused an overall increase in biomarker production in most cases, while N deficiency, warming and high pCO2 caused non-systematic changes. Under future ocean scenarios, we predict an overall decrease in carbon-normalized contents of sterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in E. huxleyi and P. tricornutum, and a decrease in sterols but an increase in PUFAs in Rhodomonas sp. Variable contents of lipid biomarkers indicate a diverse carbon allocation between marine phytoplankton species in response to changing environments. Thus, it is necessary to consider the changes in key lipids and their consequences for food web dynamics and biogeochemical cycles, when predicting the influence of global change on marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Ocean-related global change alters lipid biomarker production in common marine phytoplankton’

Changes in biofilm bacterial communities in response to combined effects of hypoxia, ocean acidification and nutrients from aquaculture activity in Three Fathoms Cove


•Combined occurrence of hypoxia, acidification and nutrients increased biofilm bacterial diversity and richness

•Elevated nutrients, and depleted oxygen and pH levels resulted in different bacterial community composition

•Higher abundance of Flavobacteriales, Epsilonproteobacteria and Vibrionales, but less Oceanospirillales and Alteromonadales

•Suggests the identities of bacterial groups affected under the ocean trend of pollution, deoxygenation and acidification


Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment results in hypoxia, ocean acidification and elevated nutrients (HOAN) in coastal environments throughout the world. Here, we examined the composition of biofilm bacterial communities from a nutrient-excessive fish farm with low dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH levels using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. HOAN was accompanied by higher bacterial diversity and richness, and resulted in an altered community composition than the control site. HOAN resulted in more Flavobacteriales, Rhizobiales, Epsilonproteobacteria and Vibrionales, but less Oceanospirillales and Alteromonadales. Photobacterium sp. and Vibrio sp. were mostly found to be exclusive to HOAN conditions, suggesting that HOAN could possibly proliferate the presence of these potential pathogens. Our study suggests the complexity of bacterial communities to hypoxia and acidification in response to increased nutrient loads, along with identities of nutrient, oxygen and pH-susceptible bacterial groups that are most likely affected under this ocean trend.

Continue reading ‘Changes in biofilm bacterial communities in response to combined effects of hypoxia, ocean acidification and nutrients from aquaculture activity in Three Fathoms Cove’

Nutrient enrichment regulates the growth and physiological responses of Saccharina japonica to ocean acidification

Environmental changes, such as ocean acidification and eutrophication, have created threats to kelp mariculture. In this study, the growth, photosynthesis, respiration and nutrient composition of Saccharina japonica were evaluated at different levels of pCO2 (400 and 800 μL L−1) and nutrients (nutrient-enriched and non-enriched seawater). Elevated pCO2 decreased the relative growth rate (RGR), net photosynthetic rate and contents of tissue carbon and tissue nitrogen under non-enriched nutrient conditions, but it had no significant effect on these parameters under nutrient-enriched conditions. The dark respiration rate was positively affected by elevated pCO2 regardless of the nutrient conditions. However, the C:N was unaffected by elevated pCO2 at both nutrient levels. These results implied that ocean acidification could reduce the production and nutrient contents in the tissues of S. japonica, which was associated with nutrient conditions.

Continue reading ‘Nutrient enrichment regulates the growth and physiological responses of Saccharina japonica to ocean acidification’

Metabolic responses of subtropical microplankton after a simulated deep-water upwelling event suggest a possible dominance of mixotrophy under increasing CO2 levels

In the autumn of 2014, nine large mesocosms were deployed in the oligotrophic subtropical North-Atlantic coastal waters off Gran Canaria (Spain). Their deployment was designed to address the acidification effects of CO2 levels from 400 to 1,400 μatm, on a plankton community experiencing upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water. Among other parameters, chlorophyll a (chl-a), potential respiration (Φ), and biomass in terms of particulate protein (B) were measured in the microplankton community (0.7–50.0 μm) during an oligotrophic phase (Phase I), a phytoplankton-bloom phase (Phase II), and a post-bloom phase (Phase III). Here, we explore the use of the Φ/chl-a ratio in monitoring shifts in the microplankton community composition and its metabolism. Φ/chl-a values below 2.5 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1 indicated a community dominated by photoautotrophs. When Φ/chl-a ranged higher, between 2.5 and 7.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1, it indicated a mixed community of phytoplankton, microzooplankton and heterotrophic prokaryotes. When Φ/chl-a rose above 7.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1, it indicated a community where microzooplankton proliferated (>10.0 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1), because heterotrophic dinoflagellates bloomed. The first derivative of B, as a function of time (dB/dt), indicates the rate of protein build-up when positive and the rate of protein loss, when negative. It revealed that the maximum increase in particulate protein (biomass) occurred between 1 and 2 days before the chl-a peak. A day after this peak, the trough revealed the maximum net biomass loss. This analysis did not detect significant changes in particulate protein, neither in Phase I nor in Phase III. Integral analysis of Φ, chl-a and B, over the duration of each phase, for each mesocosm, reflected a positive relationship between Φ and pCO2 during Phase II [α = 230·10−5 μL O2 h−1 L−1 (μatm CO2)−1 (phase-day)−1, R2 = 0.30] and between chl-a and pCO2 during Phase III [α = 100·10−5 μg chl-a L−1 (μ atmCO2)−1 (phase-day)−1, R2 = 0.84]. At the end of Phase II, a harmful algal species (HAS), Vicicitus globosus, bloomed in the high pCO2 mesocosms. In these mesocosms, microzooplankton did not proliferate, and chl-a retention time in the water column increased. In these V. globosus-disrupted communities, the Φ/chl-a ratio [4.1 ± 1.5 μL O2 h−1 (μg chl-a)−1] was more similar to the Φ/chl-a ratio in a mixed plankton community than to a photoautotroph-dominated one.

Continue reading ‘Metabolic responses of subtropical microplankton after a simulated deep-water upwelling event suggest a possible dominance of mixotrophy under increasing CO2 levels’

Impact of temperature, low pH and NH4+ enrichment on ecophysiological responses of a green tide Species Ulva australis Areschoug

Ulva are ubiquitous and opportunistic green algae species that easily adapt to various environmental conditions. These algae are responsible for the green tides that cause many environmental and ecological problems in coastal waters. We investigated the physiological responses of Ulva australis under warming, acidification, and eutrophication conditions. The physiological changes in the algae were observed under various combinations of temperature, pH, and NH4+ levels. Combinations of three temperatures (10°C, 20°C, and 30°C), two pH levels (7.80 and 8.20), and two NH4+ concentrations (4 μM and 120 μM) were considered under laboratory conditions. Temperature, NH4+, and pH had significant impact on the photosynthetic and nutrient uptake rates. However, the 12 h observation could not stimulate the seaweed to change the pH in the cultured media. Changes in relative growth rates, photosynthetic efficiency, and variations in tissue C and N were not affected by the interactions between temperature, pH level, and nutrient concentration. It is probable that, due to global warming, the bloom of Ulva australis may continue in warm, acidic, coastal waters with high nutrient levels.

Continue reading ‘Impact of temperature, low pH and NH4+ enrichment on ecophysiological responses of a green tide Species Ulva australis Areschoug’

Energetic context determines species and community responses to ocean acidification

Physiological responses to ocean acidification are thought to be related to energetic trade‐offs. Although a number of studies have proposed that negative responses to low pH could be minimized in situations where food resources are more readily available, evidence for such effects on individuals remain mixed, and the consequences of such effects at the community level remain untested. We explored the potential for food availability and diet quality to modify the effects of acidification on developing marine fouling communities in field‐deployed mesocosms by supplementing natural food supply with one of two species of phytoplankton, differing in concentration of fatty acids. After twelve weeks, no species demonstrated the interactive effects generally predicted in the literature, where a positive overall effect of diet mitigated the negative overall effects of acidification. Rather, for some species, additional food supply appeared to bring out or exacerbate the negative effects of low pH. Community richness and structure were only altered by acidification, while space occupation and evenness reflected patterns of the most dominant species. Importantly, we find that acidification stress can increase the relative abundance of invasive species, even under resource conditions that otherwise prevented invasive species establishment. Overall, the proposed hypothesis regarding the ability for food addition to mitigate the negative effects of acidification is thus far not widely supported at species or community levels. It is clear that acidification is a strong driving force in these communities but understanding underlying energetic and competitive context is essential to developing mechanistic predictions for climate change responses.

Continue reading ‘Energetic context determines species and community responses to ocean acidification’

Effect of food resource availability on resilience of eastern oyster larvae to ocean acidification

Numerous studies have classified the effects of ocean acidification on development and shell growth, but less studied are the effects of acidification on oyster physiology and the potential mechanisms that may enable vulnerable larvae to survive and adapt. Research described in this article was designed to understand the impacts of ocean acidification on the eastern oyster. Specifically, the study assessed the effects of acidification on survival, growth and metabolic rates of oyster larvae. In addition, the study began to identify the processes that may enable survival by first assessing whether food availability enhances resilience of these early life stages. These questions are
particularly important because a decrease in survival and size of larvae can significantly impact the commercial industry as a result of decreased yield. Studying metabolic rates is vital to understanding the health of an organism as as it can indicate whether an animal is under stress or has high energetic demands that must be met with high food availability.

Continue reading ‘Effect of food resource availability on resilience of eastern oyster larvae to ocean acidification’

Effects of multiple stressors on the development and performance of decapod crustaceans

Many marine crustacean larvae develop in a relatively stable pelagic environment; therefore, they are likely to be sensitive to perturbations in their surrounding environmental conditions. Ocean Acidification (OA) is occurring on a globalised scale and may cause disruptions to crustacean larval survival. However, species and/or life history stages are not expected to respond uniformly to these near-future predicted changes. The performance of species that lack a compensatory capacity to cope with the changing conditions may potentially be detrimentally affected, which in turn may impact recruitment. In addition to this, little information exists surrounding the impacts of ocean acidification in conjunction with additional environmental stressors, such as salinity, temperature and food availability, which are predicted to covary with OA, upon brachyuran crustacean larvae. This research focused on the effects of elevated CO2, in combination with other environmental stressors, upon rates of larval development, performance and survival of a brachyuran crustacean species common to Europe (Carcinus maenas) and two species of shrimp (Palaemon serratus and Palaemon varians). These species have varying physiological abilities to cope with salinity change and such attributes may influence their capacities to survive elevated CO2 in combination with other environmental changes. Exposure of early larval stages to combinations of salinity, temperature and food limitation in C. maenas revealed that high temperature ameliorated the effect of low salinity on survival and developmental duration. Limited access to food also affected developmental duration, but exposure to elevated CO2 alone in a second experiment only affected survival, and low salinity alone had no effect. Exposure of early juvenile stages of C. maenas to CO2 and salinity, revealed that developmental duration was significantly affected by elevated CO2 and/or salinity at varying levels, whereas, for survival, such influences were only observed in later juvenile stages. These results suggest the possibility of a physiologically sensitive bottleneck within the life cycle of C. maenas. Exposure of early larval stages of the estuarine species, P. varians, to CO2 and salinity had no effect on either survival or developmental duration. For the predominantly coastal species, P. serratus, developmental duration was negatively influenced by the interaction of elevated CO2 and low salinity, but there was limited observed effect on overall survival at the early stages studied. Overall, evaluations of the effects of climate driven variables on physiological performance demonstrated that differences can occur among broods. In future, further studies are required to incorporate seasonal (and possibly spatial) variability in responses, due to maternal effects or phenotypic variation, as conclusions based on individuals collected over a short time frame are unlikely to fully represent population level responses.

Continue reading ‘Effects of multiple stressors on the development and performance of decapod crustaceans’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book