Posts Tagged 'oxygen'

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)’

Responses of juvenile Atlantic silverside, striped killifish, mummichog, and striped bass to acute hypoxia and acidification: Aquatic surface respiration and survival

Diel fluctuations in dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH create hypoxic conditions that alter the quality of shallow estuarine nursery habitats for juvenile fishes. Understanding how different species in these environments mitigate stress associated with intermittent hypoxia through compensatory behaviors, such as aquatic surface respiration (ASR), is important in determining the effect of these stressors on estuarine ecosystems. Behavioral responses of Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia), striped killifish (Fundulus majalis), mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), and juvenile striped bass (Morone saxatilis) were independently observed during exposure to two levels of diel-cycling DO (3–9 mg O2 l− 1 and 1–11 mg O2 l− 1) each tested with both the corresponding pH cycle (7.2–7.8 and 6.8–8.1, respectively) and static pH (7.5) under controlled laboratory conditions. In treatments in which DO declined to ~ 3 mg O2 l− 1, none of the species examined exhibited ASR behavior either with or without the associated pH decline. However, ASR was observed during both 4-hour and extended 16-hour exposure where DO declined to ~ 1.0–1.6 mg O2 l− 1 in M. menidia and both Fundulus species. M. saxatilis did not exhibit ASR and no mortalities occurred during 4-hour low DO/pH treatments or during 16 hour exposure to 1.5 mg O2 l− 1. During extended 16-hour treatments, DO thresholds for ASR were not found to be different between F. majalis and F. heteroclitus, but both differed significantly from M. menidia. Across both 4-hour and 16-hour treatments, the onset of ASR was observed in M. menidia at or near lethal levels (1.31–1.62 mg O2 l− 1). No evidence of a pH (pCO2) effect on ASR or survival was found in any species in response to naturally co-varying DO and pH swings, despite pH as low as 6.8 and high pCO2 levels of >~12,000 μatm. These results suggest that utilization of ASR is a species-specific response influenced by the magnitude and duration of hypoxic exposure. ASR may serve as a last-ditch strategy by M. menidia to prolong survival for minutes to hours, but function as a means for F. heteroclitus to mitigate or reduce negative effects of hypoxia on a scale of days to weeks, with F. majalis exhibiting an intermediate response.

Continue reading ‘Responses of juvenile Atlantic silverside, striped killifish, mummichog, and striped bass to acute hypoxia and acidification: Aquatic surface respiration and survival’

Symbiodinium mitigate the combined effects of hypoxia and acidification on a non-calcifying cnidarian

Anthropogenic nutrient inputs enhance microbial respiration within many coastal ecosystems, driving concurrent hypoxia and acidification. During photosynthesis, Symbiodinium spp., the microalgal endosymbionts of cnidarians and other marine phyla, produce O2 and assimilate CO2, and thus potentially mitigate the exposure of the host to these stresses. However, such a role for Symbiodinium remains untested for non-calcifying cnidarians. We therefore contrasted the fitness of symbiotic and aposymbiotic polyps of a model host jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.) under reduced O2 (~2.09mgL−1) and pH (~pH 7.63) scenarios in a full factorial experiment. Host fitness was characterised as asexual reproduction and their ability to regulate internal pH and Symbiodinium performance characterised by maximum photochemical efficiency, chla content, and cell density. Acidification alone resulted in 58% more asexual reproduction of symbiotic polyps than aposymbiotic polyps (and enhanced Symbiodinium cell density) suggesting Cassiopea sp. fitness was enhanced by CO2-stimulated Symbiodinium photosynthetic activity. Indeed, greater CO2 drawdown (elevated pH) was observed within host tissues of symbiotic polyps under acidification regardless of O2 conditions. Hypoxia alone produced 22% fewer polyps than ambient conditions regardless of acidification and symbiont status, suggesting Symbiodinium photosynthetic activity did not mitigate its effects. Combined hypoxia and acidification, however, produced similar numbers of symbiotic polyps compared with aposymbiotic kept under ambient conditions, demonstrating that the presence of Symbiodinium was key for mitigating the combined effects of hypoxia and acidification on asexual reproduction. We hypothesise that this mitigation occurred because of reduced photorespiration under elevated CO2 conditions where increased net O2 production ameliorates oxygen debt. We show that Symbiodinium play an important role in facilitating enhanced fitness of Cassiopea sp. polyps, and perhaps also other non-calcifying cnidarian hosts, to the ubiquitous effects of ocean acidification. Importantly we highlight that symbiotic, non-calcifying cnidarians may be particularly advantaged in productive coastal waters that are subject to simultaneous hypoxia and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Symbiodinium mitigate the combined effects of hypoxia and acidification on a non-calcifying cnidarian’

Defense responses to short-term hypoxia and seawater acidification in the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus

The rising anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 results in the reduction of seawater pH, namely ocean acidification (OA). In East China Sea, the largest coastal hypoxic zone was observed in the world. This region is also strongly impacted by ocean acidification as receiving much nutrient from Changjiang and Qiantangjiang, and organisms can experience great short-term natural variability of DO and pH in this area. In order to evaluate the defense responses of marine mussels under this scenario, the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus were exposed to three pH/pCO2 levels (7.3/2800 μatm, 7.7/1020 μatm, 8.1/376 μatm) at two dissolved oxygen concentrations (DO, 2.0, 6.0 mg L−1) for 72 h. Results showed that byssus thread parameters, such as the number, diameter, attachment strength and plaque area were reduced by low DO, and shell-closing strength was significantly weaker under both hypoxia and low pH conditions. Expression patterns of genes related to mussel byssus protein (MBP) were affected by hypoxia. Generally, hypoxia reduced MBP1 and MBP7 expressions, but increased MBP13 expression. In conclusion, both hypoxia and low pH induced negative effects on mussel defense responses, with hypoxia being the main driver of change. In addition, significant interactive effects between pH and DO were observed on shell-closing strength. Therefore, the adverse effects induced by hypoxia on the defense of mussels may be aggravated by low pH in the natural environments.

Continue reading ‘Defense responses to short-term hypoxia and seawater acidification in the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus’

The adaptive potential of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus under multifactorial environmental change

Multiple global and local stressors threaten populations of the bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae). Baltic F. vesiculosus populations presumably have a lower genetic diversity compared to other populations. I investigated the adaptive potential under multifactorial environmental change in F. vesiculosus germlings. Effects of warming and acidification were crossed during one year at the two levels “present” and “future” (according to the year 2110) at the “Kiel Outdoor Benthocosms” by applying delta-treatments. Effects of warming varied with season while acidification showed generally weak effects. The two factors “ocean acidification and warming” (OAW) and nutrients were crossed showing that nutrient enrichment mitigated heat stress. Germlings previously treated under the OAW x nutrient experiment were subsequently exposed to a simulated hypoxic upwelling. Sensitivity to hypoxia was enhanced by the previous OAW conditions. Difference in the performance of genetically different sibling groups and diversity level were observed indicating an increased adaptive potential at higher genetic diversity. Different sibling groups were analysed under multiple factors to test correlations of genotypic sensitivities. Sensitivity towards warming, acidification and nutrient enrichment correlated positively while sensitivities towards OAW and hypoxia showed a negative correlation demonstrating that genotypes previously selected under OAW are sensitive to hypoxic upwelling. In a literature review, responses of marine organisms to climate change were analysed through different levels of biological organisation showing that climate change has different effects on each single level of biological organisation. This study highlights that global change research requires an upscaling approach with regard to multiple factors, seasons, natural fluctuations, different developmental stages and levels of biological organisation in the light of the adaptive potential.

Continue reading ‘The adaptive potential of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus under multifactorial environmental change’

Diurnal fluctuations in acidification and hypoxia reduce the growth and survival of larval and juvenile bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) and hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria)

Diurnal variations in pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations are common seasonal phenomena in many eutrophic estuaries, yet few studies have investigated the concurrent effects of low pH and low DO on marine organisms inhabiting these coastal systems. Here, we assess the effects of diurnal variations in pH and DO on the early-life history of two bivalve species native to Northeast US estuaries, the bay scallop (Argopecten irradians) and hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). In one set of experiments, larval- and juvenile-life stage bivalves were exposed to ambient conditions (pHT ~ 7.9), two continuously-low pH levels (pHT ~ 7.3 and 7.6), and diurnal fluctuations between the ambient and low conditions yielding mean pH levels equal to the intermediate pH levels. In a second set of experiments, larval bivalves were exposed to ambient conditions (pHT ~7.9, DO ~ 7 mg L-1), two levels of low pH and DO (pHT ~ 7.2, DO ~1 mg L-1; pHT ~7.4, DO ~ 4 mg L-1) and diurnal fluctuations of both pH and DO between the ambient and low pH/DO levels that resulted in mean pH and DO levels equal to the intermediate pH and DO levels. Diurnal acidification treatments with ambient DO levels yielded survival rates for both species at both life stages that were consistent with the survival of individuals exposed to the same mean level of chronic pH with juveniles being more resistant to acidification than larvae. In contrast, when both pH and DO varied diurnally, the survival rates of larval bivalves were significantly lower than the survival of individuals chronically exposed to the same mean levels of pH and DO, an indication that bivalves were physiologically more vulnerable to concurrent fluctuations of both parameters compared to acidification alone. While both species displayed sensitivities to diurnal fluctuations in pH and DO, scallops were relatively more susceptible than hard clams. Since many shallow eutrophic estuaries presently experience diurnal cycles of both pH and DO when early-life stages of bivalves are present in estuaries, the populations of the bivalves studied are likely impacted by these conditions which are likely to intensify with climate change.

Continue reading ‘Diurnal fluctuations in acidification and hypoxia reduce the growth and survival of larval and juvenile bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) and hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria)’

Development of embryonic market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens, under chronic exposure to low environmental pH and [O2]

The market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens, is an important forage species for the inshore ecosystems of the California Current System. Due to increased upwelling and expansion of the oxygen minimum zone in the California Current Ecosystem, the inshore environment is expected to experience lower pH and [O2] conditions in the future, potentially impacting the development of seafloor-attached encapsulated embryos. To understand the consequences of this co-occurring environmental pH and [O2] stress for D. opalescens encapsulated embryos, we performed two laboratory experiments. In Experiment 1, embryo capsules were chronically exposed to a treatment of higher (normal) pH (7.93) and [O2] (242 μM) or a treatment of low pH (7.57) and [O2] (80 μM), characteristic of upwelling events and/or La Niña conditions. The low pH and low [O2] treatment extended embryo development duration by 5–7 days; embryos remained at less developed stages more often and had 54.7% smaller statolith area at a given embryo size. Importantly, the embryos that did develop to mature embryonic stages grew to sizes that were similar (non-distinct) to those exposed to the high pH and high [O2] treatment. In Experiment 2, we exposed encapsulated embryos to a single stressor, low pH (7.56) or low [O2] (85 μM), to understand the importance of environmental pH and [O2] rising and falling together for squid embryogenesis. Embryos in the low pH only treatment had smaller yolk reserves and bigger statoliths compared to those in low [O2] only treatment. These results suggest that D. opalescens developmental duration and statolith size are impacted by exposure to environmental [O2] and pH (pCO2) and provide insight into embryo resilience to these effects.

Continue reading ‘Development of embryonic market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens, under chronic exposure to low environmental pH and [O2]’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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