Posts Tagged 'oxygen'

Circadian rhythm and neurotransmitters are potential pathways through which ocean acidification and warming affect the metabolism of thick-shell mussels

Although the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on marine organisms have been increasingly documented, little is known about the affecting mechanism underpinning their interactive impacts on physiological processes such as metabolism. Therefore, the effects of these two stressors on metabolism were investigated in thick-shell mussel Mytilus coruscus in this study. In addition, because metabolism is primarily regulated by circadian rhythm and neurotransmitters, the impacts of acidification and warming on these two regulatory processes were also analyzed. The data obtained demonstrated that the metabolism of mussels (indicated by the clearance rate, oxygen consumption rate, ammonia excretion rate, O:N ratio, ATP content, activity of pyruvate kinase, and expression of metabolism-related genes) were significantly affected by acidification and warming, resulting in a shortage of energy supply (indicated by the in vivo content of ATP). In addition, exposure to acidification and warming led to evident disruption in circadian rhythm (indicated by the heartrate and the expression rhythm of Per2Cry, and BMAL1) and neurotransmitters (indicated by the activity of acetyl cholinesterase and in vivo contents of ACh, GABA, and DA). These findings suggest that circadian rhythms and neurotransmitters might be potential routes through which acidification and warming interactively affect the metabolism of mussels.

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Climate change effects on the ecophysiology and ecological functioning of an offshore wind farm artificial hard substrate community

Highlights

  • Local effects of offshore wind farms add to and interact with global climate change.
  • Species-specific effects on artificial hard substrate colonising community.
  • Mortality, feeding and metabolism generally increased with temperature and lower pH.
  • Temperature and pH had antagonistic effect on growth.
  • Maximised cumulative clearance potential significantly increased by climate change.

Abstract

In the effort towards a decarbonised future, the local effects of a proliferating offshore wind farm (OWF) industry add to and interact with the global effects of marine climate change. This study aimed to quantify potential ecophysiological effects of ocean warming and acidification and to estimate and compare the cumulative clearance potential of suspended food items by OWF epifauna under current and future climate conditions. To this end, this study combined ecophysiological responses to ocean warming and acidification of three dominant colonising species on OWF artificial hard substrates (the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, the tube-building amphipod Jassa herdmani and the plumose anemone Metridium senile). In general, mortality, respiration rate and clearance rate increased during 3- to 6-week experimental exposures across all three species, except for M. senile, who exhibited a lower clearance rate in the warmed treatments (+3 °C) and an insensitivity to lowered pH (−0.3 pH units) in terms of survival and respiration rate. Ocean warming and acidification affected growth antagonistically, with elevated temperature being beneficial for M. edulis and lowered pH being beneficial for M. senile. The seawater volume potentially cleared from suspended food particles by this AHS colonising community increased significantly, extending the affected distance around an OWF foundation by 9.2% in a future climate scenario. By using an experimental multi-stressor approach, this study thus demonstrates how ecophysiology underpins functional responses to climate change in these environments, highlighting for the first time the integrated, cascading potential effects of OWFs and climate change on the marine ecosystem.

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Transgenerational effects decrease larval resilience to ocean acidification & warming but juvenile European sea bass could benefit from higher temperatures in the NE Atlantic

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ocean acidification (OA) and warming (OW) as well as the transgenerational effect of OA on larval and juvenile growth and metabolism of a large economically important fish species with a long generation time. Therefore we incubated European sea bass from Brittany (France) for two generations (>5 years in total) under current and predicted OA conditions (PCO2: 650 and 1700 µatm). In the F1 generation both OA condition were crossed with OW (temperature: 15-18°C and 20-23°C). We found that OA alone did not affect larval or juvenile growth and OW increased developmental time and growth rates, but OAW decreased larval size at metamorphosis. Larval routine metabolic rate (RMR) and juvenile standard metabolic rate (SMR) were significantly lower in cold compared to warm conditioned fish and also lower in F0 compared to F1 fish. We did not find any effect of OA on RMR or SMR. Juvenile PO2crit was not affected by OA, OW or OAW in both generations.

We discuss the potential underlying mechanisms resulting in beneficial effects of OW on F1 larval growth and RMR and in resilience of F0 and F1 larvae and juveniles to OA, but on the other hand resulting in vulnerability of F1, but not F0 larvae to OAW. With regard to the ecological perspective, we conclude that recruitment of larvae and early juveniles to nursery areas might decrease under OAW conditions but individuals reaching juvenile phase might benefit from increased performance at higher temperatures.

Summary statement We found that OA did not affect developmental time, growth, RMR and SMR, while OW increased these traits. OAW decreased larval size at metamorphosis. We discuss underlying mechanisms and the ecological perspective resulting from these results and conclude that recruitment to nursery areas might decrease under OAW conditions but individuals reaching juvenile phase might benefit from increased performance at higher temperatures in Atlantic waters.

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Configuration and validation of an oceanic physical and biogeochemical model to investigate coastal eutrophication in the Southern California Bight

Abstract

The Southern California Bight (SCB), an eastern boundary upwelling system, is impacted by global warming, acidification and oxygen loss, and receives anthropogenic nutrients from a coastal population of 20 million people. We describe the configuration, forcing, and validation of a realistic, submesoscale resolving ocean model as a tool to investigate coastal eutrophication. This modeling system represents an important achievement because it strikes a balance of capturing the forcing by U.S. Pacific Coast-wide phenomena, while representing the bathymetric features and submesoscale circulation that affect the transport of nutrients from natural and human sources. Moreover, the model allows simulations at timescales that approach the interannual frequencies of ocean variability. The model simulation is evaluated against a broad suite of observational data throughout the SCB, showing realistic depiction of the mean state and its variability with satellite and in situ measurements of state variables and biogeochemical rates. The simulation reproduces the main structure of the seasonal upwelling front, the mean current patterns, the dispersion of wastewater plumes, as well as their seasonal variability. Furthermore, it reproduces the mean distributions of key biogeochemical and ecosystem properties and their variability. Biogeochemical rates reproduced by the model, such as primary production and nitrification, are also consistent with measured rates. This validation exercise demonstrates the utility of using fine-scale resolution modeling and local observations to identify, investigate, and communicate uncertainty to stakeholders to support management decisions on local anthropogenic nutrient discharges to coastal zones.

Plain Language Summary

We applied and validated an ocean numerical model to investigate the effects of land-based and atmospheric nutrient loading on coastal eutrophication and its effects on carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles of the Southern California Bight, an upwelling-dominated marine embayment on the U.S. West Coast. The model is capable of high resolution, multi-year hindcast simulations, which enable investigations to disentangle natural variability, climate change, and local human pressures that accelerate land-based and atmospheric nutrient loads. The model performance assessment illustrates that it faithfully reproduces monitored ocean properties related to algal blooms, oxygen and water acidity, among others, that can be traced to land-based and atmospheric inputs of nutrients and carbon from human activities. The model performance assessment helps to constrain uncertainties in predictions to support ongoing conversations on approaches to reduce the effects of climate change, including considerations of management of local nutrient and carbon inputs.

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Brief episodes of nocturnal hypoxia and acidification reduce survival of economically important blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) larvae

Many shallow coastal systems experience diel fluctuations in dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH that can intensify throughout the summer season and expose estuarine organisms to repeated episodes of coastal hypoxia and acidification. In temperate regions, larval release of the economically important blue crab Callinectes sapidus occurs in the summer, and while the earliest stage (zoea I) larvae are susceptible to persistent low DO and low pH conditions, their sensitivity to diel fluctuations is unknown. Here, a series of short-term (≤96 h) experiments were conducted to investigate the survival of C. sapidus zoea I larvae exposed to a range of diel cycling hypoxic and acidified conditions and durations. Two experiments comparing a diel cycling DO/pH treatment (fluctuating from ∼30% air saturation to ∼103% averaging ∼66%/and from pH ∼7.26 to ∼7.80 averaging ∼7.53) to a static low DO/pH treatment (∼43%/∼7.35), a static moderate DO/pH treatment (∼68%/∼7.59), and a static control treatment (∼106%/∼7.94) indicated that survival in the diel cycling treatment was significantly lower than the moderate treatment (p < 0.05) by 75 and 48% over 96 and 48 h, respectively, despite comparable mean experimental DO/pH values. Three other experiments aimed at identifying the effective minimum duration of low DO/low pH to significantly depress larval survival under diel cycling conditions revealed that 8 h of low DO/low pH (∼28%/∼7.43) over a 24-h diel cycle consistently decreased survival (p < 0.05) relative to control conditions by at least 55% regardless of experimental duration (72-, 48-, and 24-h experiments). An increase in DO beyond saturation to supersaturation (160%) and pH beyond normocapnic to highly basified (8.34) conditions during the day phase of the diel cycle did not improve survival of larvae exposed to nocturnal hypoxia and acidification. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate that diel cycling does not provide newly hatched Csapidus larvae a temporal refuge capable of ameliorating low DO/pH stress, but rather is more lethal than chronic exposure to comparable average DO/pH conditions. Given that larvae exposed to a single nocturnal episode of moderate hypoxia and acidification experience significantly reduced survival, such occurrences may depress larval recruitment.

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Energetic context determines the effects of multiple upwelling-associated stressors on sea urchin performance

Globally, kelp forests are threatened by multiple stressors, including increasing grazing by sea urchins. With coastal upwelling predicted to increase in intensity and duration in the future, understanding whether kelp forest and urchin barren urchins are differentially affected by upwelling-related stressors will give insight into how future conditions may affect the transition between kelp forests and barrens. We assessed how current and future-predicted changes in the duration and magnitude of upwelling-associated stressors (low pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature) affected the performance of purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) sourced from rapidly-declining bull kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana) forests and nearby barrens and maintained on habitat-specific diets. Kelp forest urchins were of superior condition to barrens urchins, with ~ 6–9 times more gonad per body mass. Grazing and condition in kelp forest urchins were more negatively affected by distant-future and extreme upwelling conditions, whereas grazing and survival in urchins from barrens were sensitive to both current-day and all future-predicted upwelling, and to increases in acidity, hypoxia, and temperature regardless of upwelling. We conclude that urchin barren urchins are more susceptible to increases in the magnitude and duration of upwelling-related stressors than kelp forest urchins. These findings have important implications for urchin population dynamics and their interaction with kelp.

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Gonadal antioxidant responses to seawater acidification and hypoxia in the marine mussel Mytilus coruscus

This study investigated the combined effects of seawater acidification and hypoxia on the antioxidant response in gonads of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus. Mussels were collected along the Shengsi Island, East China Sea, where oxygen and pH fluctuations frequently occur in summer. Mussels were exposed to three pH (8.1, 7.7, and 7.3) and two dissolved oxygen (DO) levels (6 and 2 mg L−1) for 21 days followed by a 10-day recovery period (pH 8.1 and DO 6 mg L-1). Gonad surface area (GSA) and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione (GSH), glutathione S-transferase (GST), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in gonad were measured at days 21 and 31. Complex and enzyme-specific responses were observed after the 21-day exposure period. Overall, PCA analysis revealed a stronger effect of pH than DO. Integrated biomarker response (IBR) analysis demonstrated that low pH and DO decreased mussel’s antioxidant system and increased oxidative damage with potential consequences for gonad development. Mussels exposed to low pH and DO were only partly able to recover a normal enzymatic activity after 10-day recovery period. This suggests that mussels exposed to short-term pH and DO fluctuations event in the field may suffer lasting negative impacts.

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Impacts of multiple stressors on a benthic foraminiferal community: a long-term experiment assessing response to ocean acidification, hypoxia and warming

Ocean chemistry is changing as a result of human activities. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are increasing, causing an increase in oceanic pCO2 that drives a decrease in oceanic pH, a process called ocean acidification (OA). Higher CO2 concentrations are also linked to rising global temperatures that can result in more stratified surface waters, reducing the exchange between surface and deep waters; this stronger stratification, along with nutrient pollution, contributes to an expansion of oxygen-depleted zones (so called hypoxia or deoxygenation). Determining the response of marine organisms to environmental changes is important for assessments of future ecosystem functioning. While many studies have assessed the impact of individual or paired stressors, fewer studies have assessed the combined impact of pCO2, O2, and temperature. A long-term experiment (∼10 months) with different treatments of these three stressors was conducted to determine their sole or combined impact on the abundance and survival of a benthic foraminiferal community collected from a continental-shelf site. Foraminifera are well suited to such study because of their small size, relatively rapid growth, varied mineralogies and physiologies. Inoculation materials were collected from a ∼77-m deep site south of Woods Hole, MA. Very fine sediments (<53 μm) were used as inoculum, to allow the entire community to respond. Thirty-eight morphologically identified taxa grew during the experiment. Multivariate statistical analysis indicates that hypoxia was the major driving factor distinguishing the yields, while warming was secondary. Species responses were not consistent, with different species being most abundant in different treatments. Some taxa grew in all of the triple-stressor samples. Results from the experiment suggest that foraminiferal species’ responses will vary considerably, with some being negatively impacted by predicted environmental changes, while other taxa will tolerate, and perhaps even benefit, from deoxygenation, warming and OA.

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Ocean acidification but not hypoxia alters the gonad performance in the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification adversely affects the gonadal performance of mussels.
  • Hypoxia does not have effects on fecundity of mussels.
  • Steroids and Wnt/β-catenin gene expressions have weak correlations with fecundity in mussels.

Abstract

Ocean acidification and hypoxia have become increasingly severe in coastal areas, and their co-occurrence poses emerging threats to coastal ecosystems. Here, we investigated the combined effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia on the reproductive capacity of the thick-shelled mussel Mytilus coruscus. Our results demonstrated low pH but not low oxygen induced decreased gonadosomatic index (GSI) in mussels. Male mussels had a lower level of sex steroids (estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone) when kept at low pH. Expression of genes related to reproduction were also impacted by low pH with a downregulation of genes involved in gonad development in males (β-catenin and Wnt-7b involved in males) and an upregulation of testosterone synthesis inhibition-related gene (Wnt-4) in females. Overall, our results suggest that ocean acidification has an impact on the gonadal development through an alternation of gene expression and level of steroids while hypoxia had no significant effect.

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An integrated field-laboratory investigation of the effects of low oxygen and pH on North Pacific krill (Euphausia pacifica)

Krill are abundant and ecologically important zooplankton that inhabit dynamic environments characterized by strong natural variability, but global ocean change is shifting the range of conditions that they experience. Laboratory tests reveal that krill are sensitive to ocean acidification despite residing in naturally low pH areas, showing the importance of modulating factors for determining their responses. This study combines laboratory manipulations with field observations across a strong natural water chemistry gradient in Puget Sound, Washington, USA to investigate the effects of pH and oxygen on adult female North Pacific krill, Euphausia pacifica. Enzyme activities of the Electron Transport System (ETS) and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARS) were used as indices of zooplankton metabolism and growth, respectively, and were paired with traditional incubation methods. Acclimation to pH and oxygen conditions in the laboratory did not reveal effects on respiration rate, ETS, or AARS activity of krill. However, field observations showed that respiratory potential, as estimated by ETS activity, decreased with decreasing oxygen, declining 9% (95% confidence interval 2.5–15%) over the range of conditions we observed (3.9–8.1 mg O2 L−1). This reduction would depress the metabolic potential of krill in areas of stressful conditions (concurrent low pH), though krill also displayed a high degree of inter-individual variability. Although differences in age structure suggest different patterns of recruitment between E. pacifica populations in areas with stressful conditions and those without, populations persist at stressful sites. Lower temperature of waters with low oxygen and pH, as well as high food concentrations, may contribute to these populations’ success.

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Gene expression responses of larval gopher (Sebastes carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish to ocean acidification and hypoxia

Global climate change is driving shifts in ocean chemistry, which combined with intensification of coastal upwelling, reduces ocean pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) content in the nearshore habitats of the California Current System. Physiological plasticity, within and across generations, might be especially important for long-lived, late-to-mature species, like rockfishes (genus Sebastes), that may be unable to keep pace with climate change via genetic adaptation. Rockfishes exhibit matrotrophic viviparity and may be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stress through early developmental exposure or transgenerational plasticity (non-genetic inheritance of phenotypes). In this study, mature female gopher (S. carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish were pre-exposed to one of four treatments; 1) control conditions, 2) low pH, 3) low DO, or 4) combined low pH/DO stressors during embryonic growth (i.e. fertilization and gestation), followed by a 5-day larval exposure after birth in either the same or a different treatment received by mothers. I used RNA sequencing to determine how the maternal environment affected larval rockfish gene expression (GE) at birth, after the 5-day larval exposure in either the same maternal treatment or a novel pH/DO environment, and between larvae sampled at birth and after the 5-day larval exposure within each treatment. For both species, I found that the maternal exposure drove larval GE patterns regardless of sampling time point or treatment. Furthermore, the maternal environment continued to strongly influence larval GE for at least the first five days after birth. In gopher rockfish, larvae differentially expressed fewer genes at birth between the control and hypoxic groups than larvae that gestated in and remained in the same treatment and were sampled after the 5-day larval exposure. Gene functions also shifted; at day 5, there was an increase in differentially expressed genes that were related to metabolic pathways, implying that the larvae in the hypoxic treatment are responding to the stressor. In both species, I found that larvae which experienced a pH and/or hypoxic stressor during the maternal exposure had fewer differentially expressed genes across time compared to larvae that experienced control conditions. This pattern remained consistent, even if the larvae were placed into control conditions for the 5-day larval exposure, indicating that exposure to low pH/DO stressors might cause a delay in development. These data suggest that rockfish may not be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stressors, highlighting the important role of the maternal environment during gestation. Between the two species, however, blue rockfish may in fact fare better in future conditions as their reproductive season occurs before the onset of strong spring upwelling, when more hypoxic and low pH water intrudes the nearshore. However, if future climate models are correct, shifts in the timing and intensity of upwelling season may overlap with the reproductive season in blue rockfish. Elucidating the critical role of the maternal environment on offspring physiology can help us better understand how economically and ecologically important species will fare in the face of climate change.

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Multi-stressor extremes found on a tropical coral reef impair performance

Global change has resulted in oceans that are warmer, more acidic, and lower in oxygen. Individually any one of these stressors can have numerous negative impacts on marine organisms, and in combination they are likely to be particularly detrimental. Understanding the interactions between these factors is important as they often covary, with warming promoting hypoxia, and hypoxia co-occurring with acidification. Few studies have examined how all three factors interact to affect organismal performance, and information is particularly sparse for tropical organisms. Here we documented a strong relationship between high temperatures, low dissolved oxygen (DO), and low pH in and around a tropical bay. We used these field values to inform two multi-stressor experiments. Each experimental factor had two levels, one representing current average conditions and the other representing current extreme conditions experienced in the area. We used sea urchin righting response as a measure of organismal performance for an important reef herbivore. In the first experiment 2-h exposures to a fully factorial combination of temperature, DO, and pH showed that righting success was significantly depressed under low oxygen. To more fully understand the impacts of pH, we acclimated sea urchins to control and low pH for 7 days and subsequently exposed them to the same experimental conditions. Sea urchins acclimated to control pH had significantly reduced righting success compared to animals acclimated to low pH, and righting success was significantly depressed under hypoxia and high temperature, compared to normoxia and ambient temperature. These results show that short, 2 h exposures to the temperature and DO extremes that are already experienced periodically by these animals have measurable detrimental effects on their performance. The positive impact of reduced pH is evident only over longer, 7 days durations, which are not currently experienced in this area.

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Antioxidant responses of the mussel Mytilus coruscus co-exposed to ocean acidification, hypoxia and warming

Highlights

  • Low pH, low DO and high temperature have adverse effects on the antioxidant parameters.
  • Exposure time of stressors has significant effects on the antioxidant parameters.
  • Combined stressors exert more severe effects on the antioxidant indicators than single ones.

Abstract

In the present study, the combined effects of pH, dissolved oxygen (DO) and temperature levels on the antioxidant responses of the mussel Mytilus coruscus were evaluated. Mussels were exposed to two pH (8.1, 7.7-acidification), two DO (6 mg L−1, 2 mg L−1-hypoxia) and two temperature levels (20 °C, 30 °C-warming) for 30 days. SOD, CAT, MDA, GPx, GSH, GST, TAOC, AKP, ACP, GPT, AST levels were measured in the gills of mussels. All tested biochemical parameters were altered by these three environmental stressors. Values for all the test parameters except GSH first increased and then decreased at various experimental treatments during days 15 and 30 as a result of acidification, hypoxia and warming. GSH content always increased with decreased pH, decreased DO and increased temperature. PCA showed a positive correlation among all the measured biochemical indexes. IBR results showed that M. coruscus were adversely affected by reduced pH, low DO and elevated temperature.

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Coastal acidification and deoxygenation enhance settlement but do not influence movement behavior of creeping polyps of the irukandji jellyfish, Alatina alata (cubozoa)

Highlights

  • Deoxygenation enhanced the survival of the creeping polyps of Alatina alata.

  • More creeping polyps settled under low pH and low dissolved O2 (DO) treatments than under normal pH and DO conditions.

  • Exposure to low pH and DO did not influence the number of tentacles, mobility or movement velocity of the creeping polyps.

  • The Irukandji jellyfish may persist in coastal areas with coastal deoxygenation and acidification.

Abstract

Deoxygenation and acidification co-occur in many coastal ecosystems because nutrient enrichment produces excess organic matter that intensifies aerobic respiration during decomposition, thereby depleting O2, increasing CO2 and lowering pH. Despite this link between coastal deoxygenation (CD) and acidification (CA), and evidence that both stressors pose a risk to marine fauna, few studies have examined the effects of these drivers in combination on marine animals including invertebrates. Here, we studied the individual and combined effects of CD (∼1.5 mg L−1 O2) and CA (∼7.7 pH) on the survival, number of tentacles, settlement and movement behaviours of creeping polyps of the Irukandji jellyfish, Alatina alata. Low DO increased the survival rate (17% more) of the creeping polyps. 12% more creeping polyps settled in low pH than ambient pH and 16.7% more settled in low DO than ambient DO treatment. Exposure to CA and CD did not influence the number of tentacles, mobility or movement velocity of the creeping polyps, but after 4 h exposure to the treatments, they moved approximately half as fast. Our results indicate that CD can enhance survival and settlement success, but CA does not intensify these outcomes on A. alata creeping polyps.

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Interactive effects of CO2, temperature, irradiance, and nutrient limitation on the growth and physiology of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (Coscinodiscophyceae)

The marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana was grown in continuous culture systems to study the interactive effects of temperature, irradiance, nutrient limitation, and the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) on its growth and physiological characteristics. The cells were able to grow at all combinations of low and high irradiance (50 and 300 μmol photons · m−2 · s−1, respectively, of visible light), low and high pCO2 (400 and 1,000 μatm, respectively), nutrient limitation (nitrate‐limited and nutrient‐replete conditions), and temperatures of 10–32°C. Under nutrient‐replete conditions, there was no adverse effect of high pCO2 on growth rates at temperatures of 10–25°C. The response of the cells to high pCO2 was similar at low and high irradiance. At supraoptimal temperatures of 30°C or higher, high pCO2 depressed growth rates at both low and high irradiance. Under nitrate‐limited conditions, cells were grown at 38 ± 2.4% of their nutrient‐saturated rates at the same temperature, irradiance, and pCO2. Dark respiration rates consistently removed a higher percentage of production under nitrate‐limited versus nutrient‐replete conditions. The percentages of production lost to dark respiration were positively correlated with temperature under nitrate‐limited conditions, but there was no analogous correlation under nutrient‐replete conditions. The results suggest that warmer temperatures and associated more intense thermal stratification of ocean surface waters could lower net photosynthetic rates if the stratification leads to a reduction in the relative growth rates of marine phytoplankton, and at truly supraoptimal temperatures there would likely be a synergistic interaction between the stresses from temperature and high pCO2 (lower pH).

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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.

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Physiological resilience of pink salmon to naturally occurring ocean acidification

Pacific salmon stocks are in decline with climate change named as a contributing factor. The North Pacific coast of British Columbia is characterized by strong temporal and spatial heterogeneity in ocean conditions with upwelling events elevating CO2 levels up to 10-fold those of pre-industrial global averages. Early life stages of pink salmon have been shown to be affected by these CO2 levels, and juveniles naturally migrate through regions of high CO2 during the energetically costly phase of smoltification. To investigate the physiological response of out-migrating wild juvenile pink salmon to these naturally occurring elevated CO2 levels, we captured fish in Georgia Strait, British Columbia and transported them to a marine lab (Hakai Institute, Quadra Island) where fish were exposed to one of three CO2 levels (850, 1500 and 2000 μatm CO2) for 2 weeks. At ½, 1 and 2 weeks of exposure, we measured their weight and length to calculate condition factor (Fulton’s K), as well as haematocrit and plasma [Cl]. At each of these times, two additional stressors were imposed (hypoxia and temperature) to provide further insight into their physiological condition. Juvenile pink salmon were largely robust to elevated CO2 concentrations up to 2000 μatm CO2, with no mortality or change in condition factor over the 2-week exposure duration. After 1 week of exposure, temperature and hypoxia tolerance were significantly reduced in high CO2, an effect that did not persist to 2 weeks of exposure. Haematocrit was increased by 20% after 2 weeks in the CO2 treatments relative to the initial measurements, while plasma [Cl] was not significantly different. Taken together, these data indicate that juvenile pink salmon are quite resilient to naturally occurring high CO2 levels during their ocean outmigration.

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A regional vulnerability assessment for the Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) to changing ocean conditions: insights from model projections and empirical experiments

Among global coastal regions, the Northern California Current System (N-CCS) is already experiencing effects from ocean acidification and hypoxia during the summer, primarily due to the region’s seasonal upwelling, current systems, and high productivity. Oxygen, pH, and temperature conditions are expected to become more stressful with continued fossil fuel emissions under global climate change, posing a serious threat to the region’s fisheries. N-CCS fishing communities rely heavily on the economically and culturally important Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister). The fishery is currently sustainably managed, but potential negative impacts from changing ocean conditions on Dungeness crab life stages and populations could have adverse effects for the fishery and the communities that rely on it. To quantify the vulnerability of Dungeness crab life stages and populations to predicted future conditions, both model projections and empirical experiments need to be employed. A semi-quantitative, life stage-specific framework was adapted here to assess the vulnerability of Dungeness crab to low pH, low dissolved oxygen, and high temperature under present and future projected conditions in the seasonally dynamic N-CCS. This was achieved using a combination of regional ocean models, species distribution maps, larval transport models, a population matrix model, and a literature review. This multi-faceted approach revealed that crab vulnerability to the three climate stressors will increase in the future (year 2100) under the most intense emissions scenario, with vulnerability to low oxygen being the most severe to the N-CCS population overall. Increases in vulnerability were largely driven by the adult life stage, which contributes the most to population growth. Empirical experiments demonstrated that adult crab respiration rates increase exponentially with temperature, potentially making this life stage more susceptible to hypoxia in the future. Together, this work provides novel insights into the effects of changing ocean conditions on Dungeness crab populations, which may help inform fishery management strategies.

Continue reading ‘A regional vulnerability assessment for the Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) to changing ocean conditions: insights from model projections and empirical experiments’

Severe coastal hypoxia interchange with ocean acidification: an experimental perturbation study on carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry

Normally atmospheric CO2 is the major driver of ocean acidification (OA); however, local discharge/degradation of organic matter (OM) and redox reactions can exacerbate OA in coastal areas. In this work we study the response of nutrient and carbon systems to pH decrease in relation to hydrographically induced intermittent characteristics and examine scenarios for future ocean acidification in a coastal system. Laboratory microcosm experiments were conducted using seawater and surface sediment collected from the deepest part of Elefsis Bay; the pH was constantly being monitored while CO2 gas addition was adjusted automatically. In Elefsis Bay surface pCO2 is already higher than global present atmospheric values, while near the bottom pCO2 reaches 1538 μatm and carbonate saturation states were calculated to be around 1.5. During the experiment, in more acidified conditions, limited alkalinity increase was observed and was correlated with the addition of bicarbonates and OM. Ammonium oxidation was decelerated and a nitrification mechanism was noticed, despite oxygen deficiency, paralleled by reduction of Mn-oxides. Phosphate was found significantly elevated for the first time in lower pH values, without reprecipitating after reoxygenation; this was linked with Fe(II) oxidation and Fe(III) reprecipitation without phosphate adsorption affecting both available dissolved phosphate and (dissolved inorganic nitrogen) DIN:DIP (dissolved inorganic phosphate)ratio.

Continue reading ‘Severe coastal hypoxia interchange with ocean acidification: an experimental perturbation study on carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry’

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

Highlights

•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

Abstract

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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