Posts Tagged 'nutrients'

Independence of nutrient limitation and carbon dioxide impacts on the Southern Ocean coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Future oceanic conditions induced by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions include warming, acidification and reduced nutrient supply due to increased stratification. Some parts of the Southern Ocean are expected to show rapid changes, especially for carbonate mineral saturation. Here we compare the physiological response of the model coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (strain EHSO 5.14, originating from 50oS, 149oE) with pH/CO2 gradients (mimicking ocean acidification ranging from 1 to 4 × current pCO2 levels) under nutrient-limited (nitrogen and phosphorus) and -replete conditions. Both nutrient limitations decreased per cell photosynthesis (particulate organic carbon (POC) production) and calcification (particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) production) rates for all pCO2 levels, with more than 50% reductions under nitrogen limitation. These impacts, however, became indistinguishable from nutrient-replete conditions when normalized to cell volume. Calcification decreased three-fold and linearly with increasing pCO2 under all nutrient conditions, and was accompanied by a smaller ~30% nonlinear reduction in POC production, manifested mainly above 3 × current pCO2. Our results suggest that normalization to cell volume allows the major impacts of nutrient limitation (changed cell sizes and reduced PIC and POC production rates) to be treated independently of the major impacts of increasing pCO2 and, additionally, stresses the importance of including cell volume measurements to the toolbox of standard physiological analysis of coccolithophores in field and laboratory studies.

Continue reading ‘Independence of nutrient limitation and carbon dioxide impacts on the Southern Ocean coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Effects of elevated nutrients and CO2 emission scenarios on three coral reef macroalgae

Coral reef macroalgae are expected to thrive in the future under conditions that are deleterious to the health of reef-building corals. Here we examined how macroalgae would be affected by exposure to future CO2 emission scenarios (pCO2 and temperature), enriched nutrients and combinations of both. The species tested, Laurencia intricata (Rhodophyta), Turbinaria ornata and Chnoospora implexa (both Phaeophyceae), have active carbon-concentrating mechanisms but responded differently to the treatments. L. intricata showed high mortality under nutrient enriched RCP4.5 (“reduced” CO2 emission) and RCP8.5 (“business-as-usual” CO2 emission) and grew best under pre-industrial (PI) conditions, where it could take up carbon using external carbonic anhydrase combined, potentially, with proton extrusion. T. ornata’s growth rate showed a trend for reduction under RCP8.5 but was unaffected by nutrient enrichment. In C. implexa, highest growth was observed under PI conditions, but highest net photosynthesis occurred under RCP8.5, suggesting that under RCP8.5, carbon is stored and respired at greater rates while it is directed to growth under PI conditions. None of the species showed growth enhancement under future scenarios, nutrient enrichment or combinations of both. This leads to the conclusion that under such conditions these species are unlikely to pose an increasing threat to coral reefs.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated nutrients and CO2 emission scenarios on three coral reef macroalgae’

Interactive effects of temperature, food and skeletal mineralogy mediate biological responses to ocean acidification in a widely distributed bryozoan

Marine invertebrates with skeletons made of high-magnesium calcite may be especially susceptible to ocean acidification (OA) due to the elevated solubility of this form of calcium carbonate. However, skeletal composition can vary plastically within some species, and it is largely unknown how concurrent changes in multiple oceanographic parameters will interact to affect skeletal mineralogy, growth and vulnerability to future OA. We explored these interactive effects by culturing genetic clones of the bryozoan Jellyella tuberculata (formerly Membranipora tuberculata) under factorial combinations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and food concentrations. High CO2 and cold temperature induced degeneration of zooids in colonies. However, colonies still maintained high growth efficiencies under these adverse conditions, indicating a compensatory trade-off whereby colonies degenerate more zooids under stress, redirecting energy to the growth and maintenance of new zooids. Low-food concentration and elevated temperatures also had interactive effects on skeletal mineralogy, resulting in skeletal calcite with higher concentrations of magnesium, which readily dissolved under high CO2. For taxa that weakly regulate skeletal magnesium concentration, skeletal dissolution may be a more widespread phenomenon than is currently documented and is a growing concern as oceans continue to warm and acidify.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of temperature, food and skeletal mineralogy mediate biological responses to ocean acidification in a widely distributed bryozoan’

Interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on growth, fitness and survival of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa under different food availabilities

Cold-water corals are important bioengineers that provide structural habitat for a diverse species community. About 70 % of the presently known scleractinian cold-water corals are expected to be exposed to corrosive waters by the end of this century due to ocean acidification. At the same time, the corals will experience a steady warming of their environment. Studies on the sensitivity of cold-water corals to climate change mainly concentrated on single stressors in short-term incubation approaches, thus not accounting for possible long-term acclimatisation and the interactive effects of multiple stressors. Besides, preceding studies did not test for possible compensatory effects of a change in food availability. In this study a multifactorial long-term experiment (6 months) was conducted with end-of-the-century scenarios of elevated pCO2 and temperature levels in order to examine the acclimatisation potential of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa to future climate change related threats. For the first time multiple ocean change impacts including the role of the nutritional status were tested on L. pertusa with regard to growth, ‘fitness’, and survival. Our results show that while L. pertusa is capable of calcifying under elevated CO2 and temperature, its condition (fitness) is more strongly influenced by food availability rather than changes in seawater chemistry. Whereas growth rates increased at elevated temperature (+ 4°C), they decreased under elevated CO2 concentrations (~ 800 µatm). No difference in net growth was detected when corals were exposed to the combination of increased CO2 and temperature compared to ambient conditions. A 10-fold higher food supply stimulated growth under elevated temperature, which was not observed in the combined treatment. This indicates that increased food supply does not compensate for adverse effects of ocean acidification and underlines the importance of considering the nutritional status in studies investigating organism responses under environmental changes.

Continue reading ‘Interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on growth, fitness and survival of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa under different food availabilities’

The combined effects of elevated pCO2 and food availability on Tigriopus japonicus Mori larval development, reproduction, and superoxide dismutase activity

Previous studies have shown that ocean acidification has little effect on adult Tigriopus japonicus copepods, and mainly impairs the early development and reproduction of females. This study investigated the possible interactive effect between CO2-induced seawater acidification and food availability on larval development and reproductive output in T. japonicus. Copepods were exposed to either pH 8.1 or pH 7.3 under different food concentrations (0.5 × 104–80.0 × 104 cells/mL). Both the development of nauplii and copepodites was delayed at pH 7.3 with a greater effect at lower food concentrations. The reproductive output followed a bell-shaped curve with the highest reproductive output at food concentrations between 30 × 104 and 40 × 104 cells/mL. As an indicator of oxidative stress, the activity of superoxide dismutase increased at lower pH, with a greater increase at lower food concentrations. Therefore, the effect of elevated pCO2 on T. japonicus was food dependent.

Continue reading ‘The combined effects of elevated pCO2 and food availability on Tigriopus japonicus Mori larval development, reproduction, and superoxide dismutase activity’

Effects of elevated CO2 and nitrogen supply on the growth and photosynthetic physiology of a marine cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. PCC7002

Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and coastal eutrophication are growing global threats to affect marine organisms and ecosystem health. However, little is known about their interactive impacts on marine picocyanobacteria which contribute to a large proportion of primary production. In this study, we cultivated the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002 at ambient (380 ppmv) and high CO2 (1000 ppmv), across a range of nitrogen levels (LN, 10 μM NO3−; MN, 35 μM NO3−; HN, 110 μM NO3−). In LN media, elevated CO2 significantly decreased cellular chlorophyll a, but insignificantly affected growth rate, photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) and maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRmax). Nitrogen (N)-supply positively increased the growth, Fv/Fm, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and cellular carotenoids/Chl a ratios, but decreased the rETRmax in both ambient and elevated CO2 conditions. The cellular C/N ratios were significantly increased by either elevated CO2 or N-supply, and the cell size was significantly enhanced by elevated CO2, not by N-supply. In addition, we found the N-supply alone had no significant effects on the four main components of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (cDOM) in ambient CO2, while the N-supply interacted with elevated CO2 significantly decreasing the cDOM contents in the cultures. Our results indicated that elevated CO2 and N-supply interacted to alter the physiology and cellular biochemistry of Synechococcus sp. PCC7002, providing useful information for understanding the environmental adaptability of Synechococcus to coastal ocean acidification and eutrophication.

Continue reading ‘Effects of elevated CO2 and nitrogen supply on the growth and photosynthetic physiology of a marine cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. PCC7002’

Nitrogen nutritional condition affects the response of energy metabolism in diatoms to elevated carbon dioxide

Marine phytoplankton are expected to benefit from enhanced carbon dioxide (CO2), attributable largely to down-regulation of the CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM) which saves energy resources for other cellular processes. However, the nitrogen (N) nutritional condition (N-replete vs. N-limiting) of phytoplankton may affect the responses of their intracellular metabolic processes to elevated CO2. We cultured the model diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and Thalassiosira weissflogii at ambient and elevated CO2 levels under N-replete and N-limiting conditions. Key metabolic processes, including light harvesting, C fixation, photorespiration, respiration, and N assimilation, were assessed systematically and then incorporated into an energy budget to compare the effects of CO2 on the metabolic pathways and the consequent changes in photosynthesis and C fixation as a result of energy reallocation under the different N nutritional conditions. Under the N-replete condition, down-regulation of the CCM at high CO2 was the primary contributor to increased photosynthesis rates of the diatoms. Under N-limiting conditions, elevated CO2 significantly affected the photosynthetic photon flux and respiration, in addition to CCM down-regulation and declines in photorespiration, resulting in an increase of the C:N ratio in all 3 diatom species. In T. pseudonana and T. weissflogii, the elevated C:N ratio was driven largely by an increased cellular C quota, whereas in P. tricornutum it resulted primarily from a decreased cellular N quota. The N-limited diatoms therefore could fix more C per unit of N in response to elevated CO2, which could potentially provide a negative feedback to the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2.

Continue reading ‘Nitrogen nutritional condition affects the response of energy metabolism in diatoms to elevated carbon dioxide’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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