Posts Tagged 'nutrients'

Hypoxia and acidification, individually and in combination, disrupt herbivory and reduce survivorship of the gastropod, Lacuna vincta

Acidification and deoxygenation are two consequences of climate change that also co-occur in eutrophied coastal zones and can have deleterious effects on marine life. While the effects of hypoxia on marine herbivores have been well-studied, how ocean acidification combined with hypoxia affects herbivory is poorly understood. This study examined how herbivory and survival by the gastropod Lacuna vincta grazing on the macroalgae Ulva rigida was influenced by hypoxia and ocean acidification, alone and in combination, with and without food limitation. Experiments exposed L. vincta to a range of environmentally realistic dissolved oxygen (0.7 – 8 mg L–1) and pH (7.3 – 8.0 total scale) conditions for 3 – 72 h, with and without a starvation period and quantified herbivory and survival. While acidified conditions (pH < 7.4) reduced herbivory when combined with food limitation, low oxygen conditions (< 4 mg L–1) reduced herbivory and survival regardless of food supply. When L. vincta were starved and grazed in acidified conditions herbivory was additively reduced, whereas starvation and hypoxia synergistically reduced grazing rates. Overall, low oxygen had a more inhibitory effect on herbivory than low pH. Shorter exposure times (9, 6, and 3 h) were required to reduce grazing at lower DO levels (∼2.4, ∼1.6, and ∼0.7 mg L–1, respectively). Herbivory ceased entirely following a three-hour exposure to DO of 0.7 mg L–1 suggesting that episodes of diurnal hypoxia disrupt grazing by these gastropods. The suppression of herbivory in response to acidified and hypoxic conditions could create a positive feedback loop that promotes ‘green tides’ whereby reduced grazing facilitates the overgrowth of macroalgae that cause nocturnal acidification and hypoxia, further disrupting herbivory and promoting the growth of macroalgae. Such feedback loops could have broad implications for estuarine ecosystems where L. vincta is a dominant macroalgal grazer and will intensify as climate change accelerates.

Continue reading ‘Hypoxia and acidification, individually and in combination, disrupt herbivory and reduce survivorship of the gastropod, Lacuna vincta’

Effects of multiple drivers of ocean global change on the physiology and functional gene expression of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

Ongoing ocean global change due to anthropogenic activities is causing multiple chemical and physical seawater properties to change simultaneously, which may affect the physiology of marine phytoplankton. The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi is a model species often employed in the study of the marine carbon cycle. The effect of ocean acidification (OA) on coccolithophore calcification has been extensively studied; however, physiological responses to multiple environmental drivers are still largely unknown. Here we examined two‐way and multiple driver effects of OA and other key environmental drivers—nitrate, phosphate, irradiance, and temperature—on the growth, photosynthetic, and calcification rates, and the elemental composition of E. huxleyi. In addition, changes in functional gene expression were examined to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning the physiological responses. The single driver manipulation experiments suggest decreased nitrate supply being the most important driver regulating E. huxleyi physiology, by significantly reducing the growth, photosynthetic, and calcification rates. In addition, the interaction of OA and decreased nitrate supply (projected for year 2100) had more negative synergistic effects on E. huxleyi physiology than all other two‐way factorial manipulations, suggesting a linkage between the single dominant driver (nitrate) effects and interactive effects with other drivers. Simultaneous manipulation of all five environmental drivers to the conditions of the projected year 2100 had the largest negative effects on most of the physiological metrics. Furthermore, functional genes associated with inorganic carbon acquisition (RubisCO, AEL1, and δCA) and calcification (CAX3, AEL1, PATP, and NhaA2) were most downregulated by the multiple driver manipulation, revealing linkages between responses of functional gene expression and associated physiological metrics. These findings together indicate that for more holistic projections of coccolithophore responses to future ocean global change, it is necessary to understand the relative importance of environmental drivers both individually (i.e., mechanistic understanding) and interactively (i.e., cumulative effect) on coccolithophore physiology.

Continue reading ‘Effects of multiple drivers of ocean global change on the physiology and functional gene expression of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi’

Vulnerability of global coral reef habitat suitability to ocean warming, acidification and eutrophication

Coral reefs are threatened by global and local stressors. Yet, reefs appear to respond differently to different environmental stressors. Using a global dataset of coral reef occurrence as a proxy for the long‐term adaptation of corals to environmental conditions in combination with global environmental data, we show here how global (warming: sea surface temperature; acidification: aragonite saturation state, Ωarag) and local (eutrophication: nitrate concentration, and phosphate concentration) stressors influence coral reef habitat suitability. We analyse the relative distance of coral communities to their regional environmental optima. In addition, we calculate the expected change of coral reef habitat suitability across the tropics in relation to an increase of 0.1°C in temperature, an increase of 0.02 μmol/L in nitrate, an increase of 0.01 μmol/L in phosphate and a decrease of 0.04 in Ωarag. Our findings reveal that only 6% of the reefs worldwide will be unaffected by local and global stressors and can thus act as temporary refugia. Local stressors, driven by nutrient increase, will affect 22% of the reefs worldwide, whereas global stressors will affect 11% of these reefs. The remaining 61% of the reefs will be simultaneously affected by local and global stressors. Appropriate wastewater treatments can mitigate local eutrophication and could increase areas of temporary refugia to 28%, allowing us to ‘buy time’, while international agreements are found to abate global stressors.

Continue reading ‘Vulnerability of global coral reef habitat suitability to ocean warming, acidification and eutrophication’

Nutrient availability modulates the effects of climate change on growth and photosynthesis of marine macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Bangiales, Rhodophyta)

The present research investigated the effect of pCO2 levels (C), seawater temperature (T), and nutrient availability (N) on the growth and physiochemical changes in Pyropia haitanensis. With nutrient enrichment, the interaction of higher pCO2 increased relative growth rates (RGR) by 105.9% when temperature increased (22 °C) compared with the control (lower T, lower C, and lower N: LTLCLN). The higher pCO2 decreased the Pm rates at the lower temperature (18 °C), yet displayed no interaction with higher T or N levels. The higher N increased dark respiration rate (Rd) at 18 °C. At 22 °C, higher pCO2 significantly enhanced the maximum ratio of (quantum yields (Fv/Fo) and the maximum quantum yield (ψpo), while it sharply decreased the absorption of photons per active reaction center (ABS/RC) and dissipation of energy fluxes (per RC) (DIo/RC). Higher temperature obviously reduced the Fv/Fo and ψpo under ambient CO2 level. The higher pCO2 significantly increased the phycoerythrin (PE) and phycocyanin (PC) contents, while higher temperature decreased the PE contents with elevated CO2 and declined the PC content regardless of CO2 condition. At lower nutrient condition, higher pCO2 increased Chl a content. Soluble carbohydrates (SC) and soluble protein (SP) content almost was unchanged among all treatments. Our findings indicate that nutrient availability may regulate photosynthetic mechanism to offset the negative effect of future ocean warming on P. haitanensis, thereby sustaining or increasing the biomass yield of the algae.

Continue reading ‘Nutrient availability modulates the effects of climate change on growth and photosynthesis of marine macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Bangiales, Rhodophyta)’

High CO2 concentration and iron availability determine the metabolic inventory in an Emiliania huxleyi‐dominated phytoplankton community

Ocean acidification (OA), a consequence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, strongly impacts marine ecosystems. OA also influences iron (Fe) solubility, affecting biogeochemical and ecological processes. We investigated the interactive effects of CO2 and Fe availability on the metabolome response of a natural phytoplankton community. Using mesocosms we exposed phytoplankton to ambient (390 μatm) or future CO2 levels predicted for the year 2100 (900 μatm), combined with ambient (4.5 nM) or high (12 nM) dissolved iron (dFe). By integrating over the whole phytoplankton community, we assigned functional changes based on altered metabolite concentrations. Our study revealed the complexity of phytoplankton metabolism. Metabolic profiles showed three stages in response to treatments and phytoplankton dynamics. Metabolome changes were related to the plankton group contributing respective metabolites, explaining bloom decline and community succession. CO2 and Fe affected metabolic profiles. Most saccharides, fatty acids, amino acids, and many sterols significantly correlated with the high dFe treatment at ambient p CO2. High CO2 lowered the abundance of many metabolites irrespective of Fe. However, sugar alcohols accumulated, indicating potential stress. We demonstrate that not only altered species composition, but also changes in the metabolic landscape affecting the plankton community, may change as a consequence of future high‐CO2 oceans.

Continue reading ‘High CO2 concentration and iron availability determine the metabolic inventory in an Emiliania huxleyi‐dominated phytoplankton community’

Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is expected to continue rising by 2100, leading to a decrease in ocean pH in a process known as ocean acidification (OA). OA can have a direct impact on calcifying organisms, including on the cuttlebone of the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Moreover, nutritional status has also been shown to affect the cuttlebone structure and potentially affect buoyancy. Here, we aimed to understand the combined effects of OA (980 μatm CO2) and food availability (fed vs. non-fed) on the buoyancy of cuttlefish newborns and respective cuttlebone weight/area ratio (as a proxy for calcification). Our results indicate that while OA elicited negative effects on hatching success, it did not negatively affect the cuttlebone weight/area ratio of the hatchlings—OA led to an increase in cuttlebone weight/area ratio of fed newborns (but not in unfed individuals). The proportion of “floating” (linked to buoyancy control loss) newborns was greatest under starvation, regardless of the CO2 treatment, and was associated with a drop in cuttlebone weight/area ratio. Besides showing that cuttlefish buoyancy is unequivocally affected by starvation, here, we also highlight the importance of nutritional condition to assess calcifying organisms’ responses to ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Cuttlefish buoyancy in response to food availability and ocean acidification’

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’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book